Day 52 – My Hands Are Tied My Feet Are Bound

December 10th, 2015 No comments

The continuing adventures of “Eric’s Trip Around the Sun”. One final trip with the iPod.


For a band that despised the road trip song, R.E.M. was clever enough to write songs that felt very visual. “Reckoning” is maybe the perfect album when driving through a state like Nebraska with not much to see but big sky surrounding you. It finds a way of being Americana without being obnoxious about it. The subliminal cover with the serpent that includes the various song titles off the album, done by the Reverend Howard Finster doubles down on their predecessor by identifying that the band’s not playing games with the importance of putting together classic visuals.

I have always had a soft spot for R.E.M.’s ‘Burning Down’. Now, even though the song was released as a B-side for ‘Wendell Gee’, the song was recorded during the Reckoning sessions and feels a bit more appropriate for that album, such as the lead in. It is not a very complex song and has similarities to ‘Ages of You’, another early song that ended up as a B-Side.
I have felt that R.E.M. songs carry different degrees of importance and this one is not thought-provoking lyrically, even though the song’s lyrics when it was written way back in 1981 had been altered significantly to the Dead Letter Office version.

There were always a couple songs that were featured in my mind on the earliest of bootlegs that I purchased/acquired and this was one of those tracks. The bootleg, “R.E.M. – Georgia Peaches Ripe!” contained all the necessities for an R.E.M. bootleg; the classic lineup was featured (Berry, Buck, Mills, Stipe), the jacket including the photo of the band sprawled out on both sides of the LP, and an incorrect date of the show listed on the jacket (January 10, 1981 instead of the correct date April 10, 1981). I think that I read somewhere that individuals knowingly did this on purpose. The thought was that they did not want the bootleg to come back to them so they would change the date which would make it look a little less obvious in case someone saw it in an album bin somewhere.

‘Burning Down’ was the second track on this album, the first being a cover Buddy Holly’s ‘Rave On’. The quality of the bootleg, as well as the fact that there was a very raw quality to the boot, as well as their sound made a very powerful impression on me.

On the surface, the song is a fairly benign R.E.M. b-side that shows off their ability to write a catchy tune. For me, it was always something more, a doorway into a world that I have yet to exit.

• Joe Strummer & The Mescalaros – Burnin Streets
• R.E.M. – Burning Down
• Guided By Voices – Burning Flag Birthday Suit
• Radiohead – The Butcher

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Day 51 – A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes

December 9th, 2015 No comments

The continuing adventures of “Eric’s Trip Around the Sun”. One final trip with the iPod.


The last month has been a challenge for everyone. News out of every crevice feels more dreadful than the day before. At times, its difficult to comprehend or even write. In the meantime, my iPod has officially “Died”. While there are still several days that are logged in, I was not able to get past the letter C before the damn thing died at a Yo La Tengo concert of all places.

As we write it’s final farewell as well as to pick out a song that represents the tone of today’s world, I figured Leonard Cohen would be the perfect individual to pick on.

Leonard Cohen is an acquired taste. There are plenty that cringe while listening to this Canadian crooner whose monotone delivery does not offer much excitement to his folksy tunes.

‘A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes,‘ one of the more obscure and complicated songs on the album ‘Songs from a Room,’ offers a starkness that just felt natural in today’s political climate. I would recommend listening to the entire album absorbing the all of the darkness and despair of the Partisan, about a man on the run from the Germans or the classic ‘Bird on a Wire’ describing a man whose looking to redeem his failures in life.

There are times when the tone of the song or songs might feel stronger than the words themselves. I think that following the news over the past month has been a very difficult ordeal. The moment you feel as if you get over one tragedy, another one occurs.

I get the impression that much of this will get worse before it will ever get better.

• The Minus 5 – Bullfight
• Massive Attack – Bumper Ball Dub (Karmacoma)
• Leonard Cohen – Bunch of Lonesome Heroes
• Dream Syndicate – Burn

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Day 50 – The Many Flavors of Brown Sugar

December 3rd, 2015 No comments

The continuing adventures of “Eric’s Trip Around the Sun”. One final trip with the iPod.


