It might be spring break,

March 16, 2004

It might be spring break, but the inch of snow and slush on the ground really doesn’t make it feel like springtime. So in stead of doing anything productive, and also in stead of writing anything meaningful here, and to placate those few of you who have been telling me to update, I will now proceed to regale you with fanciful tales of the music I’ve been listening to recently.

  • «Hot on the Heels of Love» — Throbbing Gristle
    Techno at its simplest, most minimalistic, earliest, and best. It revels in its pounding monotony, and you should too, since this song is far catchier than it has any right to be.
  • «Down to the Waterline» — Dire Straits
    There’s a certain magical quality to the guitar work on Dire Straits’s long-playing self-titled debut album, as Rich’s fascination with «Sultans of Swing» attests. The interplay between the rhythm and lead parts is downright magical, and nowhere moreso than in «Down to the Waterline», the initial track. The album opens with a bit of noodling by the lead guitar, when suddenly the drums kick in, the lead part sounds like it has found a purpose in life, and the immaculately flanged rhythm guitar enters the right channel. Magic is made.
  • «a passing feeling» — the thermals
    Allow me to quote:

    memory wise
    memory flies
    memory rarely satisfies
    the past tense
    tense and bleeding

    They sure fucking said it. And it helps that the words go along with a great song, too. In any other context, or done by most any other band, this would be a frantic and fast-paced song, but coming as it does near the end of the irrepressibly intense more parts per million EP, it feels almost gentle and soothing compared to balls-out rockers like «goddamn the light» and «i know the pattern». (The key word, of course, is ‘almost’.)

  • «Sing It Again» — Beck
    This song has been earmarked for a reserved space on the ultimate “So You Just Survived a Global Thermonuclear War” mix CD. If it can’t help you cope with being one of the last inhabitants of an uninhabitable Wasteland, then nothing can. It also goes quite handily with that last drink you take at 5 in the morning.
  • «What Is the Light?» — The Flaming Lips
    Combined with the two tracks immediately following it, «The Observer» and «Waitin’ for a Superman», this song forms one of the best sequences of consecutive songs on any album in recent history. The song, the sequence, and the album (the phenomenal The Soft Bulletin) all contain carefully balanced measures of crushing sadness, plaintive hopefulness, and guarded exuberance. It’s a beautiful effect, and it makes for beautiful songs, like this one for example. Wayne Coyne sings his poor little heart out, and you can’t help but be moved.
  • «Metsik Häda» — Kuldne Trio
    Europop meets «Hava Nagila» and everyone’s a winner! Why should the Jews be the only ones to enjoy this song?
  • «The Late Great Libido» — Menomena
    I am incapable of saying enough good things about this song, so I won’t even really put forth more than a token effort. I wouldn’t know where or how to begin, really. Please just trust me when I say it’s a fine piece of work, and worth listening to repeatedly.

Song of the Moment: «Fall in a River» — Badly Drawn Boy


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