The more you use it, the more it works.

Published Categorised as Life in General, Music 2 Comments on 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.

1) It’s Common (But We Don’t Talk About It)- Brat­mobile

This song came out in 2000, 14 years ago now, yet there still seems to be the need to have the same conver­sa­tions again and again about sexism. You’d think things would have improved some­how in that time, but appar­ently not.

2) The More it Works- Parquet Courts

I went to see these guys play last week. It was great. Maybe they’re not that origin­al, but they put togeth­er all the things I like in a way I like.

3) Licence to Confuse- Sebadoh

Weirdly I got into both Sebadoh and Slint via the Kids soundtrack. I saw it 3 years or so after it came out, and taped it off Chan­nel 4. It was my all-time favour­ite film when I was 15 or so. Yeah, I know. That’s a bit weird. A couple of years ago I re-watched it with 2 friends, one who had never seen it, and anoth­er who had seen it once in the 90s. I wrote about it a little here. There’s also a good quote from Bell Hooks on the film here. (For the record, the two girls are Jenny and Ruby.)

4) Walk­ing With Thee- Clin­ic

A crim­in­ally under-acclaimed band.

5) Going Steady- Death From Above 1979

Pure testoster­one and sweat. Sadly I missed their recent reunion due to being a totally broke post-grad at the time. Now I’m just stand­ard broke.

6) Some­thing I Learned Today- Hüsker Dü

When I was 15, I used to have a home-made Hüsker Dü tshirt. I took textiles at school, and I prin­ted a trans­fer out, because I couldn’t get hold of a real one anywhere. As a so-called grownup, I have a real one. Here’s a photo of me wear­ing it on my birth­day with a 50s dress 3 years ago, after being caught in a rain­storm. The Thai restaur­ant saw fit to give me a banana frit­ter with candles in it.

I was the only one out of my friends who was into Hüsker Dü. I got into them from follow­ing up leads from other things I liked like Nirvana and the Pixies. There was a second-hand record shop in my homet­own called Magic Discs that I used to frequent. I bought Candy Apple Grey there on vinyl for a fiver and went from there. That shop was amaz­ing. It was run by two crusties and a very friendly dog, and they would magic­ally spir­it almost anything you asked for from a box out of the back and charge you £7. I went there almost every week and they star­ted pre-empt­ively reserving me things without asking, so I would go in and they’d whip some­thing out from behind the counter that I wanted imme­di­ately. I also star­ted getting a discount as a regu­lar custom­er. It’s not there any more, and I miss that place so much. I am going to write about it in more detail anoth­er time. I still don’t really know any people who love Hüsker Dü enough.

7) Condor Ave- Elli­ott Smith

On the other hand, every­one rightly loves Elli­ott Smith. In the summer of 2010 I went through a weird phase where I only wanted to listen to Elli­ott Smith (and did only listen to him) for about 6 weeks. I have no regrets.

8) The Sands’ve Turned Purple- Cap’n Jazz

In the summer last year I was talk­ing with my friend Chloe about going to see Braid. I couldn’t go, I think I was in Austria at the time or some other geograph­ic reas­on. Anyway, we decided to try person­ally rank­ing the Kinsella bands. I couldn’t manage it, except for putting Cap’n Jazz at the top of my list, and Owen possibly at the bottom. I also real­ised I don’t like the Prom­ise Ring half as much as when I was 16.

 I have a ques­tion I ask people some­times “Chica­go bands, which is the best: Tortoise, Cap’n Jazz or Jim O’Rourke?”. Inter­est­ingly every­one I have ever asked this to who is likely to have an answer has had a very firm one. I like all three equally and could never choose.

9) Nosfer­atu Man- Slint

One of my all-time favour­ite albums, along with a huge amount of other people. I saw Slint on their recent tour. For some reas­on that I can’t remem­ber I didn’t go to their previ­ous one. At one point there was a woman behind me who kept making cat noises in the loud parts. I really don’t know what brought that on. Brian MacMa­hon is also a much more charis­mat­ic man than you would think.

