City Paper is not for tourists
Standout Track: No. 2, “#1 Song,” a three-and-a-half-minute buzz bomb of jangling guitars and twee-pop sweetness. Like a classic Pavement tune, the song makes ample use of power chords and fuzzy leads. Unlike a classic Pavement tune, the lyrics make sense: “You pretend that we were lovers/Mix it up I’ll fix it up until it’s right/Then we’ll all just fade away and we’ll turn it into a No. 1 song,” sings guitarist Jim Spellman over Terry Banks’ oohs and ahhs.
Musical Motivation: According to Spellman—a former member of the indie-pop band Velocity Girl, now a married dad working as a TV producer—“#1 Song” is his reconciliation with the end of his wild years. “It’s sort of a ‘Love the One You’re With’ for the early part of this century,” he says. Spellman admits that much of Julie Ocean’s music will sound familiar to longtime fans. “These are the kind of songs that speak to me, they’re not filled with irony or a lot of concern,” he says. “It’s basically the same four chords that I’ve used since I started playing guitars—and I like those chords.”
Ad Mission: After Velocity Girl split in 1996, Spellman spent a few years looking for another indie-pop band, eventually responding to a City Paper classified for a band called Friendship Flowershop. Unbeknownst to Spellman, the ad had been placed by his old friend Terry Banks, formerly of Glo-Worm and the Saturday People. They clicked and later re-christened their band Julie Ocean. “It was kind of a desperate move,” says Spellman. “But it only has to work once.”