Categories
Indie Rock New Wave Post Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Cure – A Forest

Day 9.

Another one inspired by Mark Fisher’s writings today. Just read his post about The Cure’s seminal trilogy of albums (Seventeen Seconds, Faith & Pornography) & this song gets mentioned quite a bit. It’s a great song by a great band & is one of the songs which helped to shape & define the angular, jerky nature of Post Punk & the ghostly ephemerality of Goth. Fisher, in his piece, also speculates about whether Robert Smith spectral, effect-laden guitar sound was also a key influence in the formulation of My Bloody Valentine’s dreamlike Shoegaze sound.

Come closer and see
See into the trees
Find the girl
If you can
Come closer and see
See into the dark
Just follow your eyes
Just follow your eyes

I hear her voice
Calling my name
The sound is deep
In the dark
I hear her voice
And start to run
Into the trees
Into the trees

Into the trees

Suddenly I stop
But I know it’s too late
I’m lost in a forest
All alone
The girl was never there
It’s always the same
I’m running towards nothing
(Again and again and again and again)

And again

Looking for some great music?

Buy Tom a coffee?

Tom loves coffee. If you’ve enjoyed any of the content he’s created then please consider donating a few quid to buy him a cup.

£3.00

Categories
Indie Rock Politics Post-Rock

Poisoned political discourse, Gonzo journalism & Rock n Roll: The Strange Existence Of Richard Milhous Nixon

“He has poisoned our water forever. Nixon will be remembered as a classic case of a smart man shitting in his own nest. But he also shit in our nests, and that was the crime that history will burn on his memory like a brand. By disgracing and degrading the Presidency of the United States, by fleeing the White House like a diseased cur, Richard Nixon broke the heart of the American Dream.”

Hunter S Thompson, ‘He Was A Crook’

Earlier in the year, whilst furloughed from work in the midst of the pandemic, I read through Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Hunter S. Thompson. One of the most striking pieces in the book, for me, was the obituary he wrote for Rolling Stone following the death of disgraced Republican former president, & in many ways Thompson’s arch-enemy, Richard Milhous Nixon (Reprinted in The Atlantic here). The most striking thing about this article, here, in the year of our lord 2020, is that the poison that Nixon poured into the political discourse is what has, inexorably, lead to the batshit chaos of American politics today. The normalisation of lawbreaking by public figures, at least in the public eye, is probably the primary building block which lead to the incumbent Republican, criminal, president Donald J Trump. Unlike Nixon, however, Trump didn’t have the weasel cunning to jump ship, to resign, rather than face impeachment. As such the stain of being an impeached president will forever linger on his record.

The pardoning of Nixon in light of his many criminal acts, is perhaps the single greatest mistake made in US history. Had Nixon been convicted & imprisoned for his lawbreaking, perhaps the crass opportunism of Trump wouldn’t have turned so many heads in the 2016 election. This is all by the by, however, Trump’s opportunism isn’t his worse crime. He is merely a toxic byproduct of Reaganism/Thatcherism, a poisoned outflow. His greatest crime is the enormous amount of fraud & tax evasion he has committed o=ver the years to hide his greatest flaw, his lack of ability in business. Ironically, he presents his business acuity as his greatest strength, despite the wreckage of his many bankrupt business ventures littering the highway behind him. Richard Milhous Nixon normalised this use of criminal acts by a public figure, & normalised the notion of the said public figure then being able to ascend to the lands highest office.

The main reason, however, for my thinking about Nixon today, is that I heard the excellent hit single The Love Of Richard Nixon by Manic Street Preachers on YouTube earlier & decided that I’d put together a blogpost of artwork, pics & links about the both the song & the Hunter S Thompson article. The video & artwork are excellent & the song is extremely different to much of the Manic’s catalogue up until that point. Driven by synth sounds & motorik rhythms, The Love Of Richard Nixon resembles artists like Depeche Mode more than the usual list of Manics influences. Over this New Wave/Post Punk sound, singer James Dean Bradfield treats the lyrics with a wonderful vocal performance. According to one YouTube commenter, “it is loaded with wit, pathos, irony and humour.”

