Monday, March 10, 2014

Game Theory - Lolita Nation

Game Theory – Lolita Nation
Enigma, 1987
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $6
Some things just stick in your mind. Years ago when I hosted Alternative Flashback on KJHK I listened to the first few tracks on Lolita Nation and for whatever reason decided there was other stuff I needed to get to in my college rock education. It’s ridiculous to think I hosted a show dedicated to alternative rock of the 80s and 90s without having an appreciation for Game Theory or other likeminded bands of Paisley Underground-era California, and yet, there I was. But it’s OK. You can’t read every book, you can’t listen to every album. But lord knows I try, I try. And better late than never that I encountered Lolita Nation on vinyl when I was working at Half Price Books in St. Paul. “Oh yeah, this album,” I thought, admiring the dated, yet beautiful design of the album’s cover. It carried a hefty $30 price tag and I moved on. A few months later, Game Theory front man Scott Miller passed away and I checked to see if the album was still there and sure enough, it was and, sure enough, it had b been marked down to an incredibly reasonable price that was impossible to pass up.

The guitars on Lolita Nation are some of the brightest, jangly guitars you’re ever gonna hear thanks to the production of jangle pop guru Mitch Easter (best known for making REM sound like REM in addition to hosting his own fine jangle pop group Let’s Active). Despite the pleasant tones and great melodies, Lolita Nation is a masterpiece because of its complete willingness to fuck around. It’s one of the weirdest, most gleefully experimental alt-rock records I’ve ever heard. The double album is laced with genuine surprises and strange sounds minute after minute, all working in perfect harmony with the group’s gift for power-pop. Ultimately, Lolita Nation is the rare blend of ambition, artfulness, and highly listenable and enjoyable music. The kind that has me kicking myself for not seeing the light years earlier!

"24" (I feel like the Shins were born out of this song)

"Together Now, Very Minor"

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