One character (female) hews close to the old line of thinking: wine as an indulgence, a pure luxury, a drink that signifies decadence and a hint of prurience. Will have lines like, “This is sinfully delicious,” and “I’m going to build a house in Tuscany before I die, I swear.”
Another character (male) fights against all the commonplace ways of thinking about wine: he rails against anyone who thinks of wine as a drink for the elites, for it is a daily sort of tipple, made by and for people of all classes. Those who think differently are sloppy thinkers and addlebrained fools. Will have lines like, “Anything presented as “sophisticated” should be intensely mistrusted. That excitement of drinking something that grows out of the land, tastes like the land, and reminds us that we too are made of this same earth on a fundamental level–that thrill shouldn’t be anaesthetized,” and “In another life I would have been a vigneron.”
Third character (monster) drinks fermented blood and challenges the prejudices of the two other characters. Will have lines like, “Pass me that jeroboam of blood,” and “Let me think for a second, human.”
Wrap it up with some sort of Beckett-cum-Moonlighting ending, with the monster and the female character leaving together and the male character singing a song to his bottle of Henri Prudhon Saint-Aubin La Chateniere.
(“Her Majesty” is unbelievably pretty. There’s a line from a Philip Sherburne review where he says this song is “so sweeping, so grandiose, that it makes you want to rip out your heart and throw it off the highest cliff you can find.” Which is dead-on accurate)
Pretty sure this song would make you crazy if you listened to it for even an hour straight. It sounds like the looped outro theme to a terrible crime-drama/sitcom combo assembled from the deleted scenes of Miami Vice, Burn Notice, Dexter, Magnum P.I., Hawaii 5-0 (old version), Rockford Files, and Unsolved Mysteries, i.e. a television show made from the blandest detritus of other television shows. This song is gross and therefore (like so many other disgusting things) extremely appealing: it’s hard to stop listening (q.v. the pernicious allure of the Filet-o-fish jingle, the Free Credit Report Band commercials, or even Owl City’s loathsome and insane “Fireflies” song (the video actually makes the song more or less bearable depending on your tolerance for wind-up toy tweeness)). But you have to stop listening at some point, I’m sorry to say. Because if you were to put this baby on repeat and decide to “ride the Flamingo Breeze” (your words, not mine) you would end up in Fort Lauderdale, clothed in nothing but the sewn together sleeves and lapels of pink and turquoise blazers, drunkenly and painfully making love to a bottle of generic sunscreen, after which you would try to converse with the local rats to find out where the good grub is. Etc. Be careful with this song is all I’m saying.
First of all, this song has a sense of humor, and it’s pretty. Rare. It features a perfect ratio of jauntiness. There are too few songs like this. It doesn’t take itself seriously, but it’s not what you’d call disposable either. There is tenderness there, in those first few lines, “Well he is my boy of gold/and he’s not very old/ah-uh-huh.” A bizarro, beautiful T Rex cover. Bring the rhythm in the original up to the surface and magnify certain other elements and you get this Hot Love, more turquoise than gold, a little softer and sillier, but just as delectable.
But even then, in the woods or the mountains or the desert, it would be difficult, he knew, to faithfully connect with what he was seeing and be able to perceive truly and clearly the reality of the natural world. Clear thinking was not guaranteed. Sometimes when driving in the countryside in northern California, above Nevada City, or even when he had been at the Finger Lakes in New York, he tried to imagine what the landscape would have looked like had he been the first person to see it, a millennium before, and it was impossible, he could never displace himself fully from the present, there was always a passing car, the ambient noise of people, an electrical tower in the distance, an overhead airplane to disrupt his line of thinking. Sometimes, particularly in places loaded with majesty and conducive to wonder, like Muir Woods, or the Grand Canyon, or Yellowstone, all of which he had visited, he had to remind himself that he was actually staring at a mountain, or a geyser, or a stand of redwoods—that it was real and he was sharing space with that feature, he was in the same air—and he had to push away the sneaky feeling that the scene in front of his eyes was merely a vivid slide, like in the View-Master toy he had as a child. That especially seemed to him an indication that something was wrong with him, when he had to convince himself that he was standing in Muir Woods, among the trees, near the ocean, by repeatedly thinking to himself, “I am in Muir Woods.”
