Archive for June, 2009

The banger’s embrace – Propagandhi

I still haven’t bought this album, nor the one before it. Have i lost something of myself? I bought Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes the day it came out. I planned it weeks in advance: Put my lunch money away, called the store to see if they would have it, found out that my mum and i would be in Canberra that day, called the good comic book/record store that used to be there to assure myself geography wouldn’t arrest my plan, drove there, did not look for anything else, grabbed it and bought it, playing it constantly for the past eight years.

I know few things as intimately and comprehensively as those first three Propagandhi albums, knowing every lyric with annotation, the drum parts thoroughly, the guitar parts as thoroughly as talent allows. They were a principle building-block band for a lot of the music i like, and the person i am today. Not much has been as rewarding, improving and captivating as those Propagandhi albums, and for some reason i find the more recent ones dispensable.

I will buy them, someday. The foundation has been set though – i have been sent, i have progressed, i keep trawling. Is there reason to realign? I hope someone becomes as involved with this album as i did those earlier, with every benefit and egress to further inspiring things impressed upon them. I am nowhere near acquainted enough with these new songs. What i know of this song is the catchy, folk/mountain music, author: traditional verse and that is what i had in my head this morning.

Is this annoying?

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Condition Oakland

Condition Oakland – Jawbreaker

I have this thing that i am really good at and that is being able to pick the origin of samples used in songs. My cataloguing nature has rendered me with all manner of annotations and information fragments, spread thin but sparse enough. It serves as a handy survival apparatus in public situations where i can offer single, precise answers, not opinion or insight, just enough to subsist. Of course, it is only the movie samples i get, literary ones, like the Kerouac in this song, go right over me. I used to have this Geocities (R.I.P.) site, ever under construction, that acted as a database for movie samples in songs. That was as worthwhile a contribution to the internet as my Australian drum tab site, or this whiny thing.

Finding out about Jawbreaker after the fact, and not in sequential order, it always struck me odd how simple their songs became later on. And how that scorn and that acid tongue developed. I think i prefer Bivouac and prior, but i’m obsequious and i don’t want that preference to seem as though i’m siding with all those wet blankets who led Blake to write Boxcar, etc. They were a great band, always. I was not there.

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Les autres sont jaloux – Yianna Katsoulos

The very concept of this blog means i can’t ever be evangelical at will over songs i love. I have to wait until they turn up. And finally i get to give this, one of my most beloved of songs, exposure. Les autres sont jaloux is one of the greatest songs ever written/constructed. I have to disclaim this, because all elements within indicate cheese and trash, but that declaration of it being one of the best songs is made without a trace of irony. Everything about this song is perfect, from the beat, to the Franglais, to the off-key singing, to its call for feeling fantastic and exceptional about oneself, with the world and others in it there to feed that feeling.

It is a song everyone needs. A lot of people already realise this, so it is up to me in my corner to proselytise. Glenn seems to already know about it. The only other times i’ve expressed my fervour over it are those times i’ve tried to convert Rebekah, and that once i put on a mixtape for a girl from the Awful forums who in response told me she loved it. And she was from Brooklyn. They know cool there. So here is Yianna Katsoulos, with Les autres sont jaloux. Enjoy.

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Evident utensil – Chairlift

Confirmation i am doomed to live a lonely, lonely life is that i hate every presence of the deep male voice in this song. I first heard it during an episode of that great bringer of contempt and displeasure – and that wonderful feeling of inferiority – into my late night Friday life, Rage. Among videos reminding me why i don’t invest time in a lot of music, how this culture i’m meant to be open to and subscribe to is the hands of the wrong people, how old i am, how i don’t look like i want to, how i will probably never do anything with this life, etc. sometimes i find a song i like by a band i’ve never heard of, like this one.

