The Ghost Of My Orange Lives On In This Tom Collins

Sloan – Chester the Molester

Virginia Creeper

Creepers go creep-crazy sometimes, putting their creep-claws on everyone’s shoulders, breathing hard, hot breaths into everyone’s mouths, and being general busybodies in the sense that they busy themselves with everyone else’s bodies. This is where Sloan’s song comes in, as a PSA to change your mind about creeps. Some of those creeps–okay, a very small number of them–are just trying to make a connection. Maybe they go about making those connections in ways undreamt-of by polite society, but they’re still human. Creeping is oftentimes the only art creeps have, and that art is worthy of evaluation and, occasionally, praise. This song, like many Sloan songs, is enthusiastic, catchy–and I’d almost say life-affirming (if I were drunk). The guys in Sloan sing this like they’re celebrating a triumph of human virtue, and I think that’s one of the many qualities that makes Sloan such a good band, that they can take a character like Chester and make him into a hero through the sheer force of a perfectly arranged song.

[Buy Navy Blues]


Fiery Furnaces – Smelling Cigarettes

Case #1

Peter, Matthew, and I were exploring the ditch. This was the wooded area that sat at the very back of the development. There was a large cement structure out of which poured a small stream. The first full day of summer vacation. A number of abandoned cars filled the woods. That was a mystery. How did they come to be in the woods? Peter hypothesized that men disassembled the cars and brought them piece by piece and then reassembled them in the woods. Also a mystery was what we called the dining room. A broken plastic table surrounded by chairs made out of piled rocks. We had not yet read Young Goodman Brown, so the thought of a Black Sabbath did not occur to us. “Drugs,” Matthew said. “It’s got to be drugs.” Case closed. We decided we were detectives.

[Buy Fiery Furnaces’ EP]

turn it down, fever

Morphine – The Night

Spirit of the Forest

Listening to and discussing Bill Callahan’s “Riding for the Feeling” (the video is perfectly matched with the song) with friends has made me go back to other hushed, late-night, lonely-as-fuck-sounding songs, and Morphine’s “The Night” is definitely one of those, it might even represent the highest form of that type of song. When I listen to this, I feel like I could fall into it or get trapped within it in a bad way, as if listening to this song could pull me into self-pitying lassitude, or an inescapable daydreaming satisfaction. Like the Odyssean episode of the Lotus Eaters, but staged in a dark bar rather than on a bright island. This is a seriously good song. Put this on when you want to become the character in Steely Dan’s “Deacon Blues” (I’ll learn to work the saxophone/I’ll play just what I feel/Drink Scotch whiskey all night long/And die behind the wheel).

Morphosis – Spiral

You never know what you’re going to get when you walk through the front door at the end of the day and see your wife: will it be the martini or the rolling pin? If you’re late, it depends, it could be either. If you’re really late, it’ll be the pin. If you bring flowers, it’s the martini. Somehow she knows–there is a mechanism akin to the way a dog knows when its owner is coming home, though you would never say this out loud, obviously, to your wife, and compare her to a dog. You’re not stupid. Though there is some occult, possibly extrasensory, perception going on. Every night when you grasp the door, you get a little jolt. It’s not the knob that’s electrified. It’s just you. A jolty kiss. Your mouth waters, in anticipation of gin or pain. Either way, your head will hurt like mad in the morning.

[Buy Morphine’s The Night]

[Buy Morphosis’s What Have We Learned]

ddeepp iimmaaggeess

Ital – Ital’s Theme

Stayin’ Alive 2, released for the PC in 1998, was a vast improvement over the original Stayin’ Alive videogame. While the story in the original SA game followed Jonny, a young, poorly rendered disco dancer who had to battle his way to the floors of Studio 54 to save his abducted girlfriend, Tina, from various disco gangs and dance cabals. Stayin’ Alive 2, on the other hand, allows you to control a number of different protagonist dancers, and allows you to travel to venues around the world, in New York, London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. In Stayin’ Alive 2, the goal is not as focused on one person or one relationship (like Jonny and Tina in the original), but more on the development and spread of a certain style of dance. You, as the player, are the invisible hand of the dance economy, so to speak, acting through various individual dancers to effect change. One of the most intense stages of SA 2 finds you in Rome, dancing at a club called Sprezzatura. Your dancer, in this club, is named Emil. You’re introduced to him in a scene at the bar, where he orders a drink and chats up a pixelated beauty on his right. Then, in the middle of a question–when Emil is asking the girl about a strange tattoo behind her ear–this song, “Ital’s Theme,” starts throbbing quietly in the background. Emil stops. Puts down his drink. Holds his hand up before the girl. “This is my music,” he says. He walks through the crowd to the floor, crosses himself nine times, and begins to dance. This is where you take over.

[Buy Ital’s Theme]

profligacy police

Jonny Trunk – Le Train Fantome

This was where you took a knock on the head. This was where you learned that ascertain was not pronounced “as certain.” This was where you ate Dippin Dots and felt alive. This was where it all fell apart. This was where you were bummed all the way out. This was where it came together. This was where you glimpsed the future. This was where you reunited. This was where you lost your shit. This was where it all felt futile. This was where a glass of juice was so perfectly appropriate, you felt overwhelmed by its goodness. This was where you heard someone say “umbrage” for the first time, and you’ve lived in the shadow of that person for the rest of your life.

[Buy Study Series 6: Animation and Interpretation]

Committed to distraction

Marine Research – Parallel Horizontal

Shell brud

Perfect. Jeanie thinks that she could not have said it better herself, that everything Michael Yakutchik does and says is perfect. She thinks it has to do with his face. His face is responsible for all his dreamboating qualities: he has the look of an old movie star, shrunk down to boy size, suggestive of maturing magnetism, gallantry, and charm. His arms have a kind of deceptive bigness, she’s noticed, and Jeanie suspects that underneath his sweatshirts and polos, Michael is a fair-to-moderate beefcake, totally cuddleworthy. She has been pursuing a program of discreet stalking the past few months, trying to get to know him better by placing herself in close, semi-hidden proximity to Michael, for example by monitoring his Facebook updates and, when he writes something like, “Out to the mall for new kicks,” telling her mother that she has an urgent need to borrow the car to run to the mall, around which she then walks and watches, feeling creepy and flushed. In her mind, the best-case scenario that might obtain if she were to see Michael out and about would involve him ditching whatever friends he had with him to spend some quality time with her, maybe shopping, maybe eating at the food court, during which time he would compliment her eyes and deploy an unexpected innuendo regarding her breasts, and then drop a devastating, heart-piercing remark like, “I’ve seen you around school. You have a quiet sort of beauty.” Unlikely though it was, considering the facts that she and Michael had not spoken meaningfully since freshman year history class and she had not yet run into him at the mall, the mini-golf course, or out by the lake, this scenario and its extended version (back of her mother’s car; she and Michael locked in jumbled, sweaty sex; subsequent hours of hand-holding) gave her hope that she was on the right track, because she could conceive of it happening, and that meant to her, in an indistinct way, that it was possible.

P.S. Marine Research was Amelia Fletcher’s post-Heavenly band. They only released one album, the fantastic “Sounds of the Gulf Stream.” They also have a split EP with Built to Spill out there.

[Buy Sounds from the Gulf Stream]

Creep on creepin’ on

Jan Jelinek + Computer Soup – Straight Life

Somewhat reminiscent of the stuff Madlib did with the Blue Note catalog, or even close to Flying Lotus’s “Cosmogramma,” but calmer, way calmer. This is the back-room stuff, the after-party. Grab a beer or a tonic, sit down, enjoy, this is just for fun. I like that the vibe of this is basically: “who the fuck knows what’s going to happen?” Equally likely that the collaboration would result in something raw and new and musical as it would result in something limp, boring, inert, dead. Records like this are inspirational in the way they nudge you towards just sitting down and executing your ideas, e.g. maybe you have some vague ideas of combining your love of pottery with your love of videogames–listen to this record and soon enough people will be playing “Kilnmaster” on their phones and tablets everywhere.

[Buy Improvisations Edits, Tokyo 26.09.2001]

The Gentle Pedant

Daniel Wang – Berlin Sunrise (die Dämmerung)

“The space is very bright now – natural daylight shines through the windows. One can see the blue skies, the trees, and the railway tracks outside. This is why the bar was named Panorama – because, unlike other after hours clubs, the morning sun was allowed to shine in through the windows and light up every face in the room. At this point, we have long been lost in the beat, the joy of just being here, witnessing this bizarre, gorgeous, self-selected little universe. I wondered to myself: didn’t New York feel like this, at some point in my early youth? It certainly hasn’t for years now. In other corners of the world, most nightlife is pre-packaged and over-programmed, a cheap advertisement for vodkas and hair-gel and plastic surgery and MTV. Or, if it’s pleasant, then it’s probably a bit polite, or caught up in a myth of its own past. Here, one forgets that those corners exist. It is very much the here and now, without apologies or tributes to anyone.”

Daniel Wang, writing about Ostgut/Panorama Bar in 2004

[Buy the Berlin Sunrise single]

[Read the rest of DW’s article]

Solo on the control key

Gramm – Ment

To Whom It May Concern,

Do you know Gramm? Do you like sexy music? Do you like experiments? Have you ever said the word “microhouse” out loud? And not laughed or imagined an ant’s mansion? Nanotechno means the manipulation of atoms to produce dancefloor jams–were you aware of the advances made in this field? “Ment” is from the turn of the century and so it sounds both old and futuristic. Get with it–I mean this track, get with this track. Put it on. Music can be simultaneously sinister and salutary (a blanket of math; your computer trying to give you a hug).

[Buy Personal Rock]