On Saturday evening I opened up Instagram and saw that James Swanberg* of Today’s Hits and the Lemons had commented on my photo of the J-card from the Lemons’ debut, Hello, We’re the Lemons; he’d posted a link to “Corn Dog From the Tastee-Freez,” a song he made for me after I purchased the cassette at Bric-a-Brac Records the previous weekend. The tune is one of a few personalized ditties Swanberg made for people who recently purchased Hello, We’re the Lemons at Bric-a-Brac, a promotion Swanberg thought up a few weeks ago, after the Lemons found out they were close to becoming the Logan Square store’s best-selling artist in any format. Bric-a-Brac promoted Swanberg’s “buy the Lemons’ cassette, get a free song” idea on Instagram and the Lemons soon secured their spot at the top of the boutique’s best-seller list.
I found out I helped the band achieve that goal after I posted my photo of the Hello, We’re the Lemons J-card on Instagram. Whoever operates the Bric-a-Brac account left a comment saying Swanberg owed me a song, who replied with, “whatcha [sic] want a song about? you name it!” Considering both the Lemons’ blissful throwback pop and Today’s Hits’ lo-fi garage tracks remind me of summer, that both groups have released tunes about foodstuffs, and that, as the Lemons’ Chris Kramer told Jessica Hopper in a Chicago Tribune story, the Lemons once made jingles for local businesses, I asked Swanberg to make me a song about a mealtime ritual I partake in every time the weather is warm enough to throw on a pair of jorts: I asked for a tune about getting corn dogs from the Tastee Freez on Armitage. That’s just what Swanberg delivered about a week later, and listening to “Corn Dog From the Tastee-Freez” makes me yearn for those warm summer evenings kicking back with pals and strangers on the warped wooden benches in the Tastee Freez parking lot. Stream the track below and hop over to Today’s Hits’ Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages for even more tunes; Today’s Hits play a free show at the Whistler tonight with Heavy Times.
*And, yes, brother of writer, director, and recent People Issue subject Joe Swanberg.