Liner Notes

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Elastica // Elastica

Released 1995
First press on black
Favorite Track "Never Here"


A newly minted teenage Nick spends the summer in Cleveland, Ohio. Next year he enters middle school where he discovers skateboarding, guitar, and girls. The three spend the next ten years fighting for their place in his mental hierarchy.

Spoiler: girls by a mile.

As I lacked an older brother, or siblings of any stripe, I was dependent on some radical older friends to shepherd me through the pre-iTunes musical jungle. If your friends didn't listen to it, you never heard it. That's how music worked. You were only as cool as your friends or your Dad. Thanks for getting me into Sabbath, Dad.

Until that point, I listened primarily to KWNZ, the top of the pops radio. Now, while it turned me on to Dre and Snoop, the rest was pretty much garbage. Except for Ace of Base. I stand by that shit. My buddy Justin, who could kick flip a five-stair, shredded the guitar, and had flowing grunge locks that broke hearts simply by spilling out from his knit beanie, decided to take me under his wing. He was basically a god of cool and I wanted to attend his church. Justin lobbies for me to abandon the "pop shit" and insists I should listen to punk rock. He bets if I switch between the radio stations, I'll find ZROQ, the indie alternative station, more to my liking. As the fates would have it, there was some boy band on KWNZ and "Self Esteem" from The Offspring blaring on ZROQ.


The aggression and the whining about girls really struck a chord with me. He gets me into Reno legends 7 Seconds, and blows my mind with Afi's Answer That and Stay Fashionable. He helps me pick trucks from a CCS catalogue for my first board, and I'm pretty sure donates some of his old skate shirts to get my wardrobe started. There ought to be fucking Academy Awards for guys like him.

So I'm getting my bearings (literally) and really digging all the new bands when my Dad tells me we're spending the summer in Ohio, away from all my friends, cool shows, and skate parks. I'm pretty bummed.

The suburb of Wickliffe, Ohio is a far cry from the budding metropolis of Reno, Nevada. There isn't a record store that sells punk records for miles, was screamed at by jocks while skating, and all my friends were discovering crucial bands while I was languishing away in the land of sports and humidity.


I beg my Dad to take me to a used records shop I find in the Yellow Pages. He drives me out there and I'm totally lost. I know of like three punk bands. And they don't have any of their albums. I had been watching a lot of videos on MTV and, though I turned my nose up at most it, I did bob my head to a little Brit Pop tune called "Connection." The video was cool, and I thought the lead singer was real pretty. I was desperate for new jams, so I bought the CD.

I got it home and was totally rocked by the song "Annie" before "Connection." Relief washes over me in an awesome wave. Maybe this won't suck after all. It's actually kind of punk. I only had a handful of CDs with me that summer and I listened to this album on repeat maybe fifty times. It was with me in an important time. I had branched out on my own and found a cool, punk band all on my own. I was feeling great.

Fast forward ten years.

I realize they aped the main riff of "Connection" from Wire's "Three Girl Rhumba." Fuck.
I find other Wire songs they straight lifted. FUCK. I was conflicted. Can I still like this if they're thieves? Am I allowed to enjoy this record anymore?

Yes. It turns out you can and I didn't care that they robbed The Stranglers, The Fall, and other great bands. To me, it was like the end of The Graduate. I'd already seen that ending in Wanye's World. And for me, chronologically, Wayne and Garth did it first. I'm sure if I moralized about it, I'd find them culpable, but they had already been part of my life for a decade and I wasn't about to have one of the pillars that built my house knocked down because of a little plagiarism. As my good friend Jawsh says, "There's only so many chords on a guitar."

I bought the LP on eBay sometime, I'm guessing in the early 2000s. I was probably in college. I spent more on this record than any other I'd ever purchased up to that point. DGC put out their CD and never released vinyl for this album. Only the UK label, Deceptive put this baby on wax. It's real collector bait. Import only, 12 page fan booklet, numbered, AND an exclusive Flexi. I got the first press from overseas which has the special misprint on the label listing "Waking Up" on both sides. I don't usually go in for in collector stuff. Given a choice between colored and black wax, I'll choose 180G black every time. I just want it thing to sound great, which is why I shelled out a little more for the first press. All and all, including shipping, I think I paid $30 for this record and it felt like I morgaged a home for it. If college Nick only knew what I spent on records now, he'd have a heart attack.

My emotions run deep with this record, and my love for it has evolved over the years. As a kid I loved the fast, nearly punk moments best. I wanted this record to be fast and nasty, which it most certainly is not. Even the punk moments are expertly produced and tame. What gets me now is the B-Side. Quieter jams like "Never Here," "Waking Up," and "2:1" are the ones that hook me now. Records I learn to love differently over time are the most rewarding to me. Revisiting them digs up new gems, making it feel like the album is growing up with you.

I don't like quantifying my love for records. Top 10 lists always seem gauche to me; they miss the point.  Music doesn't have a win/loss record, it isn't so nearly categorized. My love for albums ebbs and flows, surprises me when it comes on a jukebox, and changes depending on my mood. But I will say this, if my house was burning and I could only save a handful of records, this record would make the cut. No doubt in my mind.

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