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Folk Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): British Sea Power – The Smallest Church In Sussex

Day 26. Tonight I finished my first playthrough of the incredible detective RPG Disco Elysium. It has a soundtrack by British Sea Power, who I love, & there is a scene in which the main protagonist sings an altered version of this song entitled ‘The Smallest Church In Saint-Saëns’. I’ve included this version below for the curious. The vocals are by the protagonists Ancient Reptilian Brain.

I would often go there
To the tiny church there
The smallest church in Sussex
Though it once was larger

How the rill may rest there
Down through the mist there
Toward the Seven Sisters
Toward those white cliffs there

I would ofter stay there
In there tiny yard there
I have been so glad here
Looking forward to the past here

But now you are alone
None of this matters at all

Looking for some great music? Check out the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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Folk Indie Rock Pop twee

Belle & Sebastian Black Sessions 1998

I felt the need to share this VHS-rip of a full Belle & Sebastian set from 1998 because it is, quite frankly, marvellous. The band were at the peak of their powers during this period & the set includes songs from their first three albums and EP’s.

The sound quality has a few issues at times, being a rip of a VHS tape which was recorded from the TV 23 years ago, but is generally quite good. Well worth the few minor imperfections.

Tracklist:

1 The Boy Done Wrong Again

2 Dog On Wheels

3 Paper Boat + Seeing Other People

4 Century Of Fakers

5 I Know Where The Summer Goes

6 Mayfly

7 The Wrong Girl

8 Dirty Dream Number Two

9 Poupee De Cire, Poupee De Son

10 Slow Graffiti

11 I Don’t Love Anyone

12 Sleep The Clock Around

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Categories
Art Pop Experimental Folk Indie Rock

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Beta Band – Inner Meet Me

Day 20.

Psychedelic Indie madness from The Beta Band today. Taken from their excellent second EP, The Patty Patty Sound, Inner Meet Me is a messy, glorious mix of frazzled lo-fi folk, subby bass & bleepy, delayed Dub sirens.

I was reminded about the band because they, & the video for this song, are the subject of a poem I have been writing over the last few days, which should see the light of day on my other blog, Slow News City.

Inner Meet Me, oh you can’t decide (repeated) 

Last night I dreamt somebody fell asleep between my knees. 
I couldn’t help it that the facts were rejected by a boy who called me (repeated 3 times) 

She said to me,  
keep your head up,  
never show up, 
keep it all in 
never dream alone 
Play on a star 
Moves too far 
Say what you feel 
Speak when you kneel 
Never dream alone 
Never dream alone 

If you were feeling that the light is on the ceiling then you can’t see past your nose. 
Cos what you’re seeing is the man underneath the beam she’s a fool below low. 
I never listen but the people they were christened I wonder who was the one. 
A better placement for the basement when he’s chasing Mrs Mason when they’re facing on the relation  

She said to me,  
keep your head up,  
never show up, 
keep it all in, 
never dream alone 
Play on a star 
Moves too far 
Say what you feel 
Speak when you kneel 
Never dream alone 
Never dream alone

Last night I dreamt somebody fell asleep between my knees 
I couldnt help it that the facts were recjected by a boy called me (repeated 3 times) 

She said to me,  
keep your head up,  
never show up, 
keep it all in, 
never dream alone 
Play on a star 
Moves too far 
Say what you feel 
Speak when you kneel 
Never dream alone 
Never dream alone

Looking for some great music? Check out the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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Dream Pop Folk Indie Rock Pop Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): Phoebe Bridgers – Motion Sickness

Day 15.

Apologies for the long delay between Song of the Day posts. Due to a hectic schedule I’ve fallen behind a little but I’ll attempt to remedy that going forward.

This song (& its great video) have been coming on a lot recently when I just leave YouTube playing & as such it’s getting stuck in my head quite a lot recently. Great song by a great artist that everyone should be checking out if they haven’t yet. Her recent album, Punisher, is a strong contender for album of the year.

I hate you for what you did
And I miss you like a little kid
I faked it every time, but that’s alright
I can hardly feel anything
I hardly feel anything at all

You gave me fifteen hundred
To see your hypnotherapist
I only went one time, you let it slide
Fell on hard times a year ago
Was hoping you would let it go and you did

I have emotional motion sickness
Somebody roll the windows down
There are no words in the English language
I could scream to drown you out

I’m on the outside looking through
You’re throwing rocks around your room
And while you’re bleeding on your back in the glass
I’ll be glad that I made it out
And sorry that it all went down like it did

I have emotional motion sickness
Somebody roll the windows down
There are no words in the English language
I could scream to drown you out

And why do you sing with an English accent?
I guess it’s too late to change it now
You know I’m never gonna let you have it
But I will try to drown you out

You said when you met me you were bored
You said when you met me you were bored
And you, you were in a band when I was born

I have emotional motion sickness
I try to stay clean and live without
And I wanna know what would happen
If I surrender to the sound
Surrender to the sound

Check out the Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral) Spotify playlist.

