Audio Odyssey: Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot by Sparklehorse


Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot absolutely feels like a humid rainy day in 1995. Not a specific rainy day, just any one of them.

It takes me back to my dad’s house in 1995. My step-mom was pregnant with my brother at the time, and if memory serves, it was a simply utopian summer. I was nine years old, and my entire life was shooting hoops in the driveway, riding my bike around the neighborhood, and when it got too hot, playing video games inside. Somehow this extremely sad, occasionally upbeat album takes me back there. Specifically, it takes me back to any time it would rain that summer. I think the 90s just had a different feel. I really never lived through any previous decade. I was too young in the 80s to really understand what was happening. But the 90s, they just felt jaded. I think of the 90s and I think of things like My So-Called Life, or Reality Bites. It’s just a jaded way to look at the world. And the whole jaded attitude is rooted in the same set of emotions that makes someone write a sad song.

The reason this melancholy set of songs reminds me of when I was 9 years old so much (Trivia: Bryan Adams was 9 years old in the summer of ’69) is because, as utopian as it was, any time it rained I would be reminded that it wasn’t perfect. I couldn’t go outside and play, I had to wait (im)patiently for the rain to pass. I would look outside longingly as the rain fell down, and I would see that it’s a sad and beautiful world. Which is also a song from Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot. And any time it would rain, I would have enough time to sit inside and think for more than a couple of minutes, which would inevitably lead me to the realization that this utopia (I didn’t know the word utopia yet, I don’t know how I phrased it then) was sure to end. Childhood was a magical thing.

Do I recommend Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot? Of course I do. It’s fantastic. It’s a well-crafted mix of raucous college rock and restrained melancholy. It sounds like a rainy day. I don’t recommend driving with the windows down and this album cranked. But if it’s raining and you wanna sit on the porch with a cup of tea or coffee and remember what the rain was like when you were a kid, few albums will get you there better.

Next week, let’s go with Amos Lee’s self-titled album.

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About TR Snyder

I’m obsessed with The Beatles. I love fall and spring. I like to read. I like to watch TV. I believe in aliens and UFOs. My favorite movie is 500 Days of Summer. I’m a sucker for a good zombie flick though. I play guitar, bass, uke and blues harp. All at a distinctly mediocre level. I often forget to zip my fly. I love to cook. I went to school for poetry. Let’s see, what else? Long walks on the beach, the smell of the wind before rain, candlelight dinners, etc. I hate auto-tune. I can’t emphasize that enough. I also hate drum machines. I want to learn drums and piano. And a second language. Probably French.