Post-Black Eyes Hugh, Dan, and Mike. They played a few shows and recorded an EP! I tried to see them play live but was put off by the prospect of looking for the venue while driving around D.C. (a city with which I’ve had no luck, in almost every respect. I won’t be surprised if I end up dying there, in a really weird way; drowning in the National Aquarium, for example) late at night in a car that had already exceeded its life expectancy. So I didn’t get to see their last show, and I certainly didn’t know I’d end up waiting five years to hear their recorded output. It’s very slightly less brutal than Black Eyes, but still has the same drive (I think this is due to Hugh’s voice and bass-playing). I like the line, “We fucked it all up,” and the scream-interlude when he says, “Af-fect-less-ness.” It’s oddly soothing. These dudes have all been in about a thousand bands now, but some of them are currently in Cephalopods (who play near D.C. a lot!) and Mi Ami.
The student at the lectern said, “There was no such thing as Robert Walser. What you knew as Robert Walser was not an extant thing. The body in the snow was not Robert Walser, but the body of a local painter named Heinrich Reichardt Toll. The only Robert Walserness that appeared in this world came by way of books that were, for the purposes of convenience, labeled with that name. For cataloguing purposes. And that was what Robert Walser really was, an expediency invented for cataloguing purposes. Those Walser books were in truth sets of words that were collected under the banner of Walser. The set of all Walsers is the set of all those words, and the subsets of that set are the books themselves. ”
Songwritten by the Other Stuart, i.e. Stuart David, who eventually left B&S to pursue his band Looper and work on writing novels (Nalda Said and Peacock Manifesto). Winter Wooskie is interesting for having a narrative that’s like a slightly modified version of “Fox in the Snow” with instead of an actual fox in the snow, it’s a girl wandering around in a blizzard, apparently very cold, observed by our narrator (who is inside, presumably close to a roaring fire), a possible creeper extraordinaire. This is a very good song for the ambiguities that SD puts in the lyrics here–because you can choose to interpret the story as a guy seeing a girl wave at him through the window of a cafe or diner, etc. (Did she wave to me?/Maybe I’m in love/love love/love love”) and experiencing one of those intense Bernstein/Girl in the White Dress occurrences. OR is it possible that this guy then goes to that cafe or diner everyday and then ends up filming this chick who regularly has to walk by the cafe or diner on her way to her job (I made a film/I made it through the window/but who’s that star I cast?…All wrapped up/in a winter wardrobe/she hurries by so fast [notice here that she’s not waving any more])? It’s hard to say. But this song is so goddamn good.
It’s a hit, it was a hit! People didn’t know what to do: whether to grab each other and dance or grab chairs and bludgeon nearby jugheads and ne’er-do-wells! You can hear how this would be confusing, given the shouting, the propulsive drums, the toddleresque energy of the guitar, and the breakdown towards the end. Plus it’s technically English music, which almost always has a weird effect on American ears. Local music critics wandered around in a daze, asking some of the more articulate hobos whether it was possible, in their opinion, to combine something like the anger and passion of Blood Brothers with something like the danceable sweat of the Rapture? The hobos nodded. Yes, they said sagely, Yes. (This is how I remember it happening).
This is, I think, the meanest beat Excepter’s ever made. This track breaks jaws–that beat is police sirens and broken factory windows, and someone tied up in a damp furnace room, banging out an SOS on steam pipes. “Targets” sweats outs a very purpose-driven/not-to-be-fucked-with vibe. So seductive.
If you’ve never listened to Excepter before, maybe now’s the time to try. You’re getting older everyday. Things can’t be all witchwave and chillstep forever. Kombucha IVs and organic oatmeal will not save you. Nor will artisan puddings, yogurts, or pastes. Respice finem, etc. Sometimes you need to listen to a song that’s nothing but convergent moans, synthesized lathes, and mammoth drumlike entities.
I believe this should retroactively become the theme song for the Prisoner (despite the fact that the title leads you to believe it’s a perfect fit for the Fugitive). The original theme is cool and 60s-apposite, but feels a little too sedate for the events on-screen and for the overall spirit of the series. “One-Armed Bandit” has the right era ‘feel’ (is it the harpsichord + guitar that gives it that quality), but it’s a little more active, a little more rigorous than the original. Matches up with the opening sequence pretty well too. In case you were wondering. That TV show is probably one of the best examples of how complex narratives (artfully rendered) can also be accessible and highly entertaining. The AMC re-do of the series wasn’t quite as nuanced, so do yourself a favor and watch the original if you’re interested.