Songs about your Suburban Town

Songs about your Suburban Town

All towns have stories. Sometimes it’s just nice historical folklore or a tale about some out of the ordinary or weird thing somebody did. These are songs that remind me of the suburban town Westfield NJ. This could be your town.

West Of The Fields MP3 by R.E.M. from Murmur I always considered this my hometown’s theme song but always at the same time I wondered where the fields were? Since we only have sports fields and no wheat or corn anywhere. It’s freaking suburbia where the MILF’s run wild in their black suburbans and kids jockey for overpriced educations. It’s mostly a young republican mill except for small subculture that makes it bearable.

The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) MP3 By Simon & Garfunkel. Ok So speaking of class systems. Us alternative kids referred to the preppy 80’s rich kids in our high school or wanna bes with the upturned polo collars as “Groovies”. I think it was Susan Fried who repurposed the term in 85′ or so (or at least I heard her say it first) and it caught on pretty quick and they started calling themselves Groovies themselves. oh “the irony my snossages” as my HS English teacher Mr. Barner would say. We were making fun of them since they were all John Hughes characters. We would hear shit in the halls like “Did you hear about the [insert groovie name here] party this weekend? or did you hear about such and such groovie chick gave groovie jock a BJ last night” etc, etc. We phrased it sarcastically like it sounds in this song all spacey and shit and created a pretty obvious line between the alternative punk kids and them.
For Whom The Bell Tolls MP3 by Metallica slowed down to 33 1/3. Hilarious. Sound totally what the black psyche metal kids are into these days.

Quick Chek Baby MP3 by the band DUH. DUH were a punk band of which half were from Westfield and New Brunswick NJ. This is a track from their album/cassette demo which I called Trout I even made an album cover because of the last track of the same name and first song called “Fish House Row”. This tune directly references and describes Maulers which was the term we used for the heavy metal kids who hung out at the 7-11 type quick stops and malls and drove down the shore a lot, smoked Marlboro Lights and went to LaMours or at least as described in this song. Sort of derogatory since it’s slang and means not upper class or brass knuckles. These were the long hairs who wore tight white washed jeans and drove Cameros. Now it’s all fucked up because of that other Jersey Shore show but whatever that element is not worthy of a song. The music they like was awesome because it resembled some of thrash the skater kids liked so we invited them to our outcast parties and wrote songs about them.

John List Westfield Mass Family Murder Hillside ave NJ caught on American's Most Wanted
Devil Town MP3 by Daniel Johnston from 1990 All towns have their demons. My town had the famous John List murders where he offed his family and resettled down south only to be found after the debut of America’s Most Wanted. The day of the show back in 1989 we all got together and watched from a house right around the corner where the gruesome scene took place some 18 years before where he shot his wife and three children with .22 caliber gun. A year after the murders the house mysteriously burned down.
Crazy Train (cover) MP3 by Pat Boone from In A Metal Mood.

Come Home MP3 by The Dismemberment Plan from their record Change. This band’s music always reminds me of vacant streets at night. DC in particular where there is barely anybody milling about. Concrete.

Suburbia Movie Sound track- The T.R. Suburbia MP3 from the 1984 movie soundtrack composed by Alex Gibson. This is some lonely shit. In highschool we must had watched this movie and Repo Man 100 times each. Sometimes just looping them again and again back to back. We were white advantaged punks trying to get a clue. You could not make a movie like this today. The TR (or The Rejected) gave us a framework as we didn’t have it even 1/10 as bad mostly. Got a burn man?

This was fun. We’ll probably work on a Part II. There is always a story to tell.

Best indie music is at WE Festival May 2008

Best indie music is at WE Festival May 2008

You know this place as the beach town on TV One Tree Hill which is really Wilmington, North Carolina. What these two towns have in common is a love for music. One is made up and one is very real. One of the great cultural events is the W.E. Festival (short for Wilmington Exchange) which has been taking place since 1996! The do it yourself event was founded and enabled by Kenyata Sullivan who has imposed a couple new rules this time around and has alumni curating some of the bills. In the past decade there was a gauntlet review process for bands wanting to play, no sponsors and no major labels bands like at SXSW, CMJ, NEMO, etc. This year local or musician centric and relevant sponsors are being brought in because the playing field has changed in for the music industry significantly and secondly to help pay the bands who are traveling a great distance to perform (gas ain’t cheap). Years past the pay was free beer and you’d find a place to stay on somebody’s floor. Which is probably true this time around but I recommend one of the affordable hotels or even renting a beach-house for us older folks. Public admission is $1.00 American or 1/3 of a Euro. Which is dirt cheap for three floors of great Indie music from Thursday May 24th to the 28th over Memorial Day weekend. So if you dig music and want to take a rock n’roll vacation. There is no party like this anywhere so pack your vitamins because it is sort of like a sleep deprivation experiment where your ears will be tested. Years past bands like DPlan, Ex Models, Money Susuki and tons other bands from all over the US have played this fun filled fest so check out the schedule. Chances are you never heard of any of them unless they are from your hometown scene. Personally I’ve played (Aviso’Hara, The Slow Wire) and attended a half dozen times and made some incredible friendships, seen some amazing performances, drank a lot of beer to the point of sobriety and have obviously nothing bad to say other than don’t be fool. Plan a road trip today to WeFest 2008.

Wefest Flickr Photo Album