Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Nothing stood out as remarkable or revolutionary this year. Here's what I dug the most:

10. Go-Kart Mozart - On the Hot Dog Streets

9. Jens Lekman - I Know What Love Isn't

8. James Blackshaw - Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death

7. CS Yeh - Transitions

6. Julia Holter - Exstasis

5. Bobby Conn - Macaroni

4. Saint Etienne - Words and Music by...

3. Beach house - Bloom

2. Wild Nothing - Nocturne

1. Lil B - God's Father

Honarable mentions:

Taken by Trees - Other Worlds
Swans - The Seer
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Mature Themes
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah!  Don't Bend! Ascend!
Chelsea Wolfe - Unknown Rooms
Antony and the Johnsons - Cut the World

 Heroin in Tahiti - Death Surf

Daughn Gibson - All Hell
Fascinator - Birth EP
Future of the Left - The Plot Against Common Sense
Diamond Rings - Free Dimensional [Note: guilty pleasure of the year]
Elite Gymnastics - Ruin 3/4

Lone - Galaxy Garden
Sun Kil Moon - Among the Leaves

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jens Lekman - "Erica America"

Jens' newest album will likely be somewhere at the front of the BS year-end list and I got to see him and his endearing band play it in its entirety this Monday. ,If you ever get a chance to see Jens Lekman live, please do. One of the most sad and joyous performances I've seen all year.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fascinator - Sexuality Mystery

I get many emails from bands asking me to do write-ups or inclusions with their music, however, most of these are more or less PR plugs spammed to every 'indie' blog on whatever list whoever has compiled, or just do not fit the general aesthetic of my blog. Because of this, 99% are ignored, but the song featured in the video below really caught my ear and I would like to promote it. Check it:

I have yet to hear the EP, however, there is more where this came from at Fascinator's Soundcloud:

On an unrelated note, my mediafire account was suspended for the first time in three years thanks to none other than.....wait....Brian Jonestown Massacre?

Unexpected (especially on a mix with two big label tracks), but irking, as mixes with single songs from artists are intended to PROMOTE the artist. An album would be understanding, but I am generally fairly tactful with what albums I post and which ones I do not. Oh well, guess I won't be buying any BJM records ever again....thanks label!

New links will be up sometime soon.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

MIX - Raw Dogs in Heat

For the young, dumb, drugged, and dangerous. 


01) Heroin in Tahiti - Sartana
02) Liars - Scarecrows on a Killer Slant
03) Mu - My Name is Tommi
04) SpaceGhostPurrp - The Black God
05) Gold Chains - Much Currency Flows
06) Xiu Xiu - Don Diasco
07) The Shadow Ring - City Lights
08) Third Sight - Tonto
09) Zazen Boys - Friday Night
10) Lil B - I Own Swag
11) MEDIAFIRED - Inner Jerks
12) A.R.E. Weapons - Headbanger Face
13) Die Antw00rd - Baby's On Fire
14)  McLusky - Without MSG I'm Nothing
15) Arca - 2 Blunted
16) The Goslings - Croatan
17) The Angels of Light - Not Here / Not Now
18) Smog - Sleepy Joe
19) Brian Jonestown Massacre - Cabin Fever


Monday, November 5, 2012

MIX - The Sun Crosses Overhead

Music for pits, grottos, wells, chasms, tombs, trenches, etc.

01) Mount Eerie - "My Heart is Not at Peace"
02) Tuxedomoon - "Dark Temple"
03) Crawling Chaos - "Danger in Paradise"
04) Thighpaulsandra - "Vomitting Child"
05) The Residents - "Almost Perfect"
06) German Shepherds - "Love Me"
07) Mark Lane - "Tsar"
08) The Shadow Ring - "City Lights"
09) Karl Blake - "Babies in Grey"
10) Xiu Xiu - "Poe Poe"
11) Swans - "How They Suffer"
12) Negativland - "View to the Sun"
13) Flaming chunes - "Generous Moon"
14) Legendary Pink Dots - "Ghost"
15) Akira Yamaoka - "Never Forgive Me, Never Forget Me"
16) Martyn Bates - "And I Don't Know How Long it Will Be"
17) Simon Fisher Turner - "A Gourmet's Love Song"


The Assembly - Never Never

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


The best playlist I have ever encountered in my entire life:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Help me fund my debut novel!

