It’s time for another useful playlist, compiled for you, from me, performed by them. No theme, just miscellaneous goodness. Things come to me that I want to share, and as I go through the process to compile, more ideas came to me.
My playlists tend to be incoherent and maybe a little eclectic. If one track isn’t working for you, don’t give up, just skip on to the next. Except this first track, which I am completely enamored with.
1. Superorganism – “Everybody Wants to Be Famous”
Cool song. I hear things on the radio sometimes.
My first year of college, I took a class on public speaking. This young woman, I sort of knew her, don’t recall her name, started one talk, “Today I’m going to teach you about orgasm” and proceeded to demonstrate the Japanese art of folding paper. Everybody paid attention and my professor was agog. I just wanted to make sure you all read the band name correctly, because you might be seeing it again.
2. Galaxy 500 – “Listen the Snow is Falling”
My new friend Dean sent me this track, after reading my piece, ‘Yes’ is an Emotion, Yoko. I’ve had this Galaxy 500 CD for going on 3 decades, but never made the connection to Yoko Ono. Cool track.
3. Ligeti with Barbara Hannigan – “Mysteries of the Macabre”
The Seattle Symphony played a Ligeti set last season; left me agog. Then I found this. Sweet jesus. (I’ve featured this before, I must confess, but I love the weirdness.) I like the music, but the brilliant weirdness strikes the heart.
4. Transient Canvas – “Epidermis”
No story, just goodness.
5. Frank Black & The Catholics – Everything Is New
Went for a walk, this beautiful thing came on the headphones. A couple of details to listen for.
There’s a piano interlude, with accompaniment, in between the chorus and first verse. (Chorus-verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure.) Lovely. That first verse, praisable phrasing, but that last line, it’s not clear that Frank is going to finish the words within the space of the melody but listen to him wrap his voice around it. I supposed that’s “just singing” but it amazes me.
Chesney quit the army and he start a band
He used to play that club down at Hermosa Strand
I think they’re changing the name again
Down in Holland where the windows are big
They paint the buildings bright
Because they figured the rain is coming who knows when?
Freaky little story, too.
6. The Sonics – Psycho
I wanted to throw something in from old Seattle; something from before my time. These guys are local legends.
7. Eighth Blackbird – “Still Life with Avalanche”
I saw Eighth Blackbird about a year-and-a-half ago at the Neptune Theatre. Amazing sounds; intricate, meshed, compounded compositions. It is the greatest thing I’ve seen this century. If you don’t know them, you should really spend some time with them. Here’s a taste.
8. Eighth Blackbird – “One with the Birds”
In fact, I’m going to give you two. When I saw them, after some instrumentals, they had Bonnie Prince Billy come out to sing some murder ballads written for them. Surprise dimension added.
At one point, with all this complicated music, high intensity, suddenly everybody on stage was screaming blood-curdling shrills. Brilliant! I can’t find that track on YT (or elsewhere). (I don’t know the name of the song, and now can’t remember what they were screaming.)
9. Wire – “Heartbeat”
I notice that Rough Trade Records have re-issued the Wire catalogue; really cool goth-punk band from the 1980s. People might want to know about these guys, if they don’t already.
I remember I was listening to them on my headphones prior to one of my area exams in graduate school, dancing a little, blocking out the anxiety. The proctor kept telling me that recordings were not allowed during the test, and I kept responding that the test hadn’t begun yet. She really hated me. Karen, I think? Of course, I bombed the test; I’m terrible at exams. Good times
10. Adam Cork – Swing Gently Sweet Harlem
Featured in the amazing movie, Genius, that trombone line, just after the introductory trumpet solo … slays my wee brain. Beautiful. With just a few exceptions, I have not found my way with jazz yet. This track helps.
Genius is a beautiful movie about friendship, the agony of the writing process – the taming of prose – and growing the fuck up. It tells the story of novelist Thomas Wolfe (not Tom Wolfe in a white suit) and editor Max Perkins. (Perkins was the editor for Wolfe, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald.)
I’m going to give you the full scene from the movie, too. We’re a full-service music blog here: storytelling, lexis edification, movie reviews.
11. Goat Girl – Viperfish
The girls went acoustic at a BBC session. I’ve still never been able to put words to why I love them so much. They have sound.
12. Goat Girl – Tomorrow
They posted two songs from the session on FB last week. You get them both.
13. Nice as Fuck – “Guns”
What could we do about gun violence in this country? Plenty. Would elected officials be willing to do the hard work of fair-minded, effective gun control measures? Apparently not. Would statistical studies by the CDC be useful? Seems true. Let the protest mount. Pretty song, too.
14. XTC – “Melt the Guns”
I should say, I’m not so much anti-gun, per se. I know plenty of sane, safety-minded people with guns, and I’ve shot guns myself. Still, gun safes and child-safety locks are out of play?
15. John Doe with Mike McCready
I’m going to close this playlist with an entire set. The local radio station has these live, in-studio sessions; guests play live on the radio, and then a video is posted on YT. It’s a good series.
I met a woman a few months ago; she helped me for almost 2 hours picking out a new BW camera. We talked about other stuff and music, and she mentioned this series. I told her about this show and she stopped motion to consume the information.
It’s a cool set. Friendly, relaxed, musical exchanges between Doe and McCready, and Mike puts some great spins on John’s songs. I’m not just blabling, that first exchange is words to live by: John asked Mike if he wanted to sit in, and ‘yes’, 30 minutes later he has a guitar in hand on a live set. None of the “… well, I have to look at my calendar” kind of shit. These are real people.
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