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Experimental Folk Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Movie Soundtracks): The Beta Band – Dry The Rain

Day 10. I’m not really sure how I feel about the movie adaptation of Nick Hornby’s The High Fidelity. I remember enjoying it somewhat, but the smug, salesman-like smarminess of the scene in which Dry The Rain by The Beta Band plays really grates on me. I guess it does highlight how amazing the song is, even if it does so in such an aloof & arrogant way. What did you folks make of this scene?

Dry The Rain was the lead track on The Beta Band’s 1997 debut EP Champion Versions (& later The Three E.P.’s). This acid-soaked, Psyche Folk melancholia was a blast of invigoratingly fresh air when it first emerged. It was millions of miles away from the late Britpop which was just about hanging on to relevance in 1997.

Late afterthought: While adding The Beta Band to the ‘tags’ on this post I was surprised to see I haven’t written anything about them before. Expect this to be addressed soon.

The scene

This is the definition of my life
Lying in bed in the sunlight
Choking on the vitamin tablet
The doctor gave in the hope of saving me
In the hope of saving me

Walked in the corner of the room
A junk yard fool with eyes of gloom
I asked him time again
Take me in and dry the rain
Take me in and dry the rain
Take me in and dry the rain
Take me in and dry the rain the rain
The rain the rain the rain now

Dusty brown boots in the corner
By the ironing board
Spray on dust is the greatest thing
Sure is the greatest thing
Since the last since the last

Walked in the corner of the room
A junk yard fool with eyes of gloom
I asked him time again
Take me in and dry the rain
Take me in and dry the rain
Take me in and dry the rain
Take me in and dry the rain the rain
The rain the rain the rain now

I asked him time again
Take me in and dry the rain
Take me in and dry the rain
Take me in and dry the rain
Take me in and dry the rain
The rain the rain the rain now

If there’s something inside that you want to say
Say it out loud it’ll be okay
I will be your light
I will be your light
I will be your light
I will be your light

If there’s something inside that you want to say
Say it out loud it’ll be okay
I will be your light
I will be your light
I will be your light
I will be your light

I Need Love, yeah
I Need Love

If there’s something inside that you want to say
Say it out loud it’ll be okay
I will be your light
I will be your light
I will be your light
I will be your light

If there’s something inside that you want to say
Say it out loud it’ll be okay
I will be your light
I will be your light
I will be your light
I will be your light

I need love
I need love

Looking for some great music? Check the Song of the Day (Movie Soundtracks) Spotify playlist.

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Folk Pop Rock And Roll Uncategorized

Song of the Day (Movie Soundtracks): Bob Dylan – The Man In Me

Day 3. The Big Lebowski is a strong contender for my favourite film so it is a pleasure to choose a song from its soundtrack for todays Song of the Day. Bob Dylan’s The Man In Me soundtracks two separate scenes in the film, the introduction (see the first video below) & a further scene where The Dude (Jeff Bridges) is knocked out & has a hallucinatory dream (see the second video).

La la la la
La la la la
La la la la
La la la la

The man in me will do nearly any task
And as for compensation, there’s little he would ask
Take a woman like you
To get through to the man in me

Storm clouds are raging all around my door
I think to myself I might not take it any more
Take a woman like your kind
To find the man in me

But, oh, what a wonderful feeling
Just to know that you are near
Sets my a heart a-reeling
From my toes up to my ears

The man in me will hide sometimes to keep from bein’ seen
But that’s just because he doesn’t want turn into some machine
Took a woman like you
To get through to the man in me

La la la la
La la la la

Looking for some great music? Check the Song of the Day (Movie Soundtracks) Spotify Playlist.

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Electronic Music Experimental Folk Hauntology

Intermission – Ghost Box Recordings

Ghost Box is as much a parallel universe, or an alternative present, as it is a record label. It’s music, the achingly niche Hauntology, is a cross-dimensional transmission from a world where the postwar consensus of democratic socialism was never subjugated by the negating homogenisation effects of Neoliberalism. Instead, the warm, parental powers of a benevolent bureaucracy would have carried us forward into near-utopian levels of prosperity & comfort.

