Sometimes The Best Short Story Is A Song (#24)

I had a room-mate in the mid-90s that produced a fanzine from our living room. I mostly helped him assemble and staple it prior to shipping, but I also wrote the occasional review or interview. It was a pretty good trade-off given the amount of new music that was mailed to him on a weekly basis. That’s how I discovered Guided By Voices, Zumpano, John Spencer Blues Explosion, Railroad Jerk and a host of other 90s Indie rock bands. Among my many musical discoveries during that period, Jonathan Fire*Eater remains one of my favorites.

The band had a crypt-kicking, 60s garage rock sound mixed with a dramatic darkness shared by bands like The Cramps, Pulp and Nick Cave. “Give Me Daughters” was on their 5-song 1996 EP, Tremble Under Boom Lights, which established them as critical darlings. This narcissistic tale starts with a hypnotic organ line before crashing down into the story. Our protagonist envisions his demise via a motorcycle accident, causing him to wish for children who can carry on his bloodline. It’s a murky vision of a future where he hands down his peculiar wisdom to three daughters that worship at his feet—and possibly the only one in which he survives into old age.

Read the lyrics for “Give Me Daughters” HERE.

Previous installments in this series:

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been published by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published by Rare Bird Books in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Sometimes The Best Short Story Is A Song (#11)

It might be hard to imagine in this era of all-you-eat streaming services, but college rock radio used to be the best place to discover new music. Curated by students themselves, or local record store shepherds who finally found their flock, college stations were the epitome of “play whatever you want” radio. It was hit-and-miss sometimes—but when it hit, it hit really hard. The stations often lived in the 80s and 90s on the FM dial, where the signal strength was weak and reception was spotty.

Enter legendary college radio denizens The Replacements. The album “Tim” was their major label debut and the last album to feature the original line up. The album is littered with songs that fans of the band would consider classics including “Waitress In The Sky,” “Bastards Of Young” and “Here Comes A Regular”. But none of them capture lead singer/songwriter Paul Westerberg’s melancholy struggles with success like “Left Of The Dial”. This is the ultimate ode to life on the road and college rock radio, and a great short story to boot.

(P.S.—Some amazing college radio stations still exist, like KXLU in LA and KEXP in Seattle, among many others. Stream it up!)

Read the lyrics for “Left Of The Dial” HERE.

Previous installments in this series:

S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been accepted for publication by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, will be published in October 2015. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.