Forgive me for using BS as a platform to shamelessly plug the Kickstarter page for my first novel. The more money that is donated, the less hours I have to work, and the more time I can spend getting words down and the closer my book is to completion. Please, if you like the idea of the book....pledge or even just share this link on facebook or twitter or your blog. Pledges get a copy of the book when it's released (Estimated Spring/Summer 2013), a custom physical mix cd with the theme of your choosing, and of course my gratitude forever. Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

MIX - Respect Your Elders! (You Might Just Learn Something)

Thanks to everyone who posts in the BS facebook group, and also to Austin Tretwold and Jason Yates for always sharing the jams.


01) Vernon Wray - Facing All the Same Tomorrows
02) Alex Fergusson - I'm Obsessed
03) Lou Christie - Pot of Gold
04) Prefab Sprout - Bonnie (Acoustic)
05) Luis Alberto Spinetta - Rezo Por Vos
06) The Jazz Butchers - Get it Wrong
07) 800 Cherries - B.B.V.U. (Give me Give me)
08) Rollerskate Skinny - Speed to My Side
09) Kid Creole and The Coconuts - My Male Curiosity (extended mix)
10) Adam Ant - Crackpot History and the Right to Lie
11) T-Rex - Main Man
12) The Index - Fire Eyes
13) Lives of Angels - In the Image of Youth
14) Modern Eon - Child's Play
15) The Field Mice - Missing the Moon
16) Carly Simon - Why
17) Dorothy - Softness


Monday, August 13, 2012

MIX - Music for Mannequins

Music For Mannequins


Intro -


01) Bobby Conn - The Truth
02) MEDIAFIRED - Spring is Here
03)John Maus - I Want to Live
04) SpaceGhostPurrp - Osiris of the East
05) Lou Reed - Magic and Loss
06) Antony and the Johnsons - Cripple and the Starfish
07) Papa M - Roadrunner
08) Roxy Music - Eight Miles High
09) Gary Wilson - Come on Mary
10) Ariel Pink - The List (My Favorite Song)
11) Gary War - Clouds That Went Away
12) Holy Shit - You Made My Dreams Come True (extended)
13) Eternal Summers - You Kill
14) They Go Boom!! - Candy
15) Go-Kart Mozart - Blowin' in a Secular Breeze
16) Band of Holy Joy - Bitten Lips
17) Donnie and Joe Emersen - Dream Full of Dreams
18) Momus - Precocious Young Miss Calloway
19) Grace Jones - I've Seen That Face Before

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wilhelm Reich - Listen, Little Man! (1945)

For years now, I have often had engaged in internal debates on the ideas of pedantry and pretension, and whether or not in any case they should be justified, and I still cannot come to a solid conclusion. It is empowering and psychologically fruitful to feel better than someone, and even moreso to display your superiority in regards to them, however, this is a very backwards, primitive thought process. It's true that if you spend many years developing yourself, that you would want to hold others to the same standards in which you so rigorously apply inwards, and you may constantly compare yourself to others, and you may feel that you are right, that you are in some ways -objectively- better than your neighbor or peer. However, it is possible to have empathy for your fellow man or woman, and realize that their ignorance is not entirely their fault - that they are products of a society and education system which are designed to keep them stupid and complacent and subservient, and they have just not had the critical teaching you have had the privilege of getting. Still, there are the cases such as this book, where the author( a very interesting man)has throughout the years tried and tried to help the 'little man' - and his efforts have been ignored or taken for granted or he himself continually ostracized, and in these rare cases, an arrogant or spitefully condescending tone, is very much understandable.

