Wednesday, April 15, 2009

in return

I seem to be reaching the end of my metal listening hiatus, which has lasted a surprising 3 or 4 months. While the general "metalness" of Torche could probably be debated, they lie at least on the heavier end of whatever spectrum you're using. It's probably best for me to stick with posting music in this range anyway, because I doubt the 5 people that read this are deeply invested in the arms race of extreme-ness that metal conversations inevitably polarize to.

If there were an extreme this song approaches, it wouldn't be aggression or really even heaviness. Among the cross pollinated shoegaze guitars and rolling floor tom thunder, a kind of acquiescent beauty emerges. This song is a white flag, post frustration, 5th step on the Kübler-Ross model blaze of emotion. I recognize linking to the 5 stages of grief is melodramatic, but I think we can all agree small psychic storms occur from time to time and as the Red Hot Chili Peppers so eloquently phrased, "music is my aeroplane." So maybe the next time the world begins to wear on you, you can find some palliative comfort here.

Torche - Bring Me Home

Monday, April 06, 2009

here's to you, kilgore trout

Time is a funny thing, we can follow our daily routines for weeks, even years; caught up in complex patterns of behavior that for the most part map out our experience of "time," but those moments still come when the concept of time passing just doesn't make sense. We see the world around us aging, our own bodies changing, fairly concrete examples of this experience - but everyone also knows the strange flash of realization that the month is over or the year is over, and for some reason it doesn't feel like thats completely possible. Einstein elegantly distilled one explanation of this experience, by presenting time as relative to the speed of light; though my favorite illustration of it was a documentary I saw on TV, where natives of Papua New Guinea were filmed talking about an upcoming soccer game. The game was to be played by people on teams from opposite sides of the island, one side had been converted to Catholicism and wore western clothes and lived in white framed houses. The other side still lived in the jungle, were practically naked, and the calendar someone had scratched out on the jungle floor to show them how many days it was until the game had some of them doubling over in laughter. I was a little jealous then of their outside perspective, to see the hilarity in our struggle to divide up our whole existence so neatly.

Having said that, now a word about this Bob Dylan song. Its from a bootleg called Deeds of Mercy that I picked up somewhere, including songs from around when Oh Mercy was released. This particular song was actually officially released on Under the Red Sky, but that version I find pretty unsatisfying, (see for yourself). Anyways, the bootleg version has a much more introspective atmosphere and the lyrics are much better in my opinion. This song is one that can trancend nosalgia under the right circumstances; such as when I listened to it last night, driving my truck under the haloed moon through silver fields of new grass, time actually seemed thinner. The night sky could have easily been the one I gazed at when I was seven or fourteen or anywhere in between.

So here is your soundtrack to becoming a little looser in time, enjoy!

Bob Dylan - Born In Time

Monday, March 30, 2009

turned into machines

This is the kind of music they invented those visualizers on mp3 playing programs for. From the new Röyksopp album, Junior, this song is pure synth over-stimulation. The main synth line takes me back to messing around with the WASP plugin on FruityLoops in high school and man, that tasty sweet and sour buzz weaving in and out of the drum loop is just so ridiculously catchy. My friend DJing at a party a couple weeks ago recommended playing rap until, "people got drunk enough to realize they actually liked electronic music," but I say don't wait until then - enjoy this now!

Röyksopp - Vision One

Monday, March 23, 2009

the lake was wet

This weather always reminds me of early to mid 90's alternative rock, with dozens of albums and music videos depicting sunny thrift store dreams, vintage cars and picnics with sunglasses. I listened to my Lemonheads tape on repeat while mowing still damp neighbor's grass, the glare and burn of the summer sun hinting, but not yet fully realized amidst the cool breeze of early spring. The power of nostalgia lies in the ability of pop culture to make deep impressions while your still developing ability to critically assess said culture is not yet fully functional. Therefore, I can listen to It's a Shame About Ray anytime of the year and still be transported to these antediluvian days.

The Lemonheads - Rudderless

Sunday, March 01, 2009

it's gonna come to you

Here is some perennially good advice in the form of great Nigerian pop music to bring in the new month. Foolish February is over, so let's celebrate the coming of spring with a burst of syncopated snare hits and melodic keyboard peals. Also, you should check out this cool write up on the band.

Apostles - Don't Huzzle For Love

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

soul of saigon

In Chinoiseries, French-Vietnamese DJ Onra channels J-Dilla with his own particular twist, sampling vintage pop records collected from flea markets in Vietnam. The crackle and hiss of the old vinyl weaves together the sparkling warbles of resurrected melodies with solid snare and bass beats creating a sound at once nostalgic and original. I am so tempted to make a Donuts - Phonuts pun, but due to the uncooperative phonetics of the delicious Vietnamese staple, I will instead leave you with this anecdote regarding the first of the songs below.

Onra - The Anthem

Onra - Smoking Buddha

Onra - Live from Hue

Onra - One Day

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

wonder when

Alright, and now to balance out the optimism of the last post, here is my favorite song by The Wipers. Probably known best for Kurt Cobain talking them up as well as covering them, this band still remains relatively obscure; likely due to the difficulty in categorizing their sound and their Fugazi-like adherence to creative control. Ostensibly a punk band, The Wipers sprawled into heavily rhythmic, sometimes psychedelic sounds, yet always maintained a melodic core. Their ability to cultivate songs simultaneously ominous and catchy in just the right doses is precisely demonstrated in this song.