There are times when a song might appear on the list for the day and you are conflicted as to what to write.

One of the conflicts of rock and roll are the various songs that display a certain misogynistic patterns. There are several in the Velvet Underground catalog that while I enjoy them musically, you would not hear me singing these out loud anytime soon.

The Rolling Stones, ‘Brown Sugar’ is one such example. Now from a musical perspective, they wrote a catchy little song. On the other hand, some of the lyrics, the combination of sex, slavery and drugs are not promoted in a negative light. In fact, you would expect that if the song was played live that the fans should be singing along in unison with Mick Jagger.

It is no doubt a very clever play on words that can be interpreted in different ways but there is not a lyrical interpretation of this song that to me is presented in a positive manner that can allow me to somehow find joy in singing this. It really comes down to the tone only. Sometimes I think it would be better if you didn’t pay attention to the lyrics.

Yet, there is something daring and very rock and roll about a song like this. There is an ambiguity to the lyrics which provide a little cover instead of just saying it as it is.

There is a taboo nature of the sexuality in particular which obviously presents a “Tasty” portrait of a young black girl. From the perspective of Jagger, this comes, of course, off as interracial, which for the times was pretty taboo as well.

It’s not just crass words but something to be admired. I am sure I would never lead off with this at karaoke night but can still appreciate the art and craft of the lyrics.

• Oh Ok – Brother
• Animal Collective – Brothersport
• Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar
• U2 – Bullet the Blue Sky

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Day 49 – Panda Bear

November 20th, 2015 No comments

The continuing adventures of “Eric’s Trip Around the Sun”. One final trip with the iPod.


I had written about Panda Bear’s ‘Person Pitch’ back in 2013 rating it at the time as #9 on the all time Zimmy List.

Thinking about music that fucked me over, it’s still as mesmerizing to this day as it was back then. Looking back over the past 10 years there are very few albums that I can think of that completely blew the shit out of the water. It’s Brian Wilson on acid.

Panda Bear- Bros from peru ana ana peru on Vimeo.

As much as I admire ‘Comfy in Nautica’, it is ‘Bros’ which is the true ‘Stairway to Heaven’ moment. Clocking in at over 12:30, it contains several transitions along the way that’s dreamlike, maybe a little reminiscing from times past.

At first listen, Panda Bear’s use of effects and echoes throughout the music make the lyrics for the most part incomprehensible. Thankfully, one of the main uses of the internet is being able to search on useful items such as lyrics considering that if the artist does not provide them, there are a host of individuals being paid by the US Government to search out and identify lyrics in songs.

Between the examination of the title and the lyrics that have been posted, it’s fairly obvious in my opinion the song reflects on the relationship between 2 brothers, albeit from a very early stage. In the midst of the song, there are moments when you hear a baby cry and of course the various emotions that the older brother is feeling regarding his younger brother.

Yet, the uncanny way that it’s performed, it feels like a memory that is fading away. The words shouldn’t be perfectly understandable. As I am turning 43, I surely cannot remember exact sentences of when I was five but I can still remember feelings and senses from that time.

For Panda Bear to be able to capture this just blows my mind.

• PJ Harvey – Broken Harp
• The Baseball Project – Broken Man
• Granddaddy – Broken Household Applicance National Forest
• Panda Bear – Bros

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Day 48 – Friendship Buttons

November 19th, 2015 No comments

The continuing adventures of “Eric’s Trip Around the Sun”. One final trip with the iPod.


There are times when lyrics are not necessary to explain a theme. The visuals surround your head such as when you see people on the streets in Paris mourning those that were lost in the recent terrorist attacks.

When you see a father explain to a child that the flowers and the candles will protect them.

You realize that this is not being naïve. This is believing that love conquers all. We can still be inspired by humanity. The only way to fight hate is through love.

The Fuck Buttons (aka the Friendship Buttons to my friend Derek) have found ways over the past few albums to write music where lyrics are not necessary. They supply a barrage of electronic Post-Rock noise that paints an atmospheric view of something larger, surreal and yet complete.


I remember the first time that I saw them. It was the first show that my wife and I ever attended together. The Fuck Buttons had opened for Caribou and while I am not generally enthusiastic about men on the stage playing with keyboards, gadgets and computers, their performance was amazing and inspiring.

‘Bright Tomorrow’ is both beautiful and chaotic. Halfway through the song, it launches into white noise and muffled voices as if the 21st century was falling onto our shoulders.
And yet throughout, there is the primitive beat. Something old, something new.

• The Pixies – Brick is Red
• Led Zeppelin – Bring it on Home
• Pink Floyd – Bring the Boys Back Home
• The Pixies – Broken Face

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Day 47 – Industrial Breath

November 18th, 2015 No comments

The continuing adventures of “Eric’s Trip Around the Sun”. One final trip with the iPod.

Ministry. Oh Shit!


There are albums like ‘The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste’ that were both made me feel scared shitless and invigorated. Al Jorgenson looks like he should have been in a Mad Max movie. And the music?

My favorite on the album is ‘Breathe’, a full-blown throttle at corporate corruption and greed which turns our planet darker everyday. It’s a rallying cry against the crimes to our planet and our environment that those in dark places use their influence for money and ignore the devastating results that they are living for our future generations. ‘Breathe’ is the song that you play at “11” at 2 am in the morning to piss of the neighbors.

The band had slowly been moving in this direction as ‘Breathe’ is a far cry from “(Every Day is) Halloween,” which would be more perfect for the dance/club scene with “Breathe” being part of the demolition scene. INDUSTRIAL can be written in all caps while still driving meaning through their songs dealt with many of the serious issues of their times: political corruption, nuclear war, drugs, .etc.

As I have relived with friends who were there, I still remember going to the second Lollapalooza back in 1992 in Tinley Park, while during an extended break before Ministry’s set, the fans got a little out of hand and began ripping up and chucking huge pieces of sod throughout what was known at the time as “World Music Theatre” (then the “New World Music Theatre”, then “Tweeter Center”, then “First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre and currently Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre). Sod, paper cups, ears of corn . . . whatever fans could get their hands on was being strewn in the air while the band was playing their set. It was this insane chaotic scene as Ministry was just revving up with N.W.O. that you had to turn your head to the lawn just to prevent you from getting whacked in the head with a huge piece of sod.

This was only until Al had enough and threatened to do the same unless they stopped.

And we did.

• Thom Yorke – Brain in a Bottle
• Patti Smith – Break it Up
• Pixies – Break My Body
• Lush – Breeze

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Day 46 – Please Don’t Be Surprised When You Find Me Dreaming Too

November 17th, 2015 No comments

The continuing adventures of “Eric’s Trip Around the Sun”. One final trip with the iPod.


Being introduced/inducted/indoctrinated as a Dead Head has been a slow process. The Grateful Dead are one in themselves, above the echelon of “Jam” bands that attempt to put that magic in a bottle and put it before it’s fan base as something that matters.

Beyond the music, it’s the culture. Being a ‘Deadhead’ is a religious experience which for outsiders can be a little overwhelming. That same type of religious zeal exists for the follow-up to the Grateful Dead, in my eyes, Phish. While there might be some commonalities between both groups, the biggest difference, in my humble opinion, is an age which brings upon different cultural issues/complexities.

Based on the phenomenon itself, that there is something sociologically significant about fan bases forming these tight knit communities. Since my wife, who has identified herself as a ‘Deadhead’, I have had the extreme pleasure in accompanying her to several Further shows as well as being blessed with the opportunity to see the Grateful Dead on the ‘Fare Thee Well’ tour this summer at Soldier Field.

Over this time, I have gained respect and admiration for the fan base and also appreciation for some of the music that they have released. Their music has touched several different genres from psychaedelic, On the shortlist of favorites, it would be ‘Box Of Rain’, off of their album ‘American Beauty’ is one of their better folk moments. Among the important aspects of this song was that it was the last song at the last show that the band played in 1995 with Jerry Garcia. It was also the first song the band opened with at the Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago.

I might be in the minority here even amongst Deadheads, but I have to say that I have a strong prefence for the album version vs. any live version that I have heard. I guess if I was at the Shoreline in 1989 then I would get it.

To defend their music you could take an album like American Beauty and say if it was released in 1995 it would have been part of the Alt. Country scene and would have probably been a popular one at that. When you are an outsider to the scene, you fail to see this because the scene itself i.e. the Deadhead on the street becomes more representative of their music than the music. To me, this is unfortunate.

And if there is anything to fill a box of rain with, that would be it.

The Feelies


I feel as if I would be amiss if I did not mention The Feelies opening track from their classic, “Crazy Rhythms”. ‘The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness’ has always been on of my favorite opening tracks because it requires a certain level of patience. Sure, there are albums that open up with a minute or so “Beginning”, but The Feelies try your patience.

The opening sequence of subtle percussion as the guitar slowly builds up volume makes anyone who is sitting at home playing this album realize that there is a point to it and to play it loud.

What truly has made this album special, and apparent on this track are the “Crazy Rhythms” present throughout. Anton Fier makes his presence known here and in a big way.

• The Walkmen – Bows and Arrows
• Belle & Sebastian – The Boy With The Arab Strap
• The Feelies – The Boy With the Perpetual Nervousness
• Caribou – Brahminy Kite

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

The Day After – My Thoughts Through Music

November 15th, 2015 No comments


When tragedy hits we are at loss for words. We often feel pain without an outlet to express that pain, albeit tears, sadness and despair.

We might look to blame others for the tragedy via simplistic measures; the easy way to come to terms with issues which are often very complex.

For me, I have often felt as if these tragedies put me in a state of purgatory, not sure where I left from or where I am going. It’s also a time that I have looked to music as the source or inspiration for what I might feel at the time. Today seemed to be one of those days.


I admit that there are moments that just seemed to make sense though. As I was fumbling through my brain this morning, I thought of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ as that poignant song to reflect on the events of yesterday and before I knew it, it came true.

I do not think that there is much to be said here.


It seemed fitting in the midst of my state of mind, that I turned on Radiohead’s “OK Computer’ as the Saturday Morning Breakfast Album. Much of Radiohead’s music falls into the “Sky is Falling” mentality and yet there is a certain beauty to their presentation, especially on OK Computer.

As I started the day in zombie-like status, it’s gray outlook seemed fitting for the otherwise beautiful sunny morning in Chicago.

And yet, there are mixes such as the one below for Paranoid Android, that capture so much emotional for me. Taking a song and creating a mix based on various performances of it grasps so much energy.

So fitting.

Bob Marley

“Don’t worry, about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright”

During snack time in the Zimmermann household, we were in the kitchen and listening to WXRT and Bob Marley and The Wailer’s ‘Three Little Birds’ was being played and there was a sense of hope in the air.

Before we knew it, Dylan was singing along and it was repeated several times during dinner based on Dylan’s request.

I thought about all the messages, the Facebook posts on the subject of the Paris bombings, the changes to avatars showing the French flag, that in the midst of the sadness, there was a lot of love. The only way to combat hate is not through guns, fear, vengeance and anger but love.


“Not everyone can carry the weight of the world”

Another surprise from WXRT as I was putting Dylan down to bed. Since Dylan listens to WXRT when he goes to bed, R.E.M.’s ‘Talk About The Passion’ was the song of choice.

Although the song is about hunger, the lyric above, to me, sums up an important aspect of any tragedy is that we feel sometimes helpless. Living in a metropolis like Chicago, going to restaurants and bars, to concerts and sporting events are things that we take for granted.

