Saturday, July 31, 2010

Television Personalities - Closer to God (1992)

Closer to God is the sloppy, yet harrowing jangle pop follow up album to Privilege and its kind of an amalgam between it and The Painted Word. I'm mainly posting this because it's presence seems to be lacking on the internet and I'd like for it to get some exposure. However, Privilege is a far more polished and proficient work. You get the feeling Treacy was beginning his plunge into drug addiction and depression during the time Closer to God was being produced, as the tone is darker and songs generally rougher in nature. The despondency is back, this time with out in the open suicidal tendencies and talk of nervous breakdowns. It also has some duds and is much more bipolar and scattered than Privilege, which, in comparison, is a pretty consistent record. Still, there are some good songs to be found, especially near the end of the album ("I Hope you have a Nice Day," "This Heart's Not Made of Stone," and the lengthy title track "Closer to God" - which is rather moving - are some of the standouts)

Rating: 6.5/10


Television Personalities - Privilege (1990)

Privilege is one of my favorite albums ever and I come to appreciate it more with each listen. This was the Television Personalities first album in five years and is stylistically quite different from their previous work with more direct pop influences. Much like The Painted Word, it has some really doleful, depraved, and despondent songs which Treacy manages to pull off in an incredibly heartfelt, honest, and almost pitiful manner ("All My Dreams are Dead," "What if it's Raining?," "Privilege" to name a few) and a handful of stellar upbeat 60's inspired pop songs as well, which make for a well-rounded record. There's even hints of twee here and there. The album is diverse and lovable, and really makes you empathize with Treacy and his troubles. Privilege may be the saddest pop record ever made.

Rating: 9.5/10


Friday, July 30, 2010

Journey to the End of the Night (1932)

"The worst part is wondering how you’ll find the strength tomorrow to go on doing what you did today and have been doing for much too long, where you’ll find the strength for all that stupid running around, those projects that come to nothing, those attempts to escape from crushing necessity, which always founder and serve only to convince you one more time that destiny is implacable, that every night will find you down and out, crushed by the dread of more and more sordid and insecure tomorrows. And maybe it’s treacherous old age coming on, threatening the worst. Not much music left inside us for life to dance to. Our youth has gone to the ends of the earth to die in the silence of the truth. And where, I ask you, can a man escape to, when he hasn’t enough madness left inside him? The truth is an endless death agony. The truth is death. You have to choose: death or lies. I’ve never been able to kill myself."

— Louis-Ferdinand Céline (Journey to the End of the Night)

Pulp - It (1983)

Pulp's early career is often overshadowed by their over glamorized and glorified disco-inspired creations of the 90s. However, Jarvis' more humble, acoustic beginnings have a cozy, charming feel that is seeping with affection and kindles nostalgic romanticism throughout. The theme of this album is obvious and one Jarvis seems to have an almost natural understanding of: love. The theme of love permeates all of Jarvis Cocker's music and nearly every song on It is devoted to the topic, as even Jarvis proudly confesses,"I've got this love inside of me" and later on straightforwardly, "I love love". "My Lighthouse" is a gorgeous acoustic ballad with quiet accompaniment, which opens the album with an appropriate sample of seagulls and the barely audible tide. "Blue Girls" might be my favorite track and is a song I yearn to hear played live at at a sparsely occupied hotel bar whilst feeling forlorn and drinking alone, although I realize this is something that will never happen outside of daydreams. In summary, this a short but rewarding record, and a great, yet overlooked debut.

Rating: 9/10


Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Unless you have a very eclectic taste for quirky Japanese things, or unless you're stoned out of your gourds, Funky Forest - The First Contact is a nearly unwatchable movie. Its so out there and pointless and not to mention kind of long. So I'm not here to promote the movie, however, this scene is the highlight of the film and is pretty neat/hypnotic:

Paul Quinn (almost) complete discography

At times romantic, at times melancholic, at times a fabulous combination of both. Like Tindersticks with fresher instrumentation, Quinn's music is often characterized by sometimes somber, sometimes soulful orchestral backing, underneath his incredible baritone voice. I say incredible, but that really doesn't do it justice in our world of hyperbole. It's one of the most powerful and touching voices in the music industry, independent or otherwise. The song "Will I Ever Be Inside of You?" is just so epic and dreamy, it's one of my all-time favorites. The only things missing from this collection are the single he did with Vince Clark and his release with The Nectarine No. 9. If anyone knows where I can find a copy of either of those, please direct me. Other than that, pretty much everything else is included:

Bourgie Bourgie - s/t
Paul Quinn & Edywn Collins - Pale Blue Eyes [single]
Paul Quinn & The Independent Group - Stupid Thing [single]
Paul Quinn & The Independent Group - The Phantoms and the Archetypes
Paul Quinn & The Independent Group - Will I Ever Be Inside of You?


