Under The Influence: Braid – [Strawberry Ann] Switzerland

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I walked out of class. Got in my car and made my way down Montana Ave. I decided to let me  usual distraction pull me away from homework and I made my way to Gil’s Record Lair. He was the  only independent music shop in town. It was a tiny store just off of my drive home in Central El Paso.

The guy who ran the shop drove a beautiful Dodge Dart but the best part – his name wasn’t even Gil.

Regardless, he had the best in underground indie, emo, punk and hardcore.  His shop was a beautiful Oasis in our desert.

I remember walking into the store and hearing [Strawberry Ann] Switzerland for the very first time. The owner had just put on the Braid / Corm Split 7″.  But when that opening lick hit my ears, I was sold. Before the song had ended, I had paid the record.

When I got into the car, I turned off the tape player. I wanted to hear that lick [0:00 – 0:004] again and again. I wanted to hear the striking of the harmonics [1:33-1:40] play in a loop – over and over in my head.

I raced home, blazed up the drive way and ran through the door. I tried my best to gently place the record on the player. In my head, all my urgency stepped back for a second as I gracefully put the record down. But in reality I am sure I nearly scratched the vinyl.

When the needle pushed that song forward, I was over joyed. I am certain I listened to that song at least 20 times. The song would end and I would push the needle forward. I danced in my living room and yelled along.

You can always come over
and i can always miss you all over

So give me a chance and I
promise i’ll make it all alright.
Give me a chance and I
promise we’ll make it all worthwhile.
Give me a chance and I
promise i can make you smile.
Did I make you smile?

That was my first year of college, I was 17 and still living with my parents. And this was the kind of music I wanted to make – the kind of music that will make you dance like no one is watching. I want people to sing along. I want the idea to music to be communal.

Sadly, the store wasn’t open for more than a year or two. In a time before the internet blossomed, Gil’s Record Lair opened my heart to so many great songs in that short time.

Find great songs and always, always dance Like no one is looking!

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