99¢ Ice

For this special Memorial Day post, we are taking it way back to the winter of 1994, when a legendary blizzard resulted in two weeks off of school for the lucky teens of Louisville. My first band, Mayhem Maybe (previously mentioned in the “Indian River” post), used this blip of found time to record our magnum opus, “Master/Unfazable.” This track, “99¢ Ice,” is my favorite of my songwriting contributions to the album.

We were using pretty cut-rate recording equipment… an eight-track cassette-tape recorder, I think, and whatever mics were around. But it ended up really serving this song, enhancing the “found-recording” aesthetic copped from Dylan’s “Basement Tapes.” My “Sunday-casual” singing style here owes much to my worship of Pavement and Lou Reed (who also receives a lyrical tribute: “‘Take your time, Lou’/ But that wasn’t my name”). You also might notice that, whenever there’s any free space in the arrangement whatsoever, I attempt some New Orleans-style piano riffage, generally falling off the beat within approximately four seconds. Ah, some things never change.

8 Responses to “99¢ Ice”
  1. Dang this is one ROLLICKING tune! I definitely do love the home/found-recording sound you’ve achieved here. The looseness of the piano fills only serves to supplement that in the best of ways.

    Also, two weeks–that is incredible. We never had anything even approach that much time off.

  2. Abraham says:

    Thanks P M S. Yeah, I think it’s honest-to-goodness indie rock, in which the aesthetic only emerges well after the fact. At the time, I think I just thought it sounded like crap. Even though I was a big Pavement fan. Weird. Glad you dig it.

  3. Jon says:

    Alas, the link to the MP3 file is broken.

  4. Jon says:

    The cents character messes it up — so the link should be:

    [audio src="http://www.babyteethmusic.com/mp3/Baby_Teeth_99%A2_Ice.mp3" /]

  5. Abraham says:

    Should be all fixed up now… sorry about that.

  6. The Bubble King says:

    Within the first few seconds I was thinking “your voice has changed a lot less since 1994 than mine has.” But then I started to notice that yours actually has changed quite a bit, and also, I think I was overestimating how much mine may have changed.

    But yeah it is always a riot to hear something so out-of-the-past. 2 weeks, eh? It seems like MAYBE I talked to my best friend from the Kentucky days around that time, and he mentioned something about having cabin fever from being snowed in. Hmmm…

    I have recordings from around this time (got my 4-track in January 95, and had made some less techsavy recordings in the year leading up to that), and it’s funny to think about them in contrast to the kinda stuff you were doing here.

    By the way, the recording doesn’t sound so bad at all. Sure, the performances aren’t as tight as they could be, but that’s just teenbandrockin’. I am surprised at the recording quality though… it sounds kinda… old… but believable. Like, it doesn’t seem to suffer from those problems that plagued my early recordings, like the parts just didn’t sound like they were part of the same recording. That problem used to be especially prevalent with vocals, which led me to try all kinds of EQ, compression and junk on vocal tracks, which really just made it sound thin or tinny. Hmmm! Ah, life is easier now with our supercomputers.

  7. What the monkey, I need my TEEF fix! It’s Tuesday now!

  8. Abraham says:

    B B King: Right on. 1994-95 must have been a fertile time for all of us young midwestern rockers. The golden age of indie rock!!

    P M S: Thank you for alerting me to the error of my ways.

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