Buy Tom a coffee?

Tom loves coffee. If you’ve enjoyed any of the content he’s created then please consider donating a few quid to buy him a cup.

£3.00

Categories
Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Cribs – I Don’t Know Who I Am (feat. Lee Ranaldo)

Day 8.

This is the second (that I know of) collaboration between Wakefield alt-rockers The Cribs & Sonic Youth guitar wizard Lee Ranaldo. Unlike the top-notch spoken word Beat poetry of Be Safe however, Ranaldo brings noisy, fuzzy, melodic guitar to this exceedingly catchy song.

I also love the video’s aesthetic, which ties in somewhat to some of my current interests (ie. Hauntology).

Sometimes I think it’s strange I’ll never see you
Then I realize
I’ve been watching you my whole life in every
Look I don’t recognize
Every feature in my face with no relation
From my mother’s side
Shows where we came from

I was looking so hard I missed the sign that
I’d been waiting for
An obituary wrote in the local paper
From a town that is no more
Carrying this around gains nothing but I’m
Fool enough to care
Brave enough to try

I tried it
You know I tried it
I tried it

Are you a raw nerve like I am or are you more like
The bathrooms in the park?
Closed for the season every season
Seen in the lighter’s spark
The moment that the world began, it’s ending
Captured by chance on a field recording

We caught it
It’s not important

You wouldn’t love me
Keep out of my way, I’m not in your way
You wouldn’t love me
Descend a marble staircase
Slap me in my face
I don’t know what I am

There’s a telegraph pole, reminds me of you
Its shadow against the sky
Buzzing in the night but no one gets through
No longer on the line
Messages unheard are staying that way
Bouncing back like echoes in the valley

In the valley
In the valley

You wouldn’t love me
Keep out of my way, I’m not in your way
You wouldn’t love me
Descend a marble staircase
Slap me in my face
I don’t know what I am, ooh

I don’t know what I am, ooh
I don’t know what I am
I don’t know what I am

Looking for some great music?

Buy Tom a coffee?

Tom loves coffee. If you’ve enjoyed any of the content he’s created then please consider donating a few quid to buy him a cup.

£3.00

Categories
Indie Rock Post Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): Killing Joke – Eighties

Day 5.

Famously the song that “inspired” Kurt Cobain to write the riff for the Nirvana hit Come As You Are, Eighties is a fearsome slice of Post Punk savagery. With the famous pummelling riff, the angular rhythms & the soaring chorus, Eighties was one of the essential building blocks of Alternative Rock as we know it today. Like yesterdays song, this came on randomly while I watched music videos on YouTube this afternoon. I instantly decided to feature it as tomorrow’s Song of the Day.

Eighties, I’m living in the eighties
Eighties, I have to push, I have to struggle
Eighties, get out of my way, I’m not for sale no more
Eighties, let’s kamikaze ’til we get there

And we sang
You do it this way

Eighties, by day we run by night we dance, we do
Eighties, I’m in love with the coming race
Eighties, I’ve got the best, I’ll take all I can get
Eighties, I’m living for the eighties

Eighties, I’m living in the eighties, I push
Eighties, I’m living
Eighties, I’m living in the eighties, I struggle
Eighties, I’m living

Eighties, I’m living
Eighties, I’m living in the eighties
Eighties, I’m living in the eighties, I push
Eighties, push, push, struggle

Eighties, I’m living
Eighties, eighties, I’m living
Eighties, I’m living in the eighties, I push

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

Buy Tom a coffee?

Tom loves coffee. If you’ve enjoyed any of the content he’s created then please consider donating a few quid to buy him a cup.

£3.00

Categories
Electronic Music Indie Rock New Wave Pop Post Punk Song of the Day Synth Pop

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Church – Under The Milky Way

Day 4.

Okay, okay. I missed a day (or 2) & I’m sorry. This song came on randomly after I was listening to New Order on YouTube the other day. It’s stunning, cinematic Synth Pop from the end of the ’80’s, with just enough Indie cool to keep it in the company of bands like Echo & The Bunnymen & the aforementioned New Order on many a mixtape. Also a great song for a movie soundtrack, as evidenced by its appearance in a pivotal scene of madcap time-travel yarn Donnie Darko.

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty
Sound of their breath fades with the light
I think about the loveless fascination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Lower the curtain down on Memphis
Lower the curtain down all right
I got no time for private consultation
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it’s something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it’s something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight

Looking for some great music?

Buy Tom a coffee?

Tom loves coffee. If you’ve enjoyed any of the content he’s created then please consider donating a few quid to buy him a cup.

£3.00

Categories
Indie Rock Post Punk

Pool Sharks – Do You Wash Your Legs In The Shower? b/w Sexyman

“We don’t overtly reference politics in the songs, but the themes we
use are critical of religion, traditional hierarchies, the cynicism
of capitalism,” explains Pool Sharks frontman Joey Whitehead. I wonder, in this context, of the title for this song is in fact inspired by a fierce debate on Twitter earlier this year based on whether or not white people wash their legs. The debate spiralled out of control & became a frank, if heated, discussion, over whether or not you should wash your legs. This kind of absurdity is emblematic of the breakdown of society which the collapse of late capitalism brings with it. This conversation is a surreal microcosm of greater, further reaching questions around race, class, community & social mobility.

Do You Wash Your Legs In The Shower? is a mournful lament to the soul crushing daily grind of the dreaded 9-5 world & the feeling of being controlled or owned by your job. This is particularly timely in a UK at the end of decades of rolling back worker rights & protections while facing the greatest “bonfire of workers rights” we’ve ever faced as a society. It’s a song about what Karl Marx referred to as alienation. Pool Sharks explain in their press release how the central character in the song is being “disconnected from his own identity and the parts of his life that matter.” This parable of late capitalist existence is set to pounding, Post Punk rhythms with distorted guitars & vocals. The press release mentions bands like Parquet Courts, Gang Of Four & The Cribs &, while this is accurate, the biggest sonic similarity I feel for this song is early ’00’s Post Punk revivalists Bloc Party & their biggest influence, The Cure.

B-side Sexyman seems to compare more, sonically, to the bands own list of influences, particularly Gang Of Four. Angular stop-start rhythms, stabbing guitars & a spacious arrangement underpin this tale of Jesus Christ as “a salesman, selling the concept of a saviour to people’s chaotic and unhealthy lifestyles, which they willingly accept.” this is a fierce satirisation of the “predatory nature of organised religion.”

On the subject of the high concepts of the lyrics, Joe Whitehead chuckles, “People usually just end up liking the chord sequence.”

Do You Wash Your Legs In The Shower? is out on the 9th October as part of Safe Suburban Home’s current run of limited edition cassettes. You can preorder it here.

Pre-save to Spotify here

Buy Tom a coffee?

Tom loves coffee. If you’ve enjoyed any of the content he’s created then please consider donating a few quid to buy him a cup.

£3.00

Categories
Indie Rock Pop Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Cardigans – Erase/Rewind

Day 2.

At work we (sometimes) listen to Absolute Radio (or one of its decade themed sister stations like Absolute ’90’s) & today this song was played as I was leaving work, reminding me how great a band The Cardigans are & how great a tune this is.

This is a downtempo, sensual Indie Pop song with sonic features akin to genres as diverse as Alternative Rock & Trip Hop. Nina Persson’s saccharine vocals are particularly engrossing on Erase/Rewind, lending it a warm, inviting vibe.

The excellent video references sci-fi classics like 2001: Space Odyssey & the first Star Wars movie.

