Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Dress

"Don't let the dress trick you
I love you less now that I know you"

One of my favorite songs, and probably the best song Blonde Redhead has performed. I love the minimal, almost ambient instrumentation, and Kazu Makino's breathless vocals (echoed by the use of breath intake as percussion), which barely hold back the emotion she expresses over the realization that her lover is not who she thought he was.

"Tears you see on my face, you do have something to do with
Fear starts creeping up when you have so much to lose
Your love waits you while you're cheating
Lightning strikes you when you're moving"

Director Mike Mills takes a subtle approach to evoke these emotions in the video. Instead of a story, he merely shows several people, half hidden in shadow, their faces barely illuminated, and watches them. Slowly, each begins to let tears fall, each going through a shared, yet individual tragedy. The video perfectly evokes how we all go through pain and hurt, but in the end, it will always be exactingly personal.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sometime Later

In keeping with my posts from the past few weeks, I am now working on my lists of favorite singles from the 2000s, 1990s, and 1980s. Of course, singles are far more difficult than albums, seeing as there are so many artists whose singles I liked but who couldn't make a good full album to save their lives. As it might take awhile to compile the lists, I am looking now at my favorite videos. And by video, I mean the actual video, not the MTV Video Awards way where it really is the song they are awarding and not the actual video. In this case I am looking at songs I enjoyed where the video either perfectly encapsulates the feeling of the song or even makes the song reach a higher level. I am not going to limit it via decade; I'm just going to go all over the place, so don't get fidgety.

The first video is from Alpha for the song "Sometime Later," from the 1997 album Come From Heaven. Alpha was the first signee to Massive Attack's label Melancholik, and they were a fairly derivative band at that. However, in the trip hop landscape that they inhabited, they sampled less from the hipper 60s styles that Portishead used and more from the sparkly Burt Bacharach canon. Of course, they imprinted their own style and made for a darker version of those cotton candy lite songs.

"Sooner Later" is a standout from their debut cd, documenting a man's failed attempts to get his partner to tell him his/her feelings. The song builds from his first simple pleadings

"Touch my hand
It's only me, listen
I'm here."

and ascends into a frenzied swirl of strings and desperate pleadings

"Hold the sun down
Hold the sun down
Hold the moon down
Leave me to rest
Want the world man
Too the words out
Only relief is
To slip through the nets."

only to be thwarted at the end with the admonition

"Sometime later."

The video could have been a maudlin retelling of the story, something you would see in any half-baked rom-com or Nicholas Sparks weepy drama. Instead, the director took a more oblique approach, giving the viewer just a few pieces of what is going on in the video, allowing a sense of mystery and dread. The elegant tracking shots zoom in on seemingly random items, but are they? Not until the end of the video is the plot understood, and at the final fade, it is still up to the viewer to come up with their own conclusion. It mirrors the sentiments of the song, that the lover wants so badly to know the outcome, but it is withheld. So much as in real life.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Videos of the Week

Happy Friday everyone. Here are the latest videos making me purr like a kitten.

Big Boi on Letterman performing my favorite track off his new cd.

Haunting and kind of creepy video from Esben and the Witch. While some people have commented that they sound like Siouxsie and the Banshees, I think her voice sounds more like a darker, gothier Florence + The Machine. Either way, this is a stunning song and video.

Baths debut cd Cerulean is one of my favorites of the year so far, and now he finally gets around to putting a video together for the song "Lovely Bloodflow." The visuals are gorgeous, even though they are a bit incongruous to the song itself. But sometimes I like interesting juxtapositions.

I had a bit of rough start to the week, and this song always has such a menacing tone to it, so it felt like the song of the day.

Striking video and song from The Twilight Sad. It is long and slow building, but is one of their most beautiful.

RIP Michael Been of The Call. He had a heart attack while manning the soundboard for his son's band BRMC at a music festival in Belgium. They were never hugely popular, but I remember this song well from my college years.

Filter's output has been exasperatingly inconsistent, but I really liked this song.

Gorgeous song from the new preview EP from Antony and the Johnsons. The video takes from 16mm videos he filmed when he first arrived in New York. It really syncs well with the song.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Non Sequiturs

Ken Mehlman, the former Republican National Committee Chairman, has recently come out of the closet. Mehlman was part of the organization during its most intense focus on anti-gay legislation. He was the architect of the 2004 Bush reelection campaign, helped develop strategy that resulted in George W. Bush threatening to veto ENDA or any bill containing hate crimes laws, pressed for two Federal Marriage Amendments as political tools, and developed the 72-hour strategy using homophobic churches to become political arms of the GOP before Election Day. Mehlman seems just as bad as Roy Cohn. He has a lot of explaining to do before anyone in the gay community can even remotely be interested in hearing what he has to say.

Sorry, I needed a palate cleanser after reading about that douchebag Mehlman. Ahhh, Ben Cohen, sexy, rugged, straight, but extraordinarily gay friendly. He even hosts a gay fan appreciation day every year. Sad that he is more of help to our community than assholes like Mehlman.

The onslaught of upcoming concerts keeps hitting me. I just don't have the money or the energy to see them all. Datsik, Rusko, and Interpol all coincide with other shows during the week of their shows, or are at awful times. I really want to see Interpol as I am fast falling in love with their new cd, but the show is the Monday after both Massive Attack and Jonsi. Plus the tickets are $45. I will just have to say no and hope they play Coachella in 2011.

