The Bats–“Block of Wood” (live on WFMU, recorded from the 45 released on Merge)
The Bats are a New Zealand pop band that have been around for over 20 years (and they just released a new album December ’08 called The Guilty Office and you should buy it ). And yeah, they have a member of The Clean (Robert Scott to be exact). And if none of that matters to you, then it needn’t.
But here’s the thing, “Block of Wood” is one of those perfect pop moments in which the three (to four) chords come together with the melody and the words and the surf guitar and even if you are feeling like a block of wood, you can revel in that for those 2 1/2 minutes. This version is from a well-worn 45 of a performance from the band on WFMU in 1993. The original, in a much slower form, appears on Daddy’s Highway, a very fine album. Melissa and I danced to this many a night in the small house that I lived in years ago. I’m sure some music geeks and NZers will want to poke my eye out, but this is my ultimate NZ single. Not as much fun as The Clean, not as literate as The Verlaines, not as absolutely fantastically mind-blowingly awesome as Tall Dwarfs output, but just for the 2+ minutes, it’s the simple sound of heaven.