Categories
Mental Health Politics Post Punk

Joy Division & Depression

I really wanted to share this paragraph by Mark Fisher about depression, in relationship to Joy Division’s music, but I wasn’t sure exactly about the context I was able to give with this.

It struck a chord with me & I wanted to share it. He’s kind of talking about the difference between sadness & depression. Melancholia & someone feeling melancholic.I think that if someone is feeling sad or melancholic & isn’t sure whether or not they’d describe it as depression, this is a really succinct description of what depression feels like. I hope it helps.

The depressive experiences himself as walled off from the lifeworld, so that his own frozen inner life – or inner death – overwhelms everything; at the same time, he experiences himself as evacuated, totally denuded, a shell: there is nothing except the inside, but the inside is empty. For the depressive, the habits of the former lifeworld now seem to be, precisely, a mode of playacting, a series of pantomime gestures (‘a circus complete with all fools’), which they are both no longer capable of performing and which they no longer wish to perform – there’s no point, everything is a sham.

Mark Fisher, No Longer the Pleasures: Joy Division

In addition to sharing this paragraph, I also wanted to share some of Joy Division’s music videos. Primarily because I love them & hope you can get something out of them too. At the top of the post is an unofficial video for the excellent opening track from Unknown Pleasures, Disorder. Here too is the official performance video for the amazing single, Transmission.

I do plan to write more detailed & helpful posts about depression, & how it ties into our contemporary reality & what we can do to combat it, but I don’t think I’m ready yet. I hope this post helps a little & that you enjoy the music.

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Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): The Flaming Lips – Talkin’ ‘Bout The Smilin’ Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants To Live Forever)

Day 7. The link in the chain for today’s entry is Mercury Rev’s frontman, Jonathan Donahue, who served a brief stint as lead guitarist with The Flaming Lips. He appeared on two albums In A Priest Driven Ambulance & Hit To Death In The Future Head. This tune is taken from the latter.

With it’s massively unwieldy title, Talkin’ ‘Bout The Smilin’ Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants To Live Forever), it’s easy to see why the official video shortened it to Everyone Wants To Live Forever. It’s a fast paced psychedelic Punk jam with noisy guitars & the comically low pitched “woop woop, woop woop, woop woop woooooop” hook. Once this is stuck in your head, it’s there forever. I can think of worse fates.

Imagination, that’s the way that it seems
Man can’t only live in his dreams
Oh, it seems so hardIf I’d lived a thousand times before
And if I’m gonna live anymore
Always brings me down

Everyone wants to live forever
Thinkin’ that it’d be a lot better
Everyone wants to live forever, whoa

The feeling in my head starts heading South
It seems it stops the fever from shootin’ out of my mouth
Life gushing all around

Everyone wants to live forever
Thinkin’ that it’d be a lot better
Everyone wants to live forever, whoa

Everyone wants to live forever
But no one ever gets it together
And everyone wants to live forever, whoa

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa

Keep up to date with the Song of the Day (The Chain) Spotify playlist.

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Rock Rock And Roll

Neil Young – Homegrown

Neil Young’s “lost” 1974 album, Homegrown, finally saw release this year. Although it has been around for years in various bootleg forms (& some songs from it have been played live over the years), the new release is the first time a Neil Young approved version of Homegrown has been available for fans.

As much as I love Neil Young, it would be quite dishonest to describe myself as anything other than a casual fan. I own a few of his records (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After The Gold Rush, Harvest, American Stars ‘N Bars etc.) & this excellent greatest hits collection, but I am by no means a collector or completionist. As such, I have personally never heard any previous bootleg versions of Homegrown before. Although I do know the version of the title track that made it onto American Stars ‘N Bars. I am approaching this as a fresh Neil Young album & with a little excitement, if I’m being honest.

Rock steady rhythm section. Check. Country inflected rock rhythms. Check. Atmospheric, instinctual harmonica playing. Check. Lapsteel. Check. Plaintive falsetto vocals. Check. This is definitely a ’70’ Neil Young album. Homegrown seems to be light on the crunchy guitar sound that Young was already known for at this point.

Separate Ways & Try are heavily lead by the rhythm section, lapsteel & harmonica providing the majority of melodic content. Mexico is one of Young’s melancholic piano ballads. Love Is A Rose is a percussive country rock song campfire song, with hard strummed acoustic guitars adding colour to the percussion more than anything. Homegrown is the first time we hear any crunchy rock guitar. It’s the same classic rock anthem you know from American Stars ‘N Bars, but perhaps a little rawer in the production. A bit of a highlight for me. Even though it’s not as new as much of the album.

