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Calamine is that band that did the “Sealab 2021” theme song, also known as the best theme song literally ever. It was because of that song that I, like I imagine others did, sought out more music by Calamine and got a hold of their 5-track, self-titled EP. I have a theory there’s a decent-sized conglomeration of folk who heard that EP and love it loads. I’m basing some of this theory on the fact that, once, when I was living in Leeds, England, this girl organized a Facebook group for people to make mix CDs, meet up on this one day and then trade their CDs around. I don’t know who ended up with my CD, but it had Calamine’s “Trampoline” on it and, stunningly enough, the CD I took home was put together by some girl from California and had the exact same song on it.

I do think “Trampoline” is an incredible song and a great opening track for the EP and it’s also the track I fell instantly in love with, so I’ll probably post it up here some time in the future, but I decided to put “Flicker” up because I think it might be the better song. It’s got all the awesomeness of each song off the EP, like a guitar playing really pretty melodies throughout and Julie Stepanek’s amazing voice which always sounds really fragile like it’s on the verge of breaking down, but it also probably does its build into the kick-ass rock-out portion better than any of the other songs. I also love the lyricism on this EP and this song in particular, through its style and Julie’s voice, sounds like it wants you to be sad and enjoy being sad; however, the actual lyrical content seems to be really critical of some loser who can’t get over a girl and won’t stop bitching about his sorry life. It’s a great contrast and just a fun idea musically.

I’d recommend grabbing this EP digitally or whatever you can because, unlike a lot of the music I listened to (and unlike the show that introduced me to Calamine) back when I first found the band, I come back to their EP again and again and parts of it  still give me butterflies and everything. For only five tracks, each song goes for a slightly different musical angle and the whole thing ultimately feels rounded out and like a proper, complete work.

Incidentally and sadly, after the EP, Calamine’s album that came after, What We Forgot to Remember, is a colossal disappointment. I’ve returned to it multiple times over the years, trying to find something to really appreciate about it, but it just always feels like a bunch of meandering, uninspired guitar-strumming tracks. It’s a really odd and unexpected album too, considering that the EP that came before it was all tight, pretty, pop songs.

Also, there’s a video of the brains behind Calamine, Julie Stepanek, showing you how to play “Flicker,” if you’re interested in such business:

Filed under Adult Swim Julie Stepanek Music I Likes calamine flicker sealab 2021 what we forgot to remember

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