Rare or Unreleased 4: Cinque Cento

Cinque Cento: «Twisted Out of Shape» [mp3]

A hot-off-the-press slice of kitchen counter paranoia from one-man band Cinque Cento, this new track is like a time travelling private eye hot on the heels of an affair turned sour, going back to where it all got twisted out of shape. Sounds like fragments of the past are repeated, mangled and distorted, obsessively until the drums come in to finally come clean with everything that's been simmering up until then, underneath the brooding restraint.

More new and free Cinque Cento downloads here.


Larkin Grimm: Parplar

Dear Larkin,

Your latest album has been on some seriously heavy rotation lately (in more ways than one), but I already posted one song off Parplar, so this time I’ll only spread the words:
It’s funny how a privileged son so freely inflicts pain
How those who’ve known no suffering are carrying the stains
Of bitter, nihilistic hate, indifference and disdain
Long ago, I trusted you, I never will again
I’ve turned my little head against the wicked world you’re in

So there you are, I hope that you are suffering and lost
I hope you feel the hopelessness and you can’t bear the cost
Of being an ungrateful shit who never had a cause
Who never starved and never hid, ain’t never felt the frost
Of cold winds blowing on your face and you don’t have a coat
Of love that offers no escape and tightens around your throat

Your friends have all forgot your name, your lovers all denied
That you were ever part of them when they gave up and died
I hope you’re feeling powerless inside their grinding jaws
I hope you’re feeling helpless and I hope you feel their claws
I hope the wind has marked your face and you don’t have a hope
You’re drifting free above the ground gently stretching out your rope
Yes! Punish me! Rain your righteousness down upon me… wipe my conscience clean…

It’s often said that music is a healer. It’s not. But when you’ve been scraping the bottom with your teeth for a couple of years, the crushing weight of the idea of love straddling your back as your heart, a limp and impotently flaccid muscle, refuses to give as much as a flutter, a strong and confident woman singing and clapping the defiantly joyous refrain, «You’ll never get to Heaven when you die!» lifts you up, just for a moment. But a moment is all you need.

Not even after years of collecting transsexual tart cards did I question my heterosexuality like the first time I was in a room to witness Devendra Banhart
play—that most beautiful creature on Earth, his alien and inaccessible flow of mystic creativity hidden beneath that angelic face and inviting beard (just made for foetal nesting)… For the first time, I appreciated all the women dreaming of laying bare and laying down before the stars.

Then I heard you, Larkin, and I was unable to resist your calm intrusion. Just look at that photo at the top—across those vengeful Medusa locks and into those eyes, «psychotic» only because there’s no bottom as you fall into their dark wells, and people who fear a lack of boundaries take such endlessness to be psychotic.

But you and I know it’s divine. «Don't you pluck me out of your dear eye where I am curling up to die…» Who are you, Larkin, with your petty, devouring rage indiscernible from your magnanimous, enveloping love?

And I wonder, did I hang out with the same whores who you befriended, down in Bangkok? Did they protect you from violence? Did they turn on you and attack? Did they show you their secret places? Did they shed tears as they mumbled about being nothing?

Larkin, did you ever have to wait for some stranger to finally bring reality home to you—to feel at last the embrace of having the brutal truth, delivered so tenderly:
Who told you you’re going to be alright?
Who said that thing to you,
«You’re going to be all right?»
Well, they were wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong
In my mind you are already gone
Could it really be? A woman to finally see through me?

And so I take all my hurts and dysfunctions, the lifelong rage and incurable loneliness, and I place them in the warm and clammy, filthy feral fist that is your paw, for you to crush, pitilessly and irreversibly—or do as you like. Then I’ll giddy-up and ride that cyclone all alone while you break my bones, ride it through the crack while you ride my back, ride it with love while you boil my blood… We’re all going to die anyway, so I’ll let you kill me nice, the music that your words take the shape of gently stretching out my rope.

And if anyone ever asks me why I've written this creepy review—because they've yet to appreciate what makes you stand apart, and miles above, all these other «creative people» dabbling in song—I'll just point out to them that none other could ever rhyme «Little Mother Mary riding on your unicorn» with «it's getting kind of hairy wishing that you'd never been born». Every strike of the hammer dulcimer is like the golden light that hammered truth into my head, showing me—in the sounds of strings and bells, desire and revenge that lures me into your universe—reality at last, only to find it's all a fantasy.

