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5 Songs That Fucked Me Up as a Kid, by John Roman (Microwaves)

With his label's roster featuring records by such stylistically varied acts as Invisibl Scratch Pickles, Qui, and Retox, whenever Justin Pearson from Three One G hits me up about one of his label's releases, I never know what to expect. Three One G's next release is Via Weightlessness, the latest EP from Microwaves, a noise rock power trio from Pittsburgh, PA. Recorded Via Weightlessness was mastered by James Plotkin, who some of you will know from his work in work in bands like Khanate and Old Lady Drivers. Check out the title track to the LP below to hear Mircrowaves' mind-melting songwriting.

To celebrate the release of Via Weightlessness — and keep true to the album's irreverant spirit,n Microwaves drummer John Roman (also currently in Night Vapor and Brown Angel) breaks down a few songs that fucked his head up when he was a kid. For added measure, John sent me a photo from his childhood, which I've embedded at the very bottom...

Duran Duran — "Hungry Like the Wolf"

It starts off innocuous enough with it's "popcorn"-like synth lines and doo-wop crooning but, a little over two minutes in and we start to hear things like drawn out minor chords and womanly voices that would somehow indicate "sex". Was this some of that "devil music" that I had been hearing so much about? Already familiar with Lon Chaney Jr's The Wolf Man and terms like "lycanthropy," the cryptic title led me to believe that dark forces might very well be at play here and I should resist the will to act on unfamiliar urges whenever hearing this song on the radio. 

"Weird Al" Yankovic — "Nature Trail to Hell"

Having been an appreciator of Mr.Yankovic's parody for Michael Jackson's "Beat It," I figured it was time to finally own an entire album of someone's music (because I had never done that before) so, I had some kid at school make a cassette-dub of Yankovic's In 3-D LP for me. Along with the parodies of popular songs that he was more known for, this album also included a few completely original songs. One of these in particular titled "Nature Trail to Hell" threw me for a loop with it's references to B-grade slasher films. Since this wasn't his usual mockery of previously existing pop music and instead a song that Al composed completely from scratch, I had to question whether or not the lyrics were meant to be taken seriously. I really had no idea and that kind of upped the creep factor. I mean, you never know. Maybe this was his serious side coming out.

Al Stewart — "Year of the Cat"

This is one of those songs that would play on the AM station when I would ride with my mom in the car. At the time I was too young to even understand what was going on in the lyrics of this one but, the tone always seemed to be one of melancholy and sadness that would resurface in my brief flirtations with goth in the early to mid-nineties and later again in the late two-thousands. Come to think of it, I still have no clue what this song is supposed to be about.

10cc — "Im Not In Love"

Just plain weird (for 1975 at least and also probably for only hearing music that your parents would play) with it's layered synthesizers, noodly basslines, spoken "big boys don't cry" and even more layered synthesizers. Regardless of the lyrics, the music always made me think that this is what floating in outer space must sound and/or feel like. For years, self-appointed music aficionados have been trying to quantify heaviness in music. To obtain results a good starting point would be to ask if said music makes you feel weightless. By following that method, 10cc is easily heavier than Metallica.

Nuclear Assault — "Hang the Pope"

By the age of 15, I was already familiar with the likes of Iron Maiden and Megadeth and I knew there was more loud-ass nonsense (Thanks, parents!) that I had to hear. One of the kids in 10th grade home room, who was mostly classic rock obsessed, borrowed some his older brother's records and was telling me that I should check them out after school. One of the records he put on was "Game Over" by the band Nuclear Assault. To him one song in particular, "Hang the Pope" was simply hilarious but, to me it was more than just a loud horsin' off. Sure, the band was pummeling their instruments at breakneck speed while the vocalist belched out the lyrics but, unlike most of the heavy metal I was familiar with this seemed more like a call to arms. Having gone to a Catholic school for 8 years, something about "Hang the Pope" really resonated with me.

The portrait of John as a grade-schooler

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Via Weightlessness will be out on Sept. 28 via Three One G and can be pre-ordered here.

Tagged: microwaves

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