Operation Heavenly

August 17, 2011

Tonight, I write a love letter to one of my favorite albums.

I’ve been digging pretty deep into the records I love lately for potential money-rallying material. This week I sold one of my favorite albums, Operation Heavenly by Heavenly.

I bought this album brand-new my sophomore year of college, 1997. Consider the 19 year old me:

wardrobe – one pair of Levi’s 501 button-fly jeans, one pair of black jeans, one pair of ill-fitting off-brand ugly jeans, a half dozen t-shirts emblazoned with my favorite bands’ logos and comic strip panels custom-done in Mexico with my friend Tanya, a few 1960s shells, one light blue Harrington-style jacket, black Adidas Campuses, black steel-toed Oxfords, electric blue 10-hole Dr. Martens, a handful of school-uniform and Girl Scout-uniform dresses, and a few cardigan sweaters

haircut – totally DIY, either black, or platinum blonde, dyed myself, cut myself, short or in a bob, always with bangs

poverty – extreme

major – Latin

favorite past-times – reading fiction instead of studying for finals, getting drunk, avoiding eye contact, reading comics at Cody’s, taking the BART to San Francisco, going to shows, dancing at Popscene

I had a boyfriend. We’d just started dating my 2nd semester of college. I’d never had a boyfriend before. I lived at Andres Castro Arms, a 70+-bed co-op house just up the hill from campus, across the street from Delta Delta Delta, three houses down from the football stadium. The house sat directly on the San Andreas Faultline (you could see a crack running down the facade of the stadium), but it had the most glorious, sweeping, amazing view of the Bay, the Golden Gate, the Marin Headlands, the Berkeley flats, Oakland Bay Bridge, San Francisco, Alcatraz Island, and the Port of Oakland. Berkeley had a very extensive system of cooperative housing arrangements. It was great for the poorer, less mainstream students because it was cheap to live in a co-op compared with renting in Berkeley and meals were provided, cooperatively. It was awful for someone like me who enjoys a bare modicum of cleanliness and hates it when people steal my lunch out of the walk-in. There were some good parties though.

My friends and I devised our social life around Britpop music. We went to shows in San Francisco, we went dancing in clubs to Britpop music, we flirted with boys and girls with floppy haircuts at the record stores. Britpop got me into this cute little teenaged DIY poppy punky band from Scotland called Bis, who’d been putting out fun, enthusiastic EPs on 7 inch records for a little bit. My bug for buying 7 inches had begun. Bis had a split 7″ on K Records with Heavenly that was among those I bought. I fell absolutely mad for the Heavenly song, which was “Trophy Girlfriend”:

Of course I had to buy the album.

I shared a room at Andres Castro arms, and my room-mate was a quiet Biosciences major. Her computers were noisy. We didn’t share the same taste in music (I think she was into J-pop maybe), but we got along and tried to respect each others’ spaces, so I listened to my records on headphones. I spent an entire semester sitting on my bed with my Latin homework, conjugating and declining page after page, listening to Operation Heavenly.

This album keeps coming back into my life. Every other year or so I listen to it for a few weeks, and I fall in love with a new song. One year I learned that “Nous ne sommes pas des anges” was a cover of a really cool French song. Another year I chuckled at the cultural specifics in the lyrics for “Ben Sherman.” I learned that that funny voice in “Pet Monkey” was Calvin Johnson, who seemed like a cool dude I should check out.

In my junior year of college, an acquaintance gave me a box of records he’d scooped up on a visit home to Wales when he heard I liked Heavenly. He’d bought them when he was a kid; he didn’t need them anymore. There were about two dozen records, and they formed the nucleus of my Sarah Records collection. Half of those records became my most favorite songs EVER, including Heavenly’s “I Fell In Love Last Night.” I’m never selling that record.

Mixtape Theory, Part 1

August 10, 2011

I’ve been making mixtapes and mix CDs and online playlists for a while now, twenty years? I’ve thought a lot about mixtapes over the years, and I think I have a few things to say about them. These thoughts apply specifically to the classic 60 or 90 minute cassette tape variety, but can be expanded to include aspects of more modern composed mixes.

