A Season of Songs, day 22: Not What We’re Looking For

A Season of Songs is a type of Fun-A-Day project that I plan to do throughout this spring.  I’ll hit shuffle on the ol’ iPod and see what comes up.  I’ll then write a bit about that song, the band, the record, whatever.  Enjoy!

This “A Season of Songs” project has several challenges for me.  One – simply writing every day.  It’s not something I usually do.  Two – writing about music, something that I do not find to be one of my strong points. Because of this, you may notice that many/most of these write-ups focus on my relationship to the song or events surrounding the song.  Another challenge is that there are many musicians and bands on my ipod that I simply know nothing about and that becomes a challenge in of itself.  I have to spend a little time researching aspects of some of these bands before I begin to write.  So it is with today’s song, which is “Not What We’re Looking For” by Carsickness.

General things I knew about Carsickness:

1) They were an old Pittsburgh “punk” band
2) They featured a guy named Karl Mullen who went on to have some bands after Carsickness that many folks seemed to think were a disappointment.
3) I knew Manny liked them.

Things I learned about Carsickness since doing some research:

1) Karl was from Dublin, Ireland and was here illegally at the time.  Early records have him listed as “Joe Soap.  He’s since become a US citizen.
2) They formed sometime in the late 70’s and would exist through the late 80’s.  The later lineups would merge into what would become Ploughman’s Lunch (aforementioned disappointing band).
3) This track was taken from an album called “Shooting Above the Garbage” and came out in 1981 on the TMI label.  They put out 2 LP’s, 2 7″s, were on a comp and put out a handful of cassettes.

The collection of mp3’s I have on the ipod appears to be the songs from the LP.  Their songs are a bit of punk, new wave and art rock.  I actually like Manny’s description of them that I’m pulling from NTMTO – “I’m sure when they started they were influenced by edgy stuff of the time (the Clash & the Slits come to mind, but I’m guessing). Despite their genre shifts they pretty much stayed halfway between art-punk and new-wave which was a good place to be…”

“Not What We’re Looking For” is a short , upbeat instrumental track.  Sharp jangly guitar bits, some bippy bippy bippy keyboards parts and a peppy drum beat keep this song moving along quickly.  50 seconds and done, so you can see that punk influence, but also the keys and guitar definitely have the new wave and art rock influences.  I can’t find a version of this song online anywhere, so if you want to check out some Carsickness, check out the track “Bill Wilkerson” (this is the 7″ version, not the version that appears on the LP).  Do some searching around and you’ll find some other random tracks on Youtube and elsewhere on the internet.

An important piece of the Pittsburgh punk rock story.  Check ’em out.


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