April 20, 2010


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


THE THERMALS -- "We Were Sick"
I've been listening to Now We Can See pretty much nonstop since the day it came out last spring,* so it took me a while to figure out just which song to choose this week. I went with this one. I'm pretty sure it's about a disfunctional sexual relationship (So far from where we started/ too far along to stop"). But it could also be about the environment ("Stick out our tongue catching the acid rain). Or mortality ("We were high! We were alive! But we were sick!"). Or the government ("another lesson that threads into man").

*The album is apparently more than a year old, something I hadn't realized. I thought it came out in October 09, it actually came out in April 09. But it really is that good; it hasn't gotten old for me even after a shit-ton of listens.

Every song on the album makes some kind of reference to the elements— earth, the air, water— and all of the songs are thematically linked somehow, with the elements being used as a metaphor for a number of things. Death, is a common theme. But is it personal death? Death of the earth? Death of the shitty government? Death of the human race? Or all of the above? Or is it none of the above and he's just singing nonsense words in every song and I was over-analyzing as I am wont to do?*

*I very much doubt this final option.

That's the genius of Hutch Harris. He's not the most verbose lyricist (as in, he's no John Darnielle or anything) but I love how he can get a few different ideas across with minimal lyrics and the very simple verse/ chorus/ verse format of a punk rock song.

THE WALKMEN -- "All Hands and the Cook"
I chose this Walkmen track to illustrate my mood at the near-end of a hellacious news day. Or more accurately, a pair of news days. People forgot how to drive, rolled their paint trucks, collided, dumped logs, etc., and breaking news web updates were breathing down our backs with video and audio clips and PDFs to share to boot. And I was taking farmers market reporting to new heights.

So the Walkmen never put me at ease, but sometimes I nonetheless turn to them in moments of stress and exacerbate milkshake headaches with eye-squinting head nods and harsh air guitar strumming.

Furthermore, we recently saw the Flaming Lips, which Katie responded to with lukewarm enthusiasm and a mention of "gimmicks." We agreed that she doesn't much care about the unique tone potentials of different guitars and organs. But if you like that sort of thing, well, here's the Walkmen.

A little tidbit from the best email I've gotten this week. I'll only be able to think of this week when I hear this song from here on out.

OF MONTREAL -- "Doing Nothing"
This is what I'm doing today.

An old classic.

THE WALKMEN -- "Thinking of a Dream I Had"
It's what I'm listening to right fucking now. And it's one of their best songs. The overdriven Farfisa in this song and "What's In It For Me?" is one of my favorite sounds ever.

TOM WAITS -- "Way Down In The Hole"
(ED'S NOTE/ EDIT: Goat was late. Our bad. But this song fits. So we added it a day late.)
Since I discovered I have easy access to DVDs of The Wire through the OU library I haven't listened to albums as frequently as usual. As a result, I've recently listened to "Way Down in the Hole" more often than any other song.

Millie hails from Louisville where she attends nursing school. With an impeccable sense of style, people and humor, Millie was an obvious candidate for picking a song for the mix. When she isn't crafting, studying or making amazing music mixes, Millie will gladly make you an excellent Bee's Knees or Gin Daisy.

CAMERA OBSCURA -- "Books Written for Girls "
Let me just start by saying, it took me a shamefully long time to decide on this song. I thought about a lot of different qualities which are valued in a mixtape, & in turn thought about a lot of different songs.

But this song - this song makes me cry. That was really the clincher. I'm not sure what it is: the tempo is slow, but the lyrics aren't especially sad. We've heard gloomier. I'm fairly certain its the slide guitar. It sounds like weeping, and the chord changes sound like catching breath. Camera Obscura are well known for their pop, but I think they've been overlooked on songs like "Books..." I've loved this song for a long time.

Labels: ,


Blogger Tony said...

PS: Walkmen lyrics

That Thermals song, for better or worse, sounds like other Thermals songs. Oh ee oh oh ee oh.

Can we agree on a format for shitton V. shit-ton?

And thanks to everyone for bringing us into (sad?) Spring with this mixture. It's so good I'd even burn it to a disposable blank scratchprone CD.

April 21, 2010 at 8:17 AM 
Blogger Tony said...

And more about the farfisa.

April 21, 2010 at 8:19 AM 
Blogger Chase said...

I say "shitton."

April 21, 2010 at 1:28 PM 
Blogger JHitts said...

Wow, I don't think I ever really paid much attention to the lyrics of "All Hands," I didn't completely realize what they were. I just paid attention to his wailing and the guitar sounds.

April 21, 2010 at 4:22 PM 
Blogger Naomi said...

When I see "shitton" I read "shit on." I do not think there is a satisfactory way to spell this phrase.

April 22, 2010 at 4:57 PM 
Blogger M. Perkins said...

For an awful few seconds at the beginning of the Of Montreal track I thought someone had posted a remix of the Friends theme song. Instead I got another reminder of why I kind of hate Of Montreal even though I kind of like most of their songs until I hear them a second time. I don't mean to turn this into a "Fuck DBT" "No, Fuck Spoon" thing. Just saying.

For the record, Andrew Bird is way, way more verbose than John Darnielle. I love Bird's lyrics, but he pretty much makes love to a dictionary in most of his songs.

Thanks for the Walkmen songs. I didn't get into them until about six or seven months about You & Me came out, so I'm way late to that party. But You & Me became one of my favorite albums over the following year, and I have yet to hear a song by them I don't like at least a little.

April 23, 2010 at 6:43 PM 
Blogger JHitts said...

I don't listen to much of either Bird or Darnielle. Just fishing for a comparison of someone we all recognize.

April 24, 2010 at 1:31 AM 

Post a Comment

<< Home