I think Mixtapes can generally be classified into a few categories:

A. Relationship mixtapes
B. Thematic mixtapes
C. General mixtapes

The first category can be a bit tricky as it deals with romantic relationships. Within this category are the following:

1. the I Think You’re Cute tape – This one should be light-hearted and include just a lot of good songs that you really like or are into right now. Perhaps a few songs from your past. Thematic content of lyrics should be examined very closely; there should be nothing indicating obvious desire or love. That’s too much, too soon. You want to show someone a little bit about yourself by the music you love, especially if they love music too.

2. the I Think I’m Falling In Love With You tape – This is a “next step” in some relationships. There should still be a lot of light-hearted songs that you love, especially ones you think the recipient will particularly enjoy, based on what you’ve learned of their musical tastes. This is when you can drop hints about your feelings, choosing songs about love or falling in love or being in love or wanting to spend time with someone. But they still can’t be obvious. The recipient needs to slowly realize the way you feel, as the lyrical content of some of the songs begins to dawn on them. That’s why you keep the light-hearted ones interspersed with the dropping-hints songs.

3. the I’m Definitely In Love With You tape – Finally you can put all the songs you’ve ever loved that are too sappy or too obvious onto a tape, the ones that you’d feel embarrassed about in any other situation. You can put songs with “love” in the title. You can put a few “let’s go to bed” songs, but not more than two or three. Absolutely none of the songs should be downers. Think positively. You’re in love!

4. the Break-Up tape – I don’t have a lot of thoughts on these. I hear people make them for themselves after a relationship ends. An ex-boyfriend and I made each other one once, but it was more of a silly thing than a serious thing.

Of course, not all relationships unfold accompanied by mixtapes.

Next time: Thematic Mixtapes!

More CDs for sale…
Should you want any of these and send money to me, either by personal check or Paypal, I will mail them to you. Email me first at rsdchen@gmail.com

They will be $3 for the first CD and $2 for each additional CD. No charge for shipping in the United States. I’ll do international shipping at cost.

Marion – This World and Body – London
Me Me Me – Hanging Around – Indolent
Elizabeth Mitchell – You Are My Flower
Morrissey – November Spawned A Monster – EMI
Morrissey – My Love Life – Sire/Reprise
Morrissey – Vauxhall and I – Sire/Reprise
Moving Pictures – Joie de vivre – Shelflife
New Order – Video 5-8-6 – Touch Tone
New Order – Regret – Qwest
Oasis – Masterplan – Epic
Oasis – Be Here Now – Epic
Oasis – Definitely Maybe – Epic
the Ocean Blue – Cerulean – Sire/Reprise
OMD – Sugar Tax – Virgin
Origami – Please Exit Quietly – 555
Pale Sunday – A Weekend with Jane – Matinee

Palomar – Revenge of Palomar – Self-Starter
Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted – Matador
the Peechees – Do the Math – Kill Rock Stars
Lee Perry – Introducing – Caribbean
Phoebe Quest – The Windward Sound – Shelflife
Pipas – A Cat Escaped – Matinee
the Pixies – Death To the Pixies – Elektra
Pizzicato Five – London-Paris-Tokyo – Nippon Columbia
Pizzicato Five – Music Is Organized By Sound – Matador
Portishead – Sour Times (Nobody Loves Me) – Go!
Portishead – s/t – Go!
Postal Blue – Weather Sensitive – Shelflife
Postal Blue – International Breeze – Shelflife

the Postal Service – Give Up – Sub Pop
Pulp – Party Hard – CD 1 – Island
Pulp – This Is Hardcore single – CD 2 – Island
Pulp – Help the Aged – Island
Pulp – Mis-Shapes & Sorted For E’s & Wiz – CD 2 – Island
Pulp – Disco 2000 – CD 1 – Island
Pulp – Disco 2000 – CD 2 – Island
Pulp – Something Changed – Girl CD – Island
Pulp – Something Changed – Boy CD – Island
Pulp – Common People – CD 1 – Island
Pulp – Common People – CD 2 – Island
Pulp – Common People ’96 – Island
Pulp – Lipgloss – Island
Pulp – My Legendary Girlfriend – Fire
Radiohead – Karma Police – CD 1 – EMI
Radiohead – Paranoid Android – CD 1 and 2 – EMI
Radiohead – The Bends – EMI
R.E.M. – Document – IRS
R.E.M. – Green – Warner Bros.
R.E.M. – Monster – Warner Bros.
R.E.M. – Out Of Time – Warner Bros.
R.E.M. – Reveal – Warner Bros.
the Real Tuesday Weld – The Meteorology of Love – Bambini
Loud Reed – Walk On the Wild Side (Best of) – BMG
Remember Fun – Train Journeys – Matinee
Rialto – Untouchable – East West

