Have you ever had a year when there just seems to be no really great music to latch onto? When all you want is one great record? Or even a record in which even half the songs are good? 2004 is shaping up to be one of those years. I’ve already sold back the new Beastie Boys album. See, they made the mistake of constructing one of my favorite albums of all time – Paul’s Boutique – and now they have to live up to it. They haven’t yet. Check Your Head came close, but no cigar.

The new Wilco album isn’t killing me yet, but it took me a while to like the last one, too. But hark! The new Drive-By Truckers album will be out later this month, so there’s some possible light ahead. If I had to pick my favorite album of the year so far, it would be a close two-horse race between Ambulance LTD and Franz Ferdinand, whose “Take Me Out” is my song of the year, hands down. At this time last year I had ten records I knew were gonna make the list. This year, shit, I have no idea.

Which brings me to Earlimart. No, it’s not the new convienence store that just opened in the next town over. They’re a Califnornia based indie-rock band who blew my mind last year with Everyone Down Here, their debut for the Palm Pictures record label. Everyone Down Here was a kick-ass mix of standard three-chord rock songs, intricate and sometimes spooky ballads and experimental studio tinkering. Think about the dings and clanks of Sparklehorse, the brilliant, unorganized mess of Pavement – and you have Earlimart. I have serious regrets that I didn’t include their beautiful song “The Movies” on my top 10 CD from last year.

Anyway, chief Earlimart guy Aaron Espinoza (guitar, vocals, lyrics, producer) was nice enough to take a few minutes to answer some of my questions. Let’s listen in…..

1. Do clowns scare you? Please explain.

Of course. They’re child molesters.

2. Do you really “owe it all to the movies?”

Yes. Specifically, Cabin Boy.

3. Please tell us about the new Earlimart record.

Just finished it – we’re all pretty happy. I had a great time recording it – everything seemed to make good sense and it sounds good. Give it a listen – I think it’s out in late September.

4. If some Wicks are Slicks, and some Slicks are Snicks, then some Wicks are definitely Snicks. True or false?

SATs got you down?

5. Which is more fun – touring or recording? Which is more tiring?

Touring is fun because when adults are trapped together for such long periods of time, your inside jokes go on and on forever… Touring is tiring at the point you realize that your tour IS the inside joke. Recording is less about fun or being tired, and more about getting satisfaction.

6. Who is the most important rock band from the 1970s?

Have you read Steely Dan’s lyrics? Amazing. “Turn up the Eagles, the neighboors are listening”. Brilliant. I change my mind. Neil Young.

7. Why don’t you ask me a question?

Hmmm…are you happy your law/communications/psyche degree is paying off? 🙂

Answer (in Beavis voice): Are you threatening me?

8. What are your thoughts on Arnold’s job as governor of California so far?

I need your clothes, your boots, your motorcycle.

9. What is the last completely ridiculous thing you witnessed in Los Angeles?

Clothes, boots, motorcycles.

10. Who would you rather be: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy or The Swedish Chef?

Kermit. Miss Piggy is a pig, and the other dude has no eyes.

Thank you Aaron and I’m looking forward to latching onto the new Earlimart album soon. Oh, by the way, I’m wearing new glasses. As soon as Stephanie called me “toilet face” I had to act quickly.

Song now playing: Beatles – “Taxman”