Call Florence Pow
I wanted to extract These Are The Plans from obscurity and into a vacuum to celebrate such a quality music moment made 15 years ago. I don't want to talk about when they moved to New York and changed names and all that other noise I'm not interested in. No, I want to jive to the hip sugar rock high that this 10 track LP gifted us.
I was one of the first 'street team' members for Spongebath. I was so the first of ANY street team you hipster bitches!! Okay, that was my double espresso talking. But yeah, Spongebath Records was an awesome label in Tennessee that housed The Katies, Fluid Ounces, Count Bass D and everything Matt Mahaffey of course. Then came along two teenage fans of Mahaffey who, cute as can be, sent him a cassette demo in the late 90's. Matt, with that Prince like ear for talent, hooked them up and brought them into Spongebath to make this record, while he would supply the producing, engineering, live drumming and pretty much all those wonderful effects that layer around each crunchy, sweet and sour tune.
The magic is still heard and needs to be appreciated, so I pulled out my original CD copy of These Are The Plans from 2000 that I got along with lots of stickers to swag out Denver rock clubs with the new Spongebath material. It's all still so fresh! Well, not the stickers anyway. The first track, 'Experimental Times' has this simple head bobbing lead-in that just punches out to a sprawling beautiful mess. I've not been shy about how I am currently BORED of guitar bands today, as all of them sound like the world is on anti-depressants glazing over to Lumineering Mumford Of Monsters in War on Drugged out Tamed Impalas that Hozier on down to Vanillaville! Lord Huron have mercy on me! (I seriously just yawned thinking about all those bands).
So popping in this music is a sexy kick to the junk to wake the fuck back up. I still LOVE 'I'm Traveling'. It's so.. bizarre for a guitar song. Well, I guess this is 'alternative punk' music? ..or something. But the piston phasers screech across your ears like a dying alien spaceship battle, to peak with a stereo wailing solo. His vocals hop along the song like you're chasing him along until these weird sound effects come back. It becomes obvious this is all about adding to the random flow while in the studio. Matt is a master at improvisation and adding that extra WTF to get a song hyper catchy. Even as it turns into a churned out rocker you expect to know where it's going, just to turn into an even stranger tangent of a little girl army proclaiming their "la-la-la-la-las" only to come tumbling down around this neo pop-punk sound. At the six minute mark, it's a classic song that I can't even relate it to anything else. (maybe They Might Be Giants?) That's saying something..
And oh my god, do I remember to screaming along to 'Valerie's Revenge'. It makes you want to break apart your room while pounding your chest to the sci-fi pop-punk as he loses it at the end. It's got an amazing kick to it. If you're getting the theme of experimental dance-punk and not boring here. That's definitely the point. Because even garage music is dull today...
Okay, random tangent aside. Howl along with "Just keep running away!" to the soundtrack ready 'The Great' and growl it out to 80's sounding 'Speed G Tappin' Master'. There are many moments on this record that I laughed to when first hearing, and that still makes me smile. It's like watching a movie you know all the actors are having fun together on even when the cameras aren't rolling.
I was listening a lot to Hello Nasty when this record came out, so 'Periodic Table' meshed well with the weirdness of 'Negation Limerick File' perfectly. The Stephen Hawking-like breakdown rap in the middle of Periodic Table is stunning. But I think that was a spoiler. My bad!
Then coo your lover on a cool Fall evening to 'Late Tonight'. It's sultry among a strange album. The humor subsides to let the chirp of crickets and warm feelings of falling for someone. Pretty great idea to give this album a fleshed out feel.
Of course though, it wouldn't be complete without it's own theme song. It's an 8-bit gliding arcade instrumental, and the perfect dessert to a full course meal. Songs that sound simple, tickled with fun effects, and plain vocals along with various surprises make this well worth adding these gems to your playlist. Problem is, I couldn't find it ANYWHERE. So I burned my OG copy and posted it to my youtube account. I don't even know who owns the copyrights to it, since Spongebath and the band are both now defunct. Here's hoping no one comes at me to take it down, bro. So help spread the word of Call Florence Pow today.
Who says you can't make a new favorite band that's 15 years old and will never tour this music. What's more hipster than that!
The track list for reference:
|1. Experimental Times|
|2. Speen G Tappin' Master|
|3. I'm Travelling|
|4. Valerie's Revenge|
|5. The Great|
|6. 3 & 4 Part Tones|
|7. 57.5 Bars|
|8. Late Tonight|
|9. Periodic Table|
|10. Theme for Call Florence Pow|