Saturday, October 31, 2009

Videos of the Week

Here are the latest videos that are sticking with me.

Noise terrorists Fuck Buttons have deeply matured on their new cd Tarot Sport, which was produced by Andrew Weatherall, famed producer of Primal Scream's Screamadelica. This is a live performance of the beautiful song "The Lisbon Maru."

The trailer for the new Almodovar movie Broken Embraces, starring the gorgeous Penelope Cruz. The movie looks very stylish and Hitchcockesque. Really looking forward to it.

Amazing band made up of only drums and bass. For such a small setup, they put out an amazing racket.

One of my favorite new songs off the latest release from Annie. Label woes have kept her out of the spotlight. I am hoping this album makes her more popular in the US. This song feels like a modern update of Georgio Moroder.

From the last Kraftwerk album, which was not one of their best, but for some reason it has always stuck with me. This is the video for the song "Musique Non Stop." I really think the music, which was not considered forward sounding at the time, has weathered well, and does not sound dated at all.

Remix of a new song from Florence + The Machine, a new "It" band from England. Oddly enough, The xx, who remixed the song, basically reinvented the song, making Florence + The Machine mere background. So technically, it is cover of the Florence song, which is itself a cover of a song from Candi Staton.

Melancholy song from Basement Jaxx featuring Lightspeed Champion on vocals. It has a beautiful melody and nice video full of animated polar bears.

Live performance of "Arming Eritrea" from Future of the Left. I have such a crush on the lead singer, who I have enjoyed since his days with McClusky.

And finally, here is an oldie from Siouxsie and the Banshees in honor of Halloween. It has a nice goth flair to it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Videos of the Week

Here are the latest videos that are interesting me.

The Big Pink are a guilty pleasure of mine. This is a live performance video of their song "Velvet," which is one of my favorite songs of this year.

Har Mar Superstar is a fat balding white man with a good ear for contemporary pop/r&b. What on paper looks like a joke, ends up being something brilliant. Plus the video is bright and shiny.

Girls is one of the most hyped bands of this year and the singles I heard didn't really strike me as anything special. I begrudgingly downloaded the cd hoping that I might see what the fuss was about. I was struck how eclectic the cd was and how, as a whole, it was really cohesive and just fun. This is a light-hearted song and funky video that reminds me of the videos you would see from lo-fi indie pop bands on 120 Minutes.

Wonderful new song from Bradford Cox's solo persona Atlas Sound. The new cd Logos is stunningly brilliant. He constantly amazes and astounds. He takes so many different genres and bends them to his own tightly wound sensibility.

No artist this year has put out a more singular vision than Fever Ray. Haunting music, evocative videos, and a hypnotic live show all come together to dazzle and confound. This is another striking video for her cover of Nick Cave's song "Stranger Than Kindness."

Wistful song from Sweden's El Perro Del Mar. The video is amazing with two body builder/gymnasts contorting their bodies in positions that look humanly impossible. The song and the visuals do not go together as a rule, however, they complement each other well.

Beautiful track from Fuck Button's new cd Tarot Sport. They are playing live here in Atlanta in a couple of weeks and I am dying to go see them.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Non Sequiturs

Why does every period movie that has a scene of a plane flying over some landscape have to crib the scene from Out of Africa. The trailer for Amelia looks like outtakes from that movie. Have those scenes become so iconic that there is no way for a film with those kinds of scenes to avoid that pitfall?

Up until about the age of 36 I had perfect 20/20 vision. One day at work I realized that the probable cause of my headaches was that I needed reading glasses. I finally broke down and got some and it made reading much easier. Of course, being far sighted, I did not need to wear them all the time, and basically could not wear them walking around without feeling half drunk. Fast forward 3 years later and I was wearing my glasses at work to read these very tedious documents and I got up to go to the restroom and accidentally left my glasses on. By the time I returned to my desk I realized that I had them on the whole time and didn't have trouble walking with them. So I think my eyesight is slowly getting worse. Damn, I hate getting old.

I do not like the nurse at my doctor's office. She has absolutely no warmth whatsoever. She called me today with some blood work results and said that there were some issues with it and they needed me to come in to have blood redrawn. I had to ask her about 50 questions in order to get the reasons why they needed me to come in. It turned out not to be a big deal, but her lack of concern or even empathy was astounding. And she even seemed put out that I was even asking her questions. I have had issues with her before and have complained repeatedly with the doctor and office manager and they both expressed surprise that I had a problem with her. I was even told that I was the first person to complain about her and that she gets glowing reviews. I just found it difficult to believe that I was the only one who had mentioned something. I like my doctor, however, with the money I spend there, I am not against finding someone else. As my health insurance with likely be changing next month, it may no longer be an issue and I might have to find a new doctor anyway, so I am just going to stay put for right now.