Rialto – Dream Another Dream – East West
Ride – Carnival Of Light – Sire/Reprise
Ride – Vapour Trail – Sire/Reprise
River – s/t – Shelflife
the Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street – Rolling Stones
the Rolling Stones – Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) – London
Rye Coalition – Hee Saw Dhuh Kaet – Gern Blandsten
Saint Etienne – So Tough – Warner Bros.
Saint Etienne – Finisterre – Mantra
Saint Etienne – Tiger Bay – Warner Bros.
Satisfact – The Third Meeting At the Third Counter – K
Schumacher – Fidicin Drones – Colorful Clouds for Acoustics
Seam – Are You Driving Me Crazy? – Touch and Go

the Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols – Warner Bros.
DJ Shadow – High Noon – Mo Wax
DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World – Mo Wax
DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World/The Number Song – Mo Wax
the Shermans – Casual – Shelflife
the Shermans – Happiness Is Toy Shaped – Shelflife
the Shermans – In Technicolor – Shelflife
Sleater-Kinney – Off With Your Head – Kill Rocks Stars
Sleater-Kinney – All Hands On the Bad One – Kill Rock Stars
Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out – Kill Rock Stars
Sleater-Kinney – The Hot Rock – Kill Rock Stars
Sleater-Kinney – One Beat – Kill Rock Stars
Sleater-Kinney – Sub Pop
Sleeper – Statuesque – CD 2 – Indolent
Sleeper – The It Girl – Arista
Sleeper – Smart – Indolent
Slipside – Four Day Weekend – Matinee
Slipside – The World Can Wait – Matinee
Sloan – Smeared – DGC
Sodastream – A Minor Revival – Microindie
South Ambulance – s/t – Labrador

Souvenir – s/t – Shelflife
Souvenir – Points de suspension – Shelflife
Ronnie Spector – She Talks To Rainbows – Kill Rock Stars
The Steinbecks – Branches and Fronds Brushing the Windows – Microindie
Stereo Total – Monokini – Bungalow
the Stone Roses – Second Coming
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names – #1 – Labrador
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names – #2 – Labrador

the London Suede – Stay Together – Nude
Suede – s/t – Nude
the London Suede – Dog Man Star – Nude
Suede – Coming Up – Nude
Suede – Trash – CD1 and 2 – Nude
Suede – Beautiful Ones – Nude
Suede – Lazy – CD1 and 2 – Nude
Suede – Filmstar – CD1 and 2 – Nude
Suede – Saturday Night – CD1 and 2 – Nude
Suede – Electricity – CD1 and 2 – Nude
the London Suede – Headmusic – Nude
the Sugarplastic – Bang, the Earth Is Round – DGC
the Sundays – Blind – DGC
Superdrag – Regretfully Yours – Elektra
Sushi – The Quiet Space Between Houses – Shelflife
Sweet William – World of Books – Shelflife
Sweetness – Ashtray Floors – CBK
Le Tigre – s/t – Mr. Lady
the Trash Can Sinatras – I’ve Seen Everything – Go!

the Twilight Sad – s/t – Fat Cat
The Tyde – Once – Orange Sky
Unarmed Enemies – s/t – Songs I Wish I Had Written
Unrest – Isabel Bishop – 4AD

Laura Watling – Early Morning Walk – Shelflife
The Windmills – Sunlight – Matinee
The Windmills – Walking Around the World – Matinee
Would-Be Goods – Emmanualle Beart – Matinee
2004 Teen Beat Sampler
Little Darla Has a Treat for You Vol. 16 Spring 2001
Aperitivo: una recopilacion de canciones de Siesta (1996 Siesta Records compilation)
You Make Me Smile Shelflife Records Collection

Oh my God, there are so many CDs!!!!! And I have so many bills to pay!!!!

