Nikki Sudden, "The Boy from Nowhere Who Fell out of the Sky"

I've always been aware of Nikki Sudden—heck, I've always liked Nikki Sudden!—it's just that I've always examined him through the lens of Swell Maps, so my perception of him has always been hobbled, incomplete, limited. And that's unfortunate because he's certainly much, much more than that band's singer.

I imagine I was never afforded an opportunity to engage with Sudden because, first, to the high school eye and ear, Swell Maps was cooler, sharper, harsher, pricklier, and, second, his long and zigzagging, meandering and subversive career is just a whole helluva lot more to take in that a couple albums and some comps. Investing in Swell Maps is easy; investing in Nikki Sudden is laborious and taxing.

It's so absolutely worth it, however. And of course I'm fanatical about him. In many ways, he's a precursor to all my teenage faves—the Unicorns, the Libertines, Wilco, Pavement. Today, I'm neither prepared nor inclined to talk at length about him, so I'm going to point you in the direction of a series of lovingly, carefully constructed comps, The Boy from Nowhere Who Fell out of the Sky, and be on my way.

This is the second volume, which mostly covers the early 90s (lots of R.E.M. appearances!), but I think I'd be just as happy starting with the first or third.