Eureka: The Soundtrack

So, you've picked up your copy of the just-released Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist-- you have bought a copy, right?-- and now you're thinking "I'd love to curl up and read this, but what should I listen to while I do that?"

Well, never fear, I'm here to help. Also, I'm really tired, and this seems like a quick and easy blog post... Anyway, here are some of the crucial records involved in the making of this book.

1) Teeth Dreams by the Hold Steady This was probably the most crucial album of the lot, because it came out just at the time I needed to power through a whole bunch of edits in a fairly short time. And this album kicks ass-- it doesn't quite reach the heights of Separation Sunday or Boys and Girls in America, but it's got all the good stuff you want from a Hold Steady record: loud guitars, sensitive character studies, and insanely catchy songs about drug deals gone bad. It's good stuff, but my favorite track is probably "The Only Thing":

2) Do to the Beast by the Afghan Whigs This came out not too long after Teeth Dreams, and honestly, it didn't grab me as immediately, because a lot of the songs have a very different sound than their classic albums from the mid-to-late 1990's-- "Matamoros" and "Algiers" especially seem like a completely different band. This was another power editing album, though, and it really grew on me. When I drove down to NYC to see them live, I hit shuffle on the playlist of all their stuff, and was surprised at just how well the new songs mix with the old (and the show was awesome). "Lost in the Woods" is probably the most Black Love of the new songs, and has this really creepy video:

3) Lost in the Dream by The War On Drugs Quieter than the first two, but also a regular part of the rotation for the late stages of the book. I saw these guys open for the Hold Steady back in 2009, and didn't think much of them. A bunch of people raved about this on social media, though, so I gave it a shot, and yeah, it's pretty awesome. "Red Eyes" is the most compact and intense of the songs:

4) Ryan Adams by Ryan Adams This was too late for the actual writing, but fit my mood pretty well this fall when I was doing a lot of writing of publicity materials, video scripts, etc., so I'll likely always associate it with this book.

5) Somewhere Under Wonderland by Counting Crows Picked up at around the same time as the Ryan Adams, and I alternated the two for quite a while. I didn't much care for their previous record, but this one's pretty good. "Return to form" I think is the appropriate cliche. Or maybe not.

6) The Last Waltz by The Band Your random weird really old record. I'd heard bits and pieces of this before, and Pandora regularly serves up a few tracks from it. So I finally got around to buying it in a deluxe edition, and it dominated the shuffle play rotation for a while by virtue of having a zillion tracks. The real highlight is probably Van Morrison ripping it up in a faintly regrettable sparkly purple suit:

7) Tape Deck Heart by Frank Turner This one got a bunch of play last year, earlier in the writing process. Mostly because "Recovery" is the kind of overly-wordy track I'm a total sucker for.

8) "The Quiz" by Hello Saferide Prior to the release of Teeth Dreams, I mostly relied on Pandora for background music while I was writing in Starbucks, and it serves up a lot of good but weird stuff, probably for reasons relating to copyright. This is one of the strange-but-weirdly-awesome tracks it threw up:

9) "Deny, Deny, Deny," by Joel Plaskett Another singleton track from Pandora.

10) "Miracle Mile," by Cold War Kids I wasn't wild about the album as a whole, but this is the kind of track I'll listen to, then back up and play again. Three or four times, sometimes, especially if I'm in the car by myself.

And that ought to be enough music to make a point of some sort. Since a bunch of those are full albums, it'll take quite a while to listen to them all, so maybe you should pick up a good book...

(Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, Powell’s, and anywhere else books are sold…)

More like this

Saturday afternoon, I drove down to the city to see the reunited Afghan Whigs play the Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side. I saw them years and years ago in DC, around 1996 or so on the tour for Black Love, and that was a great show. They've always been one of my favorite bands, so it was great…
The kids are off at Grandma and Grandpa's, so Kate and I went out for a nice dinner Thursday night, and I found myself with a bit of time to blog... but no particular substantive ideas. The whole "publishers behaving badly" theme of last week seems to have run its course, between Random House re-…
Here are the 22 five-star-rated songs that I added to my iTunes library in 2007 (aphabetcal by artist): "Rehab," Amy Winehouse "Antichrist Television Blues," Arcade Fire "Open All Night," Bruce Springsteen & The Sessions Band "Bottom of the Rain," Buffalo Tom "CC and Callas," Buffalo Tom "Sly…
I've shifted the iTunes shuffle from the Christmas-music playlist over to the top-rated songs of the year playlist because, well, it's the time of year when anybody with any pretension of writing about pop culture does some sort of Top N list to wrap up the year. And, since I've got "pop culture"…