Thursday, September 29, 2011

Song of the day

"Misery", by Veronica Falls.

Veronica Falls sound variously like The Raincoats, The Wedding Present, The Cannanes, The Bats (and if you are going to do a song in homage to that particular pocket of the Flying Nun sound, you might as well call it "Stephen") and The Ampersands (the Melbourne ones). But what they might lack in originality they certainly make up for in verve. Their just-out self-titled debut album is full of it. If we were 20 years younger we would be bouncing around the living room. Heck, we are anyway.

You can't watch the official video for "Misery" on YouTube in Australia (what's with that?) but you can watch them playing it live:

(They make a bit of a meal of the vocals in the first chorus but just bear with them. Also, the recorded version -- download it here! -- ends with a very sweet bit of acapella, sounding more like Steeleye Span than any of the names listed above.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Song of the day

"Penobska Oakwalk", by Quilt.

The best that I can say about this song, which is quite new although it doesn't really sound it, is that it starts off good and gets better. I think what really won me over is how, tucked away in the dusty corners of their sound, you can hear the faintest trace of Galaxie 500.

Downloadable from Altered Zones. Take note of the obligatory band photo: at least two of the members are smiling. That will never do.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Song of the day

"Caught in a Landslide of Love", by Debra Jackson.

Here is a curious thing. The first 38 seconds suggest nothing you would ever wish to listen to again. But then it turns on the head of a pin and becomes something that, if you were able to blot out the entirely inappropriate piano, and replace it with some charmingly rudimentary guitar playing, might well have come out of the "twee" side of the Pacific North West scene of the late 80s / early 90s. (It's actually from 1984.) The final two-part harmony, for example, is pure Softies.

Un-YouTube-able, so download it here.

Warning: hardened cynics need not apply.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Song of the day

"Kick The Can", by The Junior Boys.

Isn't it strange how, the first time you hear a song, all you can think of is "Smalltown Boy", and yet by the tenth time you have heard it, "Smalltown Boy" no longer registers at all, the trace of melody (okay, in this case a bit more than a trace) having been absorbed into the fabric of this new song. It is probably the music fan's equivalent of composting.

(If the same melody appears in another song in 10 years time, will the music fan say "that's 'Smalltown Boy'", or will he say "that's 'Kick The Can'"? I guess that will be the real test. But right now I am reaching for the new Junior Boys CD, not Bronski Beat.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Song of the day

"One Million Year Trip", by Laetitia Sadier.

I have been listening to quite a lot of the elaborate prog-pop of Elektra-era Stereolab recently. I always assumed that Stereolab operated a bit like I understand Portishead do, in that the guys (or "guy" in the case of Stereolab, that guy being Tim Gane) came up with the music and, at some point thereafter, Laetitia Sadier threw down some kind of Marxist-Leninist tracts to sing over the top. But listening to her solo album, "The Trip", I can see that this wasn't in fact the case: there is a lot of the Stereolab sound on this record, not least on this song, which I interpret, lyrically and perhaps musically (most evidently in the backing harmonies), to be "about" Mary Hansen, who went on her own million-year trip as the result of a cycling tragedy in London, after which Stereolab were, understandably, never quite the same. (Although their last few albums nevertheless contained enough good-natured pop experimentalism to keep me coming back, and I do miss them.)

There is also something in this song, a particular chord change or guitar line perhaps, that reminds me of "Two Rivers", by The Meat Puppets, a song that I am always happy to be reminded of. Oh, look, here it comes:

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Song of the day

"The Town Halo", by A C Newman.

This song has some of the most rockin' cello since the golden days of ELO. That's all you need to know, really.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Conspiracy theory of the day

We haven't received an issue of the New Yorker for over a month. This is bad. (Adrienne is climbing the walls over the sudden absence from her life of "Talk of the Town".)

Now I notice the following two documents, which I have liberally borrowed from Sasha Frere-Jones's tumblr.

I have put two and two together, and reached the following conclusion:


[editor's note: all good conspiracy theorists use lots of exclamation marks]

I would just like to point out that I most certainly did not read the "expose" in question; even if I did read it, I most certainly did not enjoy it; and even if I did enjoy it, I most certainly did not share it with and/or recommend it to anybody.


Can we please have our New Yorkers back now?