Sunny Day Real Estate: The Rising Tide (2000)

THE RISING TIDE (2001) – 5: A classic case of a band over-delivering, THE RISING TIDE is by far the band’s most ambitious offering thematically and sonically, turning up every knob to 11 as opposed to the more subdued production of HOW IT FEELS. The problem is that the band had not yet learned how to wear the studio that well, and with their prog tendancies pouring out on all fronts, they come off sounding like a band trying to sound meaningful (“One”). There is at least one monumental disaster, the silly centerpiece “Snibe.” A few of the other tracks, like “Fool in the Photograph” and “Television” sound a little bit too much like the band is borrowing from the bands who borrowed their ideas. But their are some truly great tracks herein as well, such as the lilting “The Ocean,” as well as the beautiful “Tearing In My Heart.” Perhaps the most disappointing thing is that the band here breaks its streak of strong bookends, with two relatively mediocre songs opening and closing the record. The band called it quits after this one, but more things would come over the next decade from this group in various forms.
Tracks:
1. Killed By An Angel (3/5)
2. One (2/5)
3. Rain Song (3.5/5)
4. Disappear (2.5/5)
5. Snibe (1/5)
6. The Ocean (5/5)
7. Fool In The Photograph (2/5)
8. Tearing In My Heart (5/5)
9. Television (2/5)
10. Faces In Disguise (3/5)
11. The Rising Tide (3/5)

album-the-rising-tideSunny Day Real Estate
The Rising Tide; 2000
Time Bomb Recordings

My Rating: 5/10

A classic case of a band over-delivering, THE RISING TIDE is by far the band’s most ambitious offering thematically and sonically, turning up every knob to 11 as opposed to the more subdued production of HOW IT FEELS. The problem is that the band had not yet learned how to wear the studio that well, and with their prog tendancies pouring out on all fronts, they come off sounding like a band trying to sound meaningful (“One”). There is at least one monumental disaster, the silly centerpiece “Snibe.” A few of the other tracks, like “Fool in the Photograph” and “Television” sound a little bit too much like the band is borrowing from the bands who borrowed their ideas. But their are some truly great tracks herein as well, such as the lilting “The Ocean,” as well as the beautiful “Tearing In My Heart.” Perhaps the most disappointing thing is that the band here breaks its streak of strong bookends, with two relatively mediocre songs opening and closing the record. The band called it quits after this one, but more things would come over the next decade from this group in various forms.

Tracks:

1. Killed By An Angel (3/5)
2. One (2/5)
3. Rain Song (3.5/5)
4. Disappear (3/5)
5. Snibe (1/5)
6. The Ocean (5/5)
7. Fool In The Photograph (2/5)
8. Tearing In My Heart (5/5)
9. Television (3/5)
10. Faces In Disguise (3/5)
11. The Rising Tide (3/5)

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Sunny Day Real Estate: Live (1999)

liveSunny Day Real Estate
Live; 1999
Sub Pop Records

My Rating: 4/10

This was a “contractual obligations” album I guess, released by Sub Pop after the band jumped ship post-HOW IT FEELS. The performances themselves are muscular enough I suppose, but as far as live albums go, the recording and production are pretty flat. The one highlight is the closer, “Days Were Golden,” magnificently executed live. Other than that, would it have hurt to fill all 80 minutes of the plastic disc with music? Surely SDRE was playing more than 11-song sets on their first reunion tour. For fanatics only…

Sunny Day Real Estate: How It Feels to Be Something On (1998)