Lyrics Rattling Around My Head

"Oh no!
Oh no!
You've got it all wrong
You think you're chocolate when you're chewing gum"

"Chewing Gum"

"Take anything you want, it's fine
Keep up the slow life for the night
Don't take it back, I'll just deny
This constant noise all in time"

Grizzly Bear
"Slow Life"

"You speakers are blowing
Your ears are wrecking
You're hearing damage
You wish you felt better
You wish you felt better

But at least
You can do no wrong
In my eyes"

Thom Yorke
"Hearing Damage"

"This is a booty call; my boot up your arse hole.
This is a Freudian slip; my slipper in your bits."

Wild Beasts
"Fun Powder Plot"

Appealing Things

Hemming pants myself
Chris' baked goods
Shiloh in a bumblebee costume
Being mobile again after surgery
Fall weather
Working from home

Annoying Things

The terrible designers on this season of Project Runway

Friday, October 16, 2009

Videos of the Week

Here are the latest videos that have grabbed my attention:

Icehouse was an Australian Roxy Music. They had a few minor hits here but are mostly forgotten. This was the title track to their most popular album. It's a beautiful song about Andrew Wyeth.

Two weeks ago I saw Grizzly Bear in concert and it was one of the most beautiful concerts I have ever been to. It really restored my faith in the power of live music. The band Beach House opened and their lead singer joined Grizzly Bear on stage for this song which is on the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack. Haunting and beautiful.

New single and video from Grouper. Very creepy and atmospheric. Great use of lighting.

Disappointing new single from Massive Attack. They seem to be in a holding pattern from their last cd 100th Window, which was a droning mess. This song doesn't seem to go anywhere and do anything. I am hoping this does not act as a preview to the full length cd that comes out next year. It definitely makes me more interested in the rumored Burial remix of the cd.

Weird song from Flaming Lips featuring Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

One of my all time favorite songs. I listen to it all the time when I am feeling down. The past year has been very stressful with my job situation, relationship issues, and insurance woes, and this gives me strength to soldier on, knowing that I can make it on my own with the help of friends and family.

This band is so addictive. As much as I try to resist them it is a hopeless endeavor. I give in!!

Dizzee Rascal came out with his "pop" cd to make more money and expand his audience. Oddly enough it works. I miss the edgy, paranoid Dizzee, but this is a welcome change.

Finding out about this collaboration seriously got me hyperventilating. Burial is one of my favorite dubstep artists and Flying Lotus is one of my favorite electronic artists. This one off song from them culls the strengths of both. No plans for them to collaborate again, but definitely makes me long for what might have been.

Brilliant technicolor synth pop song from Passion Pit. This song would have been huge in the neon 80s. Sunny and addictive.

Latest video from The Horror's cd Primary Colours, one of my top cds of the year. They are stylish and hip, but have the goods to back it up.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Brief History Of Love

The Big Pink
A Brief History of Love
4 out of 10 (what I want to give it)
8 out of 10 (what I actually give it)

Another in a long list of uber-hyped British bands that I truly want to hate and despise. The duo of Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell don't really have a innovative bone in their bodies, creating a sound that is a true melange of Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Placebo, M83, and 300 other shoegazer bands, which truly becomes a game of spot the influence. When I first listened to the album I immediately praised the wonderfully dense production values and the instant hooks that were sparkling and catchy, however, I didn't feel any sense of emotional connection with it. I listened a couple of times and stopped, thinking it would be something to delete from my iTunes library at a later date to make room for something more special.

Damn them.

I couldn't get the stupid thing out of my head. I feel like someone subconsciously planted a chip in my body that constantly plays it until I finally had to give in. It only takes the arena ready drums and hooky chorus of "Dominos" and my head is bobbing and I starting singing at the top of my lungs (to the chagrin of Kurt, Dan, Janis, and Ian I am sure).

It is a big dumb frat rock song, but its power to take over your brain is undeniable. That's not to say that the album is dumb by any stretch of the imagination. The lyrics are all quite wry and biting, and the fact that they transcend the enormity of "Dominos" with several other songs as equal to or even better, really goes to show what tremendous craftsman the duo are. This is especially evident with "Velvet," taking the Curve meets Nine Inch Nails meets Love and Rockets vibe and ratcheting up the pathos to 100 degrees.

"These arms are mine
Don't matter who they hold
So should I maybe, Just leave love alone
You call out my name, for the love you need
Which you won't find in me"

They can also be very subtle and almost druggy/hypnotic, as in the in hazy "Too Young To Love;"

And extends to their poppier side on tracks like "At War With The Sun," "A Brief History of Love," and "Tonight." And they even have a way with a ballad, the touching and haunting "Love in Vain."

