Tag Archives: fountains of wayne

Underground Love – And The Giraffe

21 Oct

And The Giraffe: No relation to a Roald Dahl story.

A slightly special post today. It’s my birthday! And in the spirit of gift-giving, I’ve got a present for you today in the form of a a great new band, And The Giraffe. The story (like most) begins with a phone upgrade. I recently made the shift to an iPhone. Good should you ever need to know the capital of Lithuania on a whim. Bad if you ever want a minute without a new email.

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Hackensack – Fountains Of Wayne

2 Sep

Fountains Of Youth: A sound of the 90s

I might be wrong here (and most likely am) but I often feel my music taste alines more naturally with American music. I love our British classics, but when it comes to contemporary British music, I find myself tolerating most acts and disliking the rest. And while The Beatles and The Kinks will always take up a significant portion of my iPod’s memory, it’s bands like Fountains Of Wayne and Nada Surf that remain closest to my heart. In fact, Fountains Of Wayne and Nada Surf are similar artists, musically and thematically. Both bands started in the 90s, neither found mainstream success until a decade later. I’m still not quite sure if Nada Surf have found mainstream success but they should. Most of you will know Fountains Of Wayne from their 2003 Stacy’s Mom which would be the equivalent of Nada Surf’s 1996 MTV anthem, Popular. The latter feels like a precursor to Kelly Rowland’s Stole and comfortably sums up how I’ll look back on high-school through an Angela Chase perspective. I’d show you the video of Stacy’s Mom, but I really don’t like it. Instead, here’s a song from their excellent latest album, Sky Full Of Holes called Richie and Ruben:

Fountains Of Wayne will always have a place in my 1990s-orientated heart thanks to Hackensack:

It has an unmistakable Fountains Of Wayne feel; the blend of wry, bitter popular humour that they’ve perfected over their career. What I also love about Fountains Of Wayne is their sense of popular culture and references seen in Hackensack‘s lyrics:

 I used to know you when we were young, you were in all my dreams
We sat together in period one, Fridays at 8:15
Now I see your face in the strangest places: movies and magazines
I saw you talking to Christopher Walken on my TV screen

It’s nostalgic without being sentimental and is surprisingly heartfelt for Fountains Of Wayne who always lean on the cynical side. There’s also a wonderful reference to the changing times of music consumerism with:

I used to work in a record store, now I work for my dad

Call me weak but that brings a tear to my eye. It’s Empire Records, a loving look back at the teenage years and a completely lost time all in one. For her MTV Unplugged (so 90s again!) Katy Perry covered Hackensack. If anyone ever questions her live talents, I can always refer them to her Unplugged album which boasts a hugely competent, Jagged Little Pill quality. Allmusic.com complemented Perry’s good taste in her choice and it seems a perfect match. Hackensack seems to have influenced Perry’s sometimes nostalgic Teenage Dream. The One That Got Away (which shares startlingly similar themes to Hackensack) opens with:

Summer after high school when we first met
We make out in your Mustang to Radiohead

Fountain Of Wayne-esque popular culture references are rife in Perry’s lyrics from Ur So Gay (H&M, Myspace and Mozart) to The One That Got Away. Sure, Perry’s June and Johnny Cash (I was June and you were my Johnny Cash) might be the sugar-coated Reese Witherspoon version but at least a new generation are going to grow up, knowing who Johnny Cash is. Here’s her cover: