Twenty Years On: Songs from the Belfry 2003, Part VI

Amusingly one memory I have of July 2003 is going to the bookstore on the corner of Brattle Street, just off Harvard Square. That would often be one of the last places I’d hit at the end of my Boston day trips. It was a split-level shop with fiction in the extremely crowded basement and nonfiction upstairs. I’d been going to that store since my college days and always found something interesting there. And in this particular warm evening, I found myself browsing the stacks while the store’s speakers softly played Beck’s Sea Change (which by this time had claimed top position as writing session soundtrack). It was one of those perfect moments of mood and music that has stuck with me ever since. And what did I buy there that evening? The 11th Edition of the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, heh. Which I still have and use frequently, store sticker and all. [Side note: looks like an updated edition came out a few years ago…perhaps I should finally buy it?]

Razed in Black, Damaged, released 1 July 2003. I always enjoyed darkwave but never quite got around to fully involving myself in the style, but this album I liked. “Share This Poison” ended up on a future Re:Defined mix.

Year of the Rabbit, Year of the Rabbit, released 15 July 2003. One of Ken Andrews’ many post-Failure projects after they broke up in the late 90s, this one should have gotten a lot more attention than it did for its excellent songwriting.

Mixtape, Re:Defined 04, created 20 July 2003. The fourth volume in this series got a lot of play in my car that summer between commutes to work and road trips elsewhere. Its cd version even got some play in the Belfry!

311, Evolver, released 22 July 2003. I’ve been a fan since the self-titled 1994 album and I always pick up their albums. They’ve mastered that heavy-yet-fun aspect of funky hard rock and rap and they’re always a refreshing listen. “Creatures (for a While)” is one of my favorites of theirs.

Eve 6, It’s All in Your Head, released 22 July 2003. The third album from this SoCal band didn’t quite impress the label and dropped them soon after because of its experimentation and lack of radio-friendly tunes (aside from the first single “Think Twice”). I kind of like this one though, because it really shows how good they were when they were able to expand their horizons.

Sense Field, Living Outside, released 22 July 2003. It’s a pity this band broke up after this album, because this was such a great one! They kind of reminded me of that 90s alt-rock vibe similar to The Verve Pipe, full of great tunes and songwriting.

Yellowcard, Ocean Avenue, released 22 July 2003. I never actually owned this album, but I remember a few of its singles being everywhere at the time, especially on LaunchCast! All the emo kids loved this record even though the critics didn’t. I wasn’t a big fan of pop-punk at the time but I did enjoy this band.

Ben Folds, Speed Graphic EP, released 22 July 2003. Folds took his time following up his excellent Rockin’ the Suburbs and filled the space with a trio of of EPs over the next year with his signature quirky piano pop. He pulls off a rocking cover of The Cure’s “In Between Days” here.

Jane’s Addiction, Strays, released 22 July 2003. Speaking of bands that took their time…Jane’s finally reunited at the start of the decade (minus bassist Eric Avery) to record their third album and surprised everyone with how slick it sounded. Some fans felt it a bit too slick and missed the sloppy grunge/funk of the first two releases, but it was a fresh sound that worked for the present day. “Just Because” ended up with a lot of airplay on radio, movies and TV.


Next up: Summer winds down and music winds up!

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