Ceaseless Transmission

Robag Wruhme – Brücke Fünf

“Brücke Fünf” is ‘Bridge Five’ on Robag Wruhme’s album, an appropriate name for an interstitial piece of music between one longer track (Prognosen Bomm) and the next (Ende), and you’d think that, being a transitional piece, it would be short, calm, and maybe borrow from the sounds of the two tracks before and after it. But that’s not really the case here. There are a few discrete ideas packed into Bridge Five, which starts out as a mechanized drone, shifts into a section of bell-based tones, then back to the drone, into an eruption of squelchy Kevin Drumm-style electric death, then a voice says, “It’s a bit quiet all of a sudden.” It’s surprising and weird, especially for a piece of music less than two minutes long, and it sets up the last track (the aforementioned “Ende”) really nicely.

[Buy Thora Vukk]

Lifelong Lechery

Handsome Boy Modeling School – Once Again

So...how's your girl

I think I had heard “Holy Calamity” playing on TV or blasting out of someone’s car, and I managed somehow to track down this album, Handsome Boy Modeling School’s “So…How’s Your Girl?”, the title itself so catchy and weirdly confrontational that I went around saying it all the time, in what I must have thought was a charming/interesting affectation but which was probably regarded by most as pretty fucking annoying. “Once Again” though was the song that stayed with me the longest, the ghostly organ and totally eerie sample from Three Dog Night’s “Old Fashioned Love Song” make this track feel haunted and wrong. Maybe that makes sense since this album was apparently made in homage or structured to mirror an episode from Chris Elliott’s Get A Life sitcom (Chris Elliott creeps me out, he is both haunted and wrong).

[Buy So…How’s Your Girl]

Colloquial Neon

Scritti Politti – Small Talk

small talk

As far as human ears can tell, this song might as well be made of spun sugar. “Set your keyboards to ‘Candy’!” Green Gartside surely yelled to his bandmates before the recording of this track. Small Talk: Known to inspire bouts of extremely goofy interpretive dancing in its listeners. Also represents a challenge, from Gartside to parties unknown, to set aside the insignificant and engage in (or accomplish) something that is meaningful and ambitious. It’s nice to hear a message that, when expressed in most circumstances comes across as a condescending reprimand or paternalistic warning, is delivered here through the vehicle of a dangerously catchy song, with the effect that it’s almost like someone sending you a giant chocolate chip cookie with a bright pink frosting headline that says, “Start Doing Something Real.” What a great piece of music.

[Buy Cupid & Psyche 85]

rations soccer the price of shoes

Vladislav Delay Quartet – Presentiment


Excerpts from “Bulk Jazz,” The Autobiography of John Smith, bandleader of Panera’s Official Jazz Band

“Oh yeah, “Summer Strawberry Breeze” was a calm jam. Slick. One take. That ended up on “John Smith and His Quartet play Some Tunes.” I was proud of that LP.

…For this one, we tried to express the characteristics of a bread bowl. Lumpen. Filling. Able to be possessed by the spirits of hot soups. Carved out by the unsteady hand of a customer service associate who memorizes spoilage rates in her spare time because she wants to make assistant manager before her grandmother dies. That’s how we got this tune, “Tune.”

…”Bop on Bop” is the biggest hit we’ve ever had and the only one that’s gone viral. Funny story. Someone recorded this one on their phone when it was playing in-house at the Columbia, SC location, store #11218, then uploaded it to YouTube. During the recording of the song, their phone must have been aimed at a nearby old man gumming a french toast bagel and just happened to catch him in there too, along with the song, of course. I guess people thought it was an ironic video, or a commentary on something or other, but let me lay some truth on you and everyone else: this is a love song. A love song to jazz. How bout my solo on this? Like a pillow filled with margarine, so smooth.

[Buy Vladislav Delay Quartet]

[P.S. the new Luomo album is out will be out in the next few weeks. Sasu Ripatti is a genius, in case you didn’t know that already.]