Should you want any of these and send money to me, either by personal check or Paypal, I will mail them to you. Email me first at rsdchen@gmail.com

They will be $3 for the first CD and $2 for each additional CD. No charge for shipping in the United States. I’ll do international shipping at cost.

10,000 Maniacs – Candy Everybody Wants – Elektra
10,000 Maniacs – You Happy Puppet – Elektra
10,000 Maniacs – The Wishing Chair – Elektra
10,000 Maniacs – Hope Chest – Elektra
Acid House Kings – Do What You Wanna Do – Twentyseven
American Analog Set/White Magic – Songs of Hurt and Healing – Tylenol
the Beautiful South – Everybody’s Talking – CD1 and 2 – Go!
the Beautiful South – Pretenders to the Throne- Go!
the Beautiful South – Dream a Little Dream- Go!
the Beautiful South – Rotterdam – Go!
the Beautiful South – One Last Love Song – CD1 and 2 – Go!
the Beautiful South – Prettiest Eyes – CD1 – Go!

the Beautiful South – Prettiest Eyes – CD2 – Go!
Belle and Sebastian – I’m Waking Up To Us – Matador
Belle and Sebastian – The Blues Are Still Blue single – Rough Trade
Belle and Sebastian – The Blues Are Still Blue DVD – Rough Trade
Belle and Sebastian – I’m A Cuckoo – Rough Trade

Belle and Sebastian – This Is Just A Modern Rock Song – Jeepster
Belle and Sebastian – Sing Jonathan David – Matador
Bis – The Secret Vampire Soundtrack – Chemikal Underground
Bis – Everybody Thinks They’re Going To Get Theirs – Wiiija
Bis – Atom Powered Action – Wiiija
Bis – Action and Drama – Wiiija

Bjork – The Best Mixes From the Album-Debut For All the People Who Don’t Buy White-Labels – Polygram
Blur – Girls & Boys – Capitol – American issue with 5 songs
Blur – The Universal – Food
Blur – M.O.R. – Virgin
Blur – On Your Own – Food
Blur – Song 2 – CD1 and 2 – Food
Blur – Beetlebum – CD1 and 2 – Food
Blur – Tender – CD1 and 2 – Food
the Boy Least Likely To – Bits of the Best Party Ever – Too Young To Die
Billy Bragg & Wilco – Mermaid Avenue (Part 1) – Elektra
Bernard Butler – People Move On – Creation
Cagney and Lacee – Six Feet of Chain – No. 6 (Dean Wareham side project)
Camera Obscura – Lloyd I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken – Merge
Catatonia – You’ve Got A Lot To Answer For – CD2 – Blanco y Negro
Catatonia – Bleed – Blanco y Negro
Catatonia – I Am the Mob – Blanco y Negro
the Charlatans – One To Another – Beggars Banquet
Churchbuilder – Microdancer – Shelflife
Churchbuilder – Patty Darling – Shelflife
the Clientele – Suburban Light – Merge
Elvis Costello and The Attractions – Get Happy – Columbia

the Crooner – Heaven Airlines – Shelflife
the Cure – Friday I’m In Love – Elektra
the Cure – Lovesong – Elektra
the Cure – High – Elektra
the Decemberists – Billy Liar – Kill Rock Stars
the Decemberists – The Tain – Acuarela
the Divine Comedy – Everybody Knows (Except You) – CD1, 2, and 3 – Setanta
Dressy Bessy – Pink Hearts Yellow Moons – Kindercore

Drugstore – s/t – Go!
Dubstar – The Elevator Song – Food
Dubstar – Anywhere – Food
Dubstar – Cathedral Park – CD2 – Food
Elastica – Stutter – DGC
Elastica – Car Song – DGC
Evening Lights – Landscape – Shelflife
the Fantastic Plastic Machine – s/t – Emperor Norton
The Flower Machine – Chalk Dust Dream of the Tea Cozy Mitten Company – Microindie
Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better – Domino
Free Loan Investments – Ever Been To Mexico?
Gene – To See the Lights – Costermonger
Gene – Haunted By You – Costermonger
Gene – Fighting Fit – Polydor
Gene – Where Are They Now? – CD1 & 2 – Polydor
Gene – We Could Be Kings- Polydor
Gene – Speak To Me Someone – CD1 & 2 – Polydor
the Groovie Ghoulies – World Contact Day – Lookout
The Guild League – Jet-Set…Go! – Matinee
Harper Lee – Everything’s Going to Be OK – Matinee
Harper Lee – Train Not Stopping – Matinee