My point being that the one minor issue I had with this book, was its tone. Yes, in many ways, the tone is deserving, but also it does not help to communicate the ideas within, nor does it align with the 'transcendency' which the book itself preaches. That being said, however, I feel that this little book should be mandatory reading for all 6th grade students, worldwide. Its ideas on de-oppressing yourself (and yes, there is a good chance that even you, my reader, are oppressed in some way - lord knows I am), are of the most crucial kind for changing things on an individual, social, and global level. Here ares some excerpts and illustrations from within:


 "Faced with the choice with a library or a brawl, you would unquestionably choose the brawl."

"You fail to perceive the bottomless stupidity and the disgustingly bad taste of these things which are designed to catch your ear."
" have to improve economic conditions  if you want to enjoy your life; that hungry individuals  are unable to further culture; that all conditions of life, without exception, belong here; that you have to emancipate yourself  and your society from all tyranny"

"You built your house on sand and you did all this because you are incapable of feeling life in yourself, because you kill love in your child even before it is born.; because you cannot tolerate any alive expression, any free, natural movement."

"Perhaps a little more to the  "left" than the "right," but not ONE MILLIMETER FORWARD!"


"Your life will be good and secure when aliveness will mean more to you than security; love more than money; your freedom more than party line or public opinion; when the mood of Beethoven or Bach will be the mood of your total existence (you have it in you, little man, buried deeply in a corner of your self); when your thinking will be in harmony, and no longer at variance with your feelings....

....when you feel elevation at hearing truths, and feel horror of formalities; when you have intercourse with your work comrades directly, and not though diplomats; when your adolescent daughter's happiness in love will delight instead of enraging you, when you will shake your head at the times when one punished little children for touching their love organs;  when human faces on the street will express freedom, animation, and joy and no longer sadness and misery; when people no longer will walk on this earth with retracted and rigid pelves and deadened sexual organs."


"'There is one thing that counts: to live one's life well and happily.  Follow the voice of your heart, even if it leads you off the path of timid souls. Do not become hard and embittered, even if life tortures you at times.' And in the quiet of the evening, the day's work done, when I sit on the meadow in front of the house with my wife or my child and feel the breathing of nature, I hear a melody, the melody of the future: 'OH ye millions, I embrace ye, with a kiss for all the world!' Then I wish fervently that this life  would learn to insist on its rights, to change the hard and the timid souls who make the cannons sound. They only do it because life eluded them. And I hug my little son who asks me: 'Father, the sun has gone down. Where has it gone? Will it come back soon?' And I tell him: "Yes, son, it will be back soon to warm us."

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Two fabulous summertime mixes from my buddy Matt Koons.

✷ ✸ ✹✶ ✷ ✸ ✹✶ ✷ ✸ ✹✶ ✷ ✸ ✹✶ ✷ ✸
( ( (( ((( - _ - ))) )) )( (( ((( - _ - ))) )) ) )
✷ ✸ ✹✶ ✷ ✸ ✹✶ ✷ ✸ ✹✶ ✷ ✸ ✹✶ ✷ ✸

1. Erkin Koray - Nihansin Dideden
2. Sun Araw - Crown Shell
3. The Congos w/ Sun Araw, Gengras - Food, Clothing, Shelter
4. King Benny Nawahi - Waikiki

5. Los Orientales de Paramonga - Captura Los Lobos
6. Junior Byles - Curley Locks
7. ?????? - Balaslah Surahtku
8. Raymond Scott - Little Miss Echo
9. Les Rallizes Desnudes - Enter the Mirror
10 The Men - Country Song
11 The Kinks - Fancy
12 Pandit Pran Nath - Komel re Asawari (excerpt)
13 The Invitations - Written on the Wall
14 Super Boiro Band - Kha Mu Lan Ma
15. Equator Sound Band - Mpenzi Nimerudi
16. The Techniques - You Don't Care
17. The Upsetters - Part 2
18. Otis the 3rd - Time
19. Joyce Davis - Stop Giving Your Man Away
20. Bembaya Jazz National - Doni Doni

☯♥✌☯JaH PrOvIdEs 2012☯♥✌☯
A really BaSeD tRiPpY screwed
♥✌mixtape for late summer✌☯ 
 1. Three Suns - Moonlight and Roses
2. The Clean - Traped in Amber
3. The Upsetters - Crab Yars
4. Harald Grosskopf - Emphasis
5. The Fireballs - Nearly Sunrise
6. Pete Drake - Forever
7. The Pheasants - Out of the Mist
8. The Kinks - This is Where I Belong
9. Superiors - What is Love
10. The Makers - Don't Challenge Me
11. Kraftwerk - Neon Lights
12. Emeralds - Candy Shoppe
13. Stag Hare - Allah


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Albums of the year, so far

I'll be short and sweet with my comments, off the top of my head kinda thing. In alphabetical order

Beach HouseBloom

Pretty, pretty, pretty, sad, happy, dream those tears away.

Bobby Conn Macaroni

Damn fucking awesome energized experimental political pop punk from a guy I've never heard of.

Daughn GibsonAll Hell

Another guy I've never heard of and another great, fresh-sounding pop album that blends country with scratches and beats. 
Dolphins Into the FutureOn Sea-Faring Isolation

Retro-styled emulation of 60's proto-ambient marine biology documentary soundtracks.

Future of the Left The Plot Against Common Sense

Sounds like the best, most intelligent 90s alternative album that never was. Some people dissed this for sounding too polished and being too far of a departure from McLusky, those people are are no friends of mine.

Go-Kart MozartOn the Hot Dog Streets

New music from Lawrence Hayward. You may have heard of him...

James BlackshawLove is the Plan, The Plan is Death

Man, this dude can play a guitar. The cover art is a painting of a campfire and appropriately so - such beautiful, complex and tremendously emotive acoustic pickings - the perfect kind of hypnotic arrangements which pop and crack like heat pockets among the embers of a campfire.

John MausA Collection of Rarities…

Contains reworkings of several of my favorite John Maus songs ("The Law," "The Fear," "Mental Breakdown"), so essentially a proper release of several of my favorite songs ever on a single disc/vinyl. And then there's "Bennington"....

Lil BGod’s Father

A mind-blowing 34 track assault in the form of a mixtape, a mixtape that Lil B says is 'better than some niggas' albums' when the truth is its better than 99% of most rappers -discographies-. Album of the year, probably.

Le1f - Dark York

2012 : the year of progression for rap production.   This is a very listenable experimental-psych-chiptune-club-pcp-melange album, sharing some similarities with SpaceGhostPurrp below, but not quite as sinister feeling.

Saint Etienne – Words and Music by Saint Etienne

A perfect pop album from start to finish, enough said.

SpaceGhostPurrpMysterious Phonk : The Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurrp

Dark, druggy psychedelic/trance-inducing rap. Lyrically subpar, sonically progressive.

Sun Kil MoonAmong the Leaves

If you're a Mark Kozelek fan like myself, you will like this record and find it's simple folk song structures to be a breathe of fresh air after all the recent classical guitar styles on his previous (also good) album. If you aren't a fan, you'll probably find this to be boring. 

Voices From the Lakes/t

80+ minutes of deep looping minimal grooves evincing early Richard D. James. For those of you waiting for Selected Ambient Works Vol. 3.....this is probably as close as you're gonna get. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Flight out of Time : A Dada Diary by Hugo Ball (1974)

Some excerpts:

The world and society in 1913 looked like this: life is completely confined and shackled. A kind of economic fatalism prevails; each individual, whether he resists or not, is assigned a specific role and with it his interests and his character. It makes no difference how this situation came about; it exists and no one can escape from it.

Standardization is the end of the world. Somewhere perhaps, there is a little island in the pacific ocean that is still untouched, that has not been invaded by our anxiety.  How long could that last? 
Then that to would be a thing of the past.

One thing is certain: men whose roots have stiffened and dried dout and who can no longer transplant and transform themselves stop having ideas and being productive.

We have to lose ourselves if we want to find ourselves.

It is imperative to write invulnerable sentences. Sentences that withstand all irony. The better the sentence, the higher the rank. In eliminating vulnerable syntax or association one preserves the sum of the things that constitute the style and the pride of a writer – taste, cadence, rhythm, and melody. The successors of flauert cultivated the sentence without sympathy for the magic of the vocables. But we must not overdo it in reverse. 

