Roadside Monument never made the same record twice, but it was I am the Day of Current Taste, released in 1998 just a few months after they first broke up, that captured a nervous and nervy chaos. This was craggy and mathy noise in tune with bands like Don Caballero and Rodan, but also invoked the rock and roll bombast of AC/DC and Van Halen. I'd never heard anything like it then or since; the album ripped open new portals of thinking for Teenage Lars.
I’ve written about Roadside several times over the last 20+ years — on my own turn-of-the-millennium fansite, via webzines, for NPR Music and now… as liner notes for a vinyl reissue of I am the Day of Current Taste (presale starts today at 1 p.m. ET via Burnt Toast Vinyl and Tooth & Nail). I interviewed the guys — Doug, John and Matt — and got some great stories not only about the album's creation but their struggle to be understood by an underground scene that stuck up its nose about Roadside’s associations (Tooth & Nail Records and “Christian music” more broadly) and inscrutable sound.
This project (completed in late 2020) started a wave of liner notes commissions — Sixpence None the Richer’s This Beautiful Mess (now in a second pressing), Morella’s Forest’s Super Deluxe (due sometime this fall), Psychic Temple's Plays Planet Caravan (out Oct. 21 via BIG EGO) and another I can’t mention, yet. I grew up loving and learning from liner notes, so to document these crucial albums has been incredibly rewarding. I’d like to mention that my bestie Marissa Lorusso edited all of these — she's got a sharp, yet tender eye that's proven necessary to the process.
Roadside Monument's got a couple reunion gigs coming up in Seattle and at Furnace Fest — they'll have copies of the records there. And be sure to check out the members' other projects if you haven't already: Johnathon Ford's Unwed Sailor (now 24 years strong!), Matt Johnson's Cussing (Bandcamp TBD), and Doug Lorig's latest band, Calm Collapse, which splits the difference between Chavez riffs and Isis post-metal jams.
Stream the Viking's Choice playlist via BNDCMPR. Tracklist below:
Calm Collapse, "Positive Greed"
Horse Lords, "Mess Mend"
Doss, "Strawberry (Singin' Club Mix)"
Dawn Richard, "Vantablack"
Hospital Gown (feat. Donovan Melero & GFOTY), "Everyone Has A Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth"
106, "Sorede Jyubun"
The Soul Duo, "Can't Nobody Love Me (Like My Baby Do)"
Ghösh, "Testin' My Raver"
Jogging House, "Revenge"
Say What, "IV"
Bitchin Bajas, "Amorpha"
Ripped to Shreds, "Reek of Burning Freedom"
Tourniquet, "Ark of Suffering" (RIP Ted Kirkpatrick)
Keep It Real, "Life Gets"
Mabe Fratti, "Cada Músculo"
Eli Winter, "Dayenu"
jaime branch, "simple silver surfer" (RIP jaimie branch)
The Rocky Valentines, "Off & On"
Bill Orcutt, "At a Distance"
Johanna Warren, "Piscean Lover"
Sophia Subbayya Vastek, "The Seas That Made Us"
Sofie Birch & Antonina Nowacka, "Sudany"
Pale Sketcher, "I'm Your Possession"
Stereolab & Nurse With Wound, "Simple Headphone Mind"