Tracks Of My Teens: #9 – Secret Colours

21 May

Tracks Of My Teens

It’s been nearly a year and a half since we last featured Chicago’s Secret Colours on the site. That was for the release of their 3rd EP, EP3 and a lot has happened since then, their debut album was released and next week the follow up, Peach hits stores. The guys have had a pretty busy time of late but guitarist Dave Stach was able to put down his axe for a few moments and pick up a laptop to take a trip down memory lane for us. Without further ado then, this is Tracks of my Teens, Secret Colours style.

Secret Colours

My teenage years barely skimmed the late 90’s, spanning into the mid-Y2K concerned 2000’s. Growing up in suburbia, it was common to find your MTV hits, Q101 rock, and top of the charts pop music dominating the locker-lined school hallway. Upon starting my first band at 14 and being schooled in music by my band mate’s father, I started digging bands that most of my peers had never listened to. Music was a big part of my personal development in high school. These are some of the tracks that still stick with me today.

The Dandy Warhols – “Get Off”

The Dandy Warhols seemed to be the coolest band on the planet in my teens. They were just peaking in their popularity and were the sort of odd ones out. They were androgynous (compared to Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park). They wore eye liner and tight pants. Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia was the first record from the band that I really dug. The production value was slick; far more slick than anything their peers were doing. The drums were punchy. The guitars were flanged, phased, and distorted to anamorphic perfection. There were horns, strings, and choir backing vocals. This was a heavy album.

From the opening “who-ha’s” to the lackadaisical backing vocals from Courtney Taylor, Taylor hiding low under his leads, “Get Off” hit every spot for me. I learned a lot from this song. The symphonic keyboards texturizing the background, the always amazing signature Dandy’s style backing vocals in the chorus, the washed out tremolo guitar and the exciting bends sparsely spread across the song from Pete Holmstrom, were all things that I stored in my musical toolbox. The Dandy’s had a certain style, a certain aggressiveness to their image for a rock/pop band that really drove me to them. I can’t even count the amount of times I have seen them live at this point! Early Secret Colours really drew a lot from this record. We had our tambourine, we had our moog keyboards, our fuzzed out guitars. Hell, we even covered a damn Dandy’s song.


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Howl”

BRMC was the perfect music to listen to while smoking cigarettes through the unceasing late night. Robert Been’s raspy croon coupled with the organs in the background gave me a new look at BRMC that I turned absolutely obsessed with on first listen. This particular track was more melodic and chilled out than their previous tunes, giving it much more space to breathe and exhale. I remember being amazed by the bass work on this one; I loved how it anchored the focal point of the instrumentation in the song. Guitar is sparse barring the chorus and light hits in the later verses. The closing argument being the harmonies carrying you out of the song was the nail in the coffin. BRMC was one of the best bands around.

In high school I thought this was the coolest band from their name, to their leather, to their sound. It’s the kind of music you thought the girls would go crazy for. I’m pretty sure I started wearing my hood up on stage because I thought Robert Been was so rad. They made me want to take the “image” of the band more seriously. From the branding in their artwork, to their clothing, to their personalities in interviews, they came off as the hardest dudes on the block. They helped me realise it’s not just the music; it’s the aura of the band. It’s the look and the feel that transcends your message across.


Spiritualized – “The Straight and the Narrow”

Spiritualized may hold more meaning to me than any other band in my life. From heartache to joy, anger to excitement, Jason Pierce says it better than anyone else. He had gone through some shit in his life that I could relate to. His later works (specifically Songs in A&E) really spoke to me about keeping on, moving forward, and looking up. His songs are beautifully simplistic, but presented in an incredibly complex way. Realistically his songs are comprised of only a few well spoken chords, but the instrumentation is incredibly thoughtful and involved beyond belief.

“The Straight and the Narrow” is a perfect example of this intense instrumentation. The symphonic parts elevate this track to a whole new level; building and augmenting to an apex which is one of the most satisfying musical experiences I have ever come upon. His lyricism shines on this song, urging us that he’s done what he’s done, and he’s ready to live with it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are no regrets. There is only moving past and pushing on. Among everyone’s inevitable pre-college crisis, this was a sort of theme song to live by.



Secret Colours’ sophomore album, Peach, is out on 28 May.


Stalk Secret Colours: Facebook / Twitter / Website / Bandcamp

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One Response to “Tracks Of My Teens: #9 – Secret Colours”

  1. name not supplied August 1, 2013 at 22:18 #

    nobody ever admits to the influence NKOTB had on them…mmmmm….

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