Each Tuesday, FADER editor Matthew Schnipper highlights an underappreciated recent release he thinks we need to know about. This week it’s Rainbow Bridge’s "Big Wave Rider" 7-inch. Listen to and download "Big Wave Rider" below, buy the record and read Schnipper’s thoughts on it after the jump.
Download: Rainbow Bridge, "Big Wave Rider"
Halfway through the year, I came out of the hallway of a dark club and walked into a low bench. I hit it hard with my shin and a few days later I noticed that it had dented my bone, either chipping a piece off under the skin or, more likely, compounding it. I am pretty sure this is the beginning of my body breaking down. I’ve been waiting for it and 2009 delivered. Though less drastic, I also became noticeably balder this year.
On Saturday my best friend gets married. I just ordered some ugly shoes to match my nice suit. Not sure if I’m going to be totally clean-shaven or not. We made a playlist of songs for the DJ to play. “Santana’s Town” is on there as a must hear. My friend Jacob got married a few months ago. My friend Daniel played music during the precession. I still need to get Jacob a present. I hear you have a year.
A year ago tomorrow I wrote about having just heard Grouper. It was the end of the year and I’d just made a small list of favorite songs. Just after that, I heard “Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping,” from her 2008 album and knew, had my list deadline been moved back, I would have added her song. This constant renewal of good new music was so refreshing. It was astonishing to find something so wonderful up against the clock. I’d say up against the wall but that was the point, there was no wall, only sidewalk or paths less chosen or the very end of the time/space continuum being the beginning of it. I watched Year One and everyone thinks the world ends at the top of the mountains but you just get to the other side. It’s like that; I am the Jack Black of my own musical terrain. I thought I was listening hard, but it’s never enough. Thank god for that.
A week ago today I went to see Kurt Vile. Before he went on, the DJ played a song I liked that someone told me was Kurt Vile. Then someone came over singing along really excited and said it was Rainbow Bridge. It was Rainbow Bridge. I have since listened to it on repeat constantly, hours of nothing but “Big Wave Rider,” a song I managed to avoid until all of 2009 just until the end, just like last year and just like I hope forever. Dessert is a dish best served last. Big wave rider/ try and ride a little higher/ You’re a glider/ Sole survivor/ World’s a drain/ Wipeout’s insane/ Big wave rider/ Smile wider/ Hanging ten/ Gnarly session. It’s not even a song. There are parts, instruments, vocals, just like a song but it’s fragments tied together, a bunch of thoughts and nothing cinched. Walks like a duck, talks like a duck, must be a rabbit. That’s my favorite kind of anything. I can’t finish a story to save my life, but then that becomes the song. A song that can do lots and lots with complicated shifts and changes—maybe that just makes me jealous. “Big Wave Rider” is for pissing outside, not for mixtapes. Unless it’s the only song.
“Wipeout’s insane” reminds me of when my friend almost drowned on the Jersey shore. It was after we had walked so long in the sun to eat omlets. But my friend Kevin who did not eat an omlet saved the potential drowner. I got wiped out and sand went everywhere. I was really tired after that. That was in August. In July I went to Cape Cod and got fucked up and played charades. There were coyotes. We listened to music on the beach until the speakers blew out. I read a murder mystery, except I knew who did it. I read a lot of books, two by Richard Price, only one involving a murder. The other involved a maiming. They both took place in New Jersey. The murder one was Clockers. I just watched the movie. They moved the setting to Brooklyn, close to where I just moved by myself. I spent most of 2009 in another part of Brooklyn living with my friend Andrew. We weren’t really friends before 2009, either. Sometimes little kids on the street tell him he looks like Clark Kent and while that may be annoying they are correct. I miss him. I do not miss my apartment. Four years in a dump makes you feel like you deserve to be a loser.
That sounds pathetic. Lemme get some encouragement from my new favorite song: Big wave rider/ Try and ride a little higher. You know, it should be “try to ride.” In 2009 I became a better editor. I also became more ok with things being wrong. I hung up on Francis Ford Coppola, yelled at Raekwon on the street, declined hard drugs, didn’t leave the country. I also made out in a BMW. That was cool
Big wave rider/ Smile wider. Such a nice notion. Maybe it’s because the lyrics on both sides of the slash have the same number of syllables. Maybe this isn’t a song but a poem. I’m alternately extremely moved and totally unsold on unspecific gestures. It’s unclear who that smile would benefit thinks the 2009 me. The 2010 me is going to think a smile benefits everyone. I had to explain the phrase “not mad at” to a foreigner. She was confused that something good would be explained by its inverse. How can a song be great song precisely because it’s not a song? The beginning of “Big Wave Rider” sounds like that I would walk 500 miles song. Maybe it’s a mnemonic device.
When I think of 2009 what will I remember? That Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize? That I lost my mind? That I got it back? That I met a nice Jewish girl? That Rex Ryan is incredibly fat and Mark Sanchez is a pussy? I’d still trade places with either of them. Maybe not Rex Ryan, it’s my nightmare to be that big.