Hey, what did you hear me say
You know the difference it makes
What did you hear me say

Yes, I said it’s fine before
But I don’t think so no more
I said it’s fine before

I’ve changed my mind
I take it back
Erase and rewind
‘Cause I’ve been changing my mind
I’ve changed my mind

So, where did you see me go
It’s not the right way, you know
Where did you see me go

No, it’s not that I don’t know
I just don`t want it to grow
It’s not that I don’t know

I’ve changed my mind
I take it back

Looking for some great music? Here it is.

Buy Tom a coffee?

Tom loves coffee. If you’ve enjoyed any of the content he’s created then please consider donating a few quid to buy him a cup.

£3.00

Categories
Indie Rock

Radiohead – Airbag/How Am I Driving?

The Airbag/How A I Driving EP, released by Radiohead towards the end of the promotional campaign for OK Computer, featured not only some amazing b-sides from the OK Computer era, but also some of the most unique & compelling artwork of any CD I’ve ever bought.

There are all sorts of prescient seeming phrases in the artwork which make me think of 2020. Especially the disclaimers on the “survey” which explain what will happen to the data you give. These feel like an explicit reference to what we now call Big Data which Radiohead, in 1997-8, could already see creeping into our lives. In many ways the artwork of this EP could be considered a satirical masterpiece of Capitalist Realism, which resonates strongly today, in the chaotic atmosphere of late capitalism.

The point of this post is to show you the incredible artwork. Unfortunately, my copy has spent about twenty years in a smoking house & has become yellowed with age, losing its brilliant white colour. I am a little disappointed by this but luckily I was able to find excellent pictures of the packaging on Discogs.

My smoke-yellowed & dog-eared copy.

How it’s supposed to look.

The cartoon on the left is a little blurry & indistinct on the Discogs pic so here’s a close up taken from my old copy:

Pictures courtesy of Discogs

Airbag was never commercially released as a single, & as such never had a promo video produced, so here’s a great live version of it from the UK TV show Later With Jools Holland. As an aside: I’m sure I remember reading, possibly in an interview around the tie of release, that all of the songs on OK Computer were going to have videos made for them. Obviously this never happened but would have been amazing.

Buy Tom a coffee?

Tom loves coffee. If you’ve enjoyed any of the content he’s created then please consider donating a few quid to buy him a cup.

£3.00

Categories
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.

Buy Tom a coffee?

Tom loves coffee. If you’ve enjoyed any of the content he’s created then please consider donating a few quid to buy him a cup.

£3.00

Categories
Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Movie Soundtracks): Pixies – Where Is My Mind?

Day 9. “Oooh. Stop!” Where Is My Mind? by the Pixies not only soundtracks the explosive finale of the psychological late ’90’s uber-thriller Fight Club (below) but it’s also a ridiculously good song that doesn’t really need an excuse to post about it. It’s a rare song (although, come to think about it, Pixies have quite a few) that doesn’t sound as if it was written & recorded so much as it was grown. It’s got an elemental, organic feel to it that is preciously rare in a way which I find difficult to explain.

Partly as a result of it’s inclusion in Fight Club & partly as a result of it’s inclusion on the genre-defining Indie Rock masterpiece Surfer Rosa, Where Is My Mind? absolutely writhes with the kind of cultural significance that that you could write entire series of books about. To attempt to get the importance of this phenomenal work of art, I have included below both the ending scene of Fight Club during which the song is utilised & an excellent live (TV) performance of the song by the band back in 1988, at the absolute peak of their powers.

Pixies, 1988, “I guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it.”

Ooh, stop

With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself

Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Way out in the water
See it swimmin’

I was swimmin’ in the Caribbean
Animals were hiding behind the rock
Except the little fish
But they told me, he swears
Tryin’ to talk to me koi koy

Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Way out in the water
See it swimmin’

With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
If there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself

Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Way out in the water
See it swimmin’

Ooh
With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Ooh
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh

Looking for some great music? Why not check out the Song of the Day (Movie Soundtracks) Spotify playlist?

Buy Tom a coffee?

Tom loves coffee. If you’ve enjoyed any of the content he’s created then please consider donating a few quid to buy him a cup.

£3.00