“Know thyself.” As if it were so simple! As if only good will and introspection were needed. An individual can compare himself, see himself, and correct himself wherever and eternal ideal is firmly anchored in closely knit forms of education and culture, of literature and politics. But what if all norms are shaky and in a state of confusion? What if illusions dominate not only the present but also all generations; if race and tradition, blood and spirit, if all the reliable possessions of the past are all profaned, desecrated, and defaced? What if all the voices in the symphony are at variance with each other? Who will know himself then? Who will find himself then?

It is necessary for me to drop all respect for tradition, opinion, and judgment. It is necessary for me to erase the rambling text that others have written. 

I notice that I am falling into a slight madness that comes from my boundless desire to be different.

Remove yourself as far as possible from the times in order to assess them. But do not lean so far out of the window that you fall out.

Nature is neither beautiful nor ugly, neither good nor bad. It is fantastic, monstrous, and infinitely unrestrained. It knows no reason, but it listens to reason when it meets resistance. Nature wants to exist and develop, that is all. Being in harmony with nature is the same as being in harmony with madness.

The days go by. To be able to think and do something serious one would have to live as methodically as the yogis and Jesuits. I would sometimes like to get lost and disappear completely. I have seen enough. To be able to sit in a cell and say: here is seclusion; no one may enter.

Let us be thoroughly new and inventive. Let us rewrite life every day.

[the artist] suffers from his time and his environment. Despite this, he has a conciliatory attitude to form and to life, and this produces the comedy.

As respect for language increases, the disrespect for the human image will decrease.

Judgments are hardly possible anymore; the sources have been forgotten. Everyone feeds on prejudgments, that is, on judgments that have been handed down and will be handed on again unthinkingly. 

Hell is deeper and more terrible than those who yearn for its flames could ever imagine.

The goethean spirit – does it not come from the difficulty of finding his own person among a hundred possibilities?

…that we, with thousands of lies around us, have to be identical with our visions….even if we are driven by an invisible hand to heights that mock our nakedness and weakness.

Everything that does not suffer, but inflicts suffering, is demonic 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

MIX - Songs for a Sempiternal Sixty-minute Night Drive


01) Mark Kozelek - Heron Blue
02) Mount Eerie - Through the Trees Pt. 2
03) Daughn Gibson - Young Girl's World
04) Maquiladora - Chinese Girl
05) Bruce Langhorne - Leaving Del Norte
06) Desertshore - The Town Alight
07) Songs of Green Pheasant - Nightfall (for Boris P.)
08) Gary Higgins - Stable the Spuds
09) James Blackshaw - Running to the Ghost
10) Bill Callahan - Riding for the Feeling
11) Songs: Ohia - Just be Simple


Go-Kart Mozart - On the Hot Dog Streets (2012)

This has finally released. Its available on vinyl, cd, and mp3 on amazon or direct from Cherry Red Records/West Midlands. Not many people are talking about the quality of the album itself, and having listened to it a few times now, I can understand because its a record that will take some time to really get a feel for. It's good, but far from Lawrence's best, and pretty much on the bulls-eye of my expectations . Lyrically splendid, as expected, but outside of a few songs, not much evolution from late Denim/early GKM as far as the sound is concerned. But who cares? Its a new Lawrence record and you've been waiting forever and it's solid as a brick. Buy it and hear for yourself.