Promo video for "Stupid Thing":

Unofficial video for "Will I Ever Be Inside of You?"

The Seventh Continent (1989)

Having just finished The Castle (which was amazing) and Benny's Video (which was interesting), I've been on an official Haneke kick lately. This is his first feature film and I must say it is equally as remarkable and fucked up as the rest of his canon. He seems to be one of the only modern directors willing to tackle sensitive unspoken social issues.

Based on true events, The Seventh Continent chronicles the somewhat unclear decline and eventual destruction of the bourgeois family unit ending with the demolition of their house and belongings and finally the ultimate act of suicide. The only reasoning for their actions given are hints at the sterility of the bourgeois society, "some kind of nervous depression and isolation in modern repetitive life."

As a purveyor of seething loathing towards middle class culture, I found this to be a fantastic portrayal of the reality behind the veil, and what happens when the daily tension or in some cases tedium becomes too much to handle. The bourgeois culture is one built on denial, delusions, and pressures galore and I'm surprised implosions like this don't occur more often. But, hey, I guess that's what Prozac, xanax, and alcohol are for. Not Haneke's best, but a great film regardless.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The K Foundation Burn a Million Quid

The KLF - Chill Out (1990)

Chill Out by The KLF is an ambient house concept album "portraying a mythical night-time journey up the U.S. Gulf Coast from Texas into Louisiana. The album is a continuous composition, in which sampled music (including Elvis Presley, Fleetwood Mac, Acker Bilk and Tuvan throat singers), vocal samples and sound effects are overlaid with original music (including synthesizers and pedal steel guitar)".

Two separate times I have listened to this album and gotten a visceral religious experience from it, which is something that rarely happens to me. Its also true that both times I was on a heavy dose of opiates, so the drugs could have played a factor, but there is something about this album that is immediately tranquilizing and transports you to another place - even when sober. The first time was the first time I had ever listened to this album. It was my day off and I popped a few hydrocodones and laid in my hammock on a bright and sunny day in the backyard of my house in Echo Park. The feeling evoked from that first listen absorbed me entirely and took me away from reality for 45 blissful minutes. I was softly blown away and I still remember it vividly. The second time I had this arcanely transcendental experience was the first time I ever tried heroin. I fell onto my bed with the sun filtering in through the curtains and a nice breeze blowing in and as soon as I pushed play my mind once again became totally unfocused and drifted away to that imaginary mystical highway somewhere along the gulf coast.

However, despite its nature, the entirely of the album is not merely ambient. The progression is utterly phenomenal and builds to a climax and eventual denouement and there are two different peaks of intensity that will keep you involved throughout. This is not an album you can listen to parts of or just a song or two - its a continuous journey and you have to ride all the way through. The title is nomenclature at its most apt - if you ever want to relax completely and let your mind meander, this is the ultimate album for doing so. Another highly recommended record - Check it out.

Rating: 10/10


Friday, July 23, 2010

Momus - Voyager (1992)

There are few artists who marry intelligence with good song-writing so closely or to such a great effect as Nick Currie does. He is also one of the least languorous musicians in the business. His output over the years is staggering, extending beyond a double digit discography into extensive journals and writings as well. In my opinion, Voyager is Momus at his pinnacle. There is still a good deal of pastiche, especially in regards to the style of the music, but this is one of Momus' most austere and competent works. The production is incredible and there is great fluidity throughout. Lyrically, I also feel that this is Momus at his finest, which is saying a lot, because his range of topics and brilliant execution over the years has always been top notch and incredibly diverse. Overall this is a wonderful genre blend of introspective dance music, which makes for an immersed and fascinating listening experience. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Rating: 10/10


Hotel Supernova

Short and bitter novella about a man whose insecurities prevent him from getting laid even with many opportunities presented to him, adding to the loneliness of his already sad summer. A fitting read for me at the moment.

