American Nightmare’s Alex Garcia-Rivera tells us what he’s listening to in isolation
Yesterday, we posted an isolation playlist by American Nightmare (and Cold Cave) frontman Wes Eisold, and today we're posting one by American Nightmare drummer (and Chrome Over Brass' sole member) Alex Garcia-Rivera. Alex writes:
The band I've played drums in for the past 18 years, American Nightmare, had our recent tour cut short, leaving me flying out to Los Angeles only to turn around and drive our gear across the country back to Boston. Having just completed the 4-day, 3000 mile drive from LA to Boston by myself, I've had what felt like an eternity in true isolation with just my stereo to keep me company. Podcasts definitely kept me an alert driver at times, The Trap Set in particular, but nothing keeps me company the way that music does. I went down a rabbit hole of old favorites, but then found myself exploring new pop music when I grew tired of the same old comfort music.
This playlist is a snapshot of the songs that got me home alive....
Read on for his picks, with personal anecdotes and other compelling commentary on each one.
The Smashing Pumpkins - "Frail & Bedazzled"
While on tour, I met Balthazar de Ley in Chicago just a couple weeks before making this epic drive. He was the former guitar tech for the Smashing Pumpkins and is currently making boutique amplifiers. Super cool guy and showed me around his workshop and chatted with me for a bit. Because of that, I had been wanting to revisit some SP albums of which he was instrumental in creating the guitar tones for; I had burnt out on SP in the 90's and had not listened to them much since then, except for Gish, which is a beautiful masterpiece and has remained in rotation. I had forgotten how much I liked the Pisces Iscariot album when it came out and was happy to let it back in my life.
The Cure - "Hot! Hot! Hot!"
The Cure... they have been a constant in my life since adolescence. At first just a background curiosity that my black-clad artist friends played, not heavy enough for me to truly get into. Eventually their diverse and undeniable brilliance seeped into my thick skull until one day I realized they're probably my favorite band of all time. In adulthood, I've found myself fixated on one album at a time, and on this road trip back home from a disrupted tour, it was Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. I like the angular guitar work on this song... it's like a punk rocker trying to play Nile Rodgers; something I myself have recently tried to do in my latest Chrome Over Brass release.
Echo And The Bunnymen - "Lips Like Sugar"
It is honestly one of the best pop songs ever recorded.
Harry Styles - "Treat People With Kindness"
I know it's not cool to like Harry Styles but despite that, I gave his latest album a few listens. In the context of that album and these crazy times, this song really stood out to me if not for the simplicity of it's message, but for its stark "glee club" vocals that open the song. It made me feel good, and for a moment I forgot about: how much my hips were aching me from driving for so long, how badly I must smell on my fourth day of living in a van, how scared I was of getting or spreading the virus, how many high-risk groups were out and about, seemingly oblivious to the pandemic, the primaries looking grim, wondering if my cough is from COVID-19 or not... I could go on forever.
Dua Lipa - "Don't Start Now"
Here's another ripper I came across during my latest pop song exploration and I listened a few times in a row. Great bass line and will get you dancing... unless you hate fun dance pop music but you probably do because this is BrooklynVegan and you're not exactly that type of demographic, lol.
Stevie Nicks - "Stand Back"
Again going back to Nile Rodgers, I had, for a long time, assumed he played that twangy guitar lead that comes in halfway through the song... if you're familiar with his work, it sounds like him. Nope. Upon reading guitarist Steve Lukather's autobiography during this AN tour, I learned that it's actually him that plays that part. Naturally I had to revisit this synth masterpiece on the lonely drive home. The song is almost a template for all dark synth music, and I suspect many have used it as such. In fact, in many ways, I think of Stevie Nicks as the godmother of modern goth. She had that style in the 70's, twisting around on stage like a witch in flowy princess dresses, but then fully realized the now familiar dark-witch-y vibe by the 80's. She was totally in the mainstream and proved to be hugely influential because if you weren't able to find the latest underground goth shit on your own, there was Stevie in all her glory right there on your parents living room television set. She did, after all (when singing about winter coming), write the words "it makes no difference at all, 'cuz I wear boots all summer long" which is almost the complete essence of the subculture tidied up in one brief lyric, when you really think about it.
Because we could all use some live music right now, watch this totally nuts video of American Nightmare back in 2003:
And lastly, Alex just released this Chrome Over Brass song last week: