One of the things I miss most about living on the air in college radio is the sense of perpetual discovery. This part of the experience is undoubtedly leavened somewhat by the intense availability of information about bands, music, and albums across the untamed wilds of the internet. Getting background and inside stories is mere keystrokes away at any given time. That’s useful, but it strips away some of the fun, some of the intense, thrilling mystery of it all. There was nothing quite like opening a slew of packages from record labels and promotion agencies to create a big pile of new CDs, most of them with band names that were entirely unknown before tearing open their respective padded envelopes. Staring down a string of bizarre names connected to goofy album art was like entering the first passage of a vast, complicated video. Any turn could lead to treasure or tragedy with equal likelihood.
I was serving as the General Manager and Advisor for a campus radio station when Meow Meow released the album Snow Gas Bones. I knew nothing about the band before seeing the album. I don’t think anyone at our station really did (one of the unsettling side effects of returning to college radio in the “adult” capacity after several years from the music scene was discovering how well-versed many of the staff were in the personnel intricacies of bands I’d never heard of). I don’t even remember how well it did at our station. Maybe the CD sat there unloved, or maybe it dominated the airwaves for a little way. I just know the album was one that, for whatever reason, I wound up getting my own copy of it, settling it into my collection. I think I liked the range of it, combining occasionally roundelays of distortion and free jazz-style sonic wanderings with the sort of crisp, pointed soundcraft that was then being practiced with happy regularity by the likes of Apples in Stereo. Songs were weird, even a little confrontational, and yet they always seemed to be following a clear, satisfying path.
I may not remember quite how I discovered this band and their record, but a decade later I still get the reward of listening to their music. I imagine they’ve disappeared from most college playlists by now. It’s not like it’s in my regular rotation either. Still, any time I do listen, it’s a nice reminder of the pleasure of finding something new and unexpected.
Listen or download –> Meow Meow, “All I Ever Got”
(Disclaimer: It appears to me that Snow Gas Bones is out of print as a physical object that can be procured from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said store and the artist. It can be purchased as a download from a site that I believe provides fair remuneration to the artist, so by all means follow the link and lay your money down. In this instance, I offer this track as an enticement, not as a replacement for engaging in commerce with the act. I will gladly remove the song if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)