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Sound advice from local artist and Indy music writer Collin Estes


  • Joel Estes
You might recognize Collin Estes as the writer of our Reverb column, but when we don’t have him chained up in the “Reverb Pit” churning out up to 12 words a minute, he’s playing in local bands such as the Lo-Fi Cowboys and Menagerie. His first solo album, Agriculture & Other Sins, was released in 2016, and an upcoming double album A Ceremony of Carols is due early this year.

“Wish I’d written that” song:
There are a lot, but I’m going to go with “Hey” by the Pixies. The Pixies loom large in my consciousness because I discovered them fairly young, and the visceral shock of Black Francis shrieking out those deviant-sexuality-and-biblical-imagery lyrics over really tasty pop songs made quite an impression at that age. This song, in particular, benefits from seeming very emotional and meaningful while also being quite funny. I mean, it starts with him just shouting “Hey!” at you. Is it really meaningful? Who can say, but I’ve attributed meaning to it now. I also wish I’d written Wagner’s overture to the opera Tristan und Isolde, because that’s one gorgeous piece of music, but Wagner’s a bit of a problematic fave, isn’t he?

“Wish I could unhear that” song: Soviet pop singer Kola Beldy’s “I Will Take You Away to the Tundra,” but solely so I could experience the joy of hearing it for the first time again.

Essential Saturday night song: As a high-IQ intellectual, I spend my Saturday nights at home, reading Lacan for a little fun, so I’m obviously listening to ... ahhhh, I can’t even keep this joke up. My actual answer is any of the New Order singles from ’82 to about ’90. “Touched by the Hand of God” brings me probably the closest I’ll get to dancing.

Essential Sunday morning song: A Canadian fellow named Mort Garson put out some wild electronic albums in the ‘60s and ‘70s, including one called Plantasia from 1976. It’s an album for plants! And just maybe... an album for people with hangovers. Or introverts.

First record I bought with my own money: It might have been a cassette of ZZ Top’s greatest hits, but that might not have been with my own money. A safer bet is probably Collective Soul’s self-titled album on CD. Because Colorado Rockies shortstop Walt Weiss had “Where the River Flows” as his intro music in 1995, and that’s still a pretty good riff.

Current favorite song to cover: The Violent Femmes’ “Add It Up” is pretty fun to sing.

Artist more people should know about: I’ve become a huge evangelist for Norwegian artist When, the alias of multi-instrumentalist Lars Pedersen and a revolving cast around him. Their discography runs the gamut from harsh and dense Henry Cow-influenced material, a concept album about the black plague, and sample-built collage to the most exquisite Beach Boys-inspired pop you’ve ever heard.

Guilty pleasure: I think the concept of “guilty pleasures” is built on a faulty premise, as if one’s taste is tied into some resource-scarcity economy of critical value. I urge everyone to reject these bourgeoisie lies and find true freedom. “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer is a great song; don’t any of you dare email me to tell me otherwise.

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