Lyrics Rattling Around My Brain

"Always you need me lover
For always release me lover

I want to give you the lowdown
I want to give you the face to face

Always is all I can give
Isn't quite what you take me for"

"Always Malaise (The Man I Am)"

"Friends are so alarming
And my lover's never charming
Life's just a cocktail party - on the street
Big Apple
People dressed in plastic bags
Directing traffic -
Some kind of fashion

The Rolling Stones

"You're makin' out with school kids, winos and heads of state
You even made it with the lady,
Who puts the little plastic bobins on the christmas cakes
Butchers' assistants and bellhops, you've had them all here and there
Children of god and their joy-strings, international women with no body hair
Oooh, so where they're askin' in an alley and your voice ain't steady
If your sex mechanic's rough you're more than ready
You're an orgasm addict.

"Orgasm Addict"

"This could be heaven
Mild mannered mews
Well intentioned rules to dignify a daily code
Lawful order standard views
This could be heaven"

Public Image Ltd.
"No Birds"

Appealing Things

Cooking at home
Reading with Kurt asleep on my chest
Dinner at South City Kitchen with my Mother

Annoying Things

Passive aggressive behavior
Customer service people who give you the hard sell over and over when you make it clear you want to cancel a subscription
People at Starbucks at Ansley that park in the fire lane to come in to get their coffee
Most of my neighbors

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Haiku Reviews

I'm getting bored with doing the same old thing when I have a lot of cd reviews to get to all at once. To shake things up, here are several reviews done in haiku. Enjoy.

Arcade Fire
The Suburbs
Rating: Grrrr

No more screaming Win
Thoughtful ruminations hence
We were born to run

Kode 9
DJ Kicks
Rating: Make Me Want It Daddy

Dueling acid lines
Ricochet snares penetrate
In thrall to the thrills

Antony & The Johnsons
Thank You For Your Love
Rating: Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It

Angel sleeps quiet
Do not awaken him dear
On tip toes walk soft

Matthew Dear
Black City
Rating: Grrrr

Like Bowie's Berlin
Slippery, sleazy, murky
I need a shower

The Morning Benders
Big Echo
Rating: Grrr

Layering soundscapes
A dizzy ode to summer
Fall please stay away

Rating Guide

Chilfos: masterpiece; coolest thing I've heard in ages.

Woof Daddy: excellent; just a hair away from being a masterpiece.

Grrrr: very good; will definitely be considered for my top albums of the year.

Yeah Daddy Make Me Want It: good; definitely invites further listens and peaks one's interest for more material.

Meh: not horrible, but certainly not good; could have either been trimmed or polished.

Jeez Lady: what the hell happened? Just plain bad. They should hang their heads in shame and be forced to listen to Lady Gaga ad nauseam as penance.

Tragicistani: so bad, armed villagers with pitchforks and torches should run the artist out of the country for inflicting this abomination on the human race.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Favorite Albums of the 1970s

Of all the lists I have come up with lately, this list is by far the most difficult. While I was born in 1970, I don't really recall listening to the majority of these albums when they came out, so my take on them being "favorite" is a little misguided because they are essentially colored by an older me looking back on them. So, based on my current predilection for "alternative" music, the majority of these pics slant heavily to that side of the coin. Of course, I do recall several albums that I listened to which may seem incongruous, but are nevertheless something I enjoyed. Without further ado, here is my very personal list.

1. Gang of Four - Entertainment!

2. David Bowie - Low

3. Marvin Gaye - I Want You

4. Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures

5. Wire - 154

6. Japan - Quiet Life

7. Public Image Ltd. - Metal Box

8. Brian Eno - Before And After Science

9. XTC - Drums and Wires

10. The Clash - London Calling

11. Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure

12. Nick Drake - Pink Moon

13. Kraftwerk - The Man Machine

14. David Bowie - Station to Station

15. Michael Jackson - Off The Wall

16. Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols

17. Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats

18. Wire - Pink Flag

19. Big Star - Third/Sister Lovers

20. Blondie - Parallel Lines

21. Rolling Stones - Some Girls

22. Brian Eno - Ambient 1: Music For Airports

23. Talking Heads - Fear of Music

24. Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady

25. T-Rex - Electric Warrior

26. David Bowie - Heroes

27. Wire - Chairs Missing

28. Gary Numan - The Pleasure Principle

29. David Bowie - Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

30. Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express

31. Iggy and the Stooges - Raw Power

32. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

33. Roxy Music - Siren

34. Brian Eno - Another Green World

35. Supertramp - Breakfast In America

36. The Police - Outlandos D'Amour

37. Japan - Adolescent Sex

38. Roxy Music - Stranded

39. Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings and Food

40. The B-52s - The B-52s

41. Brian Eno - Discreet Music

42. The Cars - The Cars

43. The Cure - Three Imaginary Boys/Boys Don't Cry

44. Kiss - Destroyer

45. Prince - Prince

46. The Jam - All Mod Cons

47. Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True

48. Talking Heads - Talking Heads '77

49. Siouxsie and the Banshees - The Scream

50. The Police - Regatta De Blanc

51. Yellow Magic Orchestra - Yellow Magic Orchestra


52. Nick Drake - Bryter Later

53. Neu! - Neu!

54. Lou Reed - Berlin

55. Iggy Pop - Lust For Life

56. The Specials - The Specials

57. Ramones - Ramones

58. Pere Ubu - The Modern Dance

59. Chic - C'est Chic

60. Styx - Pieces of Eight

61. Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

62. Neil Young - Harvest

63. Can - Future Days

64. Roxy Music - Country Life

65. Magazine - Real Life

66. Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic

67. Cluster - Cluster '71

68. The Jam - Sound Affects

69. Richard and Linda Thompson - I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight

70. Patti Smith - Horses

71. Suicide - Suicide

72. Queen - Jazz

73. Television - Marquee Moon

74. Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

75. Joe Jackson - Look Sharp

76. Prince - For You

77. Iggy Pop - The Idiot

78. Foreigner - Foreigner

79. Electric Light Orchestra - Out Of The Blue

80. Queen - A Night At The Opera

81. Kiss - Alive 2