Florida feels to me like something between a satire & a pastiche of Jim Morrisons’ spoken word poetry. Neil Young slowly tells a story about an idyllic town in Florida, a horrific gliding accident & a newly orphaned child, over a noise collage of guitar feedback & tape hiss. It’s very different to the rest of Homegrown. There’s a distinct dreamlike quality to it & it really stands out to me.The following track, Kansas, seems to continue the story , opening with the line “I feel like I just woke up from a bad dream” & featuring references to gliding. It’s a subdued acoustic solo track. Melancholic, minimalist melodies which wouldn’t sound totally out of place on After The Gold Rush. It’s hard to write about new music by an artist with a catalogue as vast as Neil Young’s, without comparing tracks to others from his catalogue.

We Don’t Smoke It No More is plodding, blues inspired Rock And Roll, with barroom piano, harmonica histrionics & as solid a rhythm as you’ll find anywhere on Homegrown. There’s plenty of Neil Young’s rough and ready lead guitar playing to go around too.

White lines is all midnight harmonica, galloping country rhythms & instinctive sounding acoustic guitar playing. It has an almost jammed quality to it, improvisational. It reminds me of when a demo is so good it gets included on the album.

Vacancy is a mid tempo rock number with big crunchy guitars. Practically written for stadium & festival gigs. I imagine it would sound thrilling in the open air. Little Wing is another tune which has appeared on other releases. 1980’s Hawks & Doves in this case. It’s another simple, acoustic led ballad with beautiful atmospheric harmonica parts.

To end, we’ve got Star Of Bethlehem, which also appeared originally on American Stars ‘N Bars. A chipper, upbeat Country Pop song with pleasant vocal harmonies & biblical references. Follows in Neil’ Young’s “tradition” of putting pleasant, short & simple songs at the ends of albums. Think Cripple Creek Ferry at the end of After The Gold Rush. That’s the kind of ballpark we’re in here.

Homegrown is out now on Silver Bow Productions.

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Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): Mercury Rev – Goddess On A HiWay

Day 6. A slightly more obscure link today. The link between NYC by Interpol & Goddess On A HiWay by Mercury Rev is that they were both recorded by the same engineer, Peter Katis.

As well as sharing of behind-the-scenes personnel, both songs share a similar melancholic, almost elegiac, quality. Goddess On A HiWay is a huge, cinematic late ’90’s production & was a fairly big deal on alternative music TV (namely/mainly MTV2) & with UK radio DJ’s like Steve Lamacq & John Peel.

Well, I got us on a highway and I got us in a car
Got us going faster than we’ve ever gone before
I got us on a highway and I got us in a car
Got us going faster than we’ve ever gone before


And I know it ain’t gonna last
And I know it ain’t gonna last
When I see your eyes arrive
They explode like two bugs on glass


Far above the ocean, deep under the sea
There’s a river running dry because of you and me
Far above the ocean, deep under the sea
There’s a river running dry because of you and me

And I know it ain’t gonna last
And I know it ain’t gonna last
When I see your eyes arrive
They explode like two bugs on glass

She’s a goddess on a highway, a goddess in a car
A goddess going faster than she’s ever gone before
She’s a goddess on a highway, a goddess in a car
A goddess going faster than she’s ever gone before

And I know it ain’t gonna last
And I know it ain’t gonna last
When I see your eyes arrive
They explode like two bugs on glass
And I know it ain’t gonna last …
It ain’t gonna last …

Keep up to date with the Song of the Day (The Chain) Spotify playlist.

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Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): Interpol – NYC

Day 5. It would have been so easy to go with something by Bright Eyes to link up with yesterdays tune by Phoebe Bridgers, since they have a band together. Instead I decided to go with another link. Cities. I was thinking about songs which are about cities & are named after one. A friend of mine had just posted on Facebook that they were listening to Interpol’s debut album, Turn On The Bright Lights, & I remembered that it included the excellent, melancholic NYC.

So from Kyoto to NYC we go. NYC is one of the more downtempo tunes on Turn On The Bright Lights, a mournful dirge, claustrophobically bleak. The most common comparison made by the music press at the time of release was Joy Division. This isn’t inaccurate, but I definitely see a lot more influences in their, not least their contemporaries & fellow New Yorkers, The Strokes.

I had seven faces 
Thought I knew which one to wear
I’m sick of spending these lonely nights 
Training myself not to care

The subway is a porno 
The pavements they are a mess
I know you’ve supported me for a long time
Somehow I’m not impressed

But New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)

Subway she is a porno 
And the pavements they are a mess
I know you’ve supported me for a long time
Somehow I’m not impressed

It’s up to me now turn on the bright lights
Oh, it’s up to me now turn on the bright lights

New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)

It’s up to me now turn on the bright lights
(Got to be some more change in my life)
Oh, it’s up to me now turn on the bright lights
(Got to be some more change in my life)

Keep up to date with the Song of the Day (The Chain) Spotify playlist.

