Use With Headphones Late At Night (Best of 1990​-​2000)

by Tadpoles

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about

Use With Headphones Late At Night (Best of 1990-2000) (2001) is the first career spanning compilation CD by Tadpoles. The record features tracks from each studio album, plus four previously rare or unreleased tracks. Tracks 1-8 feature remastered works from He Fell Into The Sky and Far Out. Tracks 9-12 are identical to the versions on Smoke Ghost and Track 13 is taken directly from the Know Your Ghosts E.P.. The final four songs are previously unreleased alternate mixes of Whirlaway tracks. "Crash Of The Bug (Super Beetle Radio Mix)" and "Whirlaway (Mp3 Single Mix)" were edited and mixed by Gene Holder (the dB's).

PITCHFORK REVIEW
Tadpoles
Use With Headphones Late
at Night: Best of 1990- 2000 [Bakery; 2001]
7.5



There are styles of music that I figure will probably always be around in some form, and psychedelia is one of them. I have a lot of reasons for thinking that, but the main one is that, as a genre, it's so adaptable. The advent of decent recording technology was one of the main things that made truly psychedelic music possible in the first place, so it seems natural that the music should continue to evolve with the technology. Secondly, psychedelia is at best a vaguely defined genre distinction, so it's easy to apply it to music that comes decidedly from a rock or pop standpoint, but is colored on the edges with noise and effects.
The Tadpoles pretty much exemplify what most American psychedelic music sounded like in the 1990s-- melodic rock wrapped in blankets of fuzz, heavily processed guitars and the occasional electronic studio effect. The Tadpoles were adept enough at jamming and developing themes, but they were at their best when working with concise, punchy songs. Then they broke up in 2000 ("indefinite hiatus," they called it), and leader Tom Parker pulled together this retrospective as a eulogy of sorts for the band. By and large, he's come up with a good overview of their catalog, taking four tracks from each of the band's four studio LPs, and one track from 1997's Know Your Ghosts EP.
The 78-minute disc starts where it logically should, with four songs from the band's debut album, 1994's He Fell into the Sky, and proceeds chronologically from there. As such, it gives a clear view of just how much the Hoboken, NJ band progressed during their career. "Snapper" opens things in a haze of stompbox fuzz, with Parker's tenor voice hanging low in the mix. Original drummer Michael Kite Audino lays on the toms hard, and the sheets of distortion sometimes give way to cleanly strummed guitar chords, and even something that might be described as a solo at one point (albeit not a very melodic one).
The vocals stay fairly buried and the guitar tones largely the same for the other three selections from He Fell, the best of which is probably the slow-burning "The Ride," which features some fine playing from bassist David Max and a gloriously muddy buildup near the end. The four selections from 1996's Far Out show progress almost immediately, with Nick Kramer's heavily processed guitar coming to the fore after the departure of co-guitarist Andrew Jackson.
"Race You to the Mustard Patch" drips in wah pedals and vocal effects, while the Nick Kramer-sung "Nazareth" remains squeaky-clean until about 2\xBD minutes in, when it briefly explodes in a ball of distortion and flailing lead lines. "Ride the World Around the Sun" features dueling guitars orbiting a solid bassline, while "At Least I'm Not Like Jonathan Carver" begins floating somewhere in space before congealing halfway through into a heavy, aggressive attack.
The portion of the disc devoted to 1998's excellent Smoke Ghost album is probably the most solid portion of the compilation, as the band finally hit on a combination of songwriting and sound that balanced the two equally. Kramer puts his voice out in front for "Know Your Ghosts," and the band allows for considerably more space in the arrangement, setting up some dramatic guitar breaks. "Jaded Jean" could easily have been a single, falling into the same noise-tainted pop territory that the Jesus and Mary Chain nurtured in the 80s.
Both Parker and Kramer had come a long way with their singing by this point, which allowed them not only to handle better, rangier melodies, but also gave them the confidence to put them up front in the mix, a move that greatly increases the immediacy of the songs. The only disappointing thing about this section of the disc is that Parker has chosen not to include Smoke Ghost's excellent opener "When I Feel," which is easily one of the band's best songs. Still, the propulsive, effects- drenched "Firecracker" is a reasonable substitute, if not an ideal one.
"Judas, This Is Jesus," from the Know Your Ghosts EP, follows, breaking the chronological flow for a few moments, but it's unlikely that any listener would mind, as the song doesn't sound like a step back at all. It begins with an answering machine message of a man saying, "Judas, this is Jesus. It's raining silver. Help me," a clip that reverberates over the course of the whole instrumental, which is otherwise a sticky concoction of molten guitar mayhem.
Whirlaway, the band's final album (and their only effort not recorded for their own Bakery label) had by far the clearest sound of any of their releases, incorporating more keyboards and electronics and largely eschewing the fuzz that typified their early work. Instead, the distortion on "Crash of the Bug" is more controlled and less opaque. The guitars take on more melodic tasks, too, soaring in tandem behind the verses and bridging the gaps between vocal passages. Final drummer Adam Boyette lays down a furious groove on that album's title song, giving Max the chance to toss off an impressive bass lead at one point and ably supporting the fluid guitar leads.
Unfortunately, the last two tracks each find the band gazing a little too hard at their shoes, ending the disc on a fairly unengaging note, but overall, Use with Headphones Late at Night is a satisfying look at the Tadpoles' studio career. Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about it is that it only focuses on their studio material, neglecting to include a single track from The Tadpoles Destroy Terrastock, an EP documenting their ferocious performance at the original Ptolemaic Terrascope-sponsored Terrastock festival in 1997. As far as definitive statements on what the band was capable of at their best, that EP just may be it.
Aside from that, though, there's little to gripe about. This is, in the end, a faithful overview that serves as a fine introduction to one of the great overlooked psychedelic acts of the 90s. Of course, it also catches them wandering here and there, but by and large, Use With Headphones Late at Night concentrates on the band's most focused work. For most people, this is all the Tadpoles you'll ever need. You may still want to try and catch them destroying Terrastock, though.
— Joe Tangari, Pitchfork, February 19, 2002

