Sunday, September 30, 2007

I don't go for anything drawn with perspec-

One of the things I really like about the David Candy album Play Power is that it's the 180 degree opposite of what my life in 2007 consists of. It's an audio movie, with David (portrayed by Ian Svenonius) comforting you, detailing his favorite art, recipe, city, and cultural paranoias over beautifully recreated swingin' '60s psych pop and Spanish guitar (provided by Jeremy Butler, John Austin, and friends), and covering some choice '60s soundtracks hits, closing with a rendition of Krzysztof Komeda's "Lullaby From Rosemary's Baby". Again, that's Ian Svenonius singing the lullaby from Rosemary's Baby. Also, I say portrayed because Svenonius described the David Candy album thusly in the Summer 2003 issue of Skyscraper: "David Candy is absolute fantasy. It was a movie that I was asked to be in. Essentially, David Candy is part of a set of character records. It's a fantasy constellation that was scripted. I can't take credit for that." More than anything, Play Power is an ideal album for those already caught up in the NOU/Make Up/Weird War rapture, who want to live in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg rather than hear the guy at work talk about 300 (again), and can be found autographed in your local record store's used bin from time to time.

David Candy - "Incomprehensibly Yours"
David Candy - "redfuschiatamborine&gravel"
David Candy - "Lullaby From Rosemary's Baby"

The best car song of the week was "The Beautiful Ones" and all of Purple Rain. Also, I can't stop my crushes on Farah's "Law of Life" and the new Keyshia Cole song, but I don't know that I really want to. Oh and the Moondog book is available, despite some confusion about the release date. I'm looking at my copy and listening to the accompanying CD as we speak.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

They are the monsters we never became.
Whoops! As usual this is several days/weeks overdue, but it's worth it. First up is Fucked Up's Year Of The Pig 12"--part of their Chinese Zodiac series, which is enough to tell you they're working with an entirely different creative agenda than 99.9% of their punk brethren. In fact, they've spent the better part of their 6+ year career making decidedly gruff rock n roll 'core with an increasingly non-core aesthetic sense, resulting in 5-minutes-or-longer hardcore jams (that, miraculously, don't overstay their welcome), stunning, clean sleeve design work, and intense esoteric conceptual theorizing. I'd only followed them here-and-there for the last couple years, and thought they were decent--a lot to like, not enough to really love--but this 12" is a whole different story. The title track (an epic in 18 minutes and 38 seconds to be exact) is easily the single of the year, and possibly the defining punk moment of the '00s. Their own unorthodox, expansive hardcore language gets stretched even further to somehow fit The Cardigans, Neu!, and an impeccably crafted insight into the existentially crushing human/pig struggle. Every publication and critic on Earth is probably talking about how great this record is (I haven't even mentioned the flip side's shorter rocker "The Black Hats") and how Fucked Up is the only band that matters, and now I'm pretty sure they're all telling the truth.

Fucked Up - "Year Of The Pig"

And speaking of Neu!--I finally heard that Harmonia album (1974's Musik Von Harmonia) I read about in the Freak Scene column, and I think I like parts of it more than Neu! (and honestly, De-Luxe may be even better). Main Neu! dude Michael Rother's collaboration with Cluster dudes Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius is characteristically pretty kraut-y, with a major pro-synth, anti-guitar bent. The motorik beat is only used sparingly ("Dino"), ditched largely in favor of weird keyboard jungle rhythms, pre-rave spasms, or wandering electronic compositions befitting, perhaps, a meditative '70s/'80s Italian thriller--not bad for three Germaniacs plotting out "endless sheets of bliss" or whatever it is Thom Yorke says on the cover of the first Neu! cd. A nice addition to your good, bad, or indifferent krautrock collection.

Harmonia - "Watussi"
Harmonia - "Dino"
Harmonia - "Hausmusik"

I finally got my David Scott Stone credit card CD-R and it sounds like this. He has a new record coming out on PPM soon and seems to be a hero to many, myself included. The best Les Savy Fav song in a while is still "Raging In The Plague Age", but the new record is alright. I feel a little corny liking "The Man Who Sold The World" as much as I do, but that organ and whatever that shaker instrument is and those moany vocals at the end make it hard to be ashamed. Also, check out Pissed Jeans on the radio and the video, and some great dog photos (1, 2).

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I kept on living in my own dream.
Nick Cave kind of nails it in the liner notes to last year's re-issue of Karen Dalton's final album, 1971's In My Own Time. He forgoes the historical review/significance-in-the-lost-folk-pantheon route taken by Lenny Kaye and the shitty poetry route taken by Devendra Banhart, and instead talks about listening to "Something On Your Mind" over and over, how much he likes her voice, and the album itself being inextricably linked to a very specific time and place in his life--more or less exactly what I would have said, our experiences with the record being almost identical. Granted, his "time and place" was an extended stay in Sao Paulo, Brazil some years back after a Bad Seeds tour, while mine was driving my grandmother through the back roads between my parents' house in Newark and her new apartment in Clifton Springs last fall, trying to shake off what felt at the time like a monumental, crushing personal defeat. But still, the record had a similar impact, and I imagine the Cave and Werts experience is not unlike that of anyone who spends some time with Dalton's follow-up to her also-great, surreptitiously-recorded debut (1969's It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best). You lock into "Something On Your Mind" because it's so classic and starts off with that awesome, kind of distorted bass count-off, and you listen to it like 100 times before you even get to the other songs. And you maybe think the other songs are alright, and that a couple of the cover choices are questionable ("When A Man Loves A Woman" being linked with Michael Bolton and lame Andy Garcia/Meg Ryan movies in your mind). But at some point you realize that her voice is a fucking saxophone sound, that all the songs you may have thought were filler-ish are actually pretty good, and that she was such a skilled interpreter of other peoples' songs that nobody will ever care that she never recorded a single original composition. I mean, I'm pretty sure that's the universal In My Own Time experience.

Karen Dalton - "Something On Your Mind"
Karen Dalton - "In A Station"
Karen Dalton - "Are You Leaving For The Country"

I should have mentioned this earlier but--yes, there's a new Soiled Mattress song up on their myspace place, and yes, their upcoming EP is called Honk Honk Bonk!. Also, compilations can be pretty good. Thai Pop Spectacular has Onuma Singsiri's "Mae Kha Som Tum (Papaya Salad Merchant)" and other songs with equally great names. After Dark opens with maybe the best Glass Candy song I've ever heard, called "Rolling Down The Hills (Spring Demo)". And if you haven't checked out Oliver Wang's Soul Symphony mix at his Soul Sides page, then you need to get on that (and if you can clue me in as to the full tracklist, please get on that, as well!). If you only have room on your drive for one side, I'd go with Side B, but Side A is no slouch.