10) Tooth Fairy- Rodan

I got the Rodan compil­a­tion for Christ­mas (not because my relat­ives take such keen interest in my tastes, but because I specific­ally asked for it). They are pretty much insep­ar­able from Slint and Codeine in my head. I read once that Slint put out an ad for a female vocal­ist, and PJ Harvey was one of the people who answered. I don’t know if that’s actu­ally true but IMAGINE THAT if it had happened. Anyway, you’ve got Rodan- Slint style stuff + female vocal­ist.

11) Special/​Blown It (Delete As Applic­able)- Mansun

For some reas­on, I’ve never been to Chester. The combin­a­tion of Mansun, Hollyoaks, footballer’s mansions, half-timber­ing and the really nice girl from Chester who I used to work with whose boyfriend was a magi­cian have given me a strange mental picture of the place. Paul Draper, what a voice. I once saw this album on vinyl in a char­ity shop, I didn’t have enough cash on me, and they didn’t take cards and were about to close. I came back the next day, and it was gone. Curses.

I don’t think I know anyone who partic­u­larly likes Mansun either. I think I got into them at the time by seeing a video on the Chart Show. It’s weird now with the inter­net and instant access to any music you like to think about how you would keep such an eye out for any of the rare chances to see or hear things you liked on the tv or radio.

Also, in terms of “Summer spec­tac­u­lars” I had the chance to stew­ard at a Cliff Richard concert when I worked at Hamp­ton Court. The extra cash, and the possible life exper­i­ence were tempt­ing, but then I wasn’t sure if I could hack 5 hours of Cliff after a full day at work spent shout­ing at French kids/​telling people fake maze facts. The whole day while they were setting up the stuff, there were suddenly lots of 50 year old women around taking a keen interest in scaf­fold­ing.

12) Silence Kit- Pave­ment

Anoth­er fine purchase from Magic Discs. 15 years later or so, the sleeve is look­ing a big dog-eared and has been glued back togeth­er multiple times. In my brief foray into the world of inter­net dating, I claimed that a “date with Ikea is often better than a real date, because I tend to come home with house­plants and a bag of pastries”. A man actu­ally offered to take me out to Wemb­ley Ikea, he’d heard the meat­balls were sublime. I asked him if Steph­en Malk­mus would be there, and he said no. “No Malk­mus, no date” was my policy. Words to live my life by?

13) Rain on Tin- Sonic Youth

Rain. Lots of rain this month. It’s also weird to keep seeing Thur­ston Moore out of the windows of buses or in record shops. My brain doesn’t seem to like the fact he now lives a couple of miles away. He was firmly filed away in the the “New York” category.

14) Girls of Summer- Arab Strap

In my eyes the all-time best Arab Strap album. (Obvi­ously I like all the others too though).

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  1. 1. Girl Germs will always be on my list of favorite..clever and funny.

    3. It's completely unfair but I have never been able to listen to Sebadoh without simul­tan­eously compar­ing it to Dino­saur Jr…which as loved as they are, have never gotten their due.

    6. I had a simil­ar exper­i­ence with Husk­er Du. One summer, I spent a couple of weeks with a friend…85, 86. His uncle had dumped a big box of tapes on him and he hated most of it. My friend, and most of the people I ran with, had a taste for what we called College Rock…REM, The Cure, etc…my friend was partic­u­larly fond of INXS.

    He told me I could have the box and two tapes in partic­u­lar sent me down a differ­ent path all together…one that I traveled alone for a long time. One was Seven Inch Wonders of the World…a collec­tion of every single SST had released up to a certain year (minute­men, saccar­ine trust, Black Flag, wurm) it was sacred to me. The other was Flip Your Wig.

    12. Sheer aural brilliance…that little guitar bit that repeats at the end. I can't decide which of those first records is my favor­ite but certainly Crooked Rain is the best. Effort­less breezy geni­us.

    You must have been hell on them online daters. Ha

    Good list.

  2. When I saw Dino­saur Jr at ATP in Novem­ber, J Mascis had created this sort of amp cave around himself to make sure he drowned out Lou. I love what a dick J Mascis is.

    INXS over Husk­er Du!! The mind boggles. It's amaz­ing what listen­ing to a certain thing at the right impres­sion­able young age can do to your life. I'm not sure that could happen to me now I'm old (ish)

    Being sarcast­ic to hapless people on that website was funny for a short time, but it wears off quick. The one real date-date I went on from there is just not a story for this place.

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