We chose to live in the city of Chicago so that we are not isolated from the rest of the world. We chose to live in the city so that our son experiences different cultures other than being White. We embrace the idea of being around so many different ethnicities and cultures, experiencing their food, walking in their neighborhoods and seeing the love that exists.

While these events are a reminder that our world is not always safe we cannot live in fear. We cannot run away from our way of life. Love will win in the end.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Day 45 – Mucca Pazza

November 13th, 2015 No comments

The continuing adventures of “Eric’s Trip Around the Sun”. One final trip with the iPod.


There are times when a band will come out of nowhere to surprise you. Whenever you check out a live act without any prior knowledge, that is part of the ordeal. The fact is that most bands do not have the talent

In the case of Mucca Pazza, it was developing an idea and theme that has been wholly original. Forming in 2004 in the city of Chicago, they bring together various influences to create the most overt marching band that you would ever run into.

Mucca Pazza need to be seen live. Their act is engaging, enthusiastic and full of energy. The 3 E’s.

They could be best described as band geeks that never grew up. However, unlike the structured nature of marching band, this is anything but; unique costumes, cheerleaders dancing on bars, it’s the moment that the band teacher walked out of the office to grab a smoke in the teachers lounge when the moment began. There will be musicians mingling through the audience during the show playing the drums, horns, whatnot and providing the audience with a B12 shot worth of energy.

There are a couple of choice favorite tracks from them but my favorite would be Borino Oro, a track with a hint of indie rock hidden within the vast 20 piece marching band.

The first time I saw them was on a warm Saturday evening in Amdersonville during Midsommarfest (likely 2008?). My wife and I had immediately fallen in love with the concept and idea behind the band. It was one of those times that a good review and being in the right place at the right time meant an easy sell . . . for a lifetime.

• Mucca Pazza – Borino Oro
• Dream Syndicate – Boston
• Menomena – Bote
• Caribou – Bowls

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Day 44 – Instructions for Dancing

November 12th, 2015 No comments


The continuing adventures of “Eric’s Trip Around the Sun”. One final trip with the iPod.

Stephin Merritt is different. Interviews with him would make Stephen Patrick Morrissey sound like a joyful rock star, however, for me, especially in interviews, I would compare him to Michael Stipe circa 1984 times 10. He suffers from a hearing condition called Hyperacusis which causes feedback in his left ear when the sound is above normal. This would definitely explain the setup for Magnetic Fields shows which are typically acoustic in nature.

His music with the Magnetic Fields, however, should be treasured. Their most ambitious album, 69 Love Songs, is indeed, 69 love songs that spans almost 3 hours worth of music. This is not a live boxed set or a boxed set of demos and rarities but rather a project that incapsulates the various dimensions of a love song. Trust me, there are not 69 ballads.

If there is one song that I would choose as my favorite, it would be, ‘The Book of Love’, a corny yet endearing ballad that captures in a very Stephin Merritt way, the true meaning of love.

Consider the first couple verses of the song:

The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It’s full of charts and facts and figures
And instructions for dancing

But I
I love it when you read to me
And you
You can read me anything

The book of love has music in it
In fact that’s where music comes from
Some of it’s just transcendental
Some of it’s just really dumb

But I
I love it when you sing to me
And you
You can sing me anything

Merritt in his own manner suggests a jaded opinion of the definition of love; one that the rules of love are pretty ridiculous with various mannerisms and such defining what it is and yet he has no problems or issues initiating these mannerisms with his lover.

It’s presented in such a down-to-earth reserved manner it transcends itself in beauty. There have been covers of the song, most famously by Peter Gabriel who is able to nail it.

The love song is something that I am generally not a sucker for. I think that we have all listened to our fair share of power ballads by the likes of Foreigner not to get too swept up into Extreme performing “More than Words”. Maybe I am just in the mood considering that I just wrote about another love song yesterday and decided to stay in the mood.

No matter. I do think it would make any shortlist of my favorite love songs of all time.

• Billie Holiday – Body and Soul
• R.E.M. – Body Count
• Luna – Bonnie and Clyde
• The Buzzcocks – Boredom

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: