The Turner Music Prize 2008, vol. 3

I can see there's a lot of track-by-track gibberish. Which is why I'm providing the link to the download first off:

TURNER MUSIC PRIZE 2008, Vol. 3 [.zip file]
[Download disabled.]

Not very much cozy or sentimental music in the last two volumes, so here's something to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside…

1. The Notwist: «Boneless» (Panda Bear remix)
Credited to the Notwist, Panda Bear’s remix of «Boneless» so reworks the single it’s a whole new song—one so typical of the Panda Bear sound (that sunshine pop he does better than anyone) that it no longer belongs to the Notwist. More than a miraculous feat of remixing, though, Panda Bear has crafted a four-minute psychedelic utopia—a freewheeling mental realm where no danger or harm exists. I’d found it hard to even imagine, but here it is…
From «Boneless» 7"

2. Fleet Foxes: «White Winter Hymnal»
I hate to be the one—well, not really—to have to point out that precious souls don’t feel more, or feel more deeply, than those dismissed as cynical or hard-hearted. The sensitive souls just entertain more sentimental lies about life and love, that’s all. Which wouldn’t be so bad, did you not have to deal with such people all the time (and their sad attempts at keeping reality at bay), lured as you are into their
self-set traps time and again, precisely because their illusions are so tempting to believe. So sometimes it’s just as well to surrender against the overwhelming odds and simply give in to all the virgin romantics who make sentimental would-be teenagers rock themselves to sleep with pretty harmonies and inoffensive lyrics…
From Fleet Foxes

3. The Last Shadow Puppets: «The Chamber»
Speaking of pop craft, in my ideal world this is what pop music would still sound like. (Ah! that gently plucked reverb! The floating strings and ghostly backing vox!) Which it does, I suppose, seeing as this is in fact a new release.
Can’t you see you’re only here
to be torn apart
based upon a nothingness?
So leave yourself alone

Yourself, you must admit
that you are the instigator
hanging on to arguments
when you’re cornered by yourself
From The Age of the Understatement

4. Vetiver: «Roll on Babe»
Coming out of the bar, the oldest building on the oldest street corner in Amsterdam, I marvelled at the bartender, a knowledgeable older gentleman perfectly fluent in English, a connoisseur of spirits and a
walking, pouring lexicon of the city whose moral variety he obviously embraced, without judgement, and who generously regaled us with facts, anecdotes and histories about our beloved adopted town. «Yeah!» she said, in that way of hers that seemed to mean «I wholeheartedly agree, and moreover my enthusiasm right now knows no bounds, and here’s what…»—and so signalled a rave about to come about whatever merits she saw in what she’d just experienced. It was a sound accompanied by the language of her entire body, her eyes beaming, and you’d feel like stopping her in her tracks every time, to kiss her firmly on that small, shapely, painted mouth (something which would leave her looking pleasantly surprised and a little confused every time, as if she were totally unaware of her own charms). Besides, this «Yeah!» of hers started coming so often now, here in this place we’d made our home (for a reason, it turned out, although it was a win that’d been a gamble at first), that kissing her for her every «Yeah!» could only deteriorate into some annoying habit, out of sync with the roll we were on of discovering new and wondrous things… (Aw, shucks!)
From Thing of the Past

5. tindersticks: «The Flicker of a Little Girl»
This song’s a lullaby for grown-ups—or, summer bicycle music as you roll through the park. Perfect to sing along to for those who don't understand the words.
From The Hungry Saw

6. Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens: «What Have You Done?»
Backed by the Dap-Kings, this is the voice of your conscience (albeit in the tongue of a seventy-something woman). Within the entire field of
music, there’s a quality to North American gospel that’s unique to that genre and that genre alone. Some ineffable upward thrust that inspires hope and encourages a cleansing repentance. I don’t generally dig finger-pointing high-horse riders, but this old woman sings with the authority of a long life, and she's only referring you to your own conscience, anyway, rather than to strict morality. Who can argue against a common sense line like «Your wicked tongue can't twist forever»? If this grandmother's harsh, it’s only to be kind. So: «What! have you done, have you done?»
From «What Have You Done?» 45

7. Grizzly Bear: «While You Wait for the Others» (live on Morning Becomes Eclectic)
Ouch! Sometimes a songwriter will tell you something your friends won’t.
While you wait for the others
To make it all worthwhile
All your useless pretensions
Weighing all my time
You could hope for some substance
As long as you like
Or just wait all the evening
Always ask me why
Yes, you’ll only bleed me dry
The only real act of empathy sometimes is to just call it like it is, whatever the sting.
From one of those Internets
8. Department Of Eagles: «Phantom Other»
… what would it take to make you listen?
From In Ear Park

9. Women: «Black Rice»
It’s not that it’s a mediocre song, it’s just that it’s unassuming and self-contained to the point where
there’s nothing left to actually write about. Still, if you could still feel the warmth in summer, this would be the perfect accompaniment to a day in the park…
From Women

10. The Walkmen: «New Country»
A puzzlingly underrated band, the Walkmen’s 2008 album You & Me contains several other songs that could just as well have ended up on this round-up. One of the things about this song is the story, not told too cleverly, nor in that self-consciously contrived and literate manner of most lyricists, but straightforwardly recounted like a dishonest (or at best ambiguous) letter from one friend to another. When the narrator says,
The news is all good
and I’m flying high
I’m back on my own
Don’t worry about me
I’ve got no more baggage
Threw all my old things away,
it borders on bitter mockery, stopping just short of sarcasm, left for the recipient to uncover between the lines (careful as the sender is not to really burn his bridges). Perhaps it’s the melancholy guitar that betrays the reality: I don’t need you, «friend», but «meet me as soon as you caaaan / and bring me the money you owe me for me…» So what to do when all that there is left to share is some money owed? «Aw, maybe I’ll go see the wooorld / There’s plenty of places to see / And voices I never have heeaard.» Could use hearing a new voice myself…
From You & Me

