My Top 1000 Songs #303: Web In Front

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

So, 1993. Living in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood, in a musty old Victorian whose high ceilings ensured perpetual chilliness, where we'd have to circle around to the circuit breaker if we ran two appliances at once. On weekends, if I got a break from work, slogging away as a junior associate in a large law firm, I'd walk down 24th Street to Aquarius Records and Streetlight Records, flipping through new releases and whatever had shown up in the used CD racks that week. A lot of artists I associate with that particular chapter in my life: Pavement. Sebadoh. Luna. Liz Phair. SuperchunkBettie Serveert. Yo La Tengo, of course.

And Chapel Hill, NC indie post-punk band Archers of Loaf. I picked up their 1993 debut Icky Mettle on one of those record-shopping sprees. It wasn't an album I listened to with regularity--the music could be a little abrasive, and frontman Eric Bachmann's scratchy vocals aren't for everyone--but they had a number of viscerally exciting tracks ("Plumb Line" is another), both on Icky and successive releases.

But damn, that LP-opening "Web In Front." Perfectly captures that early 90s indie aesthetic as well as anything by some of those other, more widely-known artists. On this song, Bachmann's coarse vocals click, roping you in rather than holding you at arms-length. When he sputters out, "And there's a chance that things'll get weird. Yeah, that's a possibility..." I dunno, it just felt right? Throw in the back-end of the song where he's singing against his reverberating "all I ever wanted" refrain, and it's a perfect anthem for a very specific moment in time for me.

Live in 2012:
Also, Ben Lee did a nice acoustic cover of the song on his terrific album of 90s indie covers a few years back. Here he is doing it live in studio: