Pygmalion, in high school, alone. All his friends have girlfriends, he has internet porn and podcasts. He forms an idea one day in computer literacy class: he’ll make a fake girlfriend. It’ll give him something to do, he thinks, and someone to be (sort of) devoted to. He starts constructing her profile. He collects pictures of places–oftentimes driving way out into the country to visit little kitschy tourist spots–and photoshops his girl (with her composite face) into the foreground. Sometimes she’s with him in the photos, and other times she’s by herself. What gives him pause, as he’s working and looking over the pics, is that she looks sad or slightly disappointed in the pictures where she’s with him, but happy and lively and altogether fun-drunk in her solo photos. He wonders. Maybe they’re a couple that functions on high drama. Maybe she’s unstable. Maybe he’s a sadsack downer. Whatever. I’m in a relationship now, he thinks. I’ve got to work to make this work.
Case Studies of a Muzakologist: #18 The Verizon Call-Intercept Song
Status: Study suspended due to hostilities encountered and pending court appearances. Case notes follow.
Summary: Unknown muzak specimen first encountered during the fall of ’03, its serpentine melody seems to make full use of the production technique known as ‘terrying,’ where all component instruments are shrouded with boiled towels to deaden their natural timbres. As my younger colleagues might say, it has “hooks like a bait shop.” And, at 5 beats per minute, it’s also one of the more dynamic for-telephone pieces I’ve ever heard, vibrating my receiver with its bewitching dark funk. More tests are needed.
Research: I wanted to try to listen to the specimen while engaged in a number of different activities, to see if this would assist my classification.
1) For the sleep test, I set up my bedside auto-dialer (maintained for reasons I choose not to disclose) to ring the number associated with my first hearing of this piece. I clasped the headphones to my skull and slept, enclosed in the gossamer webs of soft, yielding jazz. Dreamt about a world ruled by an elaborate monarchy of anthropomorphic butterscotch candies. Upon waking, I took note of some of the intriguing effects this test had had upon my person: saliva from my mouth had congealed into a discrete triangle of sediment on the northwest corner of my goatee, and a subpoena had been served on behalf of the owners of the aforementioned number. The bastards.
2) The water test is not commonly employed by muzakologists, on account of the extreme risk of electrocution and the requirement for high decibel (60 dB, minimum) examination. However, because of the increased density of liquids, details not otherwise discernible during orthodox ‘air-listening’ will emerge from the piece during a water test, just as a demure streetwalker might be coaxed from her cardboard hovel with the promise of narcotics-smeared McGriddle sandwiches. As I lowered myself into the 10’ x 10’ x 10’ plastic cube of high-saline water which I keep in my den, I trembled with either anticipation or delirium tremens (too long away from the cooking vanilla), not certain which. In the water, the piece sounded sublime: it was juicy and elemental, penetrating to my tympanic membranes with almost criminal ease. Results were inconclusive though. I’m still no closer to full identification. Might have peed a little in the tank.
In Business news, my uncle has now taken to giving me unsolicited financial advice, which he communicates—for some reason—using the methods and demeanor of a race-track bookie. He keeps trying to sell me on Verizon stock by sending me emails with a subject line of “Hot Tips,” (alarming on its own) and each email is just filled with links to news stories about Verizon and how they now have the iPhone, etc. Unlike my investment banker friends, who, when they deign to purchase stock at all, do so in blocks of billions of shares, traded on the NYSE3 (not for civilian use), I must use the regular old internet and make my purchase through a hapless vendor like Vanguard or ComputerShare, in order to indulge my bourgeois fantasies and watch my net profit increase by 1/100th of a cent. Since investing is such a rare ‘treat,’ I like to take my time and study a company, perhaps bounce around some valuation numbers in a meeting with myself (Q: What do you think about their capital? A: (long pause) I’m not loving it. Let’s have the associates run it again!), which is why I’m so wary of my uncle’s pushing of Verizon. I feel like he has some hidden emotional investment in the company, beyond the financial commitment, almost as if he were an insecure suitor and wanted me to come along as a third wheel on the date (stock-purchase) with him, in case things go south (insolvency) and he doesn’t get to consort with Verizon’s breasts (dividends). ETC.
**I wrote about this song six years ago but was reminded of how much I loved it when someone randomly mentioned the Roman Polanski film that the band is (presumably) named after.**
This song is unhealthy love. Wan and vengeful. The two characters in “Watch Your Back” live in an inscrutable world of smoke, humid nights, quick meals, minimal furniture, and crumbling walls. Malfunctioning cars that go only from home to work and back again. This song is the slow, unairconditioned, and gorgeously told disintegration of a relationship. Knife in the Water tell this kind of story well.
The guitar in the beginning of this song is all-business, grinding out casual distrust, giving way to Aaron Blount’s and Laura Krause’s voices, which come together like dirty hands folded in prayer. Aaron and Laura harmonize in the same way that Low’s Alan and Mimi do, but in this song their voices combine to make something that is dangerous, fraught with tension, and vigorously unnerving. Listen to the martial beat, the jaw-droppingly pretty pedal steel swells, and the guitar that sounds like it’s chipping away at something, methodically. I would be hard-pressed to find a song that features such an intense and beautiful ending as “Watch Your Back”: “Your heart beats out/your blood/a little slower now/than when/you turned/on me/I saw it coming down,” scaffolded warily by Bill McCullough’s pedal steel, Aaron and Laura’s voices build and build, strengthened in their resolve by a spectating organ. If the band had stretched this song out to the 10-minute mark, it would have been perfect. It is pretty much perfect.
There are about 3 x 10^8 mp3blogs, some of which have been going since early last decade, all of which produce tons of smart, insightful commentary on music both newly released or mature. But it’s simply not reasonable to expect an mp3blogger to populate every one of his or her posts with elegant analysis, clever puns, sound arguments, original descriptions, or even standard grammar. Sometimes–hey–sometimes writers have to rely on cliches, and when they do so, they can lean pretty heavily on the following forms (which I am also guilty of indulging in):
Song Is Comparable to this Absurd Thing
This tune has a beat like if a god’s heart were tracked by an electrocardiogram. The harmony slides around on the bass track as if the bass track were a Teflon pan and the harmony was some sort of magical omelet. Sometimes songs are like children, hyperactive, messy, frothing at the mouth, full of pepper and gingersnaps, armed with plastic swords, enraged, afflicted with glossolalia, but also magical and precious. This song is like the future theme song of the National Women’s Laser Tag League’s Laser Bowl.
Envision, If You Will, the Music Video for this Song
The song starts. A man walks into an abattoir and demands to see their occupancy certificate. “Who the hell are you?” the workers ask. “I’m an inspector of porcine health. That is, I inspect the conditions of pigs’ dwelling areas–it’s not my health that’s porcine, although I know my title is ambiguous,” the man says. “We see,” say the workers. “I’ve had a lot of complaints,” the inspector says, then whistles. “A lot of fucking complaints.” The inspector runs his finger along a nearby baseboard and looks at the dust collected on his hand. “Good god,” he says. The workers hang their heads. The inspector issues some sort of injunction against the abattoir and seals the doors with police tape. Then some pig ghosts appear and start to dance, the end.
Here’s the year-end list. These are the songs released in 2010 that I enjoyed the most, put in an order that sounds pretty good. Not what I would call a mix, but maybe just a decently modulated playlist. You can download the whole thing (not in order) in two parts, PART 1 and PART 2. Or just à la carte below.
Holy Ghost! – Static on the Wire
What happened that permitted this song to not show up on everyone’s lists for 2010? I’m pretty sure I saw it mentioned nowhere. The Static On The Wire EP was released in May. Was that too long ago for people to remember? The title track is the gem of this EP, with HG’s usual blend of superb vocals, precise and sexy instrumentation, and sweet lyrics (“I hear your voice in fragments, darling/turning down/static on the wire”). Reminds me of perfectly danceable tunes from the late 80s that played on classic rock radio alongside stuff from the Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Bros., et al. Holy Ghost! will apparently release their debut LP in January. [BUY]
A Sunny Day in Glasgow – 100/0 (Snowdays Forever)
Forget about “Drink, Drank, Drunk,” which is a fine song and all, but which doesn’t hold a candle to this song. This is one of the best things ASDIG has ever done. (from before) Jeanie does not really consider the weather again until she’s standing by the front entrance of Erie Central with her bookbag slung over her shoulders, watching the snow come down from the sky in what looks to her like dotted diagonal lines, like movie snow. It’s slightly warmer out now and the flakes are bigger, which Jeanie knows means the storm is almost over. She hears a boy’s voice behind her ask someone to borrow a quarter for a can of pop. A palindrome, she thinks, pop. The boy behind her is next to her now, Mike Yakutchik, taking weird sideways sips from a can of Mountain Dew. Jeanie’s thoughts disappear swiftly and completely in Mike’s presence, leaving behind only a heavy blankness and a touch of heat, as if she were buried beneath a powdery drift but still somehow insulated from the cold of the snow. [BUY]
Field Music – The Rest Is Noise
Chris turned his attention back down to the street, to the entrance of the building, where cabs deposited passengers in a pleasing, unpredictable cycle. He thought of the sounds, inaudible to his ears thanks to the height and the glass, that existed there on the street below him: the snap-shut of car doors, the constant hollow murmur of traffic, the sighing of the wind against the skyscrapers; the names of the sounds, the words of noises, felt more pleasurable than the sounds themselves. While in the Hammersmith building, he thought of the activity of the city much as he thought of the movement of planets, or the lives of relatives: occasionally, and without vigor. [BUY]
Mount Eerie – Small House
Phil Elverum is good with domestic scenes. There have been a few songs along the way that have referenced things happening in yards (The Glow pt. 2), in kitchens (I Felt Your Shape), and on doorways & porches (Lanterns), but Small House is probably the first time he’s directly addressed full-on domesticity. He talks about how his involvement with the interior life of his home has made him forget what’s going on outside (this, again, is another instance of the contra mundum dynamic that comes with high intimacy–in this case it’s between Phil and his house (or between Phil and his wife, more likely)). The songs ends with this perfect little scene that Elverum sings about in a tone that’s hard to decipher (happy? elegiac? proud? resigned? matter-of-fact?), “A car playing music drives by the window while I’m washing dishes in the vast night.” Like with a lot of Mount Eerie/Microphones songs (with the exception of Headless Horseman), the conjunction of lyrics and music here make me want to see/hear/experience what Elverum’s talking about, and I’m tempted to run out to the bank post-haste and demand a mortgage.[BUY]
Flying Lotus – Satelllliiiiiteee
Flying Lotus’s “Cosmogramma” is a complex and deeply weird album. With “Los Angeles,” the focus brought the beats (obvs.) and the occasional vocals to the front of the song–but “Cosmogramma” on the whole is way more coy. There are definitely fewer tracks with identifiable vocals, and except for “And the World Laughs with You” (the one with Thom Yorke), and “Table Tennis,” the vocals are background, buried, wordless. But, yikes, the instrumentation: percussion from space, lots of bass–in manifold representations–harp, ringing guitar strings, ping pong balls.[BUY]
Max Richter – Infra 3
