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Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): The Delgados – Pull The Wires From The Wall

Day 9. Mogwai’s early material, including Come On Die Young, was released on the excellent Chemikal Underground record label. The label was set up & run by the dream, Alt Rock band, The Delgados. Although they never saw the same levels of success as fellow Chemikal artists, The Delgados did manage to gather a fair cult following.

Pull The Wires From The Wall is taken from The Delgados excellent sophomore album Peloton. This album came out the year I turned 16 & therefore was a pretty big deal in the development of my musical tastes. A band with two singers, the main vocals on Pull The Wires From The Wall are performed & written by guitarist Emma Pollock.

Creeping round my house at dawn
I’ll keep my curtains closed
If you’re feeling fond of feeling wrong
Fully clothed
For a second time you’re on my mind
Planted on this still
You forget I do not pay in kind
Kind’s not there 
For the eyes to see through
All that I do

For instance I don’t have to try
I’m falling over all the right lines
We only have to leave this last
Resist all falling at the wrong times

Safe in knowledge, safe in college
I know all there is to know
To have never stepped outside this ring
Fools they flow
For the self-assured I have no cure
I only wish I was
As my entertaining thoughts grow fewer
Stills my causeFor the eyes to see through
All that I doFor instance I don’t have to try
I’m falling over all the right lines
We only have to leave this last
Resist all falling at the wrong times

For the accent, for the day (don’t walk just swim)
For the incidents they’ll happen and they’ll happen anyway (it’s gonna pass)
When you leave here, leave this way (one last request)
You are far enough to be impressed
But not so far to be depressed
Drink your souvenirs and go your way
For instance I don’t have to try
I’m falling over all the right lines
We only have to leave this last
Resist all falling at the wrong times
For instance I don’t have to try
I’m falling over all the right lines
We only have to leave this last
Resist all falling at the wrong times.

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Indie Rock Overlooked Classics

Overlooked Classics: The Delgados – Peloton

After listening to Peloton, you’re left with impressions of tweeness & Pop sensibilities which seem to overshadow, in your mind, the actual record.

There is, in actuality, a fair bit of heavyweight, distorted guitar riffing on Peloton. Take for instance the Post-Rock influenced, Yo La Tengo-esque Grunge thrash of Repeat Failure. Its blistering noise is, nevertheless, infused with melodic pleasantness. Or the quiet/loud dynamics of the New Wave tinged College Rock of Russian Orthodox. Even gentler tracks tend to have sections of excitable stompbox shredding to propel them along.

There are also touches of less abrasive psychedelia like the madcap antics of Blackpool. Moody Post Rock bass lines amble alongside Syd Barrett style Psych rhythms. There’s a sound collage feel to it too, which feels alien on an otherwise very organic sounding album.

One key impression that Peloton gives is one of dreaminess. They sit sonically somewhere between fellow Scots Belle and Sebastian & Shoegaze/Dream Pop heavyweights Slowdive. This is especially prominent in some of the pleasant harmonising between singers Alan Woodward & Emma Pollock, like on the transcendent Twee Popper Pull The Wires From The Wall or superb opener Everything Goes Around The Water.

Melodically, Peloton sits in a unique place. Off-kilter, almost childlike, Pop melodies which seem to draw liberally from both of the key influences I’ve mentioned, Slowdives Dream Pop & the Twee Pop of Belle and Sebastian. There are echoes of what many know as Britpop here. The daytime Radio One vibes of And So The Talking Stopped or the Shine Compilation swagger of stellar closer, The Weaker Argument Defeats The Stronger.

You can probably tell from the song titles that I’ve mentioned so far that they love a good long title, especially for a band whose album titles are typically brief: Peloton & Hate, for example. I think it was probably these long winded, verbally clever titles which first drew me to the band. I’m sure The Weaker Argument Defeats The Stronger was the first song of theirs I heard (on a free magazine CD or Tape) & encouraged me to buy this excellent album.

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Indie Rock Post-Rock

Song of the Day (The Chain): Mogwai – Cody

Day 8. From the swirling psychedelics of The Flaming Lips to the stark Post-Rock soundscapes of Mogwai. The connection between yesterday’s Flaming Lips song & todays is that they were both produced by the same producer, Dave Fridmann.

Cody is the title track (via acronymisation) of Mogwai’s fan favourite second studio album, Come On Die Young. Cody is a slow, melancholic track. One of the few Mogwai tracks to feature lead vocals, Cody has an almost narcotic beauty.

Of all I knew, I held too few 
And would you stop me, if I try to stop you? 

Old songs stay ’til the end 
Sad songs remind me of friends 
And the way that it is, I could leave it all 
And I ask myself, would you care at all? 

When I drive alone at night, I see the streetlights as fairgrounds 
And I tried a hundred times to see the road signs as Day-Glo 

Old songs, stay till the end 
Sad songs, remind me of friends 
And the way that it is, I could leave it all 
And I ask myself, would you care at all?

Old songs, stay till the end 
Sad songs, remind me of friends 
And the way that it is, I could leave it all 
And I ask myself, would you care at all?

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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

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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 …

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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)

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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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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

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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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