Bands that Michael Cavazos introduced me to
1. Polvo – I had seen the stickers and decals with the word “Polvo” on them on cars parked outside the old Sound Exchange location in Houston TX. I never knew what they were. No one I knew mentioned them in conversation. One day, I got word from Michael that he had made a mix tape of 90 minutes worth of choice Polvo material. He said he thought I would love it because they did not tune their guitars on purpose. He came over and we hit play and the fucking awesome noisy riff of “Fractured (Like Chandeliers)” came into my brain, and never left. I played that mix tape endlessly in my car, and Polvo became one of my favorite bands ever.
2. Operation Ivy – All I can remember of when Michael introduced me to OpIvy, as the hip kids used to call them, is sitting in the back of a car loaded with Instigators, flying down Highway 59, and blasting these hyper fast songs with freaky syncopated ska beats. It felt new, like when I first heard Minor Threat. I dug the shit out of it and soon bought my own copy of their music.
3. Superchunk – Fuck Superchunk. Ha!
4. Fugazi – I had heard just one Fugazi album prior to seeing that Michael was the sickest, most intense, most devout Fugazi fan, and through him I began to dig into their catalog. Man, am I glad I did. Fugazi is amazing stuff. 13 Songs and Repeater are two of my all-time favorite albums. Michael and I went to see Fugazi perform and it was bad-ass. On that night, we coined the term “couch rock” to describe the opening act, Explosions in the Sky, who are better enjoyed sitting on cushy sofa while enjoying intoxicants at home.
5. Le Tigre – Michael and I both share an obsession with Kathleen Hannah of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre fame. Jean Instigator and his ladies at the time would always be blasting Bikini Kill, and Michael started playing Le Tigre videos which hooked me.
6. The Metroschifter – Kentucky’s own Metroschifter. Michael bought their Strawberries EP because the cover was awesomely designed. He is wont to do such things. I remember listening to it with him and thinking this was some good shit! I went out and got it myself, and several other Metroschifter albums.
7. Sebadoh – Michael knew I was a huge Dinosaur Jr. fanatic, loving their slack ways, and J. Mascis’ sleepy, don’t-really-care drawl. He was a big fan of the band that Lou Barlow created after being booted from Dinosaur. Because of this I ended up exploring all of Sebadoh’s music, and thank Mario I did, because the shit is so GREAT. We have had the chance to see Sebadoh live several times and it always rules.
8. Drive Like Jehu – Sometimes Michael likes the perfectly produced, immaculately recorded tunes (see the Built to Spill below) and sometimes he likes to blast off! Drive Like Jehu blasts OFF! Man, what a weird, disjointed, eminently amazing band! Michael would praise their LP’s and how bad-ass they were and I had to get me some! Their self-titled debut and their 2nd LP, Yank Crime, are masterpieces of jagged aggressive noise rock. That’s what I love!
9. Built to Spill – beautiful melodies, complex, inter-weaving guitar lines, expert songwriting and amazing musical craft, all wrapped up in the package of a college rock band. This stuff makes Michael cry from his snake-eye he loves it so much! I had heard mention of Built to Spill and seen their records reviewed in the magazines, but never got into them until Michael made me a mix-tape containing the choice nugs. I feel deep into it, and have enjoyed the shit out of BTS ever since. We went to see them live in concert and it was an amazing thing. So many guitars!!! What a bad-ass band.
10. Slint – This was one of those bands I had heard mention of, like some sort of legend or myth in the indie rock underground, but could never find any of their music (pre-Youtube days) to sample it. I would hunt it down at record stores to no avail, until Michael lent me the soundtrack to that shitty dull movie “Kids”, which ended on a Slint song, “Good Morning Captain.” I played that song over and over again, getting more and more sucked into its weirdness and bleak guitar sounds. It was AWESOME. I soon found Spiderland and proceeded to fully immerse myself in Slint. There was no going back.