O mama, be my host!

Larkin Grimm, I love you like no other.

Which is why I’m strongly urging anyone who’s read this far to go and purchase your masterpiece, Parplar, right this minute.


Rare or Unreleased 3: Jorge Ben

Jorge Ben: Raro '67-79 [.zip]

You'd be hard pressed to find music that's more life affirming than that of Jorge Ben. Of course, it's hard to find many of Jorge Ben's recordings in the first place, which is the reason for this post.

Jorge Ben's music truly is a joy to behold—simple pleasure at its best. Unfortunately, a lot of his stuff has never been reissued, or else been discontinued. Ben made a remarkably long string of consistently good (sometimes breathtaking) albums from 1967 until 1976 (by which time other artists' music had long since deteriorated from excessive use of smack or coke), and it seems a bit random which of these are in print. Here I've collected some songs that, bafflingly, aren't currently commercially available.

This, my friends, is the shit!

If in doubt whether you can be bothered to download the comp, here's a little taste of Ben playing prime-period «Bebete vãobora», originally off of Jorge Ben (1969)—a song that, although I have no idea what the hell it's about, can't help but be celebratory:

Anyway, here's my tracklist:
1. Amor de carnaval
2. Si manda
3. Charles, anjo 45
4. Zula
5. Cigana
6. Maria Domingas
7. Moça
8. Domingo 23
9. Caramba! ... Galielu de Galiléa
10. Fio Maravilha
11. Errare humanum est
12. Menina mulher da pele preta
13. Cinco minutos
14. Para ouvrir no rádio (Luciana)
15. Ponta de lança africano (Umbabaraúma)
16. Xica da Silva
17. Georgia
18. Cantileñas de São Victor

(For the nerds:
1-2 from O Bidú—Silêncio no Brooklin (1967), backed by the Fevers
3 with Caetano Veloso, from Cinema Olympia—Caetano raro & inédito 67-74 (2006)
4-6 from Negro é lindo (1971)
7-10 from Ben (1972)
11-13 from A Tábua de Esmeralda (1974)
14 is from Solta o pavão (1975)
15-16 from África Brasil (1976)
17 from Tropical (1977)
18 from Salve simpatia (1979))
Incidentally, I highly recommend purchasing the same-period albums that haven't been discontinued:
Jorge Ben (1969)
Fôrça bruta
Jorge Ben—10 anos depois
Gil & Jorge—Ogum Xangô


The Turner Music Prize 2007, vol. 4

OK, let's stop messing about with this 2007 business and get this blog started right. I've saved some of the best for last:

TURNER MUSIC PRIZE 2007, Vol. 4 [.zip file]
[Download disabled.]

1. Mark Lanegan: «Man in the Long Black Coat»
There are no mistakes in life, some people say
It is true, sometimes you can see it that way
But people don’t live or die, people just float
She went with the man in the long, black coat
Mark Lanegan’s vocals could lend authority to just about any subject, so lived does his voice sound. Add to that the words of Bob Dylan, and you can’t possibly go wrong: «Feel the pulse and vibration and the rumbling force / Somebody is out there, beating on a dead horse.»
From I'm Not There

2. The Angels Of Light: «Sometimes I Dream I'm Hurting You»
A quick glance at the title and you know what you’re in for. Nothing half-arsed with Michael Gira. This song showcases both why he soars miles above practically all other artists toying with words and music, and why he will never break through commercially. His unique perspective takes you from the gently picked melody to the desperate prayer for deliverance that propels both song and listener until it explodes in trance-like abandonment to music and self-obliteration: «COMEANDTAKEMECOMEANDTAKEMECOMEANDTAKEMECOME
From We Are Him

3. Radiohead: «Weird Fishes/Arpeggi»
Not to denigrate their more experimental stuff, but with this song Radiohead finally seem to manage a balance between beauty and originality, their individuality something that just manifests itself now (rather than being forced) in a perfect slice of pop rock. «Hit the bottom and escape»…
From In Rainbows

4. Einstürzende Neubauten: «Die Wellen»
What should I do with you, waves, you who can never decide
whether you’re the first or the last?
You think you can define the coast with your constant wish-wash,
grind it down with your coming and going.
And yet no one knows how long the coastline really is,
where land stops, where land begins, and you’re forever changing
the line, length, lay, with the moon and unpredictable.

