October 17, 2013

Orbit >> Shed your skin and let me in

Orbit - "Come Inside"
(Lunch Records, 1995)

This song takes the Pixies' sound a bit further by adding a rockabilly-style guitar riff and Sonic Youth-y flourishes.  Just an amazingly badass song overall, though it took a while to grow on me.  I actually overlooked this song for years because "Purge" was my favorite song on the EP (La Mano), which I bought at a thrift store ca. 2006.  "Come Inside" steadily grew on me over the years, with its simple, chanted slogan and well-placed "oh-ohh"s.  I think the rockabilly thing is what prevented me from loving it immediately.  Orbit were yet another Boston band that wanted to be the Pixies, even covering "Where Is My Mind?" in 1998.  But they came at it with their own personality and charisma, and created some of the flat-out greatest songs of the era.  I think they could've been legitimate stars.

Above is my 7" which I bought at Euclid Records a few months ago.  I had seen it there 2 years ago but stupidly passed on it, and only recently re-found it while spending a few hours digging through their endless boxes of used 7"s.  It's actually a split single with a band called Welcome To Julian (wow... and you thought band names nowadays sucked...), on Orbit's own label, Lunch Records.  It's a numbered edition and one of the hidden crown jewels of my record collection.  Marine biology buffs like myself know that starfish look cute but are relentless predators of bivalves, often expelling their stomachs out of their bodies to digest their prey.  (Info)  Hence the genteel cover art hides a violent secret, muahaha.  This song is likely about sexual assault, with Jeff Robbins singing from the perspective of the assaulter.  The opening line is "Why can I not come inside?  Beautiful, I'm beautiful like you."  The phrase "come inside" takes on a disturbing meaning when you think about the song this way.  This of course ties in with the disgusting way that a starfish feeds.

The music video is strange, pretentious, trippy, and NSFW, so I doubt MTV ever aired it:

Most people know Orbit for their 1997 MTV / alt-radio hit "Medicine", a.k.a. "Medicine (Baby Come Back)."  That album, Libido Speedway, also had the stunningly awesome song "Nocturnal Autodrive".  I can't post it because it came out on a major label, but trust me, go out of your way to track it down.  It's very dark, intense, and predatory.  It takes the sound of "Come Inside" to a new dimension of desperation and obsession.

So to summarize, here are Orbital's best songs, in order, from Libido Speedway and La Mano:
1. "Nocturnal Autodrive"
2. "Come Inside"
3. "Medicine"
4. "Purge"

Tue. Oct. 1: I photographed the most metal car in New Orleans on Tulane Ave.  (That elevated freeway is I-10.)

As best as I can make out, these are the band stickers on it:
Pestilence, Opeth, Testament, Iron Maiden, Terrorizer, Suffocation, Asphyx, Nuclear Assault, At The Gates, Skeletonwitch.  Plus four more that I can't make out.  But I can tell you without hesitation that they were all bought at The Mushroom.
Wed. Oct. 2: Saw Local Natives + Wild Nothing at Tiptitina's.  Jack from WN sang live exactly like he does on record, which for some reason really impressed me.  They concluded with a killer extended version of new cut "Ride," but sadly omitted personal favorites "Shadow," "A Dancing Shell," and "Disappear Always."  In fact, they played a mere three songs from Nocturne, my favorite album of last year.  (They opened with the title track, and later did "Paradise" and "The Blue Dress.")  We went just for WN, but were all won over by LN by night's end.  I inflicted a severely sprained ankle on myself in between bands by trying to jump up and touch the Napoleon Ave. sign on the median.  It was probably 11 feet high and the ground was slightly slick from rain.  I was able to see most of LN though.
Thu. Oct. 3: I opted to ditch my crutches and go to see Sigur Rós on two feet like a boss.  They played at Champions Square, which is outside right next to the Superdome.  Louisiana-born ambient vocal soundscaper Julianna Barwick was the opening act.  She cancelled her fall headlining tour (incl. stops in N.O. and Baton Rouge) to do this.  The concert was amazing; see a clip I took of SR here and a few pics I took of J-Bar here.  This made up for missing SR at the House Of Blues in early 2003, something I had regretted constantly since that night.

Planets with similar climates: Pixies - "Is She Weird?" (1990), Pavement - "Conduit For Sale!" (1991), Poem Rocket - "Appeal To The Imagination" (2000).


Jeff Robbins said...

Thanks for the mention, Chris!

Jeff Robbins

Anonymous said...

Three of the stickers are Carcass, Immolation and Obituary. The sun/starburst one, no idea. Sepultura?