the Hi-Fives – And A Whole Lotta You! – Lookout
the Housemartins – The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death – Elektra
James – Whiplash – Fontana/Mercury
James – Seven – Fontana
the Jesus and Mary Chain – Reverence – Def American
Jets To Brazil – Orange Rhyming Dictionary – Jade Tree
Kula Shaker – Tattva – Columbia
the Legends – Play It For Today – Labrador
Lilys – Everything Wrong is Imaginary – Manifesto
Lilys – Precollection – Manifesto

Looper – Ballad of Ray Suzuki – Jeepster
Lovejoy – Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – Matinee
the Lovekevins – Max Leon – Songs I Wish I Had Written
Low – Christmas – Chair Kickers’ Union
Lunchbox – The Magic of Sound – Magic Marker

Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go – Epic
Manic Street Preachers – A Design For Life – Sony
Manic Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next – Sony

I’ll have even more listed next week.

This is where I live

May 15, 2009

This is the video for a new song by local band the Kingsbury Manx. It’s the sweetest thing I’ve seen all day. There are lots of babies in strollers and dogs on leashes in the video, and there are people walking around and watching live music outside. It’s really very lovely, and watching it reminds me how nice it is to live here.


I am unemployed as of tomorrow at 6 pm, thus I will no longer have reliable Internet access, thus I will be listening to a lot more records at home rather than digital music at work, thus this is the last music mix for a long while. Unless I can find a good price on a used cassette deck.

Who Is the Girl Who Plays the Tambourine
Download via Sendspace
or stream on 8tracks

1. (My Girl’s Got) Miraculous Technique / Belle and Sebastian
2. Saving Up Her Wishes (For Another Christmas) / Celestial
3. Metal To Metal / Pelle Carlberg
4. Why Won’t He Answer / Strawberry Fair
5. Falling In Love / Sambassadeur
6. Here Comes That Feeling / El Perro del Mar
7. Ask Johnny Dee / the Chesterfields
8. Theme From Teenage Suicide / My Teenage Stride
9. My Favorite Dress / the Wedding Present
10. Susan’s In the Sky / Bubblegum Lemonade
11. French Navy / Camera Obscura

It’s pretty heavy on the Swedes in the beginning but gets somewhat flushed out with some Scots, Englishmen, and Americans.


March 11, 2009

I attended my first real concert on Halloween night in 1992, when I was a freshman in high school. A gaggle of my friends and I went to see Morrissey play at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, just north of San Diego. My Halloween costume that year was very uninspired – I was a “dead person”. Morrissey fans in Southern California at that time tended to skew towards the goth side of the spectrum, so really my costume didn’t look like much of a costume at all.

When I was younger, when I was still attending “concerts” rather than “shows” (there’s a difference, you know) the relationship between the audience and the performers was much different for me than it is now. Performers were demi-gods onstage, doing things and making sounds I couldn’t even comprehend how to do. It took me many many shows over the years to realize that the performers were, more often than not, boring people just like me. They lived in apartments and went grocery shopping. They were like me and my friends, and then, gradually, they were my friends.

I remember waiting in line to get into the Morrissey concert, and then rushing to the front of the crowd with my friends. I remember spending the entire night being squashed tightly against strangers, sweating badly and needing to pee yet feeling exhilarated. I was sending text messages to Tony about this last night and I realized that was 17 years ago.

I read recently that Morrissey was touring again. Ara and I were speculating the other day just how old Mr. Morrissey is these days. We thought maybe he’s in his early 50s, but the Internet tells me he is 49 (we were close!) I hadn’t planned to go see him play, as I never pay more than 15 dollars to see live music, and actually, I prefer to pay less than 10. Plus, I haven’t really kept up with his musical output the past number of years. But then, Matt Huguenots called me yesterday asking if I wanted to go to the Morrissey show in Durham because he had a spot on the guestlist and could bring a few people with him. So I’m off to Durham tonight with Matt and his girlfriend after dropping off my dear daughters for a sleepover with their friends. It should be fun. I’m really quite looking forward to it. This sudden opportunity has colored my week a little more rosily.