Friday, June 06, 2008

Seven songs.

Winter academy” Billy Mackenzie.

Current fave on an album, “ Beyond the Sun,” that I quidditched out of curiosity, expecting it to be rubbish, and haven’t stopped listening to since. Pretty trip-hoppy in places, which may have seemed cringe worthy bandwagonjumping at the time but by this stage doesn’t mean much. Also the third best title for a song ever: a faintly menacing, sparsely orchestrated torch strong.
"When I close my eyes/ I see you for what you were/ before the autumn came.” Even at his straightest and most soft-rock banal can you really ever get enough of him?

Jonathan Richman “ Because her beauty is raw and wild”

I’ve been going through a bit of a Richman fixation of late. I won’t elaborate here as I’m going to do a post on him soon, comparing him, possibly ludicrously, with the bloke below. Suffice to say that its beautiful, brimming, tremulous, quietly exulting acceptance of the beauty of the world is enough to bring the most embittered of men worshipfully to their knees.

Scott Walker “ Jesse

This is the flipside of Jonathan’s eternal Summer Feeling: Walker’s endless, ash-grey night. The sound of Arnold’s “long, retreating roar” it is truly unnerving in a way that simpletons like Whitehouse and Merzbow will never understand. “The Drift” just grows and grows in stature, while the dolts are still dabbling with the “transgressive” qualities of like, S and M and harsh, post-human electronic noise, purveying pure kitsch as a consequence, Walker realised long ago that what’s truly unbearable is our own fragile, traumatic embodiedness, the increasing affective emptying-out of the world. "I'm the only one left alive." A work of art, with all the deeply equivocal, anhedonic sheer seriousness that implies.

The Constantines “New King”

A post-Polar meltdown bit of self-styled blue collar artrock from Canada’s eternal Nearly-men The Constantines.” It’s what The Constantines ought to be but still aren’t quite, the sense of some sublime, ideal form that they always just fall short of achieving that’s somehow, oddly, their appeal. They gesture at a perfectly realised expression of their own essence that somehow floats around each song’s periphery: a phantasmatic surplus, the dream realization of the song almost imperceptibly evanescing in the listener’s brain (at least, it does in mine). I also really love that version of "Islands in the stream," is that ok with you???????

Richard Thompson “Why must I plead with you darling (for what’s already mine)"

The wryest song ever written about infidelity? Costello’s “I want you,” for example, churns on for ten plus minutes of gutshot gurgling and whimpering, by the end of which you’re practically muttering under your breath, “ Jesus Christ, no wonder she fancied a bit of fun,” whereas Thompson takes it on the chin and decides, well, he might as well get a bit of gallows humour out of it. Good man.

Grails “ Stoned at the Taj again.”

A fabulously florid bit of Fourth-world, third-eye candy. Intoxicatingly cinematic, hypnagogic Neo Prog, all whirling crescendos and sinuous polyrhythms, pungent with pot and patchouli, lit by flickering braziers, cavernous, the air coarse with incense. Trippy, tie-dyed, dark and lustrous. Like Goblin had collaborated with Jon Hassell. Trust these hippies!

The Misfits “Hatebreeders

Ludicrously joyful and exuberant “The Misfits” first couple of albums make misogyny, acts of random violence and thuggish self importance every teenage boys well-deserved birthright. Which, frankly, they are. Melodic punk is an almost Universal Evil with the noble exceptions of founding fathers The Ramones, The Buzzcocks, The Undertones (although I don’t own records by any of those bands, as it goes*) and, of course, The Misfits, who, like it or not, are easily the equal of any of the above. Actually, they’re better than any of them.

*I used to know someone who had ten or so “different” Ramones’ albums. Wasthafuggingpoint? It’s like owning two Rothkos or something…

1 comment:

Biggie Samuels said...

But who do you tag, he asked pointedly?