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Categories
Indie Rock Synth Pop

The Flaming Lips – My Religion Is You

Hot on the heels of their last single, May’s Flowers Of Neptune 6, those fabulous freaks The Flaming Lips drop another new single from their forthcoming album American Head, due out on 11th September.

My Religion Is You pulls off a tried, tested & extremely effective trick with the mournful, acoustic folk intro which soon morphs into widescreen psychedelic Pop. The guitars all but disappear, synthetic bass & sampled strings laying the groundwork for Wayne Coyne’s acid-frazzled falsetto. Some delightfully off-kilter lead guitars melodies return for the songs instrumental bridge.

Like Flowers Of Neptune 6, My Religion Is You is accompanied by a fiery video. Coyne sings into the camera in front of a wall of fire, holding a bunch of oversized flowers. A Buddhist monk carries a crucifix with a floral wreath attached to it. Like the recent Bright Eyes single I reviewed a couple of days ago, The Flaming Lips seem to be in a pessimistically apocalyptic mood right now. Perhaps there’s something in the air.

Yeah Buddha’s cool
And you’re no fool
To believe anything
You need
To believe in
If Hari Krishna
Maybe it’s the
Thing for you

Hey that’s cool
I don’t need no religion
You’re all I need
You’re the thing I believe in

Nothing else is true
My religion is you
My religion is you
My religion is you

If being a Christian
Is your thing then
Own it friend
Don’t phone it in

I don’t need no religion
You’re all I need
You’re the thing I believe in

Nothing else is true
My religion is you
My religion is you
My religion is you

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Categories
Folk Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): Phoebe Bridgers – Kyoto

Day 4. The connection between The Lemonheads & Phoebe Bridgers is that they’ve both covered songs by Simon & Garfunkel. I told you the links could be as obvious or obscure as I feel like. The links can refer to either the song, the artist or both. Since yesterdays Lemonheads tune wasn’t their Simon & Garfunkel cover (Mrs. Robinson), I decided not to use Phoebe Bridgers’ Simon & Garfunkel cover (7 O’Clock News / Silent Night) either. I chose Kyoto because a) it’s a great tune & b) it’s a great video. As simple as that.

Kyoto is taken from Phoebe Bridgers’ excellent new album, Punisher, released last Friday. This is already a strong contender for my album of the year so expect a review of it in the next few days.

Day off in Kyoto
I got bored at the temple
Looked around at the 7-11
The band took the speed train
Went to the arcade
I wanted to go but I didn’t
You called me from a payphone
They still got pay phones
It cost a dollar a minute
To tell me you’re getting sober 
And you wrote me a letter
But I don’t have to read it
I’m gonna kill you
If you don’t beat me to it
Dreaming through Tokyo skies
I wanted to see the world
Then I flew over the ocean
And I changed my mind
Sunset’s been a freak show
On the weekend 
So I’ve been driving out to the suburbs
To park at the Goodwill 
And stare at the chem trails
With my little brother
He said you called on his birthday
You were off by like ten days
But you get a few points for trying
Remember getting the truck fixed 
When you let us drive it
Twenty-five felt like flying
I don’t forgive you
But please don’t hold me to it
Born under Scorpio skies
I wanted to see the world
Through your eyes until it happened
Then I changed my mind
Guess I lied
I’m a liar
Who lies
‘Cause I’m a liar

Keep up to date with the Song of the Day (The Chain) Spotify playlist.

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Categories
Blues Folk Poetry Rock

Bob Dylan breaks record for oldest artist ot top UK album chart

It was reported by the BBC today that Bob Dylan has just broken the record for oldest artist to have a number one album of new, original material in the UK. This is great new for Dylan & his fans. It also comes hot on the heels of his first US Billboard chart number one, with the fantastic new single Murder Most Foul.

At 79 years old, Dylan has overtaken previous record holder, Paul Simon, who hit the top spot in 2006, at the age of 74, with Stranger To Stranger. Dame Vera Lynne holds the record for oldest artist to have a number one album with her 2009 greatest hit’s collection, We’ll Meet Again. She was 92. Maybe in 13 years time, Dylan can beat her too.

This is a significant achievement & I’m happy for DYlan. Check out this great animated lyric video for Dylan’s most recent single, False Prophet.

And while we’re on the topic of Bob Dylan, he’s just uploaded this video to his YouTube channel. An alternative take of If Not For You.