Consistent alone is your inconsistency.

Ultimately victorious since, as so often evoked, this wears away
the stones, grinds the sand down as fine as needed for
hourglasses and egg-timers, as required for calibrating time,
for telling the difference between hard and soft.

Victorious also because, never tiring, you win the contest who of us
will be the first to fall asleep, or you, being the ocean still,
because you never sleep.

Although colourless yourself, you seem blue
when the sky is gently mirrored on your surface, the ideal course
for being strolled upon by the carpenter’s son, the most changeable element.

And inversely, when you are wild and loud and your breakers thunder,
I listen between the peaks of your rollers, and from the highest waves,
from breaking spume, a thousand voices break away, mine,
yesterday’s ones that I didn’t know, that otherwise just whisper,
and all the others too, and in their midst the Nazarene.
Over and over again those stupendous five final words:
Why have you left me?

I hold my own, shout at each single wave:
Are you staying?
Are you staying?
Are you staying, or what?
From Alles Wieder Offen

5. Spoon: «The Ghost of You Lingers»
To call this a «song» is stretching it a bit, but that’s no reason to dismiss it as just a piece of indulgent studio experimentation. Sometimes a combination of lyrics and sounds come along at en eerily apt time to, well, haunt you. This may not be a song, but it's the inside of an idea, a sentiment, a hope.
From Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

6. LCD Soundsystem: «All My Friends»
In passing from youth into adulthood, whether you're cultivating hope for the future or indulging in a nostalgia for the past, in LCD
Soundsystem's «All My Friends» at least you've put resentment behind you. Encouraged by nostalgia to love them and permitted by hope to let go of them, the bitterness towards some of the people you used to know is replaced by a warmth towards all the people you now feel blessed and lucky to once have known, regardless of what subsequently transpired. When James Murphy repeats his mantra «Where are your friends tonight?», it’s a question out of curiosity and gratitude, not an accusation arising from disappointment and bitterness. But then, in seven-and-a-half minutes it's over…
From Sound of Silver

7. Animal Collective: «Safer»
A showcase for Avey Tare’s sense of urgency and flight of fantasy, dig the way this piece morphs from fear into love, like a story going from
the empty present back into a golden past…
From «Peacebone» single

8. The Soulsavers: «Kingdoms of Rain»
OK, so it may sound like some American motivational speaker’s mantra, but the title of the album this song’s culled from says everything: it's not how far you fall, it's the way you land. The voice that makes your knees go wobbly and your eardrums quiver with masochistic enjoyment here is that of Mark Lanegan, who the Soulsavers happen to be covering on this very same track, adding soft textures and careful details to the sparse original arrangement (the key point beginning at the 2:14 mark).
From It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land

9. PJ Harvey: «Grow Grow Grow»
Arguably PJ Harvey’s most accomplished (or at least original) album, I could never listen to White Chalk. Not because it isn’t good, but because it’s too good. Unbearably, almost impossibly bleak, Harvey would’ve had to stare into some serious abyss making this one. But like Mark in «Peep Show» says, «I'm looking into the abyss… I don't like the look of the abyss!»
From White Chalk

10. Devendra Banhart: «I Remember»
I think the most beautiful things happen to be ugly things; most people find beauty in the mediocre. But then Devendra Banhart comes along and proves to us all that beauty is simply the beautiful. Trust Banhart to craft a melody to perfectly convey a tristesse that doesn’t wallow. This song’s atmosphere is a lesson; there is such a thing as blues without self-pity! A pure sadness, within which the sweetness that sprouted into bitterness remains intact. You realise that loss is never total, which works against the bitterness…
From Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon

11. Flight Of The Conchords: «I'm Not Crying»
«I’m Not Crying» is exactly what you need when you are, in fact, crying. Only, of course you’re not.
From «The Distant Future» EP

12. Marissa Nadler: «Bird on Your Grave»
Nadler may come across a little precious, but she doesn’t pussyfoot around. Unlike most contemporary folk females, she eschews faux-childlike naïvety; and unlike so many young performers, she actually manages to convincingly convey the sorrow contained within her songs. (As opposed to composing songs that pretend to be world-weary and -wise—like a Bob Dylan composing «Blowin' in the Wind» and «The Times They Are a-Changin'» at 22-23, straining to make his voice sound like that of a hardened 60 year-old labourer, making up politically correct words that sound good but which are only based on ideas lifted out of a couple of books.) Greg Weeks’ disharmonic guitar keeps Nadler’s perfect singing from infecting the song with too much prettiness. With lyrics such as these, the music can't be too agreeable.
From Songs III: Bird on the Water