Rating: 9.5/10

Jon Fosse - Melancholy (1995)

Jon Fosse, Norwegian author, playwright, poet, etc. has been referred to by some as a modern Ibsen for his prolific body of work over the years. Sadly, he isn't very well known in the states, but in Norway, he is one of the most famous writers, and deservedly so. My first impression from reading Melancholy was that it read like what I would imagine Gary Wilson's journal would real like. The prose is simple, repetitive, and at first, a little annoying. But once I got acquainted with the working of troubled artist Lars Hertervig's mind, and began to read more 'vicariously,' I could not put the book down. Melancholy is an intelligently written, but entirely non-analytical, look at schizophrenia, unlike say, Jung's The Red Book or Schreber's Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, and Fosse's ability to 'wear the shoes' of his central character makes this novel great. It's interesting, funny, and sad all at once, like any good novel should be.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Update re: lack of updates

So, so, so...I have been busy, busy, busy. Between getting this novel finished and working minimum wage, soul-sucking jobs to support myself until then, there has not been much time for blogging. However, I will have far more free time in the upcoming months and updates will resume as soon as possible. Yes they will include album posts again. Speaking of albums to write guys and girls DO know that the new Go-Kart Mozart album comes out in less than 2 weeks? Not a false alarm this time. Its happening and from the sounds of it, it's going to be a pretty monumental release, so get ready! -Matt

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

MIX - Goodmorning Captain Lovefucker

Springtime is here. You can wake up now.

01) Intro - Goodmorning Captain Lovefucker
02) Go-Kart Mozart - New World in the Morning
03) Cherrelle ft. Alexander O'neal - Saturday Love
04) Belbury Poly - Now Then
05) Of Montreal - Dour Percentage
06) Xiu Xiu - Honey Suckle
07) Chromatics - Back From the Grave
08) Human Teenager - Permanent Skin
09) Wizard Oz - I Can't Remember
10) Toro y Moi - Blessa
11) Saint Etienne - Last Days of Disco (Erol Alkan remix)
12) Grimes - Vowels = Space and Time
13) Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - PONPONPON (Submerse Moe Garage Mix)
14) James Simoji - Redline Day (5am Sunrise Mix)
15) Elite Gymnastics - S o C l o s e t o P a r a d i s e 3 (Physical Therapy remix)
16) Wiz Khalifa - Never Been
17) G-Side - Y U Mad?
18) Lil B - February's Confessions
19) James Blackshaw - The Snows are Melted


Berntholer - The Choice

Friday, April 13, 2012

Russell Banks - Continental Drift (1985)

Continental Drift is a converging of two cultures, of two very different worlds, who take part in a similar journey; white and black into a formation of 'gray.' Its dual perspectives are written about with an omnipresent, almost anthropological detachment. However, due to Bank's ability to present the shoes of his characters for you to walk in, and a natural application of vernacular, both stories feel very personal. The prose is simple, yet at the same time quite technical.

In many ways, Continental Drift is a spiritual successor to Updike's Rabbit, Run. Bob Dubois, like Rabbit is a simple man who begins to long for something more in his life. Both characters have similar destinations and are a bit racist and misogynistic, at least as much so as the next uneducated, small town man in their respective times/environments. The only difference is a crucial one (perhaps also a modern one) and that is that Bob Dubois has the boldness to act on his ennui, to scratch his itch, and goes through with his exodus into the 'new world' and Continental Drift revolves around this folly.

My problem with it, was that it was not particularly entertaining or relatable, for a book that advertises itself as it would be. The main reason for this was that its characters were too naive, their mistakes too apparent to me. The scenarios Bob found himself in were frustrating to me and could have all been avoided with a little foresight. I will say that I enjoyed the last part, however. During the 'ritual' scene, I was listening to Jandek perform his first live radio broadcast, and the combined effect of the music with the words put me in a trance. There was a building up, a letting go, an excitement, a remnant of animalistic fury, of sex and violence. I lost myself for a short while.

Finally, the author's note at the end of the book really tied everything together and clarified Banks' motives in writing Continental Drift. All in all, it was a decent read, but as someone who is not a 'Bob Dubois' it offered nothing profound and hence I would have to label it as 'novel.' Read if you ever visit the Keys.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Nearly two years and 500 posts after the fact, I’ve finally hit 100,000 unique visitors. I consider this to be a landmark, because it is a level of exposure I am satisfied with. Anything less would be not enough, and anything more wouldn't feel right to commemorate.

