Thursday, February 28, 2008

I Think It's Now Officially Safe To Gush About The First Trans Am Album

12 years after its release, I think it's finally safe to be a total fanboy about Trans Am's self-titled debut on Thrill Jockey. So here goes: Trans Am has always been wonderfully hard to pin down because they do the genre-bending tribute/parody thing, but nobody else does it with such a wicked sense of connoisseurship. They rip only the tastiest of musics, and they do it very well. I first heard this album in Nate Spainhauer's car while riding to the gas station to get something to drink after a show in Indianapolis. At the time, I didn't know nuthin about no minimalism or BTO or the Miami Vice soundtrack or whatever else they were referencing, but it sounded GOOD, ya know. It was recorded pretty no-frills by John McEntire (one of my faves, Tortoise, Sea & Cake, pretty much every good Chicago band from that era) back when everything wasn't quite so perfect, before the 'Tool changed everything. The snare drum distorts in a cool way, things don't have too much sheen, it's a very analog recording, when you put it on you can almost see the tape reels rolling in your mind.

They weren't too over the top or too funny on this one (OK, yes, one song is called "American Kooter"). But what the heck. I hereby declare that this album has withstood the test of time. FullerGoEasy approved for older women parties and gas station beverage runs.


Kino said...

do you happen to have any dl links for this one?

Davor said...

Yeah, I like Trans Am pretty well. Their first four albums are in the queue to be ripped to the old 'puter, actually. Sitting on the desk with "TNT" by Tortoise. I saw them live a couple times back in the day.

Also, they were the subjects of the most horrifying, embarrassing interviews back when I was a wannabe hipster zine jerk. Oh, it was awful. I tried really hard to be nonchalant and irreverent but they could tell it was forced and they just thought my questions were the worst of all time. I was really bugging out over synthesizers at the time, since I'd just bought my first one, and kept asking them about synths as if I was this super gearhead or something, and they were just like "yeah, we use synthesizers. why don't you ask about the drums?" Brutal and still embarrassing.

Chris Foresman said...

God, I still remember listing to that record for the first time. It effin' rocks. Trans Am has been one of my favorite bands ever since.

And, I also interviewed them once in Atlanta when I lived there in 2000. I asked a bunch of ridiculous questions like, "What's your favorite Loony Tunes character?" and they were all, "This has been our favorite interview." LULZ.

Still, they are always impressive live. Sebastian is a badass drummer.