January Playlist

The second half of January has been a bad time for me, with a lot of very difficult things to deal with. I’ve been low on energy for doing anything much creative. Here’s a playlist of songs I’ve been listening to lately though.

 

1) Queen of Borrowed Light- Wolves in the Throne Room

I was really disappointed with the most recent Wolves in the Throne Room album. I mean I guess it’s nice that they stopped trying to be a pale copy of Brian Eno, but the new stuff was really generic. Enjoy this instead.

2) Mouth Breather- Jesus Lizard

This song is about Britt Walford from Slint. He might be great at drums and songwriting, but don’t let him mind your house. There will be plumbing incidents.

3) I Am Living Death- Institute

Great new punk/post-punk from Texas.

4) Real World- Hüsker Dü

Great old punk from Minnesota. RIP Grant Hart.

5) Cross the Breeze- Sonic Youth

6) Закрой за мной дверь (Zakroy za mnoy dver’ / Close the door behind me) – Kino

This song from the 80s is incredibly well-known in Russia. Viktor Tsoi is kind of their Bob Dylan and Kurt Cobain rolled into one. In the early 80s he was repressed for his music- they had stopped sending people to the Gulag or falsely imprisoning them in mental institutions, but if you did anything to displease the authorities suddenly you would lose your university place and your job applications would always be unsuccessful. Tsoi was kicked out of art school and given a job as janitor of his own block of flats for lyrics like “well this train isn’t going anywhere anyone wants to go” and continually pushing the very tight limits of what was allowed in public performance. By the late 80s under Gorbachev he was allowed to get away with lyrics demanding outright political change and became hugely successful in the USSR, but then died in a road accident less than a year after the Berlin Wall came down. You can see the lyrics in Russian & English here.

7) Abschied (farewell)- Nico

Nico on the other hand was a deeply unpleasant person, even if I enjoy her music. I’ve never really understood why people call the Marble Index “unlistenable” or an “ordeal”. It’s quite a soothing album really. I like the baroque style of this song- which extends to the lyrics, full of old-fashioned literary words like harren and verzehren. The words and translation are here.

8) Master Song- Leonard Cohen

I listened to Leonard Cohen non-stop when I lived in Budapest, and it fits the city and its atmosphere pretty well. I miss Hungary a lot, but no way could I live there under the current far-right (and increasingly actually fascist) government. The sooner Viktor Orbán is out the better.

9) Translate- Suuns

The soundtrack to walking over frozen rivers in the Czech Republic last year

10) Oh Yeah- Can

11) Pig- Sparklehorse

It’s still sad what happened to Mark Linkous.

12) Corpse Pose- Unwound

13) Night Goat- Melvins

14) Chromakey Dreamcoat- Boards of Canada

15) Etna- Sunn O)) & Boris

Around the Winter Solstice I always seem to want to listen to nothing but Sunn O)) and Earth. Let your ears take a soothing bath.

16) I Troldskog Faren Vild- Ulver

I like Ulver but am also aware that they are in some (many?) ways cheesy. The lyrics on this album are in Ye Olde Fairy Tale Norwegian and are actually pretty ridiculous (but let’s let them off, they were teenagers when they did this album). Enjoy them here.

They only want you when you’re seventeen

(My ID photo from 2003, the following year)

I made this playlist a while back, and the post has been languishing in the drafts for a while, so I thought I’d finish it off for the end of the year. It’s all songs I liked when I was 17, which was in 2002. It’s a fairly roughly put together playlist, because it’s an attempt to make a jumble of songs fit together rather than to create a flow of songs (my usual way of creating playlists). I can’t remember why I made the playlist in the first place, but I think it was sparked by reading some article or the other. It was a while back, as I said.


 

The dominant music at the time was Nu Metal. The Strokes et al had just started to come in. I wasn’t particularly enthused by either. I used to go to a really shit alternative night in Chatham because it was something to do and they didn’t care about legal drinking ages (and was the only place open after 11 where my friends wouldn’t get beaten up). One room played indie, the other metal. Whatever song you asked for was too heavy for the indie room, and not metal enough for the metal room. So I rarely heard anything I liked there. Some of my (male) friends were in post-rock or post-hardcore bands, and that was more fun. (Some of them later set up a piss-taking night they dubbed post-core and claimed it was a legitimate genre).

There’s a big mix of stuff on here I guess, but nothing too embarrassing. Most of it is probably typical of people of roughly the same age. When I lived in Brighton however I seemed to be surrounded by crust-punk types, and in London more straight up HxC types. These weren’t the people I seek out, but they just seem to be there, surrounding you. They are also people with incredibly narrow and restrictive tastes in well, everything. They are certainly people who would judge this choice of songs embarrassing. I’ve leave the verdict up to you.

Brief comments about each song under the cut.

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Auto-suggested pathways

Long time, no see. I’ve been without a computer recently. Now it’s been fixed, I’ve got a bit of a backlog of posts. This is a spotify playlist I made a little while back. I was going for a introspective and slightly witchy mood.

1. I Found the F- Broadcast
I never got to see Broadcast properly live. I caught part of their set once at ATP when they were on really early, but I wasn’t in a hurry because they were a UK band, so it seemed like there were plenty of chances to see them. And then of course Trish Keenan sadly died of pneumonia, so no more Broadcast. I always categorise Broadcast with Stereolab and Ladytron in my head, except instead of focusing on 60s jet age stuff, they’ve been watching loads of Oliver Postgate and eerie 70s Nigel Kneale tv shows. Last year I went to a Halloween special event at the UCL Archaeology department themed on “Archaeology and the Uncanny”. As well as actual archaeology there were talks about portrayals of archaeologists in the media, literature etc (Nigel Kneale was a name that came up pretty often). Fictional archaeologists who aren’t Indiana Jones usually discover some forbidden secret and come to a nasty end.
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The more you use it, the more it works.

Februrary has been a deeply weird and confusing month, for various reasons. I had to go to hospital with gastritis and a kidney infection. I didn’t have to stay in or anything, but I had to take loads of different medications and was pretty ill for about a week and a half. I had to also follow the most boring diet possible until my stomach healed up (like, literally nothing was allowed). I was basically eating the diet of a fussy toddler. I never want to see another quorn nugget as long as I live. My stomach is fine now, and I’m reintroducing various foods and drinks, but it’s weird to have to try to remind myself to eat proper meals again. I also lost weight. Society wants to tell you that you should always be happy about that for whatever reason, because women aren’t supposed to take up space in the world or something, but actually my weight was fine before (they definitely don’t want you thinking that). Now my clothes are a bit sad and loose looking. Hopefully now I’m back on proper food that will be sorted out quickly.  


Anyway, here’s one of my monthly playlists, with some comments about each song.


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What is not but could be if

Here’s another mix, no theme this time, just songs I’ve been listening to a lot lately. When I moved the blog over to wordpress, I had to put the playlist on Spotify, so a couple of the songs aren’t available.

1) Zoom!- Super Furry Animals
See my entry about Gruff Rhys’ Separado film)

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