Disclaimer: This is 78% a true story.
“Sir, where are you supposed to go?”
I wake up in a haze, half scared, half confused. The train ticket dude is looking cross and outside, the snow is blowing. I mumble my way out of the train and as the temperature continues to drop, my panic increases.
11 pm, in a strange town, no way back home until next morning. I’ve got nine hours to kill, although I’m sure I’ll die of exposure first.
I stumble through the dark streets. A sign reads “Broadmarsh bus station” and I look at the timetables. No look, at least 5 hours ’til a bus decides to wander up north. If I don’t die from exposure, I’ll be sacrificed ritually by that hobo that looks like Sylvester McCoy.
So, in my panic and desperation, I talk to the first stranger that looks friendly enough. Thankfully, she doesn’t reach for the can of mace like my last 3 dates.
Modern times, man.
So, this curly haired girl with a Mediterranean accent tells me about this house party some friends of hers are having at a nearby flat. We get there and it’s like that Pulp song: “you’re the party that makes me feel my age.”
No alcohol for me. No more. So I dive into a bottle of Orangina that was in the corner. No one puts Orangina in the corner! I take a few sips from a Solo cup I garnish with a maraschino cherry and my curly haired saviour is talking about “crap on the radio.”
“Well, I could talk you about a band I’ve just heard about.”
“Really? What are they like?”
“Hazy atmosphere, some reverb but not as much as a shoegaze band would peddle. Easy going rhythm. Palatable vocals. It’s like a warm hug, really!”
“Wait, is that your pick up line?”
“What, no, I don’t even…”
“What’s the name of the band?”
“Generationals. The album is called Heza. It’s great! It starts with this song called ‘Spinoza’ which is slightly misleading, as you’d swear it’s one of those C86 twee pop bands, arriving a tad late to the party…”
“…or falling asleep on the train…”
“…but, yeah, it’s more of a bait and switch. Once you get to the meat, you get some gorgeous tracks. ‘Extra free year’ has some cool guitar tricks, wrapped up with a gorgeous vocal harmony. ‘Say when’ also sports some sweet guitar lickss, with various musical arrangements superseding the vocals in a playful manner. In fact, it’s less of a straight forward band and more of a refreshing fruit cocktail.”
Her discombobulated head tilted to the side and I shrugged with a stupid smile. She breaks the silence:
“Uh, so, guitar based, then?”
“Sometimes, there’s some nifty electronica stuff here. ‘You got me’ is like a happy version of Trip Hop (hand clap sample included) and ‘Kemal’ pushes the guitar to the back of the mix, letting the tribal rhythms take over. Gotta love the glockenspiel too. “
“Nice! Can I have some Orangina?”
She sips her drink and we go quiet. It’s one of those uncomfortable silences that Mia Wallace used to talk about.
“Say, the single, ‘Put a light on’, is on par with Birthmark, another lovely band from the same label, Polyvinyl.”
“In fact, if you put Generationals and follow it with Birthmark, you’d get the natural trifecta with Starfucker. Who are also on Polyvinyl.”
“Are you getting payola for this?”
“I wish. I just really, really like this label. Every time I buy stuff from them, they send an Airheads candy.”
“Are they nice?”
“Since Bar None is no longer produced, I’d venture to say it’s the best American candy you can buy.”
“I see, but let’s go back to Generationals. You’re going off on a tangent.”
“Yes, Heza has a good mix of styles here, but the mood is kept mostly happy. ‘I never know’ is this track that I’d totally put in a road trip soundtrack. Early morning, drive by a coastal road, windows down, sunglasses on, a bag full of chopped up Ataúlfo mangoes…”
“…the smell of an oil spill in the nearby beach…”
“You are doing politics, right?”
“Sounds heavy. Mind you, if you ever need to relax from the hustle and bustle of well-suited pricks being nasty to each other, you can groove down to ‘Awake’, the nicest song in this collection of songs.”
“Y’know? I might check them out! I need to relax.”
“Excellent. Remember: Generationals, album’s called Heza.”
“Will do. By the way, it’s almost 3 am.”
“Time sure flies when you talk about music!”
“Yes, and you did pass out for an hour or so. I pushed you against the wall so you wouldn’t fall out. Glad to have you in the land of the living.”
“Oh, dear. Hope I didn’t anything embarrasing.”
Her look says it all.
“No, but you babbled something about a plushy cow.”
She then walks me to the bus station and I waved goodbye, when a stupid hiccup attack almost got me chucked out of the bus. As the bus plowed through the late March snow towards my city, I take out a photo from my wallet and think about Generationals‘ ‘I used to let You get to me’. I put back the photo, let’s the past be the past.
I also realise I didn’t ask this curly haired girl her name.
Story of my life!
Words: Sam J. Valdés López.