11. Cat Power: «Naked, if I Want to»
Chan Marshall covers this Moby Grape song for the second time on her second covers album. That «ah-huh» does it for me every time, but apart from that she proves here what a great vocalist she is, the phrasing and strategic lingering of breaths adding to her impeccable tone and timbre. She’s got that slightly roughened voice—almost like
those husky Spanish girls, brown-eyed and raven-haired… Cat Power’s got that capacity for sorrow only a few performers possess. (Sometimes it’s too much.) But this track—although not entirely cheerful—is still feelgood. A last farewell—«I ain’t got no mercy / but I will pay you after I die»—and a looking back when your family’s gone and your friends have all proved an illusion, there are nevertheless no hard feelings: this'un had a great run!
From Jukebox (bonus disc)

12. The Black Keys: «All You Ever Wanted»
«… is someone to treat you nice and kind.» Well, that's all you ever want until someone does treat you nice and kind, at which point you start wanting a whole range of more complex and unattainable things…
But that's working against this song. Like a good ol’ country song, this takes you down from any kind of high-fallutin', agitated state of emotional imagination and back down onto the ground, where all you need to deal with is the workaday—and a little heartbreak. The safety of escaping heady, existential dread and being welcomed into the open arms of the ornery. I like the misheard lyrics I thought that I heard:
I’ll be your blackbird, darling
Hanging on the old telephone wire
Flap my wings on it
And set the old heart aflight
Well… one may dream, no? Hope the thing's still airborne?
From Attack & Release

13. The Dodos: «God?»
«Tell us how to feel inside / No lies, no lies, no lies! / And let us look upon that side / With eyes, with eyes, with eyes!» Amen?
From Visiter

14. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson: «Buriedfed»
Self-defeat never sounded this triumphant! Just like revolutions don’t actually overturn the system (as they claim to do), but rather perpetuate it in its hour of dire need, really changing little or nothing, suicidal ideation may fool an individual into thinking he’s flirting with his own end, when really he’s just venting his unhappiness in order to continue living. He awakens from his daydream to find replenished the minimum energy required to keep rolling passively on in life, rather than the determination to take that most decisive, definite step. What a
tease! Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson—fantasising here about his own demise—is a Singer-Songwriter, but he doesn’t just make this stuff up—inventing «characters» we then can go play «good people» by collectively commiserating with, all the while thanking our lucky stars it’s not us «but isn’t it just exquisite?» (and by that I mean «exotic»), and «Aw, how sad it is»—like shedding tears at a Hollywood blockbuster, fancying ourselves empathetic rather than self-indulgent at our oh-so-emotional response to problems we have no way of truly relating to other than in paltry imaginations spoon fed by money-thumbing producers and A&R execs. No, you can hear that’s not the case from Robinson’s delivery (expertly aided by members of Grizzly Bear and TV On The Radio), which by itself alone makes a mockery of all the sensitive troubadours squeezing into the sales niche and peddling their acoustic drivel to dreamers really too superficial or insensitive to know any better. And a line like «I didn’t like people much at all / Tasted better with alcohol» alone merits inclusion on any year-end list. For a little less than five minutes, do yourself a favour and take a break from bullshit—Because You Deserve It.
From Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

15. Bon Iver: «The Wolves (Act I and II)»
Girls must love Bon Iver—or at least the idea of him as they listen to him pining for some «Emma» in the remote log cabin where apparently this song was recorded, «forever ago». The Americana-singer/songwriter and Weird-New-Freak-Folk-Family genres have become too widespread, maybe because people forget that the characters who make for some of the best poets and singers aren’t the bleeding-heart bohemians we like to imagine, but cold-blooded, flint-hearted and unrepentant sociopaths with a pronounced violent streak, routinely conning the sentimental
just as they rationalise their own actions (those martyred reactions to imagined victimisations). They say Stalin—perhaps the biggest monster in recent human history (at least if you count the number of lives afflicted or altogether snuffed out)—sang like an angel. He was also originally a romantic poet, as was the cowardly sadist known by the name of Che Guevara. Hitler
—another sensitive soul—enjoyed painting. There’s Charles Manson, whose bonfire songs hypnotised many a young girl (… and Neil Young… and the Beach Boys…). And before he became very famous, sweet soul singer Bobby Womack would be seen walking around in the ghetto, wearing the clothes of his lover’s man, who had mysteriously «disappeared» shortly before Womack took over the man’s woman and flash suits. Troubadour Arthur Lee of Love tried to kill a bandmate, as did Sly Stone and sensitive singer-songwriter-cum-schizophrenic hobo
Alexander Spence, who attacked members of his own band with an axe. Yet people insist upon assuming that sensitive artistes are sweet-natured—like Nick Drake, who was actually just clinically depressed to the point of paralysis. (Where were all the young art student girls and fashionable actors while he was still alive?) In other words, a pretty melody goes a long way. Just ask the supreme dictator of the Soviet empire… (That was a bit strong, actually. Bon Iver's perfectly OK for winter Sunday listening…)
From For Emma, Forever Ago

16. Kurt Vile: «Space Forklift»
Some performers use their astonishing capacity for beauty of melody, delivery and arrangement to tickle that soft underbelly silly. From 3:35 on I hardly know what to do with myself…
From Constant Hitmaker

17. Air France: «Collapsing at Your Doorstep»
Just a little piece of non-threatening substancelessness, to close the playlist on a pleasant note.
From «No Way Down» EP

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