13. Elvis Perkins: «While You Were Sleeping»
Lullaby or funeral march? The Dylan-derivative lyrics are overly poetic and, it seems to me, either meaningless or dense beyond interpretation. Yet obscured beneath the kind of lofty imagery that Leonard Cohen was the last writer in the history of literature to get away with, you'll find some tender essence well worth indulging in. Besides, who can resist the Tex-Mex charms? «Uh-oh…»
From Ash Wednesday

14. Fire On Fire: «Hangman»
«You got to have a friend!» Ain't that the truth… And some days, this
song is it.
From «Fire on Fire» EP

15. José González: «Down the Line»
Quite literally nothing wrong with this track. González comes in and says what it is he wants to say, then quits—all with beautiful melody, infectious rhythm and a coda like a lifebuoy.
From In Our Nature


The Turner Music Prize 2007, vol. 3

I get a bit dizzy perusing the titles that came out in 2007. And this is only a tiny selection!

TURNER MUSIC PRIZE 2007, Vol. 3 [.zip file]
[Download disabled.]

1. Lockett Pundt: «Whiteout» (a.k.a. «Glass Snake»)
Make me feel safe.
From http://deerhuntertheband.blogspot.com/
2. Atlas Sound: «Only Love Can Break Your Heart»
Every once in a while, the memory of a fling or affair will fill your thoughts with shame or regret—perhaps a sadness that the two of you are no longer on speaking terms. Indulging your nostalgia, you may fancy yourself blue (drama queen that you are), but it’s at self-pitying times like those that you need to keep a firm eye on Truth and tell yourself—in the words of Neil Young—that after all, «only love can break your heart.»
From http://deerhuntertheband.blogspot.com/

3. The Cave Singers: «Seeds of Night»
I like this song.
From Invitation Songs

4. Kyle Tomzo: «Bicycle»
Sometimes you like something despite yourself. The gaye naïveté of this song is kind of
repulsive, but I just can’t help myself—that slide guitar sends me into some manner of micro-ecstasy.
From Uncut Magazine’s Devendra Banhart-curated compilation Love Above All

5. Akron/Family: «Lake Song/New Ceremonial Music for Moms»
Devendra Banhart once said he makes albums for the «yoga mom
demographic,» but it seems Akron/Family just upped the ante: Gypsy guitar, tribal drumming, New Age housewife chanting, the Family’s own harmonies, whoops’n’hollers, «la-la-la»s, an exquisite vibraphone melody … order and chaos… This song has it all. Listening to this you swirl up into the sky, only to fall back down again, miraculously all in one piece.
From Love Is Simple

6. Deerhunter: «Wash Off»
A song for speeding and—by the time of the vocal-free «chorus»—crashing your car. A triumph of rhythm track over song structure. Impossible to sit still while listening to this.
From «Fluorescent Grey» EP

7. Antibalas: «Hilo»
Flawless groove here that evokes sadistic computer games, right-on political activism, quality pot and vintage porn, all at the same time.
From Security

8. The Budos Band: «Origin of Man»
Music to stalk Hollywood celebrities to, whilst confusedly imagining you're a '40s private eye stuck in the '70s. But then, if you're stalking someone you're bound to be a little confused…
From The Budos Band II

9. Edwyn Collins: «You'll Never Know (My Love)»
All soul, this song. Listening to it, all you can do is wait for summer and anticipate the next time you fall in love. Sometimes innocence isn’t repulsively idiotic, but sublime, like some forgotten truth.
From Home Again

10. Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse: «Valerie»
The Dap-Kings show us how it’s done with their accompaniment to this great, typically wry, Social Realist Brit lyric, originally by the Zutons. And of course, Amy Winehouse effortlessly puts miles and miles
between herself and all the insipid little would-be soulful schoolgirls that have crawled out from underneath the rocks she's already left far behind. Her voice is just a medium, and from where it comes and to where it goes all the well-meaning simpletons going on about «poor druggie/alcy Amy» will never understand (which is precisely why she can’t be imitated—or surpassed). Long after her tabloid popularity's a thing of the past, the seemingly effortless star quality of Winehouse's singing will remain an off-handed «fuck you» to mediocrity everywhere and through the ages… In the meantime, leave her the fuck alone.
From Version

11. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings: «100 Days, 100 Nights»
The Dap-Kings’ various retro soul endeavours often sound a bit anonymous and samey, but once in a while they come up with a bull’s eye. Despite the best efforts of bland British schoolgirls and soulless American R&B divas, soul is alive!
From 100 Days, 100 Nights

12. Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons: «Beggin'» (Pilooski
Speaking of soul being alive, Pilooski masterfully remixes a track that didn’t really need remixing, but once he did it, the DJ just added a smidge of tasteful psychedelia. And that can only ever be a good thing.
From «Beggin'» single

13. Blonde Redhead: «23»
Coming out from the Blonde Redhead gig, with everyone ecstatic and on their way to the next watering hole to wind down from the
satisfaction of seeing the band live, just hold on to that frail thing beautiful and brittle singer Kazu Makino's voice comes from (and to which it speaks)—that sultry sadness, all sexy rhythm and melancholy melody, that only Blonde Redhead seems to be able to tap into—by simply going home. Because what to do or say? A misplaced word will only disrupt and vanquish it. End the day, go to sleep.
From 23

14. Menomena: «The Pelican»
One of the interesting things about music—and especially experimental music, less geared as it is towards achieving a calculated response from some target audience—is the possibility to express several unrelated (and maybe even contradictory) feelings, all at once. I don't know quite what I feel whenever I hear this song, but feel good it does. (In a «hurts-so-good» kind of way.)
From Friend and Foe

15. Grizzly Bear: «Shift» (alternate version)
The home recorded version of «Shift»—slightly more violent than this stark rendition—was the high point of Grizzly Bear's debut album. Perhaps no surprise, then, that this is the high point of their EP of studio re-recordings. Doesn't come much more naked than this.
From «Friend» EP


The Turner Music Prize 2007, vol. 2

Now, I'm perfectly aware what a bring-down this blog can be, but I'm more than making up for it by including El Guincho's «Palmitos Park» on volume two of the 2007 revisit. It's like sowing a seed that can only blossom into something good—a source of life to which anything else may attach and go along for the ride. (Anything!) So here you are, my sweet little parasites; 2007 wasn't all balls-to-the-walls rock and electro—there were some life affirmin' ditties and a couple of big choruses, as well:

TURNER MUSIC PRIZE 2007, Vol. 2 [.zip file]
[Download disabled.]

1. Beck: «Timebomb»
All of a sudden, Beck sprang this one-off single on us. What a tease. Now, go suck your headphone.
From «Timebomb» digital single

2. The Duloks: «Boom! Boom! (Mormon’ Lovin’ Momma)»
Everything about this song is right: the drum programming, the organ, the production, the duration, the lyrics, the attitude—just the title, fercryinoutloud!
From «Star Trail»/«Boom Boom» 7”

3. King Khan & His Shrines: «Welfare Bread»
Khan is king, but who woulda thunk he could sing so tenderly?
«Watching the hours go by / While she's beating her flowers / Out in the tears in her eyes.» I don't pretend to know what the hell that's supposed to mean, but it sounds good…
From What Is?!

4. The Hives: «Well All Right!»
Screamin’ Pelle’s demented laughs set to Pharrell's production, this is one of those songs that make you want to clap your hands and holler'n'scream along. The taunt about «trying to grow a beard but you still look cute» alone is worth the price of admission.
From The Black and White Album

5. Panda Bear: «Bro's»
This song gives sunshine pop a good name. Makes you want to
stretch out on the grass and enjoy your good health, even if (and especially when) that’s all you’ve got. Good thing the track goes on for so long, then.
From Person Pitch

6. High Places: «Head Spins»
India imagined by Brooklynites.
From «Head Spins» 7"

7. El Guincho: «Palmitos Park»
Jumpin' Judy, is this an infectious track! Makes my brain bounce and body throb.
From Alegranza!