'It can't be, you're not are you?'
'Not what.'
'Samuel S.'
'You don't know me.'
'You are. Gee, I mean I've never seen
a picture of you, but somehow I
wouldn't miss you anywhere. You
know a friend of my uncle who's a
professor at NYU., he knows you. He
said you were one of the points of
interest in Europe.'
'Despair is the word'
'Gee it's true, that's just, ha ha like
what he said you might say. . . By the
way, I'm Abigail.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fanuelle - Fanuelle (2005)

What a beautiful name this man has. "(Matthew) Fanuelle is a peculiar guy. Living in New York, he wears earplugs most of the day. In this silence he finds his song. Loud and clear." I really don't have enough good things to say about this guy. I wish he'd write more music, quite frankly, because this may be the best pop album of the past decade. Almost every song on the album is one you can nod your head and tap your foot to. Much like a subdued Go-Kart Mozart, this is a truly eccentric and unique pop masterpiece. His voice is dynamic, yet seemingly effortless and organic, his music ubiquitous and compelling, at once familiar and distinct. Pleasant piano arias, over well-composed synthetic sound sculptures accompanied by ambiguous. drifting lyrics are a few qualities which define Fanuelle. Another noticeable aspect of this album is the occasional inclusion of spliced cuts of various television/movie samples, which add a strange dimension to the already multi-layered tracks. This is an extraordinary album, and heads in a direction that I only wish more modern DIY musicians would follow.

Rating: 10/10


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Norwegian Wood trailer

Tran Anh Hung is directing the film adaptation of one of my favorite Murakami novels, Norwegian Wood. Although I am an outspoken and adamant Beatles hater, I am huge Murakami fan, and am excited about the project, as this will be the first time a full length novel of his will be adapted into a movie. Apparently, he had refused to sell the rights to the novel until Tran Anh Hung came along, and felt this would be the right person to handle an adaptation. Also worth noting that Johnny Greenwood is doing is the soundtrack; his first since There Will Be Blood, which adds to the promising equation. Fingers crossed this turns out good. If it's half as amazing as the wonderful Tony Takitani (based on a Murakami novella), I'll be satisfied.

For comparison, here's the trailer for Tony Takitani:

If you haven't seen this, I highly recommend it. One of the finest depictions of loneliness ever portrayed on film.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Wake - Here Comes Everybody + Singles (1985)

This album has some of the most beautiful juxtapositions of post-punk sound to have ever graced my ears. It's sweet noise is like that of an aural opiate: up-tempo, yet lulling. A personal anecdote - I've had this for a few years now and I used to jam it all the time while delivering pizza in Denton - it was really stirring back then, and still is when the mood strikes to put it on. I have vivid memories of it being wintertime, hoping for a delivery across town so I could have a chance for an extended listen. I'd be smoking cigarettes with the windows down, allowing the cold air to come in with my heater on as well, so I'd have warm air to create a pleasant swirling of sensations. That feeling sort of describes this album. Part of its chemistry lies in its distinct opposing attributes: the lyrics are a tad depressing, the bass lines accentuate them, it's gorgeous melodies are pristine like morning snow, yet the synths are warm like a summer's night. This complex dichotomy evokes a comforting sadness that you can easily find yourself lost in. All in all, a magnificent collection of songs and by far their best album.

Rating: 10/10


Live @ The Hacienda, 1983:

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

"You must commit suicide at the height of your beauty"

"They don't even know...that art is a shadow...that stage not enough."

"Can art and action still be united? Today this harmony can only occur in a brief flash. A single moment."


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Martin Phillipps - Sketch Book: Volume One (2000)

Keeping with the tape trend, these are the home recordings of New Zealand pop lapidary, Martin Phillipps of the Chills. This is a very intimate work. Although the production quality is incredibly lo-fi and even shaky at times, the songs themselves are atmospheric and resonate with a certain campfire warmth and glow which really draws you into them. Despite these being rough sketches for Phillipps to show to his band mates to give them an idea of the sound he was going for, outside of a few brief instrumentals (which come off more as pieces of unfinished demos but still manage to be interesting), most the songs stand strong on their own, and I personally prefer the lack of a "decent" production. The song writing is simple enough, although layered adequately, constructed with electric guitars, synths, organs, and various other instruments over a drum machine. "Haunt Me" is a truly heart wrenching ballad and ranks up there on my list of all time favorite songs. Phillipps also plays the part of a storyteller with the tragedy of "Carabela," drawing sympathy for his character with his affecting narrative and tense musical complements. This album is quite different from what'd you expect from a Chills record. It's not as fully realized, but there's a definite affinity developed between the tape hiss and the general organic nature of bedroom recording, and this is a perfect example of the appeals of this type of production.

