Archive for May, 2009


Flâneur on an Uneven Sidewalk: The Soft Close-Ups

The Soft Close-ups

I’ve mentioned London artist, David Shah, a few times before on this blog; first, in my post on his enchanting project The Melting Ice Caps, and second, in my post of singles, which featured the split single for both The Melting Ice Caps and Shah’s other project The Soft Close-Ups. Additionally, I featured The Melting Ice Caps’ Selfish Bachelor in my Breakthru Radio setlist. Shah also happened to be in one of my favourite, but all too brief, bands, Luxembourg. A few weeks ago, I received a six-track disc of Soft Close-Ups songs from Shah and his collaborator, Aug Stone, a disc which features some more distinctive artwork from Sina Shamsavari, whose artwork has previously graced singles by The Melting Ice Caps. There’s no doubt Shah is a highly talented songwriter and lyricist with a Jarvis Cocker-like sense of satire and vocals that are alternately passionate and aloof, but his partnership with Stone moves away from the ornate chamber pop that I most associate with him, and adds a synthpop flair to the erudite lyrics. The tongue-in-cheek name of the band, ostensibly mocking b-movie tactics of emotional appeal, sets up the mocking pose and continues the intelligent art-pop that Shah has been pursuing since the days of Luxembourg.

The introductory track, Ditch the Theory, is a brilliant lambaste of academia that I can completely appreciate. It begins with a Pulp-like pumping synth line and deadpan rapping of the Pet Shop Boys sort. Shah’s smooth vocals then soar in a Morrissey fashion over a bubbling electropop riff and drum machine, and the combination works surprisingly wonderfully. While Shah mocks those who barricade themselves in the ivory tower, his easy patter of De Beauvoir, Lacan, Foucault, Derrida, hybridity and the third space, and simulacra belies this criticism; this liminal position of being both highly educated and educated enough to realize the ludicrous impracticality of it all is something I can identify with wholly. It’s the perfect song for those who are muddling through a thesis or dissertation and have suddenly found themselves sharing a bedroom with theorists (at one time last year, I had Umberto Eco sitting rather jolly in the corner of my room next to Marshall McLuhan in a tie-dye shirt and George Farquhar, who had a persistent TB-induced cough). The second track, Some Sick Day, is a gentle, haunting acoustic ballad that takes me back to one of my favourite Luxembourg songs, Single. The self-aware melancholy is dealt with in Shah’s unique turn-of-phrase, and features such lines as “when the pain was just metaphor,” “now the painkillers are a little too real,” and “any other drugs are for folk who lack imagination.”

I still love Birthmark, which I first heard as part of the third split single with The Melting Ice Caps and which is on this compilation. It bemoans relationships and thwarted life plans while maintaining an arch humour and features a chorus with the lyric, “let’s not fear the birthmark that’s all across your face.” Fireworks returns to synths, evoking the calm depths of a sea cave, and relating a bittersweet narrative of inevitable loss. The following song, The Way I Don’t Kiss, returns to a more chamber pop feel with Bacharach-like piano alongside the synths as Shah laconically sings, “Don’t kiss the way that I don’t/To spare you the sight, please.” It’s a brilliant rendering of what you would love to say to your “lover” if you had back pockets bulging with bon mots and had an autistic sense of honesty. The record closes with At the End of a Good Day, which sparkles and effervesces with synthesizers and relates another page from my life in its narrative of working life. Shah sings the couplet “every boss I’ve ever had has eventually treated me badly, every colleague I’ve ever had has eventually been treated badly” and “I was paid for being bored.” It’s the perfect companion piece to Frankly, Mr. Shankly.

The Soft Close-Ups are offering all six tracks for free download from their page, and I recommend you grab all of them. However, I would be more than willing to pay for these songs and any more that they end up releasing. Shah and Stone are serious about not being serious, studious while criticizing studiousness. As much as cynicism and melancholy dominate these tracks, there is also a latent humour that parallels the gentle pop melodies of the music; in a soft-focus close shot who’s to say whether your tears are sadness or laughter. Oh, the exquisite pains and joys of being a flâneur on an uneven sidewalk.

The Soft Close-Ups MySpace:

Ditch the Theory – The Soft Close-Ups

At the End of a Good Day – The Soft Close Ups


Mind and Soul Music: TV on the Radio Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre

TV on the Radio Burton cummings

I think I’ve seen more live shows this month than I have in the last eight months. Despite my recent feelings of fatigue and the expectation that Brooklyn-based art rock band TV on the Radio might just be a bit too heady for my tired mind on a Saturday night, I was hugely engrossed with their performance at the Burton Cummings Theatre last night. While the opening act, The Dirty Projectors, seemed to lull me into a glassy-eyed trance with their seemingly endless experimental pieces, which caused my heart feelings of arrhythmia and made me wish I was hearing them on a stereo at home, TV on the Radio are truly a live experience. I’ve been aware of the David Bowie-recommended band for quite some time now, but their music, especially up to last year’s release, Dear Science, can be quite cerebral both musically and lyrically. Dear Science took them into more accessible territory, and perhaps that’s why they finally made it out to Winnipeg. Sometimes musical complexity can lead to a self-indulgent jam session that might be better left to crunch through with headphones, but TV on the Radio proved that they can both groove and rock. I’m not sure if it was my particular vantage point on the first balcony or not, but the acoustics seemed a bit muddy and vocals were difficult to make out, however, I still felt the power and interweaving precision of TV on the Radio’s music through the incredible rhythms bouncing through the theatre. The underlying groove to their mechanistic time-keeping kept the mathematic angularity grounded to an earthier, human pulse.

They opened the show with the unlikely choice of Wash the Day, a slower, fuzzed-out piece of soul. The entire set kept the crowd moving to those intricate beats, including The Wrong Way, Blues From Down Here, Halfway Home, Golden Age, Wolf Like Me, Playhouses, Let the Devil In, Dancing Choose, Golden Age, Crying, Red Dress, Shout Me Out, Young Liars and DLZ. Singer, Tunde Adebimpe, is a fantastic performer in that he embodies the music he’s a part of; his arm surfed the sonic waves in a loose fluidity, sometimes whipping away from his torso and flinging any percussion instrument with it, and his feet seemed to hover above the stage in perpetual motion, shunting him back and forth. The icy circuitry of electronics and fuzz paired with the freewheeling funk and soul to create a show to send paroxysms through the audience and practically tear the head off any head-bopping hipster attempting to keep up with it. The encore saw some members of The Dirty Projectors come out and participate in percussion during A Method, and it featured one of my favourite songs off Dear Science, Family Tree. The night ended with Staring at the Sun, which cauterized the memory of the whole performance with the searing energy of an overheated planet and a circuitboard meltdown.

TV on the Radio proved that they are just as dynamic and viable live as they are on their records. They may use technology and technique to blow your mind, but they also produce art to nourish your soul. And my mind and soul were duly taken care of last night.

NOTE: Once again, I had to defer to Winnipeg music blog Painting Over Silence for the above photo.

