Archive for April, 2010

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. – The Magnetic Fields

Let me see. If i moved to Washington, D.C., i would live in a city which: has some of the best museums in the world; has some real nice looking buildings, from row houses to government buildings; has its streets lined endlessly with cherry trees; has its own NBA (while not at the moment very successful) and NHL (Ovechkin!) franchises; has an excellent despite heavily used public transport system; i could run into Ian Mackaye, Joe Lally, Guy Picciotto or Brendan Canty and coerce them to end this indefinite hiatus of Fugazi’s; has no representative in the United States senate therefore no vote (not a plus); is 19.4% parkland; by all accounts could support and excite my diet; i could scour second hand record stores with actual hope of finding old Teenbeat, Simple Machines, Dischord and Slumberland records; i could sidle myself on to Dischord records and their parochial signing decree; is susceptible to blizzards; has four distinct seasons and really shows them off; i could have W! A-S-H! I-N-G! T-O-N! Baby! D-C! as my city’s fight song. I think i’ve found the city for me.

mr smith goes someplace cheap

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Pack Some Heat

Pack some heat – Dorotea

This is one of those no thrills/frills, no chorus songs, in the grand tradition of… (wrack…wrack…wrack…) ….i can’t for now think of any other examples. But they exist and this of that archetype. Great model, great song. If anyone can identify the sample that’s played during the middle bit, and it not ending up being from something crummy like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, it would be greatly appreciated.

edit: it’s from Meantime duh.

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Black fantastic splitting – Boyracer

I could have gone and seen Boyracer live. This isn’t a Fugazi, Groovie Ghoulies, Bikini Kill, Salteens or Knapsack situation where something came up and prevented me from going, be it a friend coming over, being on holiday, or just general, everyday crippling shyness. No this was just me being completely unaware of the band, who they were, how great they were, and the significance they would one day reach in my life. I could have actually been there, in front of them. May 9th, 2002, at the Annandale Hotel with the Lucksmiths. If only i knew… I get clues too late.

children of a lesser god

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Into You

Into you – Bangs

No, not that Bangs, though so what if it is? I’m talking about the band on Kill Rock Stars, because that’s the extent of my world view. What always seemed great about the Bangs was, despite they may have been exactly this, they never seemed like a rock’n’roll, kick ass, big guitars forever, party hard kinda throwback band. I mean all the hallmarks are there, but it seemed they were coming from a far more sound, goofy and agreeable place than so much of that horrible revival. More Cheap Trick than AC/DC, with no pretension of a lifestyle choice, and all the more palatable for it.


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Comfy In Nautica

Comfy in nautica – Panda Bear

This is an achievement. That i have this song in my head after only hearing it once or twice (or more, if it’s that kind of everywhere song – every radio, every hip clothes shop – i think it might be), each and every time indirectly. That i could figure out through minimal exposure exactly this song and who it was by is another achievement. I can never remember any Animal Collective or related songs, just the sounds, hollers, yawps and bleats they come up with. That’s what sticks with me i guess.

That i actually like this song – this grand, critically lauded, cool kid song – is yet another achievement. That i only now take a closer look at this music, and that i still and probably will always keep it at a wait-for-it-to-be-presented-to me-as-muzak distance – well, that’s just expected of me.

the silence

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Summer Lies

Summer lies – The Magnetic Fields

Wear a hat, all the time, everywhere.” – Stephin Merritt.

Tune in next time for another installment of Balding Tips With The Stars.

o dreamland

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Coach station reunion – The Field Mice

An upbeat Field Mice song. A Field Mice song with Annemari on vocals. Remaining in backups, still, but this time singing actual words and not having her voice used as another instrument. Willow i guess you could call more her song, but it’s not really. There her voice is used again with inhumanity, existing solely as a cypher (a very beautiful sounding cypher) for Robert Wratten. Always, she is singing a song about herself. She is singing a song written about her, words chosen for her, emotion channeled in non-accordance with her, direction decided by the boy who wrote it. How does that feel?

It’s astonishing how well the love story of Bob and Annemari is documented and romanticised, and how much they are held up as twee royalty. It’s astonishing that people involve themselves in something they should have no say in. It’s astonishing i should know a thing about this. Maybe i don’t. But it’s all there – lyrics, message board gossip, indiepop ardour. Dig it up. Be astonished by how sexist this little music subgenre is as well; how conservative it is.

waterlooooooo bridge

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I just don’t know what to do – Dorotea

Aaaarrrrggggh i love this band so much. And how it all – perfect melody, the wash of guitars, great lyrics – is slaved and driven relentlessly along by a drum machine. It’s a perfect combination, and i don’t know why anyone bothers with drummers at all*.

* Semi-decent drummer desperately available for work. For anything really, but something similar to the music posted here would be a plus. And if he doesn’t have to write any of the songs, that’s another plus. Contact me through here, or email: fire.as.a.metaphor@gmail.com. I have a car!

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A simple text file – Man or Astro-man?

For some reason i had the sound of a dot matrix printer in my head this morning, so why not make it in to a song? It’s such a simple idea, but trust Man or Astro-man? to come up with it. If they did come up with it. It was the first i had ever heard of such a thing, so in my myopia i’ll credit it to them.

The lady who conducted the printer orchestra at What is Music? did so five or so years after this song was released, unless it was something she had been toying with for many years until some curatorial person brought her and her music to the art world’s attention. I haven’t spent as much time with her music as i have this song, and this is not to discredit it, but A Simple Text File seems much more a traditional song than her orchestrations – pitch, rhythm, tempo, all notated as a text file, arranged as a formal song. It is something i can have in my head of a morning. And it’s genius. Written and performed on an ImageWriter II.

2 lane

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Pull out your Casiotone keyboard of choice (myself, i choose the MT-65). Set casio chord on, arpeggio on, bass to setting III, chord IV, arpeggio to I. Set it to the rock rhythm at a middle tempo. Sync it up. Press the C key. Loop it endlessly. Worm it into your skull. Go to sleep with it, wake up with it. Have it haunt every piece of music you listen to, imagining that twinkle, that bass, hidden behind everything. Kill yourself just to exorcise it. It is a virus. It is evil.

say anything

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