Hauntology, & Ghost Box particularly, is the sound of musicians & artists mourning the loss of that particular present. It’s a futuristic sound which hearkens backwards to the last time that futuristic sounds actually sounded ahead of us, chronologically. It is a sound which is equally steeped in warmth & stasis. A nostalgic cry for a better world in this age of stillness.

from O.E.D.

Intermission, the new compilation album consisting of new material from many of Ghost Box’s top tier artists – The Advisory Circle, Belbury Poly, Plone, Roj to name a few – comes during an intermission forced upon us by the global Pandemic, & as a result of it. It’s songs draw from both forthcoming Ghost Box releases & ones which were specially recorded/produced for this compilation.

The record starts with reverb soaked drums, a ’70’s style TV ident melody & the following reading by writer Justin Hopper over a shifting, warm soundscape:

What are the dimensions of a memory? What is its square footage? And where do its boundaries lie? We speak, sometimes, of gaps in our memories, as though our past exists only in what we can still see in our minds eye. But what if there are no gaps? What if they are, instead, memories themselves? Memories of a pause. Let’s experiment together. Let’s take a moment to forget all the actions and events of our lives, and gather up instead all of the gaps, string them together into one long memory of intermissions. And if we do, will it be silent? I don’t think so. I think it will sound of a hum. A hum that slowly builds until it begins to buzz, and eventually, quietly, to roar.

It’s both comforting & unsettling. The warmth of the soundscape is undercut with a sense of foreboding that it’s hard to place. It’s also pleasant to think of intermissions, pauses, as being important enough to form together into a buzz, a roar. It’s a welcome reminder that banal balance of pandemic lockdown is important. You might not be able to do what you want to do but you are still living your life, & time at rest in the age of Neoliberalism is a rarity we must treasure while we can.

Melancholic beauty abounds on Intermission. The Advisory Circle’s Airflow is downtempo analogue synth lines & Lo-Fi drum machine loops bubbling away deep beneath the comfort blanket of the nostalgic melodies.Woodbury Vale by The Hardy Tree is bucolic beauty & sugar sweet analogue synth tones. Beautify Junkyards (excellent name) is adventurous synth Folk, drenched in atmospheric reverb & whimsical, slow motion tropicalia percussion. Sharon Krauss’ Tell Me Why is gorgeous droning, folk, infused with recorder & melodic bell tones.

Justin Hopper delivers another spoken word on soundscape track in the middle of the album. An intermission in Intermission, I guess. A brief, relaxing walk through the Recreation Park. A macabre story of walking home from school after some momentous event involving an explosion.

The Animal Door by Roj (Stevens of Broadcast) is somewhere between a mangled tape experiment & warped ’60’s Psychedelia. Jangly guitars & winding organ melodies set against a backdrop of electronically manipulated drums, it’s as upbeat & relentlessly happy as it is druggy. ToiToiToi, with two songs, utilise simple, percussive melodies looping over library recording style found sound collages & Lo-Fi beats. It’s very lowkey & subtle.

Modern Reels, by Pye Corner Audio, is spectral, dubby, minimal techno while Photon Dust is the analogue sound palate of Hauntology applied to the downtempo heaviness of Hip Hop. If DJ Shadow had room full of analogue synths rather than a pile of Vinyl & an MPC. Plone’s Running And Jumping is manic depressive video game music which reminds me of the wonderful soundtrack to the fictional videogame Petscop.

The Focus Group, with Focustone 1 & Focustone 2 offers a couple of short but sweet electronic sketches. Belbury Poly’s They Left On A Morning Like This, the penultimate track, sees widescreen, cinematic synth strings juxtaposed against analogue arpeggios & lowkey drum machine patterns. The whole song is enveloped in a kind of slow, graceful melancholia which seems to encapsulate the tone of the whoel album.

The album ends on another Justin Hopper reading, this time with sounds from The Focus Group. Intermission Conclusion has more than a hint of The Twilight Zone about it.

Memory isn’t boundless, and it isn’t perfect. We all know that. But is it even on our side? Maybe it’s closest to right when we remember the unmemorious. The gaps, the ice glare, the sheet wind, the circuits and ash. Maybe the gaps are where memory comes into its own, when its partisans join us in the struggle, in those in-between hours. Maybe it’s at its most accurate when it joins us, here, in the intermission.

Intermission is out now on Ghost Box.

