This 1984 ditty is a fitting prologue to the whole K story. “I thought there must be more to this world than we’re being told,” Calvin Johnson sings. “When you’re young, you can afford to be bold.”
“Rollin in the Tide,” The Few
Bryan Elliott is one of the minor characters in the story of K who had a huge impact on the label. K returned the favor by teaching him that punk did not require a leather jacket. Elliott went on to form the Few.
“C is the Heavenly Option,” Heavenly
The more you hear Calvin Johnson’s deep, off-key baritone voice, the better it sounds. This brilliant duet with Brit Amelia Fletcher is my favorite unexpected collaboration.
“Virginia Reel Around the Fountain,” Halo Benders
Doug Martsch’s intricate, meandering guitar and Calvin’s beat-cool poetry are one of indie rock’s great unlikely pairings.
“One Small Step,” Lake
I spent relatively little time listening to current K artists. But Lake was an exception. I played this song every time I finished a chapter. “One small step for the author,” Eli Moore sings, “who gathers evidence to offer.” Then the groove kicks in and I dance a little bit.
SEE IT: Mark Baumgarten reads from Love Rock Revolution on Thursday, July 12, at Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St. 7:30 pm. An after-party (featuring covers of K Records songs) takes place the same night at Valentines, 232 SW Ankeny St. 9 pm. $3. 21+.