Bigger Splashes started as a hobby, as a need to 'do something' amidst the tyranny of mid-20s lethargy, but was also something of a causa sui. At the time of its creation in the summer of 2010, I was right in the middle of discovering a goldmine of really special stuff. I was very passionate about my discoveries and wanted to share with others what was affecting (enriching) my life so profoundly. In retrospect, it was nothing short of serendipitous. But like all things special and rare, supply is limited, and I have at long last reached an impasse. Surely there is more out there but as you begin to dig into the more obscure stuff, the quality tends to drop. For every gem, there are 10 turds. For every turd there are 10 really derived albums from admirable mimes which offer nothing of value beyond mere rhetoric. Many of these records in question were made by zealous young people who meant well and wanted to be a part of the scene, who even may have understood what the “scene” embodied, but were ultimately not musicians or artists. There’s a reason a lot of these recordings are unfound and that’s because many of them simply aren’t very good. Because of this, things have slowed down some recently.

A band like Felt is an anomaly. They were talented, ambitious, and most importantly, opposed to the vulgar, oaffish trends of the decade that would ultimately ignore them – and that speaks a lot for their artistic integrity, something missing almost entirely from the world today. In a perfect world, every musician would be as much of a relentless perfectionist as Lawrence or Kevin Shields. Such a world would surely not be facing the artistic recession we are currently in the midst of today. Music may not be dead, but it’s looking awfully moribund. Visit [certain popular music publication/site] and take a look at the front page. You will most likely see a number of record reviews, which, upon listening, you will potentially be saddened by (at least if you are as critical as I). These magazines and sites are largely bullshit. The music they support is bullshit. Plastic, turgid ordure. If anyone would like for me to expand on this, I will be happy to, but I figure if you are reading this, you are here for a reason, and my opinion is shared and understood.

There is still hope, and I am not one to claim that ‘good music’ is dead. There is plenty of 'good' music out there, although much of it has its priorities a little askew. Of course this is opinion, and many would say that the song style I enjoy is archaic, but I genuinely feel that simplicity is not a bad thing, and within a simple framework there is much room for experimentation. Taste and intelligence are important too, of course. There are only a few current musicians who I feel understand this pop philosophy: Ariel Pink, John Maus, Matt Fishbeck, Matt Fanuelle, Julia Holter, Nicolas Currie, as well as some more mainstream indie artists such as Destroyer, Girls, Beach House, Cass McCombs, and a handful of others. Still, they represent a minority of pop-culture dissenters/pop-music savants, and sadly, they are largely alone in their pursuits.

Back on the topic of BS.

Over the years I have come to realize that it’s important not to take one’s endeavors too seriously, but its also hazardous to not take them seriously enough. I’m aware that I’m operating on a cultural fringe with the content here, that my audience is a niche one, and exposure and interest is limited. I am also aware that this is a blog and blogs are cheap because anyone with a computer and working fingers can start one – BUT – the if the soul and spirit are vivacious and the content is crafted with care and dedication, the format is irrelevant. I am an appreciator, an enthusiast. I think it was Eno who said something about non-musicians really listening because it’s all they have, and I feel that’s why I talk about music – because I’m not inclined to making it. I only hope my taste and selectiveness speaks more than my ecstatic and at times even juvenile ramblings ever could.

My final advice to both listeners and creators alike: Be critical and critical and more critical. Criticism is what fuels all progress and without it we could sink into mediocrity and stagnation. But equally as important as criticism is appreciation - and that is where WE come in.

Anyways, that's enough rambling. Here's what you're here for : a mix which I feel embodies the quintessence of BS to celebrate this moment. It's a double disc affair consisting of 150 minutes of hardcore pop on pop action. It took me all day to make and I hope you'll like it.