Rating: 8.5/10

DOWNLOAD [re-upped]:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Cleaners From Venus - Golden Cleaners

Firstly, what an awesome cover design this is. It's strikingly colorful and has great balance and contrast. Kudos to whoever was responsible for its creation. Anyways, onto the music... Martin Newell and his most notable project, The Cleaners From Venus, produced some of the finest and most under appreciated British pop of the eighties. Just about everything they did was unconventionally recorded and released on tape, with a lot of their distribution methods being underground, which ultimately led to them not getting much of the attention they deserved. I feel that this is a band whose sound is really frozen in time. Their music perfectly captures a particular essence of the decade, and because of that has a nostalgic glisten to it. Maybe it has to do with the nature of the song-writing as well, but that's the impression I get whenever I listen to them. They certainly have a distinguished sentimental vibe going on. Overall, outside of "I was a Teenage Idiot Dancer" - which is an appallingly obnoxious song - this is a wonderful collection and I recommend it to anyone who digs on catchy melodies and somewhat peculiar lo-fi pop.

Rating: 8.5/10


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Felt - The Splendour of Fear (1984)

For those of you who are not acquainted, let me tell you plainly: Felt were the greatest band to have ever existed on the planet. Felt consisted, in their initial incarnation on Cherry Red Records, of two key members: Lawrence Hayward (or just Lawrence, by preference), the brainchild and song-writer, and Maurice Deebank, a classically-trained guitarist and general technician for the band. Maurice Deebank has some amazing and profound solo recordings which I'll eventually get around to posting at some point, but for now let's focus on Felt's The Splendour of Fear

The Splendour of Fear is one Felt album of particular importance. It has no peers, either in its time, nor to this day. It is a truly unique creation and stands apart even from Felt's later work. The song titles, like all Felt song titles are evocative and meaningful and feel like they have some relationship to and further embellish the songs themselves. The music itself is subtly epic. It ebbs and flows as artifice reproducing the natural world and contains within its pulsating veins all the beauty subsumed within. It calls to mind great voyages: The Santa Maria de la Inmaculada Concepción sailing proudly across the Atlantic, The the unflinching boldness of the westward expansion into unexplored territory, the conquistadors, entire histories. It is the alluring soundtrack to affairs of ages past. This is truly a timeless album and one of the finest works of art in modern composition.

Rating: 10/10


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Durutti Column - Another Setting (1983)

Depression and Ennui go hand in hand. You lose interest in things and then you sit around pondering what to do with your day, wishing you could float aloft into the sky, or if your depression is severe enough, lay down and just cease to be.

This is a very solemn, lonely, and reflective album, although shimmering with beauty. "Spent Time" is the perfect example of this - its such a gorgeous, captivating song with endless depth and wisdom. Beauty and sadness also go hand in hand sometimes. To quote Oscar Wilde from De Profundis, "Where there is Sorrow there is holy ground. Some day people will realize what that means. They will know nothing of life till they do." Beauty is interesting to me. It's always fleeting. Its sometimes exotic. It houses a certain vagueness. I'm sure countless people have discussed and debated what constitutes and embodies it, but I do think a key component is ambiguity.

The Durutti Column is essentially Vini Reilly. I could talk at great lengths about how I feel Mr. Reilly must be a great man based simply on listening to his lengthy and impressive discography over the past year or so. He is most assuredly a very, very talented guitar player. But beyond that, he has an emotional range that is rich and well explored, which he conveys well in his songs, some of which he refers to as "sketches." An apt term, as his music often paints hazy mental pictures for the keen listener to form subjective personal imagery. Both musically and lyrically this is an album of beauty, sadness, subtlety, vagueness, and all those qualities holding hands and dancing around those of us with the ability to appreciate them.

"I want your special smile. Your smile in this crowd"

Just beautiful.

Rating: 10/10


Long Hot Summer

Monday, July 12, 2010

Relaxed Muscle - A Heavy Night With... (2003)

I remember the first time I heard this album. It was at the Fra house, I was in my room, drinking a 40oz of Bud Ice, looking forward to going out that night, hoping to have fun and possibly bring home a stranger to sleep with, when "The Heavy" kicked in on my subwoofer. At that moment, I knew that this was the perfect soundtrack for getting hyped up to go out and I knew I was in for a wild ride with this album. Alternately, this is a great workout album as well. Almost tailored exclusively for those two things: going out and potentially screwing and working out. Jarvis Cocker has always had a penchant for flaunting his sexuality. In fact he's carved himself quite a reputation based on his erotic etiquette. But this is something totally different - the prior effeminacy is gone. This is not delicate music. This album is literally soaked in testosterone. There is violence, vengeance, and misogynistic tendencies at play here. He talks about ruling his woman with an "rod of iron" (an obviously phallic reference), "letting it ride" all night long, and every facet of his life being "sexualized." Its also notable that Jarvis and partner in crime/electronics guru Jason Buckle took on pseudonyms and alter egos during gigs and public appearances, complete with costumes and hilarious back-stories ("Darren claimed to have met Wayne "planting flowers" while doing community service for burglary"), which is ingenious and plain awesome. If you're looking for some quality adrenaline fueled electro, it doesn't get much better than this.

Rating: 9/10


Relaxed Muscle's video for "Sexualized" :

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Complete Denim discography

Lawrence is the ultimate purveyor of alterity, a true eccentric. While other bands toured rigorously, Felt played very few live performances. The music of Felt disregarded all of the influences of the decade and went down its own path, making them stand out like a shining beacon amidst a vast horde of musical doppelgangers, and unfortunately leaving them in limbo, unable to surpass the cult-status they had acquired for themselves. While Felt was tender, beautiful, and reflective, Denim is the most refined form of jocular pastiche, perhaps more so than Momus even. What's more is that a good handful of the upbeat, synth-oriented, 70's inspired songs on these albums could have been radio hits in some other alternate dimension where brilliancy and genius were recognized and respected. "Summer Smash" is a better pop song than anything I've ever heard played on the radio. Always intellectually self-aware, Lawrence facetiously offers social commentary on everything from the consumption of force-fed popular music by the public, to class and social issues, to the tumultuous tidal shifts of shaky relationships, to drugs, to sex, to punk and rock 'n roll in general, and a wide variety of playful or serious off the wall topics. For Lawrence, no stone is left unturned.

Here's what this collection includes. I believe it's everything (including a rare, unreleased not quite up to par record featuring a few songs that would later appear on a Go-Kart Mozart album)

Back in Denim (1992)
Denim on Ice (1996)
Novelty Rock (1997)
Summer Smash EP (1997)
Denim Take Over (Unreleased 1998)


Denim's video for "Middle of the Road":

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Gareth Williams & Marie Currie - Flaming Tunes

It's a rainy, laggard day today, so I figure why not post some rainy, laggard day music? This is a rather obscure and eclectic (almost exotic, even hypnotizing at times) minimalist record made by Gareth Williams of This Heat and his friend and musical colleague Mary Currie. I still haven't figured out if that's her real name or just a pseudonym. I guess I'll never know for sure. It was originally recorded at home and released on cassette in 1985. Its influences range widely and were heavily inspired by a series of trips to India a few years prior. This album is markedly soft and soothing (for the most part - the latter half is a wee bit darker in tone), not anxiety-inducing and ear-piercing post punk like you'd expect from This Heat. Most of the instrumentation is sparse, but everything is incredibly cohesive and woven together to create something truly unique. The album was recently re-released complete with fully remastered tracks and a whopping 16 page booklet as well, so if you like what you hear, do buy the the re-release and support that type of thing.

You can purchase the fully remastered version here:

Or try it out here:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Top ten all time favorite films

1. Terry Gilliam's Brazil - The best film ever made, without a doubt. Flawless. Epic in the most grandiose sense. Not to mention beautiful, fucking hilarious, and heart-stompingly tragic. Although majorly viewed as a dystopian comedy, it much more than that. Brazil is the ultimate remindful allusion to life; to the temporal truths of human aspirations and our unavoidable sufferings.

2. Akira Kurosawa's Dreams - A series of surreal and as the title suggests incredibly dream-like vignettes, each one capturing a particular feeling of ambiguous and indirect anxieties, nightmarish battles, and unspeakable awes.

3. David Lynch's Wild at Heart - Its hard to pick a favorite Lynch for me, and Blue Velvet or Lost Highway or Inland Empire or any of his other films could have been equally deserving here, but this one is his most competent, and probably his overall best, so its wins the spot. This adrenaline fueled classic is wildly and darkly imaginative and has perhaps the most glorious ending of any movie this side of Love Exposure. I always throw my hands in the air and yell out in delight during a certain part in the finale.

4. Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation - Something about Lost in Translation hits my sentimentality button right on the head. It is a form of catharsis for me to watch this film. The soundtrack, the cinematography, the script scenarios, the subtle humor, the almost seemingly natural acting by both Murray and Johansson, all ease my nerves and comfort my soul. An all around gorgeous film, complimented by the most gorgeous lead actress possibly ever, as Scarlett Johansson is in her aesthetic prime in this role.

5. Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas - A little slow, yet placating, and like most of Wim Wenders' other films incredibly meaningful and touching with powerful character development. The haunting image of the two in the booth with the woman's reflection being cast over Harry Dean Stanton on the window near the end is an image forever seared into my mind - one of the most fantastic shots I've ever seen outside of a Terrence Malick film.

6. Yoshifumi Kondo' Whisper of the Heart - My favorite Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli. Again with the sentimental thing for me, this is a lighthearted coming of age animated classic. Everything else Miyazaki has had his hand in is also fantastic, so a handful of his other films could have been interchangeable with this spot. As a rule of thumb with anime, always subbed, never dubbed.

7. Stardust Memories - Such a fantastic and comical film. I think that this is the third of a trilogy of sorts. This is Woody Allen's Mangum Opus in my opinion; he goes all out. Pure "saudade" and neurotic relationship stuff.

8. Bruce Robinson's Withnail & I - Hilarious, wonderful film about two unemployed actors in the late 60s and their various misadventures and eventual developments. An old friend of mine, Ryan McGuire and I were a similar pair at one point in my life: pathetic alcoholics, bumming around where we could, over dramatizing everything. Kind of makes me nostalgic for those times watching this movie.

9. David Cronenberg's Videodrome - Its actually been a while since I've seen this, and I think I was on mushrooms, but I remember it being a real trip, blowing my mind completely, and deserving a top ten spot. Cronenberg is almost always great, fucked up, sexually demented themes, car crash fetishes and all.

10. Werner Herzog's Aguirre, The Wraith of God - There is something staggeringly religious about this film, and I am not a religious person by any means. Maybe its Popol Vuh's score, maybe its Klaus Kinski and his Jesus-thing, whatever this movie gives me chills with whatever eerie piousness it manages to encapsulate.

ps. wish I was there

Peter Koppes - Manchild & Myth

Epic 80s bedroom pop with halcyonic synths - this is the kind of genre that tends to give me a big ole boner if done correctly. There is also an underlying fantasy theme in the song titles and lyrically, but its subtle and not too over exploited. It works well. Speaking of the lyrics, they're optimistic and refreshing and there are some really great, simple chorus lines in there. Some might consider this effort to be sophomoric compared to his second, more polished studio-oriented release, but I like the tape recording vibe and the lo-fi sound better than what Peter did with From the Well (which is also a good record). There's not much filler here either - almost every song on this album is well-written and could qualify as a lo-fi pop classic. Even instrumental tracks like "Sahara" are oddly hypnotizing and induce general head nodding. Aside from "Under the Milky Way Tonight" and a handful of others, his solo material blows The Church's stuff out of the water by a mile. It's strange and unfortunate how one band can be so popular and a more talented solo artist can slip under the radar, forgotten by history.

Rating: 9.5/10


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bill Nelson - Map of Dreams

Today is the Tomorrow you were Promised Yesterday

The early-morning mist
dissolves. And the sun shines
on the Pacific. You stand like
Balboa the Conquistadore.
On the cliff top. Among the last of
the Monterey Cypress trees.
The old whaler's hut is abandoned now.
But whales still swim through the wild waves.
Sea otters float on the calmer waters.
Cracking abalone shells on their chests.
Humming birds take nectar from the red hibiscus.
Pelicans splash lazily in the surf.
Wander down a winding path. Onto gentle sands.
Ocean crystal clear. Sea anemones. Turquoise waters.
Total immersion. Ecstasy.


Victor Burgin, 1976

Disco blisco

Do you ever read books at a certain juncture in your life that bear such a relation to your own current situation that it must be some form of cosmic irony that they happened to fall into your lap at the time they did? I have this happen to me every so often. I recently devoured two wonderful books in fateful succession that sort of persuaded me to look into dancing as outlet for despair: Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf and Haruki Murakami's Dance Dance Dance, the latter referring to dancing in more figurative terms, but still. Its like some greater force was trying to communicate to me that I need to learn how to dance and dance often. Dancing is like a huge, symbolic, eloquently lifted middle finger to the existential crisis. So if anyone would like to teach me how to dance, or learn to dance together, my body is willing. Let me know!

Anywho, this is a cheeseball dance mix I made back when I was living in Denton and into italo. I was contemplating making a real mix out of this in Audacity, but felt it was smooth enough as it is. This compilation is mostly comprised of italo (the gouda of 80's euro cheese), with some dark wave and other various dance sub-genres included. Its music for strobe lights and wearing your fanciest shoes.

01) Fun Fun - Happy Station
02) Mr. Flagio - Take a Chance
03) Bad Boys Blue - I Wanna Hear your Heartbeat
04) Ruth - Polaroid Roman Photo
05) Yello - I Love You
06) Neon - My Blues is You
07) Kirlian Camera - Blue Room (Extended Version)
08) Nash the Slash - Danse
09) Rheingold - Fantasie
10) Iron Curtain - Telephone
11) Trans-X - Living on Video
12) Moev - Cracked Mirror
13) Ken Laszlo - Don't Cry
14) Georgge Kranz - Din Daa Daa
15) Industry - State of the Nation
16) Rational Youth - I Want to See the Light


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

East Village - Drop Out

This album is pure fucking bliss. Its fantastic. Its wondrous. Everyone I've ever played this for, has asked with enthusiasm,"Who IS this?" I have a lot of fond memories of listening to this album during my time spent in California. Driving around aimlessly with my girlfriend at the time, with the windows down, breeze coming through, sun shining down, her hand on my shoulder, cares nowhere to be found. Driving through the beautiful scenery of Orange County on a surfing trip with East Village as my soundtrack. Under the veil of the heavenly harmonies, there is a vague sadness, maybe even resentment that is the essence of beauty, "all that's pure, all that's sacred." It never fails to release an abundance of serotonin in my brain and make me feel really swell. I also have to mention the cover which is one of my favorite album covers ever. I don't know who that girl is but I want to marry her - such a gorgeous photograph.

Rating: 10/10

This is one of the greatest pop records ever produced. Do yourself a favor and get this: [Re-upped]

Friends - Best of Friends

What we have here, beyond your standard optimistic English pop tunes, is the amalgamation of genuine sentimentality with gorgeous melodies, the perfect soundtrack to summer nights. William Jones is a man who indulges recreationally in the feeling of nostalgia and romantic idealism: reminiscing on summers past and yearning for distant friends who've come and gone; these are the subjects of many of the songs on this compilation. In writing this may sound overly sappy, however, the execution is done with a precision and maturity that comes off fluid and natural; there really isn't a drop of sap to be found. Structurally, many of these songs sound like some of the more recent efforts by Martin Phillipps and the Chills, namely Sunburnt, which is a great thing. Upbeat and sunny, with a tinge of deeper sentiment under the surface.

Rating: 8/10


Sunday, July 4, 2010

A few of my favorite films of '09

Love Exposure - In summary, A 4 hour long epic masterpiece about religion, panty-shots and unrequited love, by Japanese director of Suicide Circle, Sion Sono. The soundtrack is killer. If I've had enough caffeine the climax makes me shake. Despite the fact that this is 4 hours long, it'll suck you in immediately, and it's a joy to watch throughout. Truly a must-see, dynamic film, and my personal pick for favorite of last year for sentimental reasons.

Breathless - The main character in this film is a violent angry bastard. He's had a fucked up past, which is shown via flashbacks, and hatred and resentment is embedded deeply within him, which he takes out on everyone he is involved with. The plot revolves around his chance encounter with a girl who has an equally fucked up past and has her own share of negativity, and their relationship together, and his progression as a person. The score is rather minimal but incredibly moving, it will induce chills at certain moments. The ending is so heartrending, and his character comes around so drastically, you'll just have to see it for yourself. Never has a movie made me cry like this movie did, and I don't cry often watching movies. This is one of the best films I've seen in a very, very long time.

Dogtooth - Such a strange and surreal vision, in the same vein as a Michael Haneke film, Dogtooth is subtly unnerving in such an indirect manner. This film is a depiction of a family who completely shelters their children from the outside world, controlling every aspect of their lives as they see fit, in turn creating a twisted and deranged family unit. This movie is crazy - literally. Partially due to the acting which is incredibly convincing on a psychological level, and the directing which takes you captive and holds you hostage in this warped fictional world, never flinching for a moment. The ending could have been, well, a little more, maybe. But sometimes less is more. Get ready for pornography, ritualized spazz-outs and cat killing with garden shears.