So… that voice. Everything else about this song is great, it’s just those few response lines by one of the guys in the band that irk me. It is not to me to declare what part of any song is dispensable, but i think this is completely, and i think i have a reason. It is its delivery. It is delivered with and drawn from all extent of hipster mastery and memory. It is a contrivance those who unhesitatingly take property of everything they see fit love to make. It is unnatural, a conceit, spurious to the effect of evoking intentionally a world specific and non-transcendental, of young people moving and being moved by certain things, and of a belonging, a birthright, to this world. It is the outcome of a consideration of “if i make a sound like this with my mouth ooh yes i must this is my ticket to credibility.” What would have this song been like if it were decided to leave this affectation out? It is there with great intention, and not simply because someone thought it would sound cool.

It is its place. Whereas the rest of the song comes from someplace awfully nice, those lines seem unnecessary and disruptive. They intrude as though with authority over everything else in the song, coming from a higher place, like every perfect thing in this song apart is insufficient and needs the confirmation of a boy who has figured out how to play with his voice to achieve the right ends. It is a reminder we are in hipster country. It undermines at every turn the feeling i get when listening to it and the places it takes me. This song could have survived intact without it. This song would have been better without it.

Maybe all i find against it is exactly why it is there the way it is. I doubt this is a divisive feature of the song at all. There is all number of happy, content people, then me in some corner not enjoying the song as intended. Like i should ever even have a say in what is cool and proper.

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To fall is not to fail – Dear Nora

Next in our series of songs i love that happen to pop into my head of a morning is the excellent Dear Nora with To fall is not to fail. It’s another of those many songs that i’ve heard only by myself, shared only with myself, convinced i’m the only one who would like it, so it’s hard to venture off in to my usual tangential tedium. I no doubt could, but i actually have something to do today. Katy Davidson is one person. I am one person. And if just one person…

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Love Story

Love story – Taylor Swift

I will not hear a bad word said about her! My excuse for not being in this guy from work’s Jonas Brothers cover band is my resolute siding with Taylor Swift. Team Taylor, you know? Close examination may ruin this for me. There is her maybe somewhat affected southern drawl, and the steel pedal and banjo, to hallmark her music enough to fit in with the country music scene. But she is a country singer, congenitally and stated. The lyrics present the idle, passive lovelorn girl replete in pop music, as well in conventional fairy tales from which she, needless to say, draws this song’s scenario. It’s just a girl wanting and creating a boy, a dream, and a paradise for them both through song. The most perfect thing.

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Just Like Heaven

Just like heaven – The Cure

Another band i am woefully unfamiliar with, and yet too familiar at the same time. Their greatest hits CD seemed in the possession of everyone who had a car and a backseat for me and others to pile into and be ferried to an imperative somewhere our young selves desired. Seriously, everyone had this, as though it were issued with car stereos.

A great deal of my music listening has been through passive absorption, at the mercy of others’ stereos – room and car – and while i’ve lamented this, and was often at pain during such forcefeeding, i never actually did anything to change it, and any alternative i could hope to offer wouldn’t have pleased anyone. It seems as though we do need these songs. A collective ear and collective memory, these songs soundtracked so many good times that are so fondly recollected. And missed. An exact song to fit my exact feeling would have been inappropriate. Maybe i’ve relented enough to now cherish songs i hated back then, but i can’t imagine those years without them, and i cannot hear them without stirring some kind of affective reminiscence. It was shaped by acquiescence and just wanting to be there, it was shaped by others: It was shaped by my friends. Sure, i’m picky, but i could always go and listen to mine, my own, at home.

This song is obviously good, as are others – Inbetween days, Friday i’m in love, that one song that Alex really likes and played to me once i don’t know the name of, some others – but beyond those, i could very much do without. Just like heathen. An education is in no doubt mine lacking, but from what little i have heard and how often i have heard it i really don’t feel the need for much more Cure in my life. Lovecats ick. That’s one. I’ll just wait for them to be delivered to me as mall muzak, a commercial, or through a movie’s soundtrack, like in Adventureland which has to be the last time i heard this song. Or the next time i’m ever in the backseat of any car being ferried somewhere my ageing self desires.

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