i was a teenage smog

January 29, 2007

ah, the new year.  a time for reflection, for resolution, for top ten lists…

well, maybe if it wasn’t already nearly February – i think my vacation went on a bit long…

not to worry – as far as top tens go, Shots Ring Out decided to out-do everybody, and compile the top 56 music videos of 2006.  while they may not be the best songs of the past year, they definitely are (some of) the best videos.  the clips are available in different formats depending on your downloading needs, so you have no excuse not to check out the ones you haven’t seen – your New Favourite Band may be lurking in there somewhere.

as for resolutions…  well, i’m not gonna list them, so i can avoid the inevitable embarrassment come 2008 when i realise i haven’t stuck to any of them.  one resolution i will share, with blog as my witness, is that i will write more this year.  i’m the lamest excuse for a writer, ever (well, maybe apart from Poppy Z. Brite – would you like some cheese with your blood?).  anyway, in order to mark this momentous occasion, this blog has undergone yet another name change.  (it may also have something to do with the fact that there are already two blogs titled the bitter pill – i have no idea how google missed them six months ago when i was checking if the name was already being used).  so, welcome to the new and improved sewn to the sky.  i am humbly borrowing the name from Smog‘s debut album, a noisy lo-fi affair that (along with Forgotten Foundation) is a poor represtation of the genius that is Smog/(smog)/Bill Callahan.  with his dry humour and gravelly voice over acoustic guitar, he is often compared to the equally genius Leonard Cohen.  and the man is finally playing a concert here next month.  okay, it’s technically (his girlfriend) Joanna Newsom‘s gig, but he’s the opening act and will most likely accompany her during her set.  so what better time to try to create some new Smog fans?  over the next few weeks, i’ll be posting some videos and mp3s to try to give you some idea of how dark and beautiful and poetic and funny and heart-wrenchingly depressing this man can be – all in one song, if he so chooses.

to start with, here’s a track that fits a couple of those categories from his 1999 album Knock Knock.  just to clarify, it’s actually the last line from this song that inspired the new blog name – Bill makes a lyrical reference back to his debut album in the track “Teenage Spaceship”.  one of my all-time favourite songs, it’s hard for me to describe it as anything but sublimely beautiful.  Smog manages to capture the loneliness and longing of the awkward teenage years; the feeling that no one understands – or even sees – the ‘real you’…


  1. hey man – this is my favorite song of all time. i wanted to start a blog called sewn to the sky. you beat me to it. very nice.

    i saw somg perform about 10 years ago in chicago and it was unforgettable. so gentle and sad, but reassuring.

    anyway, hope all is well. i need to catch up on the recent smog records – i’ve been busy having babies and working and shit. thanks for helping me think about this song.

    by the way – i found your site by googling “smog teenage spaceship”.


  2. thanks for the comment – it’s a nice reminder that people do read this thing occasionally. ;)

    make sure you do investigate smog’s later albums – although i hate to admit that some of Bill’s newer stuff is somewhat mediocre compared to his older stuff. sad, but true.

    and if it’s any consolation, this is the third title this blog has had – the previous two were already taken, and i was actually somewhat amazed no one had already used “sewn to the sky”… such a beautiful turn of phrase.

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