Antichrist - This was a really challenging movie for me. I've seen it exactly two times and I will never ever watch it again. It is the culmination of the neurotic state caught on camera. Lars Von Trier portrays mental decay, despair, insanity, anxiety and all of the underlying themes of chaos in nature, death and suffering that cause these states, then he neatly organizes them into one coherent and terrifying film, complete with allusions to adam and eve. I'd say that this is the most unnerving thing I've ever had the displeasure of watching. However, that being said it was expertly crafted and a true work of art, which is why I'm putting it on this list. If you're a masochist, you might find some enjoyment in watching this movie. If you're a fragile person, steer clear; Antichrist will leave an imprint.

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
- Ahhhh, this refreshingly stands out in stark, bright contrast to Antichrist. Full of vibrant colors and a soaring imagination, Ponyo is a quaint, light-hearted adventure in a fashion only Studio Ghibli can deliver. The first thing you'll notice is that the visuals and the quality of animation are absolutely stunning, by far Studio Ghibli's best work to date. The plot is of course outlandish and geared towards kids, but the characters and world is filled with magic and sparkles with such life that even adults can enjoy. Although Up was probably the better movie, Ponyo was my personal favorite so it made the list instead.

The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call - New Orleans - At the time of the shooting, with Nicolas Cage going through a financial meltdown, I can't help but feel as if his performance in this roll was REAL. That he was actually stressed out of his mind, actually smoking crack, actually seeing iguanas that weren't there. He's one of those actors you can't pinpoint what he's really like off set. He's been in some amazing roles, and on the contrary, he's been in some downright shitty ones as well. Does he do the shitty ones for the money, knowing they're shitty, playing the role with a hint of irony? Or is he just kind of a douche bag who happens to hit gold every once in while. Me? I'm a fan. His performance in The Bad Lieutenant was completely hilarious and awesome - the epitome of a "badass." In addition, there's a plethora of memorable lines such as the sure to be legendary, "Shoot him again. His soul's still dancin'" If you haven't seen this movie, do so immediately, its one of last year's best.

Captain Sensible - The Collection

After his departure from The Damned, Raymond Burns acquired an appreciation for popular song, and fused his own wits, whims, and political ideologies into the alchemy pot, for a rather dynamic result. Between that silly beret of his and all those captain puns ("This is your captain speaking!" etc.), its obvious that "The Captain" is quite the (lovable) character. Despite all of his daft behaviors, the man can write a damn ideal ballad, and there are plenty of them in this this compilation. Stand-out tracks include the classic "Wot!" "Martha the Mouth," and "Glad it's all Over", but just about every song is a gem. Note: There's 2 songs missing from my copy of this album...apologies in advance.

Rating: 9/10


Friday, July 2, 2010

What Could I do to Care?

Sonic Boom - Angel 12" (1989)

A1 Angel
B1 Angel (Extended Mix)
B2 Help Me Please (Drum Mix)


Thursday, July 1, 2010


The theme of this mix is to encapsulate a mundane feeling experienced and appreciated more often during childhood: drinking a cold soda on a hot day, when such simple pleasures brought an abundance of refreshment and satisfaction. The mix itself sort of changes its tone around midway, from power pop to more dance-oriented material, kind of hopping around genres a bit, but maintaining a "carbonated" sound throughout. Kind of "coincidental" how the synths on "Move with Me" and "Moves Like You" sound strangely similar. Both songs were released around the same time, but I think Cath Carroll's came out first.

01) They Go Boom!! - The King of Excuses
02) Peter Koppes - Quest
03) Paris Angels - Fade
04) McCarthy - Governing Takes Brains
05) Television Personalities - Paradise is For the Blessed
06) Silver Screen - Won't You Ever Know
07) The Radio Dept. - The Video Dept.
08) Boat Club - Nowhere
09) The Wake - Crush the Flowers
10) Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy
11) Stevie Wonder - All I Do
12) Grace Jones - Pull Up to the Bumper
13) Massive Attack - Eurochild
14) Neneh Cherry - Move with Me
15) Cath Carroll - Moves Like You
16) Way of the West - Feel the Steel
17) The Durutti Column - Stupid Steppenwolf (Pt. 2)
18) John Cooper Clarke - Belladonna