We marched up Broadway in one breath. Traffic lights blinked weakly in greeting. We said their names together. People stepped out of bars to watch us, extinguish cigarettes. A father and his daughter stepped into the crowd and everyone clapped. The cops stopped us at College. That’s where people shop. You can buy a set of mid-century modern stools in an antique shop there; you can buy books, burritos, and spicy chocolate drinks. The cops stood there just radiating disgust. They said, “Go another way.” We did.
[BUY All Are Saved]
Cymbals Eat Guitars' album LOSE is a rich document of suburban Midatlantic existence. The kind of thing that's a web of place names and local local local descriptions. So, you know, unbeatable if you're from the place that's under discussion, and probably only mildly interesting if you're not. But these songs are so good. Jackson, Warning, Child Bride, Laramie, 2 Hip Soul, all classics. That's more than half the album--and the other songs are just as strong, but they don't stick with me as closely as those five. In Child Bride, D'Agostino sings "Skeletor/of the liquor store," about a character's mother, and good lord isn't that at once such a ridiculously sweet rhyme and shattering lyric.
You can never sleep because you are a haunted man, someone who sees beyond this world into the next. You're a writer, naturally, of disturbing--some might say 'disturbed'--fiction. You live in Atlanta, which is itself a pretty haunted city. Full of the spiced ghosts of old barbecue sauces abandoned in municipal parking lots. You talk about language and the creatures that live behind and within language. People are like, okay, we get it, you're weird. You talk about how there's a serial killer inside every breath you take and Arby's is a monument to sin, and people are like, jeeze, man, just, you know, take a vacation or maybe watch TV for a little bit or something. You raise a small garden of syntaxgrass on languageground in your back yard and then the neighborhood association tells you to get your shit together and plant some sunflowers or kale or rosemary, yikes.
He was an artisan, there was no mistaking that. He had those little glasses that artisans wore, perched right up on his nose in a wise, knowing way. You could just tell that this dude could carve cool little things out of wood. And he could probably bake a loaf of bread that would make your grandmother weep. Nothing that came from this man, this master of crafts and practical arts, would resemble the cheap industrial simulacra that most people purchased, ate, drank, lied upon, or respired within. This was a man for our times, a man who could produce artisanal dips, whips, sauces, and waters on command. A true human, in other words, and not just a wet sack of sorrowful hot breath.
The last of the new interns had run far far away, leaping over the hedge and across the stream to the bright green freedom of the forest, and beyond there to the mountains studded with the wrecks of old planes, the accidental ruins of the time before the time before. Huddled in the soft metal shelter of the relics, the interns rub their hands above an impromptu fire, lit no doubt when one of them shot a flare gun into a pile of paper, and shout to each other above the wind about their plans to live fresh lives without the strictures of any program, guide, or government, their eyes at wide aperture to take in every prospect, their voices garbled by desire, statements distorted by words formerly only thought and not spoken. I imagine the tales they told and tell each other, here and on the mountain, and I construct the diorama of their escape with the aid of mental condensation of thought and the manipulation of the flattened pulp of extinct trees, a scene of overjoy before the catastrophe, before the mountain battens down its hatches with its thick wind and snow blight, a fluttering of moths before the crackle of the lamplight. I put the box on its side and install the figures. We later take turns with the telescope, spying on their progress, those young dumb pioneers who know nothing of climbing, cold, ice, or how to build a fire, but yearn without saying to stand on the peak, they will walk through cold as thick and present as clear jello to their tombs at the top, where they’ll look down through the valley at us, gazing back up.
[Caveat: the audio for this is taken from the awesome video for this song which you should go watch]
You Go Where I Put You is a little less
Mu than Thighs on Vinyl
the first Fitness song
a little more
Junior Boys x NIN (?)
Big neon synths
Smooth louche vocals
"You always wanted something out of reach" (Tantalus?)
and says, politely, understandingly,
"YOU CAN HAVE A FREAKOUT"
And I do. I have many.
Throughout the day.
"You go where I put you
I know what's best for you."
This is a song for times of arrogance,
certainty, BIG plans, little grooves, and
the feeling of knowing you might be right
This is after you've been strung out on Women, Fels-Naptha, Androgynous Mind, Cindy Lee (all Pat Flegel), and Viet Cong (Matt Flegel). You find Faux Fur, the now-sadly-defunct band of Matt and Pat's little brother, Andrew. Faux Fur sounds more like Women than any of the other post-Women bands. More like Public Strain-era Women than anything else that's come after Public Strain. Which isn't to say that Faux Fur sounds exactly like Women, but it's pretty close. This band is more playful than Women ever were, which is probably a good thing, and they know (or knew) their way around a tune. Almost all the tracks on their second album (self-titled) are catchy and feature that same sort of wirework guitar tone that you can hear on Women's albums, in Chad VanGaalen's work, and in parts of the Viet Cong album. "Stoop" is one of the best songs on the album, so sinuous and defiant. This album is well worth your time---it sounds like glamorous evil. It's too bad Faux Fur's gone, but let's see what happens next.
Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes goes way real on Aureate Gloom. Telling secrets. Talking some hard talk in Bassem Sabry about "a master's voice," and how he's never followed it. There's chatter about how this record is a true record of some tough times in Barnes's life--and no doubt, you can hear it--but he's not navel-gazing here, or at least he doesn't indulge that impulse entirely. Barnes seems like he's mourning not only his own personal relationship-failures and nadirs and bummers and fuck-ups, but also ours, all of ours, our horrible bullshit tendencies to destroy and consume and hate and burn and kill everything, why not. Thinking hard about the inherent shittiness of human beings is bound to produce some downer tunes, though Barnes does well to keep things steady, hummable, and wild.
God sent St. Anthony a robot, express, to help him pass the time in the desert. The robot arrived on a Tuesday morning, outside Anthony's mountainside tomb-home which lately had been disturbed by turbulent sandstorms. God had not told Anthony that he was sending the robot, for He wanted it to be a surprise. He wanted to see the hermit's face when he stepped out of his tomb for his morning micturation and saw the automaton standing there, attentive and personable, ready for fellowship and conversation. Anthony's expression when shocked--his bearded rictus of surprise--was known throughout Egypt for effecting joy and delight in all who perceived it, so genuine was the emotion displayed on his face that those who saw it could not help but partake in the experience remotely. "Like the surprise of Abba Antonius," was a common saying in Alexandria at the time, a figure of speech used to denote something that was without guile or disguise.
Sauna is the easily the most accessible album that Phil Elverum has released in a while, or at least it's one of the easiest to listen to. So pretty, all the way through. I like the way that he characterizes this album as almost an assemblage of things he's been thinking about, or was thinking about when he recorded it last summer. His records occasionally feel a little like books--and this one does especially, with a mix of influences fed through a unique sensibility to produce something aesthetically remarkable. There's a bit of the darkness of the last three records, but also some of the insane melodic invention of It Was Hot..., Glow pt. 2, Mt. Eerie, Dawn. I can see why he referred to it as the "ultimate" Mount Eerie record, since it definitely feels like a summation of everything he'd explored previously. Perfect winter record.