When Sunny Day got back together and recorded a new record in 1998, one of the dreams of this young man was realized. How cool that it was a really great record at that. As Nate Mendel opted to continue Foo’ing around, the band is only at 75%, but they did manage to find a worthy match for Mendel’s bass chops in hired-hand Jeff Palmer. As far as bookends go, the band continues to show a mastery for beginning and ending records, with the fabulous and dark “Pillars” setting the mood for the whole record and the blue-eyed mysticism of “Days Were Golden” closing things out. Although a few of the songs seem unworthy of the initials SDRE (“Two Promises”, “The Shark’s Own Private F*ck”), the band continues to churn out emotionally-strident rock and roll with just enough experimental flourish to keep the indie set coming back. “Every Shining Time You Arrive” and “Guitar and Video Games” are particularly strong highlights, but “Roses in Water” and “The Prophet” deliver an eastern flavor that folds in well with the band’s sound.
Tracks:
1. Pillars (5/5)
2. Roses in Water (4/5)
3. Every Shining Time You Arrive (5/5)
4. Two Promises (2/5)
5. 100 Million (3/5)
6. How It Feels To Be Something On (4/5)
7. The Prophet (4/5)
8. Guitar and Video Games (5/5)
9. The Shark’s Own Private Fuck (2/5)
10. Days Were Golden (5/5)

hiftbsoSunny Day Real Estate
How It Feels to Be Something On; 1998
Sub Pop Records

My Rating: 8/10

When Sunny Day got back together and recorded a new record in 1998, one of the dreams of this young man was realized. How cool that it was a really great record at that. As Nate Mendel opted to continue Foo’ing around, the band is only at 75%, but they did manage to find a worthy match for Mendel’s bass chops in hired-hand Jeff Palmer. As far as bookends go, the band continues to show a mastery for beginning and ending records, with the fabulous and dark “Pillars” setting the mood for the whole record and the blue-eyed mysticism of “Days Were Golden” closing things out. Although a few of the songs seem unworthy of the initials SDRE (“Two Promises”, “The Shark’s Own Private F*ck”), the band continues to churn out emotionally-strident rock and roll with just enough experimental flourish to keep the indie set coming back. “Every Shining Time You Arrive” and “Guitar and Video Games” are particularly strong highlights, and “Roses in Water” and “The Prophet” deliver an eastern flavor that folds in well with the band’s sound.

Tracks:

1. Pillars (5/5)
2. Roses in Water (4/5)
3. Every Shining Time You Arrive (5/5)
4. Two Promises (2/5)
5. 100 Million (3/5)
6. How It Feels To Be Something On (4/5)
7. The Prophet (4/5)
8. Guitar and Video Games (5/5)
9. The Shark’s Own Private F*ck (2/5)
10. Days Were Golden (5/5)

Sunny Day Real Estate: LP2 (1995)

SunSuLP2 (1995) – 8: AKA The Pink Album. Very solid yet posthumous follow-up to the band’s excellent debut, for a long time this was my favorite of the band’s records, especially given the more DC-style angularity of the songs contained herein. Enigk begins developing his “voice as an instrument” on this one, with many of the lyrics being otherwise unintelligible or nonsensical but nonetheless beautiful. A strong undercurrent of Enigk’s born-again Christianity is represented on songs like “5/4,” “Waffle,” and “Theo B.” The band seems to have captured a period of complete abandon here, a freedom to explore a completely unique sound. Overall, not quite classic like “Diary,” but nonetheless a very strong if obtuse second offering.
1. Friday (4/5)
2. Theo B (4.5/5)
3. Red Elephant (4/5)
4. 5/4 (4/5)
5. Waffle (3.5/5)
6. 8 (5/5)
7. Iscarabaid (4/5)
8. J’Nuh (4.5/5)
9. Rodeo Jones (5/5)

lp2Sunny Day Real Estate
LP2; 1995
Sub Pop Records

My Rating: 8/10

AKA The Pink Album. Very solid yet posthumous follow-up to the band’s excellent debut, for a long time this was one of my favorite records, as it combined DC-style musical angularity and sublime melodies to form fascinating songs. Enigk begins developing his “voice as an instrument” approach on this one, with many of the lyrics being otherwise unintelligible or nonsensical but nonetheless beautiful. A strong undercurrent of Enigk’s born-again Christianity is represented on songs like “5/4,” “Waffle,” and “Theo B.” The band seems to have captured a period of complete abandon here, a freedom to explore a completely unique sound. Overall, not quite classic like “Diary,” but nonetheless a very strong if “Enigk-matic” (sorry for that…) second offering.