St. Micah the Sauropinnede lived in the area around Crocodilopolis, in Middle Egypt, from 265 to 290. Crocodilopolis was a strange city, the home of the Petsuchoi, the formerly bejeweled crocodiles whom the ancient Egyptians worshipped. In St. Micah’s time, people no longer believed that they should bestow diamonds, rubies, and tail-laces to the crocodiles by the river–there was nothing to be gained from that, no boon or blessing–but they didn’t believe in anything else either. Everyone in the city thought of themselves as mere figments, barely animated, barely potent, capable of effecting no change. St. Micah, who had preached on the streets from the age of fifteen the wisdom and benefits of compassion, temperance, and tolerance, decided he ought to take action and preach through deed instead of word. So one morning he gathered a crowd to himself by shouting in the marketplace, “I will walk across the river on the backs of the old Petsuchoi. They will abide my steps. Even they–the Creator’s toothiest creatures–have more compassion than you.” St. Micah brought the crowd down close to the river, choked as it was with crocodiles, and they watched as he took nimble steps, careful as a plover, upon the backs of the wading old Petsuchoi. He almost fell–twice–but recovered his balance quickly in both instances. Micah was perhaps fifteen feet away from the other bank when someone in the crowd called out a phrase to him, and as he turned to try to catch the shout in his ear, a hippopotamus erupted from the river, from between the crocodiles, and attacked him with vicious eager mischief. The hippo and Micah went down-river, and the crowd couldn’t recover him. He is the patron saint of bridge-builders. [BUY]
Liars – No Barrier Fun
Sisterworld is wonderful for a lot of reasons, but one of the most remarkable, to me, is the way the album talks about spaces in a manner that’s more compelling and understandable than much of the (especially) contemporary literary fiction that’s devoted to the same subject. Sisterworld gets into the same weirdnesses (for me) as this, or this, or even the ‘ruined American locales’ of this terrible book in a way that sort of obviates the prose. No Barrier Fun, for example, works hard to convey its message with rhetorical force: claustrophobic percussion, a poltergeistiche bassline, and creeper-status xylophone notes all help deliver Angus’s lyrics in the most effective and aesthetically appropriate form. This is a song to brood to! Get into a hard brood. [BUY]
Madlib – Afritonic Pt. 1
From Madlib’s correspondence course on music appreciation, this is from Medicine Show #3, Beat Konducta in Africa. Part “Presque Rien,” part something conjured from Madlib’s metric ton of vinyl. [BUY]
Parenthetical Girls – Present Perfect (An Epithalamium)
One of the catchiest things they’ve yet done. Zach is in fine form here, with his vocals ranging from hysterical whisper to full-throated anthemic declamation. “Privelege” is shaping up to be a complex, weird album (like most of their stuff), but it seems to cover more territory, musically, than “Entanglements” or “Safe As Houses.” If you’re not already getting the vinyl ‘parts’ of “Privelege” as they’re released, you really should (how’s this for a fun fact: each record is numbered with the ink of a band member’s blood!). It’s been fun listening to this new LP develop. [BUY]
Gold Panda – Parents
I love Gold Panda’s “Lucky Shiner” and everything on it, but I have a soft spot for this song. Reminds me a little of the spoken word + field recording stuff GY!BE used to do, specifically everything that comes before “She Dreamt She Was A Bulldozer…” on Lift Your Skinny Fists (even more specifically, “Moya Sings ‘Baby-O'”). It’s a tenderhearted vignette. [BUY]
Pigeons – Missing You
‘Missing You’ feels initially like an accident of translation, or a song of noise-puns, full of sounds that are close to but not quite what you’d expect. The first minute is a tumble of clarinet and sax, classic couple those two, talking around something, but that’s all dismissed by the concord of drums and fuzzy bass, and the entrance of Wednesday Knudsen’s voice, which demands attention with this calm direct address: “missing you/is hard as hard can be.” There’s some quality of her voice–a quality she shares with Trish Keenan of Broadcast–that brings to mind certain cinematic or televisual comparisons, like her voice has the same attitude, posture, of an Antonioni heroine, or maybe like the cool vital youth of, say, Miss Brahms from Are You being Served?. ‘Missing You’ becomes more clear as it progresses, revealing cascading harmonies, flashy electric piano, all these sneaky charms you’d never know about unless you actually got to know the song. [BUY]
Excepter – OBOH
Translation into sound of the word “galumphing.” This band is way out in space, obviously, but they make their own oxygen (to paraphrase/grossly mangle a Wittgenstein quote). Always worth paying attention to. [BUY]
