Friday, July 18, 2008

a rictus that simply says stop

Terry Riley - Shri Camel
Endless burbling amidst the plinks and planks of dated keyboards. Terry Riley makes the loveliest of music as long as you are OK with it not necessarily going anywhere, which I am (this morning anyway) Terry Riley sounds like what I want it to sounds like when I lay my untutored hands on a keyboard and just start playing, but alas it never does. My keyboard stylings, instead of opening a window to the infinite, create a vacuum that causes all heads to point in my direction and contort into a rictus that simply says stop.

The Books - Lost and Safe
I need something engaging and innocuous and subtly romantic, and can't listen to another note of Yo La Tengo so this will serve as a substitute. The whispered monotone recitations here (and the static wheel of sound) on "Be Good To Them Always" reminds me greatly of the composer Robert Ashely, were he attempting to get as close as he could to a pop song, and failed gloriously at it. There is a bit of old David Van Tiegem in this too - you couldn't stick a tow in downtown NYC music in the 80's without tapping on his sawtooth electric violin oscillations. And there is a heavy helping of Carl Stone in here - "Vogt Dig for Kloppervok" might actually sample directly from Stone's already-sampled closing track from Mom's. Anyway, The Books don't do it as well as Ashley or Stone or Van Tiegem or whoever else they are aping, but they are sweeter and more charming than any of them when they do.

Rothko and Caroline Ross - A Place Between
I love Rothko. They are always an easy go-to when I need intelligent instrumentals that step off the orchestra chart at just the right moment for a jangly strummed chord. I know not who Caroline Ross is, but her stilled songwriting wedges in perfectly with Rothko's sepia-toned gravity.

Spiritualized - Songs in A & E
I hate Spiritualized. I want to like it, but what's-his-face's flat smile about his precious drugs turns me all the way off. Great drug songs are a mix of shame and bombast, much like drugs themselves. Simple glorification in song form is like endlessly proclaiming a love of backrubs or masturbating. Really? You like that feeling of ecsatcy? How weird...

There are some arrangements here that are rather lovely things, pulling all his gospel and techno and California sunshine tropes in smart alignment, but then his voice comes in and kills it. Every time.

Shivers - Beaks to the Moon
Thanks to the one-man Shivers cheer-leading squad randyf3 of local agents of noise Wilderness Pangs, I am now also a fan of Shivers. Shivers is wholly derivative in a way that Spiritualized also is, but Shivers manages to make something fresh and smart out of the parts. Hard organ stops in sync with his gulped Ryan Adams-y confessionals float in the airy spare arrangements. "Half Invisible" is the high-level Lou Reed shtick Lou Reed can hardly pull off any more, and when the break into the hoedown mid stream, it is actually shocking, like made me gasp I need to know who does this when I heard it. Randy is also the music director for the radio station on which I heard it, so I deduced the source of origin when I heard it. It was as if the love of playing this song to the masses somehow came through the radio. I miss those magic radio moments.

Destroyer - Your Blues
"It's Gonna take an Airplane" is on the short list of songs I've heard on the radio that has made me come to a screeching halt, overcome with a need to purchase the album containing it. The rest of the album is good, if a bit too "jazz hands" for me, but damn "Airplane" is genius.

Just look at this interlocked lyric and chorus

In my (submarines)
Evil empire, I (don't mind)
am gonna be a star (spending their time)
in the night sky (in the oceans)

That is infrastructure! But the rest of the record is like adding syrup to your pancackes with each passing bite. It's too much breathlesness

Radiohead - In Rainbows
That's more like it. This album has worn better than I initially thought it would. With the exception of OK Computer, Kid A and especially Amnesiac, I've always liked each new album of their and quickly grew tired of it. perhaps they have smoothed over something in the interim here that has given it a little more universality. Here is what I thought at the time of the Big Radiohead Sales Event.

1 comment:

  1. Are you saying that you heard the song on KLSU and just deduced that it was The Shivers based on my undying devotion to them? If so, I'm very impressed.
    You know, when I ordered my copy of Beaks to the Moon directly from them, the envelope it arrived it had a big heart drawn on it, with the words "The Shivers Get Wilderness Pangs" written inside it. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
    Also... you should definitely check out their back catalogue as well. Especially Charades. It's an amazing album, though considerably more lo-fi than Beaks to the Moon.