Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is a special band. They are capable of much. They persevere. In a lot of ways this band reminds me of the Impossibles–another personal listening fixation–in that they have released album after album of great songs (I feel like this is a band that engenders strong feelings of loyalty in its listeners), a compilation of b-sides, demos, rarities–they’ve done a lot for band that’s not exactly ‘celebrated.’ “Harrison Ford” is another perfect example of what they do so well: quiet vocals, clever lyrics, weird and wonderful melodic turns. Let’s agree to cherish bands like this, you know, that make simple and beautiful songs for decades on end.
This is a quick autumn mix. All these songs have been here before, but not together. Elegiac electronic music probably does not spring immediately to mind when people think of examples of ‘songs for fall,’ but by chance the other day I listened to these four songs in a row, and they seem to share certain qualities–or at least a certain shape–that qualify them for a kind of Octoberness. This is the last month that you can delude yourself into thinking that the summer’s still lingering somewhere in the air, and these four songs, to my mind, speak to that desire, because there’s resignation, there’s disappointment, a weird fluttering hope, and still an acknowledgment that twilight is always encroaching upon the days. (These four songs are also unsurprisingly pretty heartbreaking–“A New Error” and “Trahison” in particular).
I’m going to adopt the hyperbolic tone of mid-90s Sports Center anchors here for a second: The Proper Ornaments are a band that only knows how to write short, perfect songs. “Who Thought” is, much like the other two songs I’ve posted by this band (“Waiting for the Summer” and “You Still“) incredibly fun to listen to, brisk, intricate, and supremely lovable. Sometimes you need music that is crafted to astound you, to confuse you, to confront you, and other times you need music that you can summon up from memory to provide a moment of sweet solace when no other music is available. “Catchiness” as a property is somewhat underrated, I think for this reason specifically–if I were left to my own devices in, say, Lençóis Maranhenses (pictured above), at least I would have “Who Thought” knocking around in my head to keep me sane(-ish), whereas, as much as I love someone like Kevin Drumm, I’m not going to be humming the entirety of “Sheer Hellish Miasma” while falling down dunes and trying to recall the protocols of urine-drinking from the desert episodes of Man vs. Wild.
Not to be overly didactic, but if you have never heard this song, you are missing out on a profound pleasure. There are times when I think this is the Fiery Furnaces’ best song. It is simple, so pretty, and the lyrics fit together so finely (“EP” has some of their best phonetically locked-in lyrics, everything snaps just so). This is a soft sweet mantra: “Needle prick my spruce root/dear little hemlock shoot/make me stay sharp and keen/evergreen.” When they were on, they were so on.