I so wanted to rip this band a new one, but I just can't get them out of my system. Usually if I enjoy an album all the way through inevitably I will grow tired of it. I need a band to throw some curves in there to get me to challenge the way I listen to music. I thought there wasn't enough there at first, but I kept coming back and finding more to enjoy. So that is the reason for the weird score. I want to give it a 4 because I hate being wrong. But I have to give it an 8 based on the fact it is really too good not to like. While I don't love it like I do the Grizzly Bear or The xx cds, I find it is right up there giving chase.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Non Sequiturs

Been a busy few days for me. On Friday I had the first surgery I have ever had in my life. For years I have had an inguinal hernia and it had never given me trouble or pain, but apparently if you let it go without treatment it can lead to all sorts of nasty things so I decided not to procrastinate any longer and have it taken care of.

My mother was nice enough to come up from Savannah to stay with me and help. We had to get up at 4 am on Friday in order to be at the surgical center by 5:30 am. Everything went very smoothly, was checked in quickly and taken to prep. Had a lovely green patterned smock to wear. Pam was my nurse and took excellent care of me. Didn't even feel the IV when she put it in. I met the anesthesiologist, who was irreverent and cute, and told me I was getting the same anesthesia that Michael Jackson OD'd on. At that point I was just hoping I would feel a little woozy and not have to look into the light ;)

The nurse anesthesthetist (very cute and very gay) took me into the surgical room and made me put a fabulous silver shower cap on. It clashed horribly with the green smock though. That was the last thing I remembered thankfully. I woke up in the surgical recovery room and I believe I hit on the cute nurse that was working in there. He didn't seem amused.

The regular recovery room was fine. I didn't feel nauseous or dizzy and was sitting up and ate saltines and drank a coke with no problem. Anika, the nurse taking care of me, was cute, blond, and perky, and took very good care of me. I will have to say that the care I received at Piedmont Hospital was excellent. Everyone was very nice and very professional.

Once my surgeon Dr. Colquitt came in to see me, he told me I was ready to go whenever I was ready. My mother left to go pull the car around, but as Anika helped me into the wheelchair, my left leg started buckling like no one's business. She thought I was just feeling dizzy from the pain meds, however, it turned out my left leg was numb all the way from the incision down to the bottom of my knee. It seems I have difficulty recuperating from local anesthesia. When I get Novocaine at the dentist my mouth takes two days to come back to normal. Well, similar situation here.

They took me up to another recovery wing in order to wait out the numbness in my leg. Instead of being at the hospital for 4 hours we ended up waiting for over 8. Unfortunately, my leg never really un-numbed. I finally realized I could walk if I locked my knee and shuffled along. So we signed the discharged papers and headed home. Needless to say after the long wait at the hospital, the long wait to get my percocet prescription, driving in rush hour traffic on horrible potholed filled Atlanta roads, I was worn out.

Luckily, the anesthesia wore off in my leg the next morning, but I think it basically set me back a day in my recovery. Thank heaven my mother was here to help out. There is no way I would have been able to take care of myself otherwise. It has been very difficult to move and to get in and out of bed or a chair. My mom has been a real trooper.

Everyday has been better; less pain and more mobility. The only other issue was the pain med catheter. They made a small incision above the hernia incision and placed a pain med catheter that dispensed pain medication into the area for 48 hours. It really helped with the pain, but the downside was that I had to be the one to remove it. I am extremely squeamish when it comes to anything blood related. I can't even stand looking at a papercut. Unfortunately, my mother is even worse than I am so I didn't want to subject her to doing it. I got all the dressing off and it didn't look too bad, so I started gently pulling it out, thinking it would be out in about 2 seconds. I kept pulling and pulling for what felt like five minutes. I think it was inside about 6 inches. Finally it came out and I about passed out. I had to lay down for 10 minutes until I got my color back. I am sure I was eight shades of green.

Every day seems to be getting better and I hope to be somewhat normal by the end of the week. All in all, it has been pretty smooth. I am just glad to have a wonderful mother and a wonderful group of friends looking after me.

Lyrics Rattling Around My Head

"Darling, just don't put down your guns yet
If there really was a God here
He'd have raised a hand by now
Darling, you were born but you will die here
Oh that's quite enough for me too,
We'll find our own way home somehow."