Golden Age – TV on the Radio

Playhouses – TV on the Radio


Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday, and…Well, Friday I’m in Love: Weekly Mix #67


As I mentioned earlier, it’s been a really stressful, irrationally anxious week (a fair bit of my faulty brain chemistry to blame), so I decided to do a calming mix of acoustic versions of songs for this week. There’s something about going unplugged that seems to indicate a more potent vulnerability and honesty to a song and performance; unplugged becomes synonomous with stripped away and naked as an artist can no longer hide behind a full band and embellishments. There’s also an organic quality to the mellow tone of an acoustic guitar that can’t be replicated with its electric counterpart. In many cases, the acoustic version of a song brings new perspective and focus on the lyrics and sentiments of the composition. Oddly enough, I don’t seem to have all that many acoustic versions of songs (I have a lot of songs that started off as acoustic), but what I do have, I’ve assembled here. This one’s called Unplugged.

Chains – Sons & Daughters

Meds – Placebo

Those Things I Do – Protocol

Flowers – Emilie Simon

Cherub Rock – Smashing Pumpkins

The Magic Position – Patrick Wolf

Mr. Brightside – The Killers

Bluebeard – Cocteau Twins

Grace – Jeff Buckley

You Love Us – Manic Street Preachers

Walk Away – Franz Ferdinand

Beware Our Nubile Miscreants – Of Montreal

Home – The Cinematics

Weightlifting – The Trashcan Sinatras

Spit It Out – IAMX

Don’t Know Any Better – Puressence

Skeletons – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Heroes – Twiggy Frostbite

Sun Gangs – The Veils

Monster Love – Goldfrapp

Help I’m Alive – Metric

Weekly Mix #67 (Megaupload)


King of La Strada: IAMX’s Kingdom of Welcome Addiction

IAMX Kingdom of Welcome Addiction

If you’ve seen Fellini’s La Strada, and witnessed both the beautiful freedom of the gypsy circus and the brutality of its everyday existence and dysfunctional relationships, you’ll understand IAMX’s latest album, Kingdom of Welcome Addiction. Just as Fellini demonstrates a love and compassion for humanity and its circuses, Chris Corner has proven his musical genius in a record that is cinematic in its musical poetry and evocative in its dissection of human flaws and relationships. Rather than stay with thumping, slinking dance anthems and cabaret-style provocation, Corner has progressed into much more personal and political territory, resulting in both a yearning for a collective, more romantic, past, but also an attempted, futile escape from a personal one. It is the sound of humans who can’t help themselves, going too far despite how it may harm the self and hurt others. It is the soundtrack for the aesthetic pleasure in damage and violence and the sweetness of being a mess.

You enter Corner’s realm via Nature of Inviting, a song that provides the perfect bridge between The Alternative and this record. A low, muddy bass beat pulses beneath creaking squeals and crisp snare, and Corner alternates between a seductive lower, dreamy register and a heart-fluttering falsetto before throwing himself into an anguished, strangled “I love you/I hate you” refrain. The push and pull of contradictory desires and their irresistible power infuse the track with sensuality and danger. Then the title track comes in with spiralling, flamenco before a dramatic pounding of a bass drum and sweeping orchestral presence. As a counterpoint to the theatric, Corner’s vocals become a tender whisper for the chorus: “If you chose life/You know what the fear is like/If you welcome addiction/This is your kingdom”; there’s strength in weakness here and a revelling in being broken, if only to feel and live more intensely than those who are more successful at holding themselves together. Shifting from the serious drama of the preceding song to the seeming lightness of a mincing rhythm, plinking keys and snapping fingers, Tear Garden immediately brings to mind the German word “Tiergarten,” meaning “zoo,” and also reminds me more specifically of the famous Berlin Tiergarten and Octave Mirbeau’s The Torture Garden simultaneously. I get a sense of the inescapability of the crueler side of human nature, the way we’re hardwired with a self-aware consciousness, but with no better self-control than the animals we supplant. Though Corner sings, “I do evil things and evil things return,” there’s relief and redemption in the chords and cadences of the chorus as it seesaws and sighs, dropping like the purifying salinity of tears.

Corner’s duet with Imogen Heap, My Secret Friend, is a moody meditation on what seems to be an intoxicatingly intense relationship with undertones of dysfunction. Their voices meld, intertwine and parallel each other so wonderfully that they evoke an almost familial intimacy or an enigmatic twinning consciousness. The song entices you with the beauty of a nightshade, menacing and disturbing you as much as it intrigues and attracts you. Corner becomes more politically explicit on An I For An I, which takes on organized religion and its tunnel vision leading to self-fulfilling apocalyptic prophecy. Between the screwy, seasick waltz feel and Corner’s distorted, desperate half-screams, it generates an all-consuming paranoia and a feverish brain reeling with the cruelties of the outside world. As Corner howls lines like “The anger and enclosure of desire” and “Humility and touch is in decline,” he creates a feeling of straining against iron chains until your ribs crack and your lungs collapse. While I love all the songs on this album, I particularly adore I Am Terrified, a lullaby-like song with a 3/4 time signature and gentle, cascading arpeggios. It surges with a crystalline brokeness and the fear of losing control of one’s own mind, or even attempting to comprehend the mystery of that consciousness that drives human motives like a skidding, rattling motorcycle down a dirt road. As Corner’s voice soars, the lyric that resonates the most with me is “I am terrified I think too much”; it’s self-awareness that catches in the throat like a deliciously bittersweet sob.

Free download single, Think of England, which preceded the album back in November, is an urgent, syncopated anthem of breaking free, but an underlying inability to completely escape the burning bridges behind you. Making a reference to the 19th-century practice of telling newly married women to just “lie back and think of England” when enduring sex with their husbands, the track expresses the impossibility of escaping your past while more specifically referring to Corner’s move from his home country to Berlin; the peace is always short-lived and “the poison stories just repeat themselves in a fucked-up mess.” More social commentary comes in The Stupid, The Proud, one of the most circus-like compositions with its gypsy acoustic guitar and dark, broad strokes that evoke the whirling farces and exaggerated gestures of harlequins and Pierrots in grainy black and white celluloid. Condemning the stupidity of crowds and the enduring human flaw of pride, Corner sings, “The armies of faithful/The killers of reason, the grief of the crowd/The stupid, the proud/They blow our houses down,” performing like a child clown full of fairy tale in spite of a streetwise cynicism.

Another track that really resonates with me is You Can Be Happy, which begins with middle eastern flourishes and adds a pumping, insistent rhythm. There is a vein of hope and compassion in this song as Corner reminds himself that despite the pressing stench of a horrific, unjust world, he can open himself for brief moments of happiness. The spoken vocal by Janine Gezang, which states “It’s a cruel world for small things/But with lies and luxuries/in the in-between you can be happy,” is fantastically cool detachment that plays off the passionate singing provided by Corner. The Great Shipwreck of Life is a heart-pumping track with some of the best lines on the album, including “Release cold gender bombs on colonial closet middle England” and “We light up the bars of the world with the decadent essence of innocence/Free but sharp.” It’s a celebration of our equality in fraility and the liberty in recognizing it, all against a brilliant melody; if we’re going to fall down, we’re going to take the world with us. The record concludes with Running, a spine-tingling piece about necessary, self-imposed solitude. A self-proclaimed atheist, Chris Corner has also stated that he still loves the sound of hymns, and Running is definitely a page from the hymnal of harsh realities. At the same time, it retains a romantic wistfulness that speaks to that spiritual thread of our DNA that gives us just enough belief to preserve us. The refrain of “I must always run the race on my own” breaks my heart while the slightly shuffling, hollow bouncing beat sounds like world-weary footsteps limping into the distance.

Finding the glamour in reality’s poverty, Corner has produced an impressive installment in his identity project, IAMX. I applaud his honesty and vulnerability in this album; Kingdom of Welcome Addiction is cathartic and edifying in its presentation of pain and pleasure. I feel the weight of Fellini’s post-war weariness and recovery in Corner’s music along with the magical realism of the circus and the empathy in the chaos. The IAMX musical persona is a combination of Zampano, Gelsomina and the Fool, foiled by their own inabilities to escape themselves and disentangle themselves from that which will harm them because those very things can also give them meaning and joy. Chris Corner unites us nomadic freaks who cannot find a home anywhere else, those of us who feel like we’re living on the fringes, full of anger and sorrow, naivete and laughter.

The Stupid, The Proud – IAMX

You Can Be Happy – IAMX


O My Heart: Mother Mother Live at The Pyramid

Mother Mother 1

It’s been a really rough week. The new job has been far more stressful than expected; it’s kind of like I’ve been thrown headfirst off a diving board, hitting my head on the way down, thus forgetting how to swim once I hit the water. There’s no one to train me, and the notes and files left behind by the previous person are clear as alluvial soil. I’m also fairly self-conscious at the best of times, so I can only hope it will get easier and make more sense as I reorganize everything that I’ve inherited. At any rate, I was feeling pretty worn out by the time Friday rolled around despite the fact I was going to see Mother Mother play at the Pyramid. While I was aware that there were deliberate delays with the Stills show the week before, I wasn’t quite prepared for the delay on Friday. The opening act, Old Folks Home, a mild, Afrobeat band, didn’t take the stage til after 11:00PM. This perhaps wouldn’t have been quite so irksome if I hadn’t been attending the gig alone, but being solo made the extra time hanging about all the more pertinent and boring. I was also pointedly aware of the time since the last bus home leaves at around 1:45AM. Mother Mother ended up taking the stage at 12:20AM, and it’s a testament to the band’s abilities and music that I lost track of the time and managed to enjoy myself despite the events of the week and the earlier part of the night.

Mother Mother 2

As the translucent, red curtain parted, the show kicked off with Neighbour from their first album, Touch Up. The tight, energetic dynamic persisted through the set as Jasmin Parkin and Molly Guldemond flanked Ryan Guldemond with fantastically harmonic back-up vocals and keyboards. Following the setlists printed out on paper plates on the floor, they then launched into the current radio hit, Body of Years, from their sophomore album, O My Heart, which should you be interested, I reviewed here. Their blend of quirky pop hooks with folk and funk was perfect live as Ryan careened about the stage and pulled off intricate guitar solos. There’s a sweetness and warmth to their witty, sometimes slightly wacky songs that came through with their movement and Ryan’s banter. The set proper, which appropriately drew from the last year’s record, included Arms Tonight, Wrecking Ball, Try to Change, Body, Burning Pile, and a couple more from Touch Up (Verbatim and the title track). We were also treated to a brand new song entitled Finding Happiness, which indicated there are good things still to come from the band.

Mother Mother 3

There were a couple of favourite moments of the show. The first came after Ryan had already switched to acoustic guitar and twanged those first off-kilter notes of my favourite Mother Mother track, Ghosting. I was pleasantly surprised to know that so many other people in the audience loved that particular song, too, as we all sang along. The second great moment was the end of the set proper, in which they played both Hayloft and O My Heart with a frenetic pace and encouraged the crowd to bounce up and down with them. My heart thumped along with their staccato delivery and the frenzy of the crowd around me, and for a moment, I shed my anxieties; my heart had stopped racing with anxiety and was racing with the sheer fun of the music.

Unfortunately, because of the two-hour delay for the start of the show, I had to leave before the encore to catch one of the last buses. If anyone reading this was there and stayed til the end, let me know what the encore was. Since this is the second time Mother Mother came to Winnipeg, I’m thinking there will be a good chance of seeing them live again. And next time, I’ll be there for the encore.

Neighbour – Mother Mother

Wrecking Ball – Mother Mother


Everyday is Like Sunday, Except for Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday, and…Well, Friday I’m in Love: Weekly Mix #66


For this Victoria Day long weekend, I willl return to a well-loved theme here at CTRR: robots. This one’s called Lick My Battery.

Tupac Robot Club Rock – Filthy Dukes

Laser Laser – Neo Tokyo

Dude, You Feel Electrical – Shout Out Out Out Out

Rotwang’s Party (Robot Dance) – Giorgio Moroder

Robot Rock – Daft Punk

Guitars Are Overrated (Neo Tokyo Remix) – The Robot Disaster

Naked – Alice in Videoland

Neon Generation – A-ux

The Girl and the Robot (Chateau Marmont Remix) – Royksopp

Electric People – Ruede Hagelstein

The Robots in My Bedroom Were Playing Arena Rock – Softlightes

Electric Barberella – Duran Duran

You Killed My Robot Friend – Nyhlin

Rodney’s English Disco – Helen Love

I Wish I Was a Robot – Das Wanderlust

Garden of Love – Clor

Electronic Germany – DJ Hell

I Love You (Miss Robot) – The Buggles

Robot Man (Hot Chip Remix) – The Aliens

Computer Love – Glass Candy


Snakecharming the Masses: The Stills Live at the Pyramid

The Stills Pyramid 3

I wasn’t intending to attend The Stills’ show at the Pyramid this past Saturday because they were the latest casualty of my concert budget. Up until very recently, I was living on $200 a month and my parents’ love, so I knew I couldn’t see every band that came through. And despite having bought The Stills’ debut album several years back, they had been one of those bands I lost track of and perhaps the majority of their songs weren’t grabbing my attention in the way other bands’ were. At any rate, I did go and see The Stills at the Pyramid courtesy of winning a contest via Winnipeg music blog Painting Over Silence and the people at Arts & Crafts. I’m very glad I did, and I’ll tell you for why – I appreciate The Stills much better live than I do when I listen to them on CD. They are an incredibly dynamic, passionate force onstage, giving their songs fuller body and energy than I’ve found on the records themselves. And watching the effect they were having on their hardcore fans was fantastic – a tight knot of people were dancing, pumping their fists and hugging each other as the music took them over. They were truly under the spell of the band, which is always wonderful at a live show. And this is after the show began an hour later than scheduled.

The Stills Pyramid 2

Backlit by vertical, eye-searing orange lights that complemented their drumkit emblazoned with the Oceans Will Rise cover art, The Stills launched into their set with the ratatat percussion of Snakecharming The Masses (Dave Hamelin on an extra snare drum stage right) as they turned what could be a repetitive song into a mesmerizing performance. They then did one of my favourite songs from Logic Will Break Your Heart, Lola Stars and Stripes, before returning to the tracks off their latest release, including Snow in California, Panic, Dinosaurs, Eastern Europe, Hands on Fire, I’m With You, and Everything I Build (which was dedicated to their opening band Gentleman Reg and sung with a weary tenderness). While I appreciated the fist-pumping anthems and harder rocking of many of the songs, I really loved the wall of sound created on songs like Snow in California and Hands on Fire; the melodic dexterity and gentle, building beauty of both songs were highly memorable for me. Interspersed through the set, there were also a few songs from Without Feathers, including In the Beginning, Helicopters and She’s Walking Out, which seemed to get a post-punk makeover when live in contrast to their more Americana-based original album incarnations. They ended the set proper with the anthemic one-two punch of their recent singles Being Here and Don’t Talk Down, and interestingly, returned to their debut album for the encore that featured Of Montreal and Still in Love Song.

The Stills Pyramid 1

Overall, the band is brilliantly co-helmed by Tim Fletcher and Dave Hamelin, who switch off on lead vocals (Hamelin’s softer croon and Fletcher’s impassioned howl) in the seamless fashion that all three guitars in the band interplay to create a sense of sonic warmth like a brightly glowing, smouldering ember in the post-punk darkness. At one point in the encore, all three guitars were aimed at the audience in true aural assault; in fact, I’m sure several of the people at the edge of the stage got to look down the barrel of a fretboard multiple times during the performance. There were also several rather breathtaking stop-on-a-dime kind of endings to songs that required an impressive precision. It was the last night of their current tour, and while the venue was relatively small, the masses that were there were duly impressed, some with their arms swaying and darting in the air as though from the depths of a snake basket.

I also have to mention how much I loved Gentleman Reg, the opening band from Toronto. In their case, it was love at first listen. As I’ve said before, there aren’t many opening acts I get so instantly attached to, but Gentleman Reg was one of those bands. Their beautifully crafted pop songs paired with vocalist, Reg Vermue’s fey, emotive voice are a perfect blend of bittersweet romanticism and wit. Vermue’s vocals are so unique and memorable that they still resonate somewhere at the centre of my solar plexus, and the music is twee, folky, and soulful all at once. Prefacing the song Rewind with a comment about how it was the only slow ballad they were going to play and that it was time for people to go to the washroom or get a drink, Vermue launched into one of the prettiest, affective songs I’ve ever heard, and the line “There’s no point in going back/When our masterpiece is crumbling” lingered in my mind as I went home. I also distinctly remember the wispy, synthy, disco-driving We’re in a Thunderstorm, the cheeky You Can’t Get It Back, the charming sing-song of Falling Back, and their self-proclaimed “Internet hit,” Give Me the Chance to Fall. Additionally, Vermue delivered rather humourous banter, which straddled the line between camp and laconic, between songs, including stories of a girl requesting that they play a Britney Spears song the night before in Regina and of shopping in West Edmonton Mall, where he threw out his back and where keyboardist, Kelly McMichael, bought a new dress. They are shortly going to be touring with Nina Persson’s non-Cardigans project A-Camp, so if you’re in one of the cities they’re hitting, make sure you check them out, and for those of us here in Winnipeg, they will be returning for Folk Fest. Buy the latest album, Jet Black, which is stunning, and then go back and collect the pre-Arts & Crafts back catalog – I know I will.

Snow in California – The Stills

Everything I Build – The Stills

You Can’t Get It Back – Gentleman Reg

Rewind – Gentleman Reg


CTRR on BTR: Blogger of the Week and Anatomy of a Blogger on Breakthru Radio

Breakthru radio show

For the week of April 6, Condemned to Rock ‘n Roll was featured under the Blogger of the Week section of Breakthru Radio. I only just found out the exact dates myself, having submitted everything well before that, but should you be interested in which posts were featured you can click the links below:

This is the Industry, But For How Long?: Thoughts On the State of Music Today
You Will Not Be Spared From Thinking: Stroszek’s Manufacturing Consent EP
The Pirate’s Dilemma: Selling Out is the New Cool
The Dark Stuff: Why Do We Love It So Much?
Nelly Furtado’s a Cannibal, But the Queen Prefers Corgis: Welcome to the Music of Tom Rosenthal

Also, as part of the Blogger of the Week, I was allowed to pick my own playlist for the Anatomy of a Blogger radio show and answer some questions about the blog, music and the music industry. You can still listen to the whole show here. Although, I can’t bear the sound of my own voice (never have done, especially all those horrible television and radio broadcast projects I did as part of college training), so I won’t be listening to it more than once. I tried to pick some artists that wouldn’t normally get airplay anywhere along with other possibly more popular favourites of mine (working within the artists with broadcast permission on BTR). Tracks featured are:

Lights + Music – Cut Copy
The Devil’s Crayon – The Wild Beasts
Girls – Calvin Harris
Secret Kiss – Black Umbrella
Robots – Flight of the Conchords
The Modern Leper – Frightened Rabbit
O Superman – Laurie Anderson
You! Me! Dancing! – Los Campesinos!
Suffer For Fashion – of Montreal
Aly, Walk With Me – The Raveonettes
Elevator Love Letter – Stars
Her Hairagami Set – The Brunettes
Selfish Bachelor – The Melting Ice Caps
Calliope! – The Veils (interestingly, BTR used a live version from a French broadcast)
Goodbye Lennon – Vanilla Swingers

The thing that irks me about this is the fact I bothered to get broadcast permission for a Stroszek track and placed it at the very top of the playlist I sent BTR, and they didn’t put it anywhere in the broadcast. Rather than cut any of the artists that have major labels behind them, they omitted Stroszek. I suppose my mentioning them in the interview portion makes a lot less sense now. But I guess, at the very least, they got some promotion by my talking about them and the written post that got used. Sigh. To make up for the debacle, download the excellent This Town, Revisited here.

Ugh…I really sound like a nasally, pedantic dork in this broadcast. There’s a reason why I write and don’t make podcasts.

