Friday 25 January 2013

but does it feel like you're already dead? (YES)

Earworms of the Week

Everything Everything - "Torso of the Week"

I've been listening to BBC 6Music a lot more over the last few weeks.  I seem to have got over my aversion to Sean Keaveney and remembered how nice it can be to listen to good music as you go through the otherwise sometimes tedious and depressing process of getting ready for work.  Everything Everything are clearly one of the bands that are on the playlist, inasmuch as they have one, and I've been hearing them a lot.  I've been peripherally aware of them, but it was only this drip-drip-drip of exposure that helped me realise that I actually really like them a lot.  Thanks to the magic of the internet, both of their albums were at my fingertips, and I've been listening to them ever since.  I imagine that the often-falsetto voice of the singer irritates lots of people, but he's not quite as acquired a taste as the singer in Alt-J, and anyway I like them both.  Good band and my week's big discovery.

Smashing Pumpkins - "Cherub Rock"

I think I bought "Siamese Dream" on the same day that I bought "Become What You Are" by the Juliana Hatfield Three, in Plymouth in 1993.  I have no idea why that fact has stuck in my head, but it has.  My father hails from that neck of the woods, and it was where my grandparents lived all their lives.  Actually, now I think of it, I might actually have been in Plymouth for a funeral.  Hmm.  This was always my favourite song off the album, and I think it's fair to say that Smashing Pumpkins remain a band that I've never really got all that into.  Billy Corgan seems a bit of a twat, for sure, but they're just not a band that I ever loved. Good, but not special to me.  This is a good record, though.  The best thing they've done, IMO.  Look at the video too.  Billy Corgan with hair!

The Staves - "Winter Trees"

Every time I hear this, I'm put in mind of Laura Marling.  Not a criticism, as it's a lovely song (and an excellent video too).  I saw the Staves when they backed Keane side project Mt Desolation at the Bodega a couple of years back.  They were good.  Lovely voices and harmonies.  It's nice to see them getting a bit of success.  Whatever happened to Keane?  (don't answer that.  I'm being facetious).

The Village People - "In the Navy"

C. has spent most of the week in Prague at some conference or other.  Well, not actually Prague but the Czech equivalent of Waikikamoocow, New Zealand or Buttfucknowhere, Ohio.  She was telling me that they had a disco where the most modern track they played was something by Wham.  Apparently, when they played "YMCA", one of the delegates at the conference regaled her with a long anecdote based around a scene in Police Academy where they find themselves in a club and there's a guy dressed as a red indian and a construction worker and they're all dressed as policemen and much amusement ensued.  As if it wasn't enough that anyone in 2013 would be making such a detailed reference to a Police Academy film, it turns out that this scene was also the first indication to this person that the Village People might have been a gay band.  Really?  Young Man?  The costumes?  The fact that they also did a song called "In the Navy"?  Amazing.  Just check out that video... who knew (also - disliked by 610 people on YouTube.  All serving in the US armed forces)?  Cue earworm.  "...come on and join your fellow man!"  They want you as a new recruit, etc.

The National - "Karen"

Matt Berninger has an amazing voice, and "Boxer" probably remains my favourite of their albums, but I was listening to "Alligator" this week and I really like the darker tone of the lyrics in this song.

Karen, put me in a chair, fuck me and make me a drink
I've lost direction, and I'm past my peak
I'm telling you this isn't me
No, this isn't me
Karen, believe me, you just haven't seen my good side yet

I like a band with interesting lyrics.

Elvis Costello - "Shipbuilding"

After goodness knows how long, I finally got around to ripping my copy of the High Fidelity OST onto iTunes and sticking it onto my iPod.  Lots of good songs on there, of course, but as I listened to this one - and speaking of interesting lyrics - I was struck by what a lovely song... one of the most thoughtful, beautiful songs about war ever.
"diving for dear life,
when we could be diving for pearls".  Beautiful.
A near miss  for inclusion this week was "Tank Park Salute" by Billy Bragg.... nominated for an award this week.... and that's another corker too.

Johnny Cash & June Carter - "Jackson"

C. doesn't sing... but she keeps threatening to learn the June Carter part to this song so we can knock'em dead at karaoke.  Do it!

Nico - "Chelsea Girls"
John Cale - "Paris 1919"

Another couple of albums that I finally got around to ripping this week, having owned them for decades.  Filed under "V" alongside all my Velvet Underground associated artists, Lou Reed included, of course.  Morrissey is under "S" for similar reasons.  As Artog pointed out, great flute on "Chelsea Girls".  He thinks the finest, but I find it hard to get past the amazing jazz flute solo on Maynard Ferguson's Star Trek theme.... if you can get past the sweaty jazz trumpet, anyway.  Ron Burgundy would definitely approve, I think.

Everything Everything - "Kemosabe"
Mr Mister - "Kyrie"

"Kemosabe" is probably the best record that I have heard this year. You know when you listen to something and the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end?  Yeah.  That.  I love it to bits, and I went to bed with it rolling around my head last night.  When I woke up, I was slightly alarmed to find that it had somehow transmogrified into the Mr Mister classic (and yes, I had to google that to remind myself who had actually sung the song. I initially thought it might be someone like John Farnum).  I think it's down to the distinct chorus similarities.  Well, that's what my subconscious mind thinks, anyway, and who am I to argue.  That's what earworms are all about, innit?

That's your lot.  Have a good weekend, y'all.  I'm going back to Dishonored.  My work as the assassin who doesn't kill is seemingly never ending.....

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