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Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): The Lemonheads – The Outdoor Type

Day 3. The connection between Dinosaur Jr’s Little Furry Things & The Outdoor Type by The Lemonheads is one of personnel. During this period of The Lemonheads career they were briefly joined by Patrick Murphy, aka Murph, after he had recently left Dinosaur Jr.

I’ve just found out tonight while making this blogpost that theis song was actually a cover. I honestly never knew. The original is by the Australian Indie band Smudge, who I likewise hadn’t heard of before tonight. That’s someone else for me to check out.

Always had a roof above me 
Always paid the rent
But I’ve never set foot inside a tent
Can’t build a fire to save my life
I lied about being the outdoor type

I’ve never slept out underneath the stars,
The closest that I came to that was one time my car
Broke down for an hour in the suburbs at night
I lied about being the outdoor type.

Too scared to let you know you knew what you were looking for
I lied until I fit the bill god bless the great indoors
I lied about being the outdoor type
I’ve never owned a sleeping bag let alone a mountain bike

I can’t go away with you on a rock climbing weekend
What if somethings on tv and its never shown again
Its just as well I’m not invited I’m afraid of heights
I lied about being the outdoor type

Never learned to swim can’t grow a beard or even fight
I lied about being the outdoor type

Keep up to date with the Song of the Day (The Chain) Spotify playlist.

[Spotify https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1xwDnnpH11CqLTAZdsHSDL?si=HKsDeZ0hTSq6I_hCMaoXhg%5D

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Indie Rock

Bright Eyes – Mariana Trench

A new single from Bright Eyes (his fourth this year) from his upcoming album Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was.

Mariana Trench doesn’t do anything different to what Bright Eyes has always done, but as the old idiom goes, if it ain’t broke… It’s heartfelt, intelligent Indie Folk with pessimistically apocalyptic lyrics, unusual instrumentation & a semi-improvised, jam-like quality to it. It’s what Bright Eyes fans want & expect from him & presumably why he’s switched back to using the Bright Eyes moniker. For the past several years he has been operating under his given name, Connor Oberst.

As well as being a great tune, Mariana Trench has a sad & beautiful animated video to accompany it. It’s a wonderful stop-motion watercolour film which seems to express regret at colonialism & the extinction by hunting of the American Bison. This feeds naturally into a lot of the debates currently raging in politics, especially in light of the impending environmental collapse & rise of populist nationalism which celebrates (& idolises) the horrors of colonialism.

Lyrically, this seems to be about the ongoing collapse of late stage capitalism which we are currently living through. This connects to the imagery in the video & the pessimistic apocalyptic vibes mentioned above. I don’t mind admitting that I’m sharing a lot of that pessimism myself & that automatically aligns me to this work & reminds me why I love the guy so much in the first place. Recent events have reminded me of his Old Soul Song (For A New World Order). It’s interesting to note that the protests he discusses in this were against the new puritanism of the George W Bush regime & the wars in Afghanistan & Iraq. Without downplaying the horror & death of those times, they almost seem like the ‘good old days’ compared to 2020.

Well they’d better save some space for me
In that growing cottage industry
Where selfishness is currency
People spend more than they make

So I wrapped my head in bandages
From the string of happy accidents
I guess maybe I asked for it
But who am I to say

The closing bell death tolls
Hear the market crash
A crying trader swears he’ll get out of the game
The cowboy drinks himself to death
Fresh out of rehab
While they’re loading all the rifles on the range

Look up at that Everest
Look down in that Mariana Trench
Look now as the crumbling 405 falls down
When the big one hits
Look out for the plainclothes
Look out for what the wiretap knows
Look out on the ever-widening money trail and where it goes

It takes a lot of gall
To try to please
These dehumanizing entities
I befriended all my enemies
They had my back against the wall

Oh a coward is
What a coward does
I suppose maybe I always was
But I’m sick of it
I’ve had enough
And now I’m ready for the war

The lion bows his head down
To the ringmaster
With the tightrope stretched so high
Above the crowd
All these faces are contortionists
It must have hurt
Because they all looked as unhappy
As a clown

Look long at that Stonehenge
Look quick is it something you missed
Look in to that smoldering building’s bombed out fog
Until it finally lifts
Look up at that big wave
Look down at your other brother’s grave
Look hard for a harder something to sacrifice
That’s what it takes
That’s what it takes

Look up at that Everest
Look down in that Mariana Trench
Look now as the crumbling 405 falls down
Oh when the big one hits
Look out for the plainclothes
Speak soft what the wiretap knows
Look out on that ever-widening money trail
And where it goes
Where does it go?

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