Monday, August 4, 2014

24 Songs For Teens And Non-Teens Alike!

Waaaay back in 1987 a young 15-year old Aaron Freeman sat in his bedroom and crafted an hour-long acid trip of an album - an amazingly astute precursor to what his alter ego Gene Ween would co-create a few short years later on Ween's epic The Pod. The material for Synthetic Socks' eponymous debut was culled from two cassettes recorded over six months by the New Hope, PA native - the "best of the best" were chosen by Aaron and Teen Beat Records founder Mark Robinson. What you get is a strange amalgam of instrumental odes created on a Korg Poly-800 (my favorite being "Tree"), surprisingly humorous teenage ramblings ("Weenstock"), good ol' garage band noise ("Cops" and "Collectives"), sweet "Birthday Boy"-esque love songs, prank phone calls and KISS. From the liner notes:

"Sprouted out of deep psychological problems and blossomed into a young virgin sound just waiting to be heard. It's all recorded in my bedroom with my tape deck and whatever else I can borrow off people. Synthetic Socks consists of me, and various guest stars. This cassette has been recorded over a span of about 10 years. I'm still in high school and plan to move where the trees live."

The guest stars include future Ween brother "Mike" Melchiondo on guitar (his acoustic untitled ditty to close out Side A is probably my favorite track on the album) and Ken Everett who both played (along with Aaron) in the jam band Pine Sheep. All in all, Synthetic Socks is a welcome addition to the Ween catalog - I sleazed out a copy when Teen Beat reissued a scant 55 cassettes in 1998 and it's been the holy grail of my dusty tape collection ever since.

On a side note, I just picked up a copy of Aaron's new CD Freeman. Twenty-seven years since Synthetic Socks yet there's a strange similarity to both records. It took me a while to get over Ween's breakup (and in that weird non-involved sort of way I was siding with Deaner) but Freeman is a solid forty minutes and is much more reflective of what Ween was morphing into than Deaner's "My Own Bare Hands" type of stuff. Worth a listen.


Anonymous said...

fuck yeah. great post. i love the new aaron freeman record. sounds like quebec which i loved.

winston95 said...

Yeah man, Quebec is probably my favorite Ween record now that they are all said and done... Nice to hear something that harkens back to those days...