Academic Records #5: Things I Learned from my Brothers

As I said in my first post, music was a big part of life in the Kelly house. The influence of my older brothers Tim and Chris helped shape my taste. I've always thought they are just the coolest. I’m sure it must have been annoying to have their little brother constantly hounding them about everything. One big thing they did for me was recommend music. Sometimes it was a casual nudge; other times it was a more forceful suggestion: “Turn off this crappy Debby Gibson tape and listen to the Afghan Whigs.” Chris played guitar and sang in a few bands throughout college and his 20s. Seeing him play live was always amazing and such a thrill for me. Tim worked as a DJ on numerous radio stations (most recently, WMBR in Cambridge). After a year-long stint at the D.C. music venue the Black Cat and Dischord Records, he now works for Furnace Manufacturing, which presses and packages vinyl for many big record labels. These four pictures include records introduced to me by Tim and Chris.


Clockwise, from left:

Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted, 1992

Pavement will always be my favorite band. Slanted and Enchanted was my musical epiphany. I still distinctly remember the day when Tim brought this record home and said something to the effect of"Stop everything you are doing and listen to this.” It blew me away. An album had never so wholly consumed my mind the way S+E did. From the first blasts of fuzz on “Summer Babe (Winter Version),” to the loose-limbed drumming on the album's closing track “Our Singer,” I was hooked. I poured over the artwork, every little detail, trying to glean any bit of information about the band. Lucky for me, Pavement played at Club Baby Head in Providence shortly after my introduction. It's still my favorite show of all time.

The National – Alligator, 2005

A few years back, my brother Chris had a blog about baseball and life. I was an avid reader. And, as his brother, I considered it my duty to regularly chime in with annoying comments and witticisms. On occasion, he'd write about music. Even though he’s turned me on to great music over the years, I’ve been skeptical of his recommendations ever since that time in 1993 when he implored me to get the new Posies album Frosting on the Beater. He said if I didn't like it, he would buy it off of me. Well, it sucked, and he never bought it off of me. Since then, I’ve approached his recommendations with caution. Then, in April of 2005, he posted this:

”Go out and get/buy/download Alligator, The National's new album…Album of the year. I don't need to hear anything else; my vote is in. I know I have zero credibility when it comes to music (I'm the person who freely admits to liking...*cough*...*cough*...Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20, and Switchfoot), but this album just absolutely kills wire to wire."

I was curious. I did as he said and was blown away.

Archers of Loaf – Icky Mettle, 1993

This was a pre-Posies recommendation from Chris. When he played "Web in Front" for me, I think I said something like, "Pavement rip off.” Then he punched me and I came around and realized they are nothing like Pavement (though this will be argued till the end of time). Archers are raw, arty punk rock with just enough bravado to be tongue in cheek. They’ve put out solid records throughout their career, but Icky Mettle remains my favorite.

Dinosaur Jr. – You're Living All Over Me, 1987

I'm sure I owe as much credit to my Uncle Dave as I do to my brother Tim for introducing me to Dinosaur Jr. Uncle Dave shared his love of rock and roll with Tim, who then passed it along to Chris and me. Some time in the mid 80's, I took a left turn from Van Halen, ended up at Dinosaur Jr., and never looked back. J Mascis is arguably the best indie rock guitarist of all time. The hooks on “You're Living All Over Me” are incredible. The amps are turned to 11 and the distortion pedals are at 12.

How did your siblings influence your taste in music? What music did you grow up with?

You can read about the inspiration for E’s Academic Records here and view my entire photo series on Instagram.

Images and text by Eamon Kelly