Belle and Sebastian – I Didn’t See It Coming
They’ve still got a way with a song. Sarah has never sounded better. Stuart sounds intense when he drops in midway through (“Take me on a train cause I’m not flyin'”). “Make me dance/I want to surrender/your familiar arms/I remember” is one of my favorite lines of the year. A hard beat from them (this beat, compared to most in the B&S universe, is akin to the beginning of Mu’s “Let’s Get Sick”). [BUY]
Magic Bullets – Lying Around
I have to figure this band was born, a la Aphrodite in the foam, via the tide of recent goodwill toward Orange Juice. This definitely comes closer to matching the feel of the songs from “You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever” than pretty much anything else. Supremely catchy. Amazing guitars. Dramatic, slightly bratty vocals. Good album. [BUY]
Deerhunter – Revival
Very much like Ted Leo’s “Timorous Me” where you leave the song wanting much, much more. “Darkness always/it doesn’t make much sense” keeps echoing in my head long after I’ve stopped playing the song. Sometimes I have to restrain myself from listening to this five, ten times in a row. [BUY]
Shabazz Palaces – Gunbeat Falls
‘Gunbeat Falls’ goes through about five major changes in the course of its three minutes (something that brings to mind the songs of the Unicorns, in form at least) and anyway it’s apparent after about thirty seconds that this song is packed with ideas. It starts with a digital stutter, a satisfied post-soda-sipping “ah,” and a sudden cataract of vinyl static before the main loop gets going (which is piano, told-you-so guitar, and initially padded and then unpadded beats). It’s hard for me to articulate what I think of when I think about music that sounds “new,” but ‘Gunbeat Falls’ is a solid instantiation of ‘newness’ in music. My heart definitely beat a little faster when I first heard this. [BUY]
Locussolus – Gunship
It starts off like a parody of minimal techno and then the real show starts. Hugely surprising. The same sort of miraculous bass as that in Caribou’s “Odessa,” where you almost can’t believe what you’re listening to. Masterful use of guitars (RIYL hot licks?!). Sexy cameo vocals. Plus you have to love something named after a Raymond Roussel novel. [BUY]
Actress – Maze
Soundcraft on a tiny scale, as entertaining and fascinating as one of those old handheld ball bearing games. “Splazsh” is an album you have to spend some time with, but “Maze” is immediately satisfying. [BUY]
John Roberts – Interlude (Telephone)
This album, “Glass Eights,” is kind of a wonder: it takes a lot of unexpected turns, on nearly all its ten tracks, but those twists never feel like the musical equivalent to shitty Twilight Zone endings, i.e. it’s never the case that a Bulgarian folk band takes over the melody, surprise!, or an auto-tuned sample of Woody Woodpecker is revealed as the basis of the rhythm track, yikes! watch out! you know. It’s all charming but not dismissible as ‘just charming’ and I think I’m in love with it. [BUY]
Gabe Hascall – Season Everything
This song is salutary in the way that only really pretty sad songs can be. Go-to songs that stay personally important for years on end.
Gabe Hascall has a long history with music. His teenage band, the Impossibles, were (relative) superstars of power-pop/third-wave ska, a band that I’ve written about extensively in the past six years. The Impossibles broke up, reformed, and broke up again for good, then Gabe and Rory Phillips, the two songwriters in the Impossibles, formed Slowreader, put out one excellent record, and then dissolved the project to pursue record production (Rory) and meth addiction (Gabe, according to this heartbreaking article). This is the first new music that Gabe has released in eight years. It’s great to hear that voice again. [BUY]
Suuns – Organ Blues
One of those that comes together in phases, pieces, tongues and grooves, dovetails, standard joints. Great final song for that album, “Zeroes QC.” Might be my imagination (definitely is), but I think Suuns are referencing Quasi’s song “Our Happiness Is Guaranteed” when they sing about the “people living in the sea.” [BUY]
Forest Swords – Visits
Alien jams. Sort of like standing in the middle of a hall of practice rooms while several different very skillful bands play. You’re the only one who hears where it all intersects. [BUY]
Mount Kimbie – Before I Move Off
By far the best song I heard this year. It sounds brand new every time. There’s so much going on, but it’s not busy, it’s all of a whole.