Don’t Be a DJ – Fosca

Condemned to Rock ‘n Roll – Manic Street Preachers


A Record of Decay and Death, Decoy and Dearth: Archivist’s Learning to Live on Poison


The packaging has a homemade, dossier feel to it with its courier font and textured card stock. A rambling, nearly stream of conscious lyric sheet is stuffed in one of its pockets like a frantically-typed, yellowed note to self. The inside cover has red type that reads: “One said the elliptical sleep sound unwound in the throat of her abed exhaling dreams that you find at the back part of your mind and she can’t sleep for it.” It is secretive and raw. This is Montreal musician, Ben McCarthy’s project Archivist, including members of The Dears, Sunset Rubdown, Pony Up and Land of Talk, and the resultant record called Learning to Live on Poison. It is a document of passion, confusion, self-loathing and self-immolation. Like reading a particularly dense, but valuable book, McCarthy’s album and lyric sheet are to be mulled over and worked through. This album questions identity, desire, love, art, belief and every other facet of our human consciousness, and it does it through a wealth of complex language with the musicality of a true poet. Meter and internal rhyme create music from the page alone, and with the added benefit of aurality, these songs expand into more than the two dimensions of the page.

The record begins with Opening in which McCarthy declares “I’m trying to dissolve myself completely. I’m trying to explode my dogged will” in a stark, gospel accapella. His voice, and soon the voices of others, fill the silence, the emptiness, a fermata of vacant mindscapes; despite his attempt at finding the “gaps we tell our lies for,” his busy mind cannot be still, cannot stop making connections, cannot stop foiling him with his own faith. A minute and a half into the song, strings begin to pulse to a 3/4 beat against droning voices in a mesmerizing Eastern feel. With the thickness and otherworldliness of a Sunday morning, Sunday Morning comes next, full of slinky, laconic guitars, punctuated by drums, trumpet and tambourine. McCarthy repeats the line “it’s Sunday morning coming down,” emphasizing the unique quality of the disappointment and deflation on the day of rest. In Educated Hand, guitar arpeggios push the song gently along like a current in a brook; the atmosphere of the track is dream-like and dizzying, forming spires and peaks of smoke. There is an intensity and depth to the murkiness and haze like the sensory reality of a hallucination before it all fades into chimes. There’s a resignation to a form of inexplicable fate in this track as the lyrical content describes betrayal of self and beloved, and the way we seem to poison and infect those we are closest to.

Jagwagger, whose title sounds like a clever Carrollian creation, follows with enigmatic cymbal and tomtom drums before a fantastic guitar riff comes in. The music for this song gives you the impression of being circled by a tribe of cannibals, which is appropriate considering the song appears to be about an all-consuming lack and/or boredom: “I feel nothing again (an accidental violence) no madman, no tyrant, just boredom. There’s no humour in this smile, no dearth in what I don’t know, a blankfaced little child, no dearth in what I don’t know.” There’s a schizophrenia to the song in the style of Of Montreal and a desperate soulfulness reminiscent of TV on the Radio before it disappears into spacey organ at the end. The bit of controlled chaos ends to start a beautiful, fluid acoustic ballad, Son of My Sorrows (Genesis 49:27). There is a dark claustrophobia to the song, but the melody is so delicate that its strings weave a thread-like cage as subtle, but as strong, as a spider’s web. The biblical verse in question reads: “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; In the morning he devours the prey, And in the evening he divides the spoil.” McCarthy, who shares his first name with the biblical character, deftly parallels his own self-loathing and seeming incapacity to change his flawed nature; he sings, “Benjamin is not one. I am nothing. Benjamin is a ravenous wolf. Without you I remain […] I am nothing. You made me. You can’t help me. I love you. Our kingdom will not come. I remain. I remain. I remain. I remain. As I divide the spoils.” McCarthy becomes a cipher for others to fill or empty at will while being the only one left to deal with the fallout of a relationship; in spite of his yearning to disappear and destroy himself, he remains, pickled in his own imperfections. With a faster tempo and electronic burblings elliding a crisp beat, Pop Litany fluxes between clipped, jigging speech patterns and smoother, swirling vocals, alternating between torment and calm. It feels like the battle between insomniac panic attacks and attempts at a lullaby sweetened with twinkling glockenspiel. The lyrics are brilliant:

And what if all these feeble pop songs became for us as incantations? And all of our mixtapes a heretic’s litany of curses we would have to suffer, broken broken heart, life of the party but estranged from our art, beauty loves a liar but so so so so so does your g-d.

Wherever “god” appears in the lyric sheet its “o” is conspicuously missing. While there is a Jewish tradition of avoiding spelling the name of God out of reverence, McCarthy seems to be playing with this respectful measure by not capitalizing the “g” and perhaps emphasizing the emptiness within the word itself. McCarthy sounds like a suffering scribe at the mercy of an OCD-fuelled night of listmaking as he breathlessly repeats, “I did it, I found it, I wrote it all down.” The song ends with the tapping of an old typewriter as all attempts at empty, memory-erasing sleep fail.

The second half of the album commences with Speaking, which has droning cello dragging below the skipping surface of guitar and the see-saw of violins. The skewed religious imagery continues as McCarthy repeats “I want my words to be like bread. But I can’t speak.” He is impotent in the midst of his song, which is ironic considering the verbosity and sheer power of his language throughout the record; he can still only offer an empty, meaningless communion with the one he wrote the song for. It ends with a quote performed by Rick Cluchey from Samuel Beckett’s Endgame, a play about diseased stasis. From the melodic action of Speaking, the album moves into a more hymn-like direction with Love Sick Man. The dextrous guitar arpeggios resonate with humming and fingers troubling the frets while there is something almost ominous in the song’s serenity. McCarthy declares, “Love is a discipline that takes even the faithless in, and if I fail this time I will not try again,” as he fights for distraction. Unfortunately, just like sleep won’t come, diversion won’t either.

I shouldn’t be surprised that McCarthy has a song named after Anne Carson, the Canadian poet, essayist and Classics professor. A few years back, I was encouraged to read a couple of her poetic books by a co-worker, who was utterly in love with her writing – so much so that he carried her book Autobiography of Red with him all the time. Having read Autobiography of Red, a verse novel based on Stesichorus’ poem Geryonis and the myth of Geryon and Herakles, and her long poem The Beauty of the Husband, I can completely see the parallels and influences on McCarthy’s work here. She, too, packs meaning upon allegorical, referential meaning in a fluid torrent of language and metaphorical juxtaposition while exploring the depth of pain and the incomprehensibility of love, including its gradations and degradations. Love is not simple in Carson’s work, nor is ultimately satisfying, and McCarthy’s record expresses a similar sentiment. Some of my favourite lines in the whole album are in this song: “Yet the clawings on the cell wall staid, in fact, they are engraved, though the whole panopticon waltzed glassly off the stage” and “Always one side’s meant for cutting and the other’s meant to bleed, such wounds are drawn together by the gravity of need.” There’s a violence and venom to the lyrics while the music itself connotes both a spaghetti Western and a circus, a simultaneous sense of confrontation and flippant nonsense. Then comes the track, seeing * **, which burns along like a clementine fire, blown into different directions at once and occasionally exploding the life-giving sap out the aortas of tree trunks. It is one of the most lyrically dense songs, and it just staggers me that there can be so much meaning in a few verses. It is a song of life and death and lack of achievement and lack of integrity. It barrels through countless intertextual references, including references within the album itself; for example, “he writes ‘the game won’t end’ on the back of his dishpan hand,” which recalls the earlier use of Beckett’s Endgame and reinforces the irrational necessity for stasis even it’s putrifying. It’s as though McCarthy is both yearning for and afraid of blindsight, sight without sensation. The strange grouping of asterisks in the title feel like placeholders or footnotes that lead nowhere because seeing isn’t believing, so sightlessness is preferable. As a perfect closed parenthesis to the record, Closing hearkens back to the mystical feel of Opening. The plaintive acoustic guitar and the magic charm of violin converge to create a dangerous, gothic Mediterranean feel with dashes of flamenco; the song becomes a pasa doble of the self, attempting to conquer one’s own thoughts and feelings. The track ends with the profound line “You’ve been learning to live on poison – the sad truth is it won’t do you in.”