01) Bitter Springs – Hollywood’s Decision
02) James Kirk – Houston, Texas
03) Even As We Speak - Drown
04) The Orchids – A Kind of Eden
05) The Brilliant Corners – Brian Rix
06) The Chills – Frantic Drift
07) Always – Love and Death in Metroland
08) The Wake – Pale Scepter
09) Blueboy – Cosmopolitan
10) The The – Jealous of Youth
11) St. Christopher – The Stars Belong to Me
12) Momus – Girlish Boy
13) Go-Kart Mozart – We’re Selfish and Lazy and Greedy
14) Fanuelle – Million
15) Strawberry Switchblade – Michael Who Walks by Night
16) Band of Holy Joy - Bride

01) Electronic – Second Nature
02) Cath Carroll – Moves Like You
03) The KLF – Madrugada Eterna (Club Mix)
04) Ryuichi Sakamoto – Risky
05) Friendly Fires – Looks Like Rain
06) The Other Two – Selfish
07) Saint Etienne – Lose That Girl (alternate)
08) Felt – A Wave Crashed on the Rocks
09) Television Personalities – Privilege
10) The House of Love – Love in a Car
11) Comet Gain – Draw a Smile Upon an Egg
12) East Village – Strawberry Window
13) The Apartments – On Every Corner
14) Cleaners From Venus – Living With Victoria Grey
15) Captain Sensible – Glad it’s All Over
16) David J – Hoagy Carmichael Never Went to New Orleans
17) Denim – The Osmonds
18) They Go Boom!! – Someday Soon


Thanks for reading, for emailing, for appreciating.



Bigger Splashes

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sudden Sway - Solo Store Detective Man

Robert Walser - The Assistant (1908)

So I have recently read two books from two different time periods which were strikingly similar in subject: Stendhal's The Red and the Black and Robert Walser's The Assistant. Both books revolve around the experiences of young vassals who take on positions in 'aristocratic' houses and focus on their respective integration into the paternal arms of their upper class employers. Neither are particularly interesting reads, and both often frustrating in the characters' passiveness, but that is not to say I did not enjoy reading them. The Red and the Black was the more psychologically complex, but even so, not quite as 'existential' as it was made out to be. Much has been written already about this book, so I'll focus on the latter, which is still relatively unrecognized. I enjoyed The Assistant purely for the poetic, classical descriptions of the Swiss country side - this was it's main appeal to me, admittedly.

The protagonist, Joseph, who is much like a more tamed, prudish, and older Julien Sorel, is quick witted, but lacking ambition. He takes on an apprenticeship with a failing inventor, boarding a sinking ship for the sake of experiencing the sea, and clings to his own obedience and rebellion until the inevitable demise/collapse of his employer's business. Much of the book is a documentation on early 20th century caste psychology, or rather, caste Stockholm syndrome. There is an interesting dichotomy of scolding and caress in the way Joseph's master condescends him, and how this patronizing treatment is accepted and even appreciated; mistaken for familial love. He enjoys being subservient yet also enjoys his bold moments of undermining his employer and his employer's dainty and eloquent and personality-less wife, although he often apologizes immediately for these petty acts of defiance.

Nearly all of this commentary is outdated, yes, but the idea of social imprisonment is still very prominent outside of class echelon and extends to many other facets of our society. If you were to take an optimistic perspective, I also dare say that it serves to remind that despite what our idealistic criticism may debate, there has been some social progress in the last century, even if this 'progress' can be deemed miniscule. The gist of the book is summarized in a moment of realization about his follies and his curious and illogical affection towards his spiritual captors near the end:

"The assistant found it so lovely to be sitting there in that room. This was something that resembled a home. And how often, in former times, he had walked the city's lively and deserted streets, his heart filled with the cold, wicked, crushing sensation of having been abandoned. How old he had been in his youth. How the consciousness of not being at home anywhere had paralyzed him, strangled him from within. How beautiful it was to belong to someone, whether in hatred or impatience, displeasure or devotion, melancholy or love. The human magic that resided in a home like this - how dolefully enchanted Joseph had always been when he saw it reflected in some window that had been left standing open, making it visible down where he was standing on the cold street all alone, tossed from one place to another, without a home. How Easter, Christmas or Pentecost or New Year's came streaming fragrantly down from such windows, and how poor he felt when he thought of how he was allowed to enjoy only the paltry, almost imperceptible reflection of this golden, ancient glory. This beautiful privilege of the upper classes. The kindness in their faces. This peaceful doing, the living, and letting live!"

Related sentiments from a modern Joseph/Julien Sorel: