July 15, 2010

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Pitchfork Reviews Reviews gave Nate Patrin’s Summer Jamz a 9.3. 

Download:  Nate Patrin’s “440ci of Heavy Rock”

Nostalgia is a weird and sometimes poisonous thing, and that goes double if we’re talking revisionist nostalgia for an age we don’t remember. I wasn’t around for the early ‘70s; I was born in ’77 and only started to generally get the idea to try and start making sense of what the hell was going on around the turn of the ‘80s. But the remnants of that era still hung around, especially when I was growing up working-class in the Upper Midwest. The present’s important and the future’s fascinating, but the past tends to stick with you when you can’t afford to throw it out. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff that critics largely dismissed from the early ‘70s – the post-psych, pre-glam era of rock’n’roll that encompassed what was variously called boogie, blooze, heavy metal, hard rock and (by me) dirtbag rock. And there’s a solid, somewhat personal reason for that.

I spent my last pre-teen years in a St. Paul Victorian house that my folks had bought on the cheap and were slowly in the process of remodeling into something that no longer had shag carpeting and a round-top refrigerator. These late ‘80s years were when I discovered a couple phenomena that I still connect with memories of summer: vintage cars and classic rock. I didn’t necessarily hate the times I grew up in, at least not as much then as I do now, but taping songs off the radio and building scale models on the upstairs back porch led me to realize that I thought Led Zeppelin and Pontiac GTOs were a lot more fascinating and exotic than the Phil Collins and Chevy Cavaliers that mundanely accompanied my day-to-day life. I’d spend more than a few summer evenings up on University and Snelling watching the muscle cars and hot rods cruise by with their windows down and their radios up. And I pictured myself ten years in the future behind the wheel of some canary-yellow Detroit behemoth – or maybe Kenosha; American Motors had some pretty sick rides – with Physical Graffiti roaring through the Blaupunkts and a badass chick in cutoffs riding shotgun.

Then I grew up: hip hop, bumming rides off friends, grunge, biking everywhere, punk rock, bus cards, techno, bad credit, indie rock, $4 gas, drum’n’bass, walking. My musical tastes expanded, even as the financial impracticality of and eventual disinterest in actually buying a car left me confined. (The Twin Cities do have a pretty good public transportation system, but going from downtown St. Paul to catch a flick in Uptown Minneapolis is a round trip that lasts longer than the actual movie.) It’s not the biggest loss: for about a third of the year, driving in Minnesota is a horrible, ice-strewn ordeal, and heavy rock doesn’t sound nearly as good as dubstep or Liquid Swords during the winter anyways. Besides, a rear-wheel-drive car built during the Nixon administration would be ridiculously impractical – better to pick up an Integra or a Golf on the cheap; maybe an Audi S4 or a Mitsubishi Evo if the money finally starts rolling in.

But every so often, when the mercury hits the high 80s and the sun sits just right, I can hear the glasspacks and the fuzz guitars somewhere in the back of my head, and I’m happy.

1. Red Dirt – Summer Madness Laced With Newbald Gold (from Red Dirt; England; 1970)
2. Blue Öyster Cult – Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll (from Blue Öyster Cult, Long Island, NY, USA; 1972)
3. Thin Lizzy – Gonna Creep Up on You (from Vagabonds of the Western World; Dublin, Ireland; 1973)
4. Euclid – Gimme Some Lovin’ (from Heavy Equipment; Maine, USA; 1970)
5. Hawkwind – Urban Guerilla (7”; London, England; 1973)
6. Killing Floor – Out of Uranus (from Out of Uranus; London, England; 1970)
7. Shocking Blue – Shocking You (from Third Album; The Hague, Netherlands; 1971)
8. Les Variations – What a Mess Again (from Nador; Paris, France; 1970)
9. Arthur Lee – You Want Change for Your Re-Run (from Vindicator; Los Angeles, CA, USA; 1972)
10. The Mops – Get, Got, Gotten (from Rock ‘n’ Roll 70; Tokyo, Japan; 1970)
11. Status Quo – Don’t Waste My Time (from Piledriver; London, England; 1972)
12. Los Gatos – El Rock De La Mujer Perdida (from Rock de La Mujer Perdida; Buenos Aires, Argentina; 1970)
13. The Smoke – That’s What I Want (7”; York, North Yorkshire, England; 1972)
14. Sweet – Turn It Down (from Desolation Boulevard [original UK press]; Harefield, Middlesex, England; 1974)
15. Pentagram – When the Screams Come (b-side to “Under My Thumb” 7”; Arlington, VA, USA; 1974)
16. Death – Where Do We Go From Here??? (from …For the Whole World to See; Detroit, MI, USA; ca. 1974)
17. Neil Merryweather – Escape (from Space Rangers; Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada; 1974)