Despite the seeming finality of Closing, there is one more track as a curtain call, which is McCarthy reading his “Flowers: a poem” initially over tattoo of drums and distant vocals and then over nothing at all. His voice is slightly shadowed by reverb, paralleling the shaky, nearly doubled type on the album case. It begins with the prescient “I gave her flowers when she came home though I could swear I taught her ever to be suspicious of such a gesture.” There is an eerie detachment to the whole poem in which McCarthy dissects the gangrenous parts of relationships – a painful game is played while both parties try to forget it’s happening. As McCarthy states, “we, too, are susceptible to the achingly daily ambience of a pot of daisies.” His last fragment of the poem is the phrase “pushing daisies,” which can be read in at least two ways here: as decay and death or as decoy and dearth; the moribund relationship or the forcing of a superficial sentiment on another. The track ends with feedback that surges around your ears like water drowning your brain.

Words like “litany” and “dearth” make several appearances throughout the record, and I think that’s significant. Litany is a type of prayer based on repetition, and there is reiteration of lines in all of these songs; at the same time, there is a scarcity and a grasping for something valuable permeating the album. There’s a sense of not being able to move on, a recognition that we may pollute ourselves without a hope of redemption. The narrator, who may very well be McCarthy as he references himself by name twice in the lyrics, is the recorder, preserver and curator of his own grief, his own toxicity. This is the dossier of a person searching for his own truth and ensuring that he writes every detail down. For there is power in words even when you long to forget. It is the scripture of a madman who cannot conquer his own instinct to survive. Even if survival means adaptation to poison.

You can buy Learning to Live on Poison here.

Archivist’s MySpace:

Pop Litany – Archivist

seeing * ** – Archivist


The Anti-Band: Art Brut’s Art Brut vs. Satan


When Eddie Argos and Co released their first album back in 2005, I was thrilled. The sharp wit, the quirky, shouty vocals, and the overall sense of play was refreshing. Then, as with many of the bands I like, I lost track of them. I discovered they had released a second album far after it actually released and then I regretfully had to miss them live when they came through Winnipeg (I had just moved to Waterloo at the time). Apparently, after their sophomore album’s release, Art Brut parted ways with EMI, and their Frank Black-produced third album, Art Brut vs. Satan, just released a few weeks ago via Downtown in the US and Cooking Vinyl in Europe. The band is named after Jean Dubuffet’s definition of outsider art, and being the consummate outsider my whole life, I naturally enjoy their art…brut. There’s also something absolutely unique about their music because they pair rather angular, jerky guitar music with Argos’s choppy, speaking vocal delivery; his “singing” isn’t quite rhythmic enough to be rapping, it’s more like being talk-shouted at by someone with Tourettes. But I love it. And the vocals and matter-of-fact stories filtered through Argos’s singular brain lift Art Brut above other quirky, literate rock bands.

The record opens with lead-off single Alcoholics Unanimous, a tale of drunken amnesia that alternates between staccato and cascading guitars while the drums smash away. Argos demands “Bring me tea, bring me coffee” as a chorus of backing vocals emulate friend witnesses to drunken debauchery and sing “We tried to warn you.” Then comes one of my favourite tracks on the album: DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake. I, myself, am not all that familiar with comics and I’ve only read a very few, but I do happen to know a relatively high number of friends and acquaintances who are hardcore comic fans. This probably says something about me. Through these comic obsessives, I’ve generally gleaned that Marvel is considered better and more popular than DC. With my meagre exposure to the finer details of superhero lore, I would have to say that my “favourite” is Batman, who I’m told is from the DC side. It’s not exactly a shock that I would somehow pick the less popular side, but I’m in good company with Argos. He writes an entire song about his love for DC comics and chocolate milkshake as jagged guitar riffs poke out of a rich, groovy bassline. As he states “I guess I’m just developing a bit late” and specifically refers to Peter Pan Syndrome and arrested development, I can heartily relate. I feel like I may have stopped maturing mentally at about 20 years old. And out of all milkshakes, I would choose chocolate.

Yet another song I can relate to is The Passenger, which is not an Iggy Pop cover, but instead a paean to public transport. I don’t have a driver’s licence, which usually makes me a pariah, or at best, a pathetic weirdo, especially in the North American car culture and Canadian vast distances. I’m just not a natural operator of vehicles and I don’t enjoy driving as practical as it would be in my location. And if the public transportation system in my city was as good as ones I’ve been on in other parts of the world, I likely wouldn’t consider getting my licence at all. Argos calls himself a “determined passenger” with a love for buses and trains against scratchy guitar and driving bass. Next, Argos dissects his nervous state approaching a girl in Am I Normal?. The music itself is rather smooth, melodic and laidback while Argos mutters and bellows over it. The music gets more abrupt and nervy as Argos states “I can’t take another false start/So this will be a broken heart” and then vice versa, imitating the scattered brain process of the self-conscious. Another drunken and/or drugged misadventure is related in What a Rush, in which Argos wakes up naked with a girl, who is equally naked. The wild, straining backing vocals complement the utterly crazy headrush of the song. The gap in Argos’s memory is demonstrated by the wonderful couplet “There’s a scene missing/We were seen kissing.”