8. Manitoba: «Melody Day»
For an old punk, Pencil Dick Manitoba sure knows how to craft exquisite sunshine psychedelia…
From Andorra

9. Klaxons: «Golden Skans»
OK, so I'm pushing it a bit by including this one. Still, never before have backing vocals etched themselves onto your brain like this.
From Myths of the Near Future

10. MGMT: «Time to Pretend»
The poppy party anthem to end them all, MGMT have understood the only interesting incentive behind partying—viz. escaping from lasting, continued existence into the moment—although their brand of empathy (if one can call it that) is mercilessly satirical (and maybe a
little hypocritical, or at least envious). Still, I can't help but picture the ironic image of a dance floor full of drunk and drugged party animals moving and perhaps even singing along to this cautionary farce. (Actually, that's how I first heard this song.)
From Oracular Spectacular

11. Arcade Fire: «No Cars Go»
Pompous, poppy and perhaps a little vomit-inducing, I know, but this song sounded great when I first heard a live version playing… on a car radio.
From Neon Bible


O, Those Black Lips!

While we're on the subject of India, Black Lips recently had to flee the country. Not only for being asses, but for baring asses:

The old AC/DC trick, huh?

Seeing this is like watching Lars von Trier's The Idiots—in the form of a documentary musical. I love 'em. New album's out later this month.


Rare or Unreleased 2: Accidental remix!

Amadou & Mariam: «Accidental remix» EP [.zip]

One of the things I want to do with this blog is to make the odd hard- or impossible-to-find (yet still worthwhile!) recording available. Hunting for obscurities on my iTunes I came across this gem…

In 2002 I was in Varkala, India, in this café/restaurant catering to backpackers and the like, when this alien, soulful music came blaring out of a ridiculously bad sound system. The simple sincerity of the music was so elevating to someone not accustomed to subtlety that I just had to ask what this divine frequency was.

Turns out this French couple had left the place some random tape. Yes! A microcassette tape! Remember those? The guy didn't know what the album was called, but the cassette bore the handscrawled inscription «Amadou et Mariam». And helpful as he was, the waiter suggested he take the tape to a friend of his for me—a guy who worked at an Internet café and so knew a thing or two about computer technology (obviously). He transferred the tape onto CD for me—a CD-R full of tape hiss and songs stopping and starting, seemingly at random. Guitars warble and frequencies drop in and out, as if Noise and Distortion were playing along with the band…

I love it.

When I came home I did some research, finding an album by blind Malian couple Amadou & Mariam at the local record store, in that darkest corner of music shops everywhere—the dreaded world music section, where exchange students just back from a year in Cuba (now learned in those sassy ways of salsa!) or a middle-aged married woman with a secret crush on her tango instructor browse for mediocre compilations that only serve to further entrench cultural stereotypes.

Anyway, I gave Amadou & Mariam's 1999 CD Sou Ni Tile a listen—that record is actually where these songs were once from—and I must say I prefer the lo-fi grit of the tape to the cheesy world music production values on the official release, where the polish puts the intimate delivery at a remove.

So here you go; the coolest tracks off that album, «remixed» purely by chance—by Fate and Technology themselves (which, taken together, make up evolution itself, I suppose):

1. «Mon amour, mon chérie»
2. «A Radio Mogo»
3. «Baara»
4. «Pauvre type»
5. «Teree Le Sebin»
6. «Dounia»

Amadou & Mariam, of course, have gone on to world music superstardom, every critic's darling since «the elf prince of world music,» Manu Chao, produced their 2005 album Dimanche e Bamako.

By the way, Amadou & Mariam just released a CD last year, too: Welcome to Mali.


The Turner Music Prize 2007, vol. 1

It's a bit late, I know, but 2007 was such a doozie in terms of music that now that we're done with 2008, a revisit is well in order. Some of the most exciting bands and artists currently working in music unleashed tunes in 2007. So brace yerself; volume one has, as Lord Percy said to Sir Blackadder's crossdressing man-servant Kate, «balls!»

TURNER MUSIC PRIZE 2007, Vol. 1 [.zip file]
[Download disabled.]