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Experimental Folk Hip Hop Indie Rock Overlooked Classics

Overlooked Classics: Beck – Mellow Gold

I’ve just found out that today is Beck’s 50th birthday. Happy Birthday to one of the greatest & most innovative musical artists of the last 30 years. By way of celebrating the great mans birthday, we’ll take a look at his debut studio album, the incredible Mellow Gold.

Mellow Gold is a glorious, ugly mess of Lo-Fi country, Hip-Hop, psychedelia & surrealistic lyrics. This visionary mash up of sounds, samples, textures & its schizoid sound palate are held together by great songwriting. This is a Pop album that you can play to Lo-Fi fans, a Hip-Hop album you can play to Country fans, an avant-garde noise experiment you can play to Hip-Hop heads. It’s incredibly ambitious, & even though it may not quite hit what it’s aiming for, it’s still one of my favourite albums of all time. A Discogs article describes it, dismissively, as sounding “like Beavis and Butt-Head cacophonously flipping through channels”. The tone of the whole piece is quite dismissive actually, also describing it as “a charred coda to “Loser,” leaving the innards of that song on the operating table for all to see”. As if thats a bad thing. Some of us actually love the eccentric, junkyard aesthetic.

The whole concept of Mellow Gold is that it’s like a satanic K-Tel record that’s been found in a trash dumpster. A few people have molested it and slept with it and half-swallowed it before spitting it out. Someone played poker with it, someone tried to smoke it. Then the record was taken to Morocco and covered with hummus and tabouli.

Beck on Mellow Gold, Rolling Stone, 1994

Nowhere else could you hear a song like Beck’s MTV takeover mega hit, Loser, but on Mellow Gold. A YouTube commenter described it as like Kurt Cobain if he’d been on LSD instead of Heroin. It’s based around a sampled drum break, a looped sample of Beck playing slide guitar & a live sitar track (played by producer Karl Stephenson). Into this, at the time, previously unheard of sonic architecture Beck performed some nonsensical rapping & a chorus which, he later explained, was referring to how terrible he was at rapping. “I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me”. Despite this being a throwaway line, it somehow evolved into a kind of ethos for the music of the ’90’s. The anthemic “battlecry” of what became known as Slacker culture (I guess).

Elsewhere we have songs like Pay No Mind (Snoozer), a tape-hiss filled Lo-Fi folk song with bizarre lyrics about “shopping malls coming out of the walls” & “a giant dildo crushing the sun.” All over a Hip-Hop inspired drumloop. Whiskeyclone, Hotel City 1997 is a morose sound collage, mixing spoken word sections with harmonic “ahh ahh” vocals. Steal My Body Home & Blackhole add a touch of psychedelic ’60’s atmosphere to the morose Folk formula, utilising sitars (sampled or otherwise) to great effect. The former feels like a tie-died throw gently laid over a slow drum machine pattern.

There’s plenty of Loser-esque Slacker Hip-Hop here to keep the casual listeners happy too. Soul Suckin’ Jerk & Beercan being the most obvious fit into this formula. Truck Driving Neighbors Downstairs (Yellow Street) sees darker, sinister overtones added to this formula. It’s opening sample a glorious call of “come on motherfucker, put your clothes on, c’mon.” Nitemare Hippy Girl is Syd Barrett-style Psyche Pop, but married to desolate, heartbroken melodies & mock horror movie lyrics. Mutherfucker is an incendiary blast of Grungey Noise Rock with pitch shifted vocals all over the register. It’s quite cathartic & a bit of a shame that Beck never really experimented with this style again (except, maybe, for the much less aggro Minus, on Odelay).

After the morbid opiated psychedelia of the aforementioned Blackhole, Beck dives head first into avant-garde noise territory with the short but oh-so-sweet Analogue Odyssey. A blast of delayed, decaying, pitch shifting synth noise. If you close your eyes, you can still see the image of Beck hunched over an analogue synth, generating terrifying walls of mangled noise, burned onto the back of your eyelids. After all my effort trying to describe Analogue Odyssey, the Beck fansite Whiskeyclone described it like this: “Whatever, it’s just some electronic whines and noises.”

Check out this hilariously clip of Beck being interviewed by Thurston Moore at around the time of Mellow Gold on MTV’s 120 minutes.

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Categories
Blues Folk Rock And Roll

‘Rough And Rowdy Ways’ – Bob Dylan (With Just A hint Of Mayhem)

Hey check out my review of Bob Dylan’s new album, Rough And Rowdy Ways on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem.

“Today and tomorrow and yesterday, too The flowers are dying like all things do” Thus begins Bob Dylan’s 39th studio album. His first of new material …

‘Rough And Rowdy Ways’ – Bob Dylan
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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