I am not going to do a Best of Decade list. I am going to post bands and albums that defined the past 10 years under the heading Decade:Zero. These will be posted throughout the year and decided by using random on itunes and posting when I come across something worth posting.
In 2003 I was beginning to sell out and The Ataris were right there with me. I was about 3 years into a job at a huge corporate software company and was traveling non-stop for them. In and out of airports and in a different city every day. I had moved back to my hometown because it was cheaper living than San Diego and I was never home anyway. I spent my days in boardrooms selling software and my nights searching out local music venues to catch punk bands (caught The Ataris in Atlanta while there for a sales call). This was a time when I was traveling alone. This was prior to meeting the crew I ended up traveling with for so many years. It was a time of change; a transitional period. A period I’m still not sure I’ve grown out of!
It seems The Ataris were going through the same thing in 2003. The noisy, poppy punk band had just released So Long, Astoria, and it was pretty far from punk. This was an alternative rock album and might even be called emo. It might sound a little juvenile now, but I felt this album was written about my life at the time. Takeoffs and Landings was the soundtrack to my life up in the air. The Boys of Summer was the perfect theme song for moving back to the town of my childhood. And the title-track, a reference to The Goonies, put into words the battle between the punk-kid I didn’t want to let go of and the corporate monkey I was becoming.
This album is more about a time and place than the music. I realized that when I tried to listen to their new album, Welcome the Night, in 2007 and just didn’t get it. So Long probably won’t appeal to everyone on this list either. But I do know a lot of you went through a similar experience in the formative years of your career, so maybe this will mean something to you. If not, check out some of the stuff from their Kung-Fu Records years…it’s heavier on punk and a little lighter on feelings. San Dimas High School Football Rules is one of the best from that era.