1. of Montreal: «The Past Is a Grotesque Animal»
Only the beloved, so it seems to the lover… can in this world bring about what our human limitations deny, a total blending of two beings, a continuity between two discontinuous creatures. Hence love spells suffering for us in so far as it is a quest for the impossible… Through the beloved appears … full and limitless being unconfined within the trammels of separate personalities, continuity of being, glimpsed as a deliverance through the person of the beloved. There is something absurd and horribly commixed about this conception, yet beyond the absurdity, the confusion and the suffering there lies a miraculous truth. There is nothing really illusory in the truth of love; the beloved being is indeed equated for the lover—and only for him no doubt, but what of that?—with the truth of existence.
—Georges Bataille
From Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

2. Fuck Buttons: «Bright Tomorrow»
The Fuck Buttons’ debut 7-inch (no, I’m not referring to some cherry-poppin' man-bits) is what chill-out ambient should sound like. And that band name alone merits inclusion on any end-of-year list…
From «Bright Tomorrow» 7”

3. Spoon: «Don't You Evah» (Diplo mix)
This track seems minimalistic, but it's its seeming minimalism that allows you to notice all the details and changes going on, undermining this «simplicity». Rich and subtle all at once—and a little skewed—house music rarely sounded this good. It's even got a trace of human emotion! (Who said you can't dance to tristesse?)
From «Don't You Evah» digital single

4. GhostHustler: «Busy Busy Busy»
This is just sweaty, dirty, smelly rock’n’roll masquerading as electro—krumping at the Fight Club—all attitude and sexed belligerence—the sound of a demented spazz breakdancing—on psychoactive drugs. Glorious!
Not from any album (yet), this is one of those one-hit blog wonders.

5. Von Südenfed: «Fledermaus Can't Get It»
2007—what a year for testes! The fucker’s downstairs in the basement on this one. Mouse On Mars team up with Mark E. Smith for a track that’s as ruinous to virtue as any piece of music in human history. Twisted, pissed off and gagging for it (sometimes on it, by the sound of things), this track is pure hedonism—one of the saviours or redeemers of electronic music (justifying the genre's very existence with its
technology-defying human weakness) and the aural equivalent to rotten street speed (which, incidentally, is probably exactly what Fledermaus is referring to when he drones on that «I can't get it now, but I can get it»).
From Tromatic Reflexxions

6. The Fall: «Fall Sound»
… and they just keep coming. You can smell this song. «D-r-r-r-r-r-r-r! / You’ve just woken up to Fall sound-uh!» After driving his entire band and manager to mutiny on tour, «’80s reprobate» Mark E. Smith apparently just assembled some fresh meat along the way and, unruffled, stopped over in studios to seemingly effortlessly record monuments to attitude. Like this track, where he baits the former backing band he considered «TLC»—traitors, liars and cunts («thieving, lying cunts,» by some accounts). With a set of new and unfamiliar musicians behind him, Smith sticks it to his old band by giving us all a much-needed vitamin shot of that «F-f-f-fall sound-uh!». But then, as the man himself says, «If it's me and yer granny on bongos, it's the Fall.» Bless him. The world needs Mark E. Smith. 30 years into his career and at the age of 50, he still doesn’t let us down: «It’s a scream for help that’s desperate / But it’s tough luck!»
From Reformation Post TLC
7. Grinderman: «When My Love Comes Down»
The aural equivalent to libido, up and down, half of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds a.k.a. Grinderman’s «debut» album has several cool tracks on it, the obvious future pop culture reference being the driving, driven «No Pussy Blues». But «When My Love Comes Down» is the
embodiment of the frightfulness and terror of lust/love, and is probably the coolest love song lyric from the hand of Mr. Cave: «Your skin is like the falling snow / Your hair is like the rising sun / Your tongue is like a Kalashnikov / Or some other foreign gun»… (Reminds me of someone I used to know…)
From Grinderman

8. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: «Isis»
For fear of sounding like a bloody misery-guts, this is the kind of track that makes you want to dance, except no dance floor DJ will ever play it, either because a) it's not the kind of instantly recognisable hit self-conscious people need in order to dare venture onto the dance floor, or b) it's not the feelgood (or at the very least emotionally neutral) type of music DJs tend to believe are the only pieces of music fit to move your feet to. It’s an emotionally retarded situation that's emblematic of our times.
From «Is Is» EP

9. The Vandelles: «Lovely Weather»
They’re trying too hard to be cool when cool has to be effortless, but the glorious noise of this track is redeeming, and then some. And it doesn't hurt that the overall vibe is so damn sultry
From «The Vandelles» EP10. Times New Viking: «Teenage Lust!»
«I don’t want to die in the city alone.» Quite reasonable, really.
From Times New Viking Present the Paisley Reich

11. Black Lips: «I Saw a Ghost (Lean)»
As Todd Killings once wrote of Black Lips, they're
… just not right for this world. … Seriously slurred swashbucklers living out the ultimate teenage dream, yet breaking through another layer of remarkable idiocy, transcribed through hallucinations, exasperation, and perfectly casual dick fumbling. … How the Black Lips manage to walk through the perfumed garden of life is a miracle of modern bullshit, but a miracle nonetheless. Their validity is overwhelming and so refreshing, it almost makes me dizzy, and the way they can find their way through the mundane darkness of modern music and discover their own notes and chords between the lines is unparalleled by their peers. … These boys have tapped into a very secret well that everyone wants to drink from. Too bad it's got weird bent rainbows and chunks of shit floating in it.
From Good Bad Not Evil

12. The Warlocks: «So Paranoid»
A band that struggles with pooling enough talent and whatever je ne sais quois it is that great bands have (wait a minute, did I just use that expression?!), the Warlocks occasionally come up with an utterly hypnotising doozie. This one perfectly captures that woe-is-me Desolation Of The Soul experienced by those of us who wish we were
merely «so, so, so paranoid,» yet know only too well that it’s just that we’re not buying into the lies that people so readily tell themselves and each other… Thank you, Warlocks.
From Heavy Deavy Skull Lover

13. Sonic Youth: «I'm Not There»
Originally recorded in 1967 by Bob Dylan and the Band, this song was never released until it came out on the soundtrack to that pretentious Dylan biopic that takes its title from this obscure song. Dylan was probably still woozy from a motorcycle accident when he wrote this one; the lyric seems confused, and perhaps the reason it took 40 years to release is that it’s a little «unfinished». I use quotation marks, not because I want to be pretentious, but because it seems to me the lyrics work better that way; a song may seem more sincere when it’s not covered up in the usual literary decoys employed by Dylan in his sometimes evasive, often overly clever lyrics. But I digress—this is Sonic Youth’s version, and Thurston Moore never sang so well, his weary drawl drawing in the essence of the words.
From I'm Not There

14. Arctic Monkeys: «505»
From Favourite Worst Nightmare


Rare or Unreleased 1: Won't You Come Home?

Entrance: «Woncha Come on Home» [mp3]

Maybe there's a man living with a woman. Maybe he's at home at night while she works late. Maybe there's been a spate of muggings and rapes lately. Maybe even murder. Maybe sometimes he calls her about the time she finishes at night. Maybe on this particular night he doesn't, for fear of stifling her. (Maybe even because he doesn't want her to know just how much he thinks of her, or that he even longs for her or isn't perfectly content when she's not around—because maybe she'd take advantage of this, or else lose interest.)

But maybe he does miss her whenever she's not around; and maybe he's not used to missing anyone like that—maybe this worries him. Still, maybe he hates to be alone, and now he's alone. And maybe he knows full well that she goes drinking sometimes with her colleagues after work, and maybe it occurs to him that he could phone her up and join them. But maybe he has work in the morning.

And maybe the thought of her having fun while he has to get up early doesn't bother him as much as some vague and unworded jealousy at her enjoying herself with other people (maybe a man). And maybe this thought makes him more adamant (spitefully, like a child) not to give in to his worry, but rather continue to not quick-dial her—to not show her he cares (and definitely not that he misses her company or, God forbid!, is the least bit jealous).

But maybe the hours pass sleeplessly by and she's still not home. Maybe he keeps looking at the clock—maybe because he's made a resolution to himself not to call until a certain time, when calling her would seem reasonable (and in no way an act of longing, or at least not jealousy). And maybe just moments before the agreed-upon time he'd made with himself, he can hear familiar footsteps on the staircase, then the fumbling key and dodging lock, listening intently until the door shuts again and he hears her sigh and throw her shoes off, at which point maybe he pretends to be fast asleep, with only a couple or so hours left by now until he has to get up for work.

And maybe—just maybe—she stalled and came home this late on purpose, to make him wait, to make him long, to treat him mean'n'keep him keen, for the same reasons he never called?

Maybe that was a long time ago. Maybe she's not coming home anymore. Maybe there's nothing left to fear, because maybe the «man standing on the corner» whose «evil eyes are shining through» the window doesn't pose a threat, as much as represent one that's already come to pass?