credits

released September 11, 2001

Use With Headphones Late At Night (Best of 1990-2000)' was compiled and mastered by Todd Parker at DBS Digital in Hoboken, New Jersey. Additional mastering was provided by Pablo Martin. Album artwork and design were created by Ann Manca.

©2001 Tadpoles/Bakery Records

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about

Tadpoles Hoboken, New Jersey

Tadpoles, based in Hoboken, NJ, disbanded in 2000 after releasing 4 critically acclaimed studio albums, 1 live album and 1 E.P. all on their own Bakery Records label (except for their last studio album, Whirlaway, which was released on Australia's Camera Obscura Records.) The group was formed by vocalist/guitarist, Todd Parker and original drummer, Michael Kite Audino in New York City in 1990. ... more

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Track Name: Snapper
©1992 Parker, BMI
daffodilly petals are in bloom

the moment you walk into the room

and each time that i ask you to come in

your head puts my head into a spin


reaching unknown destinations tonight

ride with me i'll take you out of sight


confusion rules where once was sane

patterns in my brain spell out your name
t
his could be coming just in time

love you so much it blows my mind


ride with me i'll take you out of sight
Track Name: Umbrella Smile
©1994 Parker, BMI

just wondering

its alright to light this fire here


just wandering around

colliding senses


would you like to see
umbrella smiles

that last for a million years


just wondering

its alright to see your memories


just wandering around

colliding senses


would you like to be

umbrella smiling

through the darkest seas


come on
Track Name: Blossom
©1992 Parker, BMI

hallucinate your mind in time

let it float away

hallucinate that you are mine

let it float away

all along you were wrong

you let it float away

hallucinate it won't be long

let it float away

away

away

away

away
Track Name: The Ride
©1992 Parker, BMI

i woke up dead and you were there

there you were on my bed

telling me the sun was blue

and there wasn't anything else to do


we took the sled and got the tree

for christmas day you and me

it was big and shiny like a million story airplane standing on its side

we got on and took a ride

the captain said you better hide

no one knows where we're going to

no one knows what we're gonna do


we flew past jupiter
we flew past mars

our friends drove by us in their cars

you didn't care neither did i

on this ride we're going to fly

lets do it for the ride

go along for the ride

its a day and nighttime trip

i think i think we're going to flip

look out for the twists

there's one we almost missed

look out for the twists

there's one we almost missed

its a day and nighttime trip
i think i think we're gonna flip

its a day and nighttime trip
i think i think we're gonna flip
Track Name: Race You To The Mustard Patch
©1996 Parker / Max, BMI

Dropped out and see it fall away

Climb up catch what they say

Drop down and be there fall away

Get up race you to the day

The only way

Get a little closer to the tone

Vibrate for everyone you know

When you stop you've never been away

Get up race you to the day

The only way
Track Name: Nazareth
©1996 Parker, BMI

Nazareth

you're taking my mind

you're taking my money

you're taking your time


Nazareth

you're baking my mind

you're making me funny

you're making me blind


Nazareth

you're just like a train

thats going insane

thats leaving today


Nazareth

can you spare me a dime

i wanna get high

if i can't i might cry

Nazareth

c'mon make me a deal

i wanna feel real

for that i would kill

Nazareth

i love all your lights

they really shine bright mon

you're right out of sight


Nazareth

i'll take you to bed

a dream in my head

until i am dead


Nazareth

you're taking my mind

you're taking my money

you're taking your time
Track Name: Ride The World Around The Sun
©1992 Parker, BMI

Ride the world around the sun with me

Pack all your things

Your ticket to ecstacy

Ride the world around the sun

Checking it out you're gonna have fun

Ride the world around the sun with me

Check it out and see what you can be
Track Name: At Least I'm Not Like Jonathan Carver
©1996 Parker / Max / N. Kramer, BMI

Aren't you tired of coming down

You want to float not be around

Aren't you tired

Aren't you tired

Aren't you tired like really wired

His name appeared in lights that day

Her neon dress began to fray

Don't you know what its like

Don't let it be an oversight

When you're lazy lying on some grass

Following all the dusty paths

You watch the sky slide past your face

When morning comes you've won the race

Then parachute land on the floor

You hit the ground feeling sore

Your knees buckle but you give it more

Step inside your first balloon

Blow it up and make it bloom
Track Name: Know Your Ghosts
©1997 N. Kramer / Max, BMI

I used to see the truth inside of what you said

Instead of thinking you're a kid

But those days seem so far away

I can only vaguely remember

High tides, low tides come and gone

Two more mooncalves torn asunder

Save me a whistle in eighteen years

Or don't; its all the same to me

Know your ghosts and you will never be alone

Never be alone never be alone

Know your ghosts
Know your ghosts and you will never be alone

Never be alone never be alone

Know your ghosts
Track Name: Jaded Jean
©1998 Parker/Max, BMI

If you could see like jaded jean

You wouldn't have a need for dreams

Like jaded jean in her jaded scene

She's planting seeds

A garden queen

You can find her at home almost every night

Writing letters on sheets of white

Or jade green

From her garden stream

She's consciously falling asleep

Jaded jean
Would you believe

Her father's at home

Watching the clocks

While mommy's alone

And would you believe

In all of these things

If you could see

Like jaded jean

If you could work out everything

And fill the holes the ashes bring

You wouldn't have a need for dreams

Like jaded jean

In her jaded scene

The stories come before she falls asleep

She draws the people she wants to meet

They live in houses filled with schemes

The sun rises up

And floods her streams

Would you believe

Her father's at home

Watching the clocks

While mommy's alone

And would you believe

In all of these things

If you could see

Like jaded jean

If you could be like jaded jean

You wouldn't have a need for dreams
Track Name: Rainbowmaker
©1998 N. Kramer, BMI

Rainbows have a way of knowing
And welcoming the light
Flying its flag
Rainbows have a way of showing

And teaching about light

Naming all the colors

Water with its peace with time

Can block and bend the ligh
t
I want to be that water

I am a rainbow chaser

I want to get that pot

Of gold at the end

I want to see the way

I want to know the way

Sailing on the waves

Floating in the waves

Feeling a part of time

Feeling all of the time

I want to be a rainbowmaker

I want to be a prism-man

I want to show my colors

I want a sky, each star an eye

Mirroring me back my man

Shining on me, shining me

I want to be, be understood

And I want, want to be heard

I want to be cared about

I want to be a rainbowmaker

To refract a tiny piece

Of all the distance of light

I want to be a rainbowmaker

I want to be a prism-man

I want to show you my colors

I want to see the way

I want to know the way

Sailing on the waves

Floating in the waves

Feeling a part of time

Feeling all of the time
Track Name: Firecracker
I believe in colors

So bright and full

So extreme
I believe in light

Florescent, candle

And the sun

It's not enough

To not be afraid of electricity

You've got to believe

You've got to believe

Give me your hums, your drums

Your drones and moans and

All the riches of your Gold Coast
Give me your wings, your web

Give me your heart and head

Give me your smoke ghost

The past is past, the future's best

I'm standing here

Ready for anything that comes

You and me will not

Go down in history

We'll just be disappeared and drowned

But, there's a lot of freedom out there

And I'm just trying for my piece

Oh, you've got to believe

You've got to believe

Show me your wrist, your lips, your kiss

Your needs and knees

Show me what you fear most
Show me your ankle, show me your elbow

Show me your anger

Show me your smoke ghost

Show me
Track Name: Judas, This Is Jesus
Judas, This Is Jesus
It's raining Silver
Help Me
Track Name: Crash Of The Bug (Super Beetle Radio Mix)
You're driving in your car

Not going very far

A sunday sunny drive

Feels good to be alive

Your friends are in the back

Ask you where you're at

Some take the wrong turn

The moonlight tavern burns

At the bottom of the hill

A wooden house is filled

You've got to climb the stairs

Your friends are unaware
Track Name: Whirlaway (single mix)
From temperate climes, through rain, set sail

Ribbons of water, they sparkle and spangle

In the coming sun, falling through liquid streets

Into the jungle and out of the rain

Steal into dreamtiger eyes and slowly leave behind

Domino days of time, inches of distance

Slip past the double-edged sword of building

The cost of building more, or of just maintaining

Feel the dreamtigers prowling free and easy


But ribbons of memory still tumble and tangle

And turn into questions, "Can your friends trust you now?"
Only dreamtigers never have a need to change

In time, as night declines, fleeting and fading

Ribbons of laughter, they jingle and jangle

And all the dream-tigers retreat back into the trees

With green, smiling eyes, at the coming of the day
Track Name: Sunrise Ocean Bender (Ampreon Mix)
Nothing to believe in

Nothing worth seeing

It's ok

The dunes are frozen

Throw rocks in the ocean

The waves are astounding

The heart keeps on pounding

It's ok

Your arms are golden

Your sunlights are broken

When night is falling

You hear me calling
Can you tell me how to see

Can you tell me how to look

I can't find my way inside

I haven't read the book

It's ok

The sunrise ocean bender

The sunrise ocean bender
Track Name: Smile If You've Crossed Over (Orgmonica Mix)
(Instrumental)