In August of 1992, I arrived at Tiny Private College in Nowhere, Wisconsin with a record collection built of cassettes. It was my prized possession — even if half of it was swill. But soon, I fell in with a group of similarly naïve know-it-alls, and together we began discovering, diving into, and discarding musical genres in a cycle that would last all year. The crew featured all the usual clichés. There was the smirking, neckbearded white guy who spent his freshman year ineffectively growing dreadlocks; a lime-green haired student of classical guitar who transformed his dorm room into a smoking parlor; and the fellow Chicago transplant who clung to her Naked Raygun leather jacket as if its folds and chains would protect her from the college’s impossibly staid surroundings. Together, we dove headlong into everything. There were forays into industrial and space-rock that led to an infamous run-in with Psychic TV’s Genesis P-Orridge outside Metro in Chicago. Third-wave ska seemed cool for about a week. And the entire first winter was spent indoors, away from the skin-pealing wind whipping across Lake Michigan, listening to Uncle Tupelo’s March 16-20, 1992, pretending to understand its tales of murder, moonshine, and hope. It was like kicking out the panels in an old farmhouse’s walls. Each time a plank was pulled up or punched out, shafts of light would shoot through the openings. The big, giant thing called MUSIC on the other side would come closer in to tune, but still would loom too large to fully understand. That first year of school, three albums helped me bring the farmhouse’s wall all the way down: Beat Happening’s You Turn Me On; Buffalo Tom’s Let Me Come Over; and Palomine, from Holland’s Bettie Serveert.