Tracks:

1. Friday (4/5)
2. Theo B (4.5/5)
3. Red Elephant (4/5)
4. 5/4 (4/5)
5. Waffle (3.5/5)
6. 8 (5/5)
7. Iscarabaid (4/5)
8. J’Nuh (4.5/5)
9. Rodeo Jones (5/5)

Sunny Day Real Estate: Diary (1994)

Monumental debut from the emo kings of Seattle, this one’s got layers of mystery and heartache poetry, and hey, that Enigk guy was like 19 or something when they recorded this album. Looking back, it’s easy to find the flaws in this record, but the great ideas are captured so purely and unpolished here that they outshine any errors. From melodic rockers like “Seven” to floating rain songs like “Song About An Angel” and “The Blankets Were The Stairs” to the piano lullabye about a stuffed monkey, “Pheurton Skeurto”, to the feedback-drenched, ethereal lament “Grendel”, this album just brims with this fabulous melancholic creativity and youthful energy. Hands down, a classic.
TRACKS:
1. SEVEN (5/5)
2. IN CIRCLES (5/5)
3. SONG ABOUT AN ANGEL (4/5)
4. ROUND (2.5/5)
5. 47 (4/5)
6. THE BLANKETS WERE THE STAIRS (4/5)
7. PHEURTON SKEURTO (5/5)
8. IN THE SHADOWS (4/5)
9. 48 (4/5)
10. GRENDEL (5/5)
11. SOMETIMES (

diarySunny Day Real Estate
Diary; 1994
Sub Pop Recods

My Rating: 10/10

Monumental debut from the emo kings of Seattle, this one’s got layers of mystery and heartache poetry, and hey, that Enigk guy was like 19 or something when they recorded this album. Looking back, it’s easy to find the flaws in this record, but the great ideas are captured so purely and unpolished here that they outshine any errors. From melodic rockers like “Seven” to floating rain songs like “Song About An Angel” and “The Blankets Were The Stairs” to the piano lullabye about a stuffed monkey, “Pheurton Skeurto”, to the feedback-drenched, ethereal lament “Grendel”, this album just brims with this fabulous melancholic creativity and youthful energy. Hands down, a classic.

TRACKS:

1. Seven (5/5)
2. In Circles (5/5)
3. Song About An Angel (4/5)
4. Round (3/5)
5. 47 (4/5)
6. The Blankets Were The Stairs (4/5)
7. Pheurton Skeurto (5/5)
8. In the Shadows (4/5)
9. 48 (4/5)
10. Grendel (5/5)
11. Sometimes (5/5)

Sunny Day Real Estate week

sdre-nordstromWith the recent news of a Sunny Day Real Estate reunion hitting the internet a few weeks back, I’ve spent some time thinking about a band that I literally obsessed over for a good two years way back in high school. This week I’ll be posting short reviews of each of the band’s studio albums as well as their live album. I might even throw around some thoughts on the trajectory of the band and its various members since the original lineup fell apart back in 1995.

PS – Nordstrom, the advertising is on the house.

Wilco: Let Me Come Home (Instrumental version)

lon_rainy_streetHeavenly. As peaceful and lovely as a Saturday morning thunder shower in the spring time, this little gem is nestled into the YHF demos’ second half snuggly between “Heavy Metal Drummer” and the instrumental version of “Cordoruoy Cutoff Girl” (which later got transmogrified somehow into “Radio Cure”). While there may not be a whole lot to it, the simple  marriage of piano and cello results in something sublime. It would probably be best to categorize it as a lullabye, but you won’t want to fall asleep as you listen. Rather, it has a tendancy to induce nostalgic visions as it washes peacefully over you.

Some (many?) will call this forgettable incidental music. But for me, it’s the sort of thing I’m hoping will be playing in my mind as I fall asleep for the last time, ushering me peacefully into eternity. At two minutes and thirty seconds, the only bad thing I can find to say about it is that it is far too short. I’ve been known to put this one on repeat and just meditate for awhile, I dig it that much.

One last thing: the instrumental version is far preferable to the “vocalized” demo available elsewhere, and supposedly released on some compilation or another. I’ll just leave it at that.

“Let Me Come Home” is a forgotten little classic in Wilco’s back pocket. You’d do well to seek it out.