The title for the album comes from the song, Demons Out!, which ultimately compares the record-buying public with Beelzebub. Through the tongue lodged in his jowl, Argos laments “How am I supposed to sleep at night when no one likes the music we write?,” yet there’s an honest vindictiveness to the track as well. There’s a frantic energy of the guitars in tandem that bubbles nicely as Argos declares “The record-buying public shouldn’t be voting,” a thought I’ve had many a time as more and more music competition shows flood TV like detritus and the music charts reflect some sort of rabbit hole of mediocrity. Argos cements his role as leader of the outsiders in his crusade against the mundane mainstream public that only frustrates his troupe of weirdos. The next three tracks also deal with various facets of music and music fandom. Slap Dash For No Cash is a fantastic tribute to lo-fi production with its imperfections like background noise and fingers on the fretboard. Some of my favourite lines on the record appear in this song, including “Why would you want to sound like U2?” and “Cool your warm jets, Brian Eno.” The following song, The Replacements, recounts more of Argos’s musical affinities, this time expressing a sentiment I’m sure all music fans have felt at some point: the wonder at how you could have been unaware of such an important band for so long and the amount of time you missed out on them. In Argos’s case, it’s Paul Westerberg’s much-loved band. At the same time, Argos expresses the doubt and distrust fostered over years of being let down by bands (yet another emotion a music fan would be familiar with), and as a crescendo builds, his music obsessive dilemma escalates: “Secondhand CDs are cheaper/Reissued CDs, extra tracks.” I have been in that exact situation many a time – sometimes opting for both. A tight, danceable groove kicks in for Twist and Shout, which is not a cover of The Beatles, but instead, a look into Argos’s songwriting process, which seems just as haphazard as the rest of the narratives of his life. Accented with off-key “la-la’s,” the song has a chorus in which Argos says “I didn’t mean to twist and shout/Something slipped and it just popped out.” When something slips for me and/or pops out, it definitely isn’t going to be a hit song.

Coming back to the theme of freedom and perhaps immaturity, the next track, Summer Job, relates the dream of having a temporary, low-commitment summer job rather than a regular career. The record ends with the rather epic seven-and-a-half-minute-long Mysterious Bruises, in which Argos wakes covered in bruises and no memory of his doings the previous night. You start to get the distinct feeling that Argos has a habit of forgetting the night before. At this point, I would like to use Argos’s own words about the effect of drugs on him via his brilliant blog The Eddie Argos Resource:

When I was about 16. I ate quite a lot of pot. I didn’t smoke at the time and thought eating it would be a brilliant idea. It wasn’t. I ate far too much and it was very strong.

I spent the night walking around Bournemouth as a floating head, worried that I was going to accidentally forget to breath. I was convinced everybody on the bus home was whispering about me and to be fair they probably were.

I dressed like Robin Hood at the time and a boy sat at the back of the bus in a trilby hat with a feather sticking out of it ,wearing a green velvet jacket, whispering ‘dont forget to breathe’ to himself and then occasionally saying ‘AM I SAYING THIS ALOUD? very loudly, to himself, probably had a few people on the bus whispering.

To this day I’m convinced Marylin Manson tucked me into bed that night conveniently putting a bucket by my head and ‘The Flaming Lips’ on the record player to help me sleep […]

On my 21st Birthday as a present some friends who didn’t know my history of not handling pot very well spiked my drink. To this day I’m not sure what it was with, definitely something a bit stronger than cannabis though.

I was intending on staying out all night. I ended up walking home and what should have been an hours walk took about 5 hours. My mind had completely broken. I was convinced I’d been hypnotised into injecting heroin (obviously not true) and that all my friends had swapped faces and were out to get me. It wasn’t very much fun. The fear lasted for months. I saw images of Jasper floating above my bed. I convinced myself everyone was poisoning me and I would only eat food I had prepared. I once thought I’d been hypnotised into turning my own kidneys into a pie for a television programme watched by Eastern European gangsters. I thought my phone had been bugged and everyone was laughing at me. I once had to leave a party early because I thought they were going to spray heroin out of the walls. I convinced myself the only way to get better was to dance it off and spent hours dancing alone in my bedroom. None of this was good.

The latter story apparently was the inspiration for the free-download bonus track called Werid Science, which I’ve included for download at the end of this post…and which isn’t a cover of the Oingo Boingo song. However, the same story could explain Mysterious Bruises, where Argos “fought the floor, but the floor won.” And I don’t know about you, but there is often a mysterious quality about bruises. People always seem to say “I don’t know how I got this bruise.” The music itself takes you into the headspace of a person in Argos’s position; at first, it feels empty and spacey with minimal guitars and silence, and eventually it starts chugging along like a muddled mind slowly remembering and then regretting as the music slows and creeps up like a coolish dawning.

Art Brut has delivered another witty, hilarious record perfect for those of us who identified so wholly with Pulp’s Misshapes. Unabashed in his geekdom, Eddie Argos continues to have the knack for describing the familiar in terms that most people couldn’t. Art Brut isn’t only outsider art; they seem to turn art inside out, exposing pieces that normally wouldn’t be seen nor considered art. In a way, Art Brut is an anti-band that both mirrors actual, everyday experience, but also kicks against it. Art Brut is a banner I can get behind; if Art Brut is with us, who can be against us?

DC Comics and Chocolate Milk Shake – Art Brut

Slap Dash For No Cash – Art Brut

Weird Science – Art Brut

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Gigs Attended

Arcade Fire w/ Bell Orchestre + Wolf Parade (2005)

Arctic Monkeys w/ Reverend and the Makers (2007)

Austra w/ Young Galaxy + Tasseomancy (2011)

Big Audio Dynamite (2011)

Billy Bragg w/ Ron Hawkins (2009)

Billy Idol w/ Bif Naked (2005)

Bloc Party w/ Hot Hot Heat (2009)

Buzzcocks w/ The Dollyrots (2010)

Damo Suzuki (2012)

David Bowie w/ The Polyphonic Spree (2004)

Diamond Rings w/ PS I Love You + The Cannon Bros. (2011)

Diamond Rings w/ Gold & Youth (2012)

Dragonette w/ Ruby Jean & the Thoughtful Bees (2009)

Frank Turner w/ The Cavaliers (2010)

Frank Turner w/ Into It Over It + Andrew Jackson Jihad (2011)

Franz Ferdinand w/ Think About Life (2009)

Gang of Four w/ Hollerado (2011)

Good Shoes w/ The Moths + The Envelopes (2007)

Hot Hot Heat w/ The Futureheads + Louis XIV (2005)

IAMX w/ closethuman (2007)

IAMX w/ Coma Soft + The Hourly Radio (2007)

Interpol (2007)

Janelle Monae w/ Roman GianArthur (2012)

Joel Plaskett Emergency w/ Frank Turner (2012)

Jonathan Richman (2011)

Keane w/ Lights (2009)

Lou Reed w/ Buke and Gass (2011)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Fear of Music (2007)

Manic Street Preachers w/ Bear Hands (2009)

Manic Street Preachers at Wanaja Festival (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Old Folks Home (2009)

Mother Mother w/ Whale Tooth (2011)

Mother Mother w/ Hannah Georgas (2012)

MSTRKRFT w/ Felix Cartal (2008)

Muse (2004)

Nine Inch Nails w/ Death From Above 1979 + Queens of the Stone Age (2005)

of Montreal w/ Janelle Monae (2010)

Owen Pallett w/ Little Scream (2010)

Patrick Wolf w/ Bishi (2007)

Prince (2011)

Pulp w/ Grace Jones, TV on the Radio, The Hives, The Horrors, Metronomy, Devotcka, Vintage Trouble (2011)

Rufus Wainwright w/ Teddy Thompson (2010)

Snow Patrol w/ Embrace (2005)

Snow Patrol w/ OK Go + Silversun Pickups (2007)