Braid – What A Wonderful Puddle

Spherical Space Craft

It’s tempting, of course, to interpret the meaning behind the placement of songs on a mix cd. “What does this one mean? What’s being said?” etc. And its especially easy to fall into an intense feedback loop of this type of second-guessing and interpretation, because once you start engaging with a mix cd in that manner, you realize, wait, this is just music, I’m being ridiculous: it’s simply a collection of songs that this other person happens to enjoy and wants to share with me, another person who enjoys music in all its forms. But obviously the other person must have made choices in their selection of songs, bound as they are by the finite nature of the medium (though now I guess you could probably rig up an transfinite mix somehow). Those choices were made with the audience in mind. Those choices are rhetorical choices, to some extent. So interpretation is not only warranted, but maybe encouraged. And you’re back again at the point where you’re seriously parsing the lyrics to songs to try to discern what meaning the song might have for the other person, what portion of their own character they’re trying to communicate to you, the listener. It’d be fun to make a mix that was inscrutable though, wouldn’t it? Just one long tone, interrupted by occasional seconds of silence, and labeled with different track names.

This Braid song was put on a mix cd for me about a decade ago, and I still enjoy it. Braid have come out of semi-retirement recently to release a new EP, “Closer to Closed,” which is also very good.

[Buy Closer to Closed and Movie Music Volume 1]

Keep Philly _____

Sleep ∞ Over – Romantic Streams

Marsh Hawk

I’m no expert on this stuff, but I’m pretty sure Sleep ∞ Over have out-Cocteau’d the Cocteau Twins; in fact, one might even say that Sleep ∞ Over are the Cocteau Triplets even though there’s only one person in Sleep Over. Can you believe that? With this lushness of sound? It’s like a rainforest of sound in there, with a full-on sound canopy populated with undiscovered and rare noise birds and poison noise frogs and weird-ass noise bugs whose excretions might be able to cure cochlear diseases (who knows?), and an understorey sound layer with voices and musical vegetation, and a sound floor made of pulsing beats. Supernatural make-out jam of the year, no doubt, beating out such frontrunners as Ghost Club’s “DTF,” Lana Del Rey’s “Lip Service,” and Boy Friend’s (formerly members of Sleep ∞ Over) “Ruffuck”.

[This song is fine, it’s just the language used to extol it elsewhere that’s gross]

[Buy the Forever LP]


Benoit Pioulard – Sault

This is the math of powered flight, a course designed to help you formulate your way out of the bonds of gravity and into the commonwealth of the sky and beyond. There will be equations. There will, unfortunately, be slide rules, but if you didn’t bring yours to the first day of class, I’ll let it slide. Ahem. There will be logarithms and other rhythms. I can’t help myself here. Don’t let’s get carried away. Enough for now. It’s the weekend. I’ll see you again in 259,000 seconds, give or take a few.

[Buy Lasted]

Sao Sao

Gui Boratto – Flying Practice

Romario Alves died in 1879 when he leapt from the Sugarloaf Mountain into the Guanabara Bay. He was wearing two fully feathered wings at the time of his death. It was discovered later that he had spent the previous 18 months meticulously building the wings, the support struts of which were made from carved balsa wood. The feathers on the wings included vaned and down feathers from over twenty-five different species of bird, including, incredibly, a contour feather from a Haast’s Eagle, which had been extinct at that point for more than 400 years. Romario Alves is regarded in Brazil as one of the pioneers of flight.

[Buy III]

Questionable empiricism

Real Estate – It’s Real

Asserting verisimilitude is so tricky. How do you prove something’s true? By decree, and in song. This is a good way to get things done, and with certainty. Giving testimony in court? Sing it slowly. Pledging love to your significant other? Do it with a hymn. Scientists and mathematicians presenting new theories at a conference? Do it a cappella, that’s why they have panels, so you can get those harmonies in there.

I love this song. I never listened to Real Estate before “It’s Real,” I have to admit, because even after seeing the band mentioned maybe 100 times online, I still couldn’t retain any information about what kind of music they made. Spice-rock? Post-bop? Groupon soundtracks? Little league versions of jock jams? I had no idea.

[Pre-order Days]