"You trick your lovers
That you're wicked and divine
You may be a sinner
But your innocence is mine

Please me
Show me how it's done
Tease me
You are the one"

"Undisclosed Desires"

"Small metal gods, cheap souvenirs
you've abandoned me for sure
I'm dumping you my childish things
I'm evening up the score"

David Sylvian
"Small Metal Gods"

"I don't have to leave anymore
What I have is right here
Spend my nights and days before
Searching the world for what's right here"

The xx

Appealing Things

Red velvet and coca-cola cupcakes
Confirming plans to go to Coachella Festival next year
Grizzly Bear live
Garlic cheese dip
Blow Pops
Finding out I am eligible for a State sponsored health insurance plan

Annoying Things

Pulling out a pain med catheter

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Forget The Night Ahead

The Twilight Sad
Forget The Night Ahead
9 out of 10

"So tell me do you lose when you answer no
Catch the cold
You sailed on your own
We shared in the toll
And we're all alone"

The first lines from "Made to Disappear," another beautiful impressionistic song from the squalling Scottish band The Twilight Sad.

Clearer and more direct than their last release Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, Forget the Night Ahead forges a more singularly brutal attack. The lead four songs almost too intense to listen to all at once. James Graham, in his molasses thick Scottish brogue, still sings like a wounded child, scarred deep by memories of family slights, school yard recriminations, and doomed relationships.

The bold, muscular drum and guitar attack of "Reflection of the Television." The sad tale of an abused child who is stronger than he appears.

The dense squall of "I Became a Prostitute" with the haunting lyrics:

"you are the bearer of a womb without love
you could have had it all
is that what you said
is that what you said on a low ride
you said in your hands you'll stay, all with me today"

The intensity builds almost too much with the song "Seven Years of Letters," about an affair the man realizes he has wasted seven years on to end up with nothing.

"it's a sorry affair
we're on a hiding to nowhere
it's only right to swear
and they say that I won't answer you back
it's the dance that we'll never share
and the alarms that you can't do without"

The non-stop attack is finally leavened with the brief instrumental "Scissors," which leads to the second half of the album which takes a more measured approach, scaling back the onslaught of guitars, and adding more intimate instrumentation. The highlights being the beautiful triad of "The Room," "That Birthday Present," and "Floorboards Under The Bed."

"The Room" is another classic Twilight Sad song about some horrific childhood incident. You feel the hair on your neck standup when Graham wails the lyrics "you're the grandson's toy in the corner." You have no specific idea what he singing about, but the impressionistic lyrics and naked emotion make you feel the tone and measure of the song.

The squall returns for the amazing "Interrupted":

Forget the Night Ahead lacks the immediacy of Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, but that does not take away from its beauty. By narrowing their focus, there are less meandering asides that made the first album such a touchstone, but this focus makes things more exciting. 2009 is shaping up to be a phenomenal year for music, and albums like Forget the Night Ahead make it all the more special.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Videos of the Week

Here are the latest videos that are intriguing me.

What I love about St. Vincent is how her songs have lovely, pretty melodies and seem very happy, and yet the lyrics have hidden meanings and depths which subvert the initial impression. Once you figure out the key to her songs, you never look at them the same way.

Live performance from one of my current favorite bands, The Twilight Sad. I love the singer's Scottish brogue. His lyrics are still way too personal and inscrutable to really know what he is singing about, but you feel and understand the emotion. I am upset that I missed their live show here. I didn't even know about it and it was a block away. Oh well, I am going to the Coachella festival next year and am hoping they will be there.

Another amazing song from the new album from Mew. Odd video that feels like a Bergman movie. This is one of my favorite songs on the album. It has a propulsive beat and amazing chorus. Hard to get it out of your head.

You will never look at Miss Piggy the same way again.

Absolutely bizarre video from Royksopp featuring Fever Ray. Karin Dreijer Andersson lends her otherworldly vocals to this crazy song.

I think David Sylvian works best when he goes for broke. His cd Blemish is one of the most gut wrenching cds I have ever heard. When he plumbs the depths of his feelings he comes up with something true and raw. His new release Manafon is another brilliant cd like Blemish. Lead single "Small Metal Gods" features the brilliant guitarist Fennenz.

Haunting David Lynchian video for Thom Yorke's cover of a wonderful Miracle Legion song. It is from an amazing compilation called Ciao My Shining Star, which benefits Mark Mulcahy, lead singer of Miracle Legion, whose wife died suddenly and left him with two small children to raise.

My favorite song off the new Editors cd. New electronic direction for the band that suits them.

The XX have probably my favorite cd of the year. I can't stop listening to it. Here is a live performance of brilliant song "Islands." They are playing here in Atlanta next month at a club about the size of my loft. I am so excited to see them.

So stylish and so cool. There is not one new wave/synth pop band from the 80s that does not owe a huge debt of gratitude to this band.