Sons and Daughters w/ Bodies of Water (2008)

Stars w/ Thurston Revival (2006)

Stars w/ The Details (2008)

Stars (2010)

Steven Severin (2010)

Stroszek (2007)

The Antlers w/ Haunter (2012)

The Flaming Lips w/ Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti (2010)

The Jesus and Mary Chain w/ Nightbox (2012)

The Killers w/ Ambulance Ltd (2004)

The New Pornographers w/ Novillero (2008)

The New Pornographers w/ The Mountain Goats (2010)

The Ordinary Boys w/ Young Soul Rebels (2006)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart w/ Suun (2011)

The Rakes w/ The Young Knives (2006)

The Raveonettes w/ Black Acid (2008)

The Stills w/ Gentleman Reg (2009)

The Subways w/ The Mad Young Darlings (2006)

Tokyo Police Club w/ Smoosh + Attack in Black (2008)

TV on the Radio w/ The Dirty Projectors (2009)

Yann Tiersen w/ Breathe Owl Breathe (2011)

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The only certain thing that is left about me

There is no part of my body that has not been used

Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame

Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave


So I turned myself to face me

But I've never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I'm much too fast to take that test

The Smiths Queen is Dead

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're happy

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're wanted

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Keats and Yeats are on your side

But you lose 'cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

The Clash London Calling

When they kick at your front door

How you gonna come?

With your hands on your head

Or on the trigger of your gun


Charles Windsor, who's at the door

At such an hour, who's at the door

In the back of an old green Cortina

You're on your way to the guillotine

Here the rabble comes

The kind you hoped were dead

They've come to chop, to chop off your head


Then you came with your breezeblocks

Smashing up my face like a bus-stop

You think you're giving

But you're taking my life away


Won't someone give me more fun?

(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners


Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

Walk in silence

Don't turn away in silence

Your confusion

My illusion

Worn like a mask of self-hate

Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away


You don't want to hurt me

But see how deep the bullet lies

Unaware I'm tearing you asunder

Oh there is thunder in our hearts

Is there so much hate for the ones we love

Tell me we both matter don't we

The Associates Affectionate

I don't know whether

To over or under estimate you

Whether to over or under estimate you

For when I come over

You then put me under

Personal taste is a matter of gender


I wake at dusk to go alone without a light

To the unknown

I want this night inside of me

I want to feel

I want this speeding

I want that speeding


You'll never live like common people

You'll never do what common people do

You'll never fail like common people

You'll never watch your life slide out of view

And dance and drink and screw

Because there's nothing else to do

Vanilla Swingers

All I have is words, words that don't obtain

And I feel I'm a stain on your horizon

So I stay away - it's easier that way

And there won't be no-one I need to rely on

Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

I'm a special one, what they used to say

But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

And nobody ever comes alive

And the journalists clamour round glamour like flies

And boys who should know better grin and get high

With fat men who once met the MC5

And no one discusses what they don't understand

And no one does anything to harm the brand

And this gift is an illusion, this isn't hard

Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

And we looked so good

And we lived our lives in black


Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her leg and then he was a she

She says, hey babe,

Take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side


Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

How I dearly wish I was not here

In the seaside town...that they forgot to bomb

Come, come, come - nuclear bomb


Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

And now all the good kids are messing up

Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

Prices have risen since the government fell

Casualties increase as the enemy shell

The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive

And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape

Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape


Well, maybe there's a god above

But all I've ever learned from love

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

It's not a cry that you hear at night

It's not somebody who's seen the light

It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah


And what costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning


My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it


Oh it's opening time

Down on Fascination Street

So let's cut the conversation

And get out for a bit

Because I feel it all fading and paling

And I'm begging

To drag you down with me

Mansun Six

And you see, I kind of shivered to conformity

Did you see the way I cowered to authority

You see, my life, it's a series of compromises anyway

It's a sham, and I'm conditioned to accept it all, you see

Japan Gentlemen

Take in the country air, you'll never win

Gentlemen take polaroids

They fall in love, they fall in love


We just want to emote til we're dead

I know we suffer for fashion

Or whatever

We don't want these days to ever end

We just want to emasculate them forever

Forever, forever

Pretty sirens don't go flat

It's not supposed to happen like that

Longpigs The Sun

There's no perfume I can buy

Make me smell like myself

So I put on perfume

To make me smell like someone else

In bed

Calvin Harris I Created Disco

I got love for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

I've got hugs for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's


Does his makeup in his room

Douse himself with cheap perfume

Eyeholes in a paper bag

Greatest lay I ever had

Kind of guy who mates for life

Gotta help him find a wife

We're a couple, when our bodies double

Simple Minds Sons and Fascination

Summer rains are here

Savaged beauty life

Falling here from grace

Sister feeling call

Cruising land to land

No faith no creed no soul

Half a world away

Beauty sleeps in time

Sound and fury play

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

North to south


Running on


As if to say, as if to say

He doesn't like chocolate

He's born a liar, he'll die a liar

Some things will never be different


LCD Soundsystem

Well Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house

I've waited 7 years and 15 days

There's every kid for miles at my house, my house

And the neighbors can' the police

There's a fist fight brewin' at my house, my house

Because the jocks can't...get in the door

Johnny Boy

I just can't help believing

Though believing sees me cursed

Stars Set Yourself

I am trying to say

What I want to say

Without having to say "I love you"

Josef K Entomology

It took 10 years to realise why the angels start to cry

When you go home down the main

Your happy smile

Your funny name

Cocteau Twins Bluebell


Doesn't she look a million with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Yes, she's a beautiful brunette angel from heaven with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Augment a beautiful brunette

New Order Power Corruption

How does it feel

To treat me like you do

When you've laid your hands upon me

And told me who you are


You must let her go

She's not crying



Feeling like I'm waiting

Modern times



Hating to distraction

Just leave them alone


Girls in the back

Girls in the back

Puressence Don't Forget

They say come back to earth and start getting real, yeah

I say come back to earth and start getting real

I know I can't


So I walk right up to you

And you walk all over me

And I ask you what you want

And you tell me what you need


The problem of leisure

What to do for pleasure

Ideal love a new purchase

A market of the senses

Dream of the perfect life

Economic circumstances

The body is good business

Sell out, maintain the interest


Sitting in my armchair thinking again and again and again

Going round in a circle I can't get out

Then I look around thinking day and night and day

Then you look around - there must be some explanation

And the tension builds

Psychdedelic Furs

India, India

You're my love song

India, you're my love song

In the flowers

You can have me in the flowers

We will dance alone

And live our useless lives

Ladytron Light Magic

They only want you when you're seventeen

When you're twenty-one

You're no fun

They take a polaroid and let you go

Say they'll let you know


No consolation prizes

Spit out your lies and chewing gum

Cut off your hair yeah that's it!

If you look like that I swear I'm gonna love you more


All the neighbors are startin' up a fire

Burning all the old folks, the witches and the liars.

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids

But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids


Prince charming

Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome