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11 SLEEPER HITS

You know how sometimes you pick up a record, or somebody recommends something to ya, and you don't realize how great it is until like the fifth listen? Well, here's a list of the ones that snuck up on me:


Syrup's Solid Gold Asstro Soul (Scooch Pooch):
This is probably my number one sleeper of all time. I caught the last three songs of their set at a show at Continental in NYC in 2000. Right after that, a band called Supagroup played, and I basically sunk into Supagroup fever for about six months. However, when I emerged from the delirium, those Syrup songs were stuck in my head. Now, I listen to this album several times a week.

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead's Madonna (Merge):
A friend of mine is a crazy Trail of Dead fan. I picked up the album on his recommendation, but my first impression was "What's with all this weirdo piano?" Needless to say, four listens later, I was completely hooked.

Nebula's To The Center (Sub Pop):
I came to Nebula relatively late in life, and heard Let It Burn, their earlier EP, around the same time as I heard the full-length. Maybe it was the whole Sub Pop thing that put me off, but after a few spins, I recognized the sheer genius of this stoner rock gem.

Danzig's Danzig IV (American):
I bought this record when it first came out, listened to it once or twice and shelved it. Permanently. However, about a year ago, I had a Danzig jones, so I went to the used store and picked up his first four records on CD (I had them all on vinyl only). This time I really liked Danzig 4; maybe it was a digital thing, who knows.

The Toilet Boys' Living Like a Millionaire (RAFR):
I went to see The Toilet Boys play one of their first live dates after a long gig hiatus. It was, in fact, the same fateful show at Continental that I mentioned above in the Syrup description. Again, I was so enthralled by Supagroup, that The Toilet Boys' pyrotechnics and stage antics left me bored. However, after picking up a copy of this six song EP, the hooks of "Another Day in the Life" and "Living Like a Millionaire" totally sucked me in.

King Sound Quartet's The Get Down Imperative (In The Red):
As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am a rabid Mick Collins fan. The guy can't do anything bad! But finding the good in KSQ's one and only album was a bit of a challenge for me. At first I was kind of put off by the 20 minute Sun Ra "Space Is The Place" cover (and can you blame me?), but I soon recognized it as the garage punk masterpiece that it is.

Fu Manchu's King Of The Road (Mammoth):
I had a personal stoner rock conversion last year. When I picked up the Fu's latest, I felt almost disappointed; on first listen, it was certainly no Godzilla/Eatin' Dust or even The Action is Go. But thank God I'm lazy and never took it out of the CD changer, because within a week I was contentedly singing "Blue Tile Fever" to myself in the shower.

Sheila E.'s Romance 1600 (Paisley Park):
Even I found it difficult to resist Prince during the Purple Rain era, and Sheila E. was an important element of his sound, so I picked up her second solo album. It kind of offended my punk rock sensibilities, with it's total and complete unpunkness. But inspired compositions like "Dear Michaelangelo" and "A Love Bizarre" just cannot be denied.

Big Black's Songs About Fucking (Touch & Go):
There's really no reason on Earth for me not to have loved this album immediately. Maybe I was just being contrary because everybody else I knew liked it. It took me six years to get with the Albini program, but I'm now a faithful follower.

The Make Up's Destination: Live At Cold Rice (Dischord):
After growing up in DC and consuming all things Nation of Ulysses, I thought I'd pretty much had it with Ian Svenonious and his hipster ways. Cold Rice left me pretty cold at first, but after catching The Make Up and giving the record another chance, I warmed up to it.

Dead Moon's Thirteen Off My Hook (Tombstone):
File this one under "I must have been high," because the notion that I could listen to a Dead Moon record and not immediately love it defies all reason. My neighbor got really into them about three years ago and played it for me, and somehow the album didn't even cause a blip on my musical radar. But at Cavestomp! '99 the band completely knocked my socks off. After their set I bought every single one of their records from their merch guy; it's amazing how a good live appearance can totally transform one's appreciation of a static recording.

-- Alex Zorn


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