The Who -- The Who Sell Out
I attach myself to songs and music, and label it as a certain time period, and it almost becomes disposable. Brand new music becomes as much of an influence or even more of an influence than something that had impact as a teenager.
But The Who's Sell Out record kept reappearing in my inventory of influences. It was the perfect combination of melody and Rock, a nonstop mixtape. I would be as impressed if I heard it today; it seems to defy dates. Bands like Dungeon, Modest Mouse, The Unicorns, The Books, Beck, Fiery Furnaces, GBV and The Shins all have borrowed elements from Sell Out. I'm sure Bob Pollard realizes it; the others might not. You know it's one of your favorite records when you never have to ever play it again, and it still remains constant as an influence. I've listened to this record under every application -- pre-teen clarity, chemical haze, headphones, road trips, loud vinyl on liquid-cooled speakers. Sell Out is a familiar toy, a sentimental bit of clothing, but when I pull it out, it still sounds fresh and comfortable. I admire how this record did not comply with any set formula, each song having a quirky connection to the next. And it contained only one hit ("I Can See for Miles"). Sell Out also has inspired me to want to create interesting, original album artwork and be absurd with it, develop characters and scenarios within a live performance, dress in exaggerated and ridiculous theme-wear and blur the line between music and performance art and entertainment. Ideally, this piece would accompany a photo of myself in a bath of baked beans holding the album and wearing a shirt that says, "Get Saucy."
CULTURE QUEER (culturequeer.com) plays alchemize on April 2.THE FAIRMOUNT GIRLS (fairmountgirls.com) next perform April 8 at the Southgate House.