1. It sounds like the wind making love to a geometry book (Duchamp), which event in turn inspires spontaneous, blind make-out sessions and hurried post-kiss proofs on the streets below.
2. Are the vocals in the latter part of the song phenomena that arise from the guitar notes that were there from the beginning?
3. To dance to this song correctly, I think you’d need a safety harness, a partner, and a picturesque suspension bridge.
4. This is an example of pretty disparate sounds put together (in an inventive way) and charged with meaning. There’s a lot to be learned from this song. [BUY]
Hauschka – Kamogawa
Hauschka’s new record, “Foreign Landscapes” lives via strings and woodwinds (though the piano’s still there, don’t worry). It’s different, of course, from the percussive, music-box oscillations of “Ferndorf” and “Snowflakes and Carwrecks,” but that makes sense, given the apparent themes of the album: travel, change, new experiences. The whole thing feels to me like a pristine collection of experiential postcards, like Bertelmann, after visiting these places, set out to craft a (personal) musical correlate. The scope of the record is ambitious, but it’s a throughly satisfying listen, partly because the songs are so evocative–it’s like sitting down and getting lost in an old Baedeker’s. [BUY]
The Crystal Ark – The City Never Sleeps
Gavin Russom has made and is making some amazing music–in Delia and Gavin (who just released their Track #5 on DFA), on his own as Black Meteoric Star, and now, with various guest vocalists, as The Crystal Ark. One thing that seems to hold constant is the sheer degree of hotness, sensuality, etc. that comes through in his music, whether it’s the solid sex of the basslines in those Black Meteoric Star songs or the bothered, slightly off-mic sighs and moans of Viva Ruiz in this song, dude has got an ear for what makes a song not just interesting but insanely alluring. “The City Never Sleeps” has a sinister edge, too, (that bass is elemental) so it sounds a little bit like the kind of thing that’d be appropriate for a quick tryst with a succubus/incubus (take your pick), but the song moves into a more everyday romantic mode towards the end, when Russom himself drops in and sings, like a straight-up creeper, “Open the door/Don’t you want some more?” How can you not say yes to that? [BUY]
Free Energy – Dream City
A great band from Philly. Retro rockers. The album art had bubble gum stuck to the bottom of a high top. Those are all the themes of their music right there: the past, danger, ankle support, fun, color, long-lasting flavor, imported plant materials, chewiness. [BUY]
Escort – Cocaine Blues
Meest fantastich. Chic guitars. “A knife/a fork/a bottle and a cork/that’s the way we spell New York.” Also: “A chick in a car and the car won’t go/that’s how we spell Chicago.” Solid mnemonics. [BUY]
Pissed Jeans – Sam Kinison Woman
Best single of the fall. Dudes are from Allentown, PA, a place otherwise known to most via the Billy Joel song. A syrette of passion. Perfect guitars. Plus the lyrics are hilarious (listen for that great, slightly off-mic remark “maybe I shouldn’t have said that”). [BUY, esp. since the b-side is also ridiculously good.]
Soviet Soviet – Bulgary
If the hemispheres of one’s ass come into contact, at a tangent point, with another’s, as mine was with that of the girl’s in back of me, where does that fall on the scale? Am I a demi-frotteur? The feeling was not unpleasant. The image in my head, of my ass and the girl’s ass embracing, suggested the two ellipsoids of a Transverse Mercator projection, or two vinyl kickballs tenderly pressed together in tight quarters. [BUY]
Menomena – INTIL
Ramsey walked into a pharmacy off Market Street and sat down hard on a stool, right up next to the counter so that his knees pressed into the underside. The soda kid over down the way was occupied with a customer, so he waited. An orphaned pen had curled up next to the cake stand, and he figured hey why not, and took it. He thought about what he had to do next, what would, naturally, follow from his Army experience, and he made a list so he could keep track of everything:
1) Find a job
2) Find a girl
3) Have a baby
4) Repeat baby
He settled on number two, since he didn’t have a knack for paperwork and jobs always required that. He ordered a chocolate soda, neat, and drank that down in one, two, three gulps while the soda kid watched in awe. [BUY]
Women – Venice Lockjaw
Didn’t hear this until the beginning of December, but the song is bewitching. Totally elegant and precise. P. Flegel’s voice sounds detuned somehow, and it sits alongside the guitar lines so naturally. Starts slow, gets gorgeous quickly. All the guitar sounds on this album (Public Strain) are unbelievable. [BUY]
Weekend – Coma Summer
Opening Mixer: New Brunswick Stew. Pin on the backs of guests the names of ingredients of New Brunswick Stew: beef, potatoes, turnips, carrots, rock salt, rice, pepper, onions, oranges, Vulcanized rubber, water, celery, tomatoes, aitchbone, chelated iron, pork, parsnips, cinnamon, butter, soap, milk, etc. There are 72 ingredients. The guest that gets them all written down first wins. Of course this will be difficult to do, as everyone must try to keep the others from reading what is on their back. Expect this mixer to end quickly, and in bloodshed. Keep plasma and cheap coagulants on hand for the hemophiliacs.
Try Your Luck on Telling the Truth: Prepare a list of questions somewhat like the following and ask different people in the group to answer correctly the question asked them, telling them that they are on their honor to tell the truth. Tap a syringe labeled ‘sodium pentothal’ while you say this.
(1) How much did you pay for your suit of clothes?
(2) How many times have you been proposed to, and why? Was it out of pity?
(3) Who do you think is the homeliest man in this room?
(4) If (insert name) were your child, what would you do to him?
(5) If you were proposed to, was it because you were pregnant?
(6) Did you fake this pregnancy?
(7) Why is the homeliest man so homely? Is it those hairs on his nose?
(8) If you were a leper, would you purposefully become a toll-booth money collector to
spread your disease?
TBD – Oh My
This song sounds like a big-time exhortation. Objection: a lot of dance music is hortatory, urging one to the floor, at the very least. Reply: “Oh My” is convincing in a way that other songs are not. It is rhetorically powerful. Plus a lot of other dance music is just pushy. Objection: I don’t like the laser sounds or speed sounds or beat sounds or guitar sounds. Reply: You obviously don’t like music. Most music is made by lasers these days. Actually, much of this song feels like it’s the sound of manipulated electricity, like someone varying the flow from two huge cables to two humongous speakers. Keeping an eye on the ohms, volts, amps, and watts; calling out the figures to his partner. (this reminds me of a weird philosophy thought experiment). [BUY]
Midnight Magic – Beam Me Up (Jacques Renault Remix)
Someone please make this new dance: the Beam Me Up. Flip open your tricorder. Speak nonsense into the air. Shimmer. [BUY]
Broken Social Scene – Romance to the Grave
The most BSS song of all the songs on “Forgiveness Rock Record,” despite (or maybe because of) the fact that it features Sam Prekop’s sotto voce guest vocals. Probably the best last line of any song in 2010 (listen to it). [BUY]
Los Campesinos! – Romance Is Boring
“We are two ships that pass in the night/you and I/we are nothing alike/I am a pleasure cruise/you are gone out to trawl/return nets empty/nothing at all.” Ooh. [BUY]
Be back on Monday, Jan. 10.