A couple months ago I started listening to Two Humans, a pop-punk band from the Hartford area.
(Yes, the guy who is on record as saying “Hartford is boring” and “All pop-punk sounds the same” is in love with a pop-punk band from Hartford. I reserve the right to double back all over myself if I want to. Consistency is for sucks.)
I’d had the inspiration, based on my Bandcamp adventures, that I could sort all the recordings from any particular state, look through them all, and build a mix of 10 or 12 songs. And then I’d have a Connecticut mix and a Rhode Island mix and a Minnesota mix that had all this cool grassroots music no one else had ever heard.
I can tell you from experience that such a mix is not as easy to build as it might seem … but as you’re trying, you’re likely to come across a single unfamiliar band whose stuff is good enough to distract you from the larger search.
And so it was with Two Humans — who were actually three humans, and who are no longer together as of last year, but whose 2011 recording Good Morning, Chemicals remains wonderfully available for the taking.
Lead singer John Rule III had (and presumably still has) a wry, cracked voice — like a less wide-eyed Jonathan Richman — that works well to put his lyrics across.
And his band’s music is not rigidly tied to the inflexible structures that usually put me off pop-punk-styled music (you know the ones — quiet verse, loud chorus, big power chords everywhere.)
Personal circumstances keep me particularly coming back to “Saggitarious,” the last song on Good Morning, Chemicals.
Things are looking up in my world. A month-plus of chiropractic sessions didn’t entirely cure my previously mentioned back problems, but I’m walking a lot straighter and functioning a lot more normally than I was for the first three months of the year.
I’m running every other day and am back up to three miles per run, which is where I would want to be at this time of year anyway. I’m getting in good walks on most of the days I don’t run, which I couldn’t do a few months ago either.
On top of all this, the weather is finally turning after another long, colder-than-usual winter.
The Lehigh Valley will be 60 degrees and sunny both days this weekend — the first really nice weekend of the year — and it’s supposed to stay in the mid-60s all this coming week.
The crocuses are out, and the chances of that one last pisser spring snowstorm have finally receded to zero. (Frost? Maybe; I’m not planting the jalapenos yet. But snow? No.)
“Saggitarious” is maybe not the perfect anthem for the moment. Its first verse declares: “My grip here is crumbling / Don’t shout at me, shout at me,” while its other lyrics hint at various emotional entanglements.
But the chorus is big and glorious and singable and profane and right; and sometimes that’s all you need.
I’m feeling better now.