COWBELL!

Has this ever happened to you? The band’s goin’ strong, you’ve got a really fine groove goin’, and you know—you KNOW—what you need to make everything complete… [SFX: excerpt from famous SNL skit, “MORE COWBELL!”] But—uh-oh [SFX: record scratch] your drummer left the cowbell at home! And worse yet… [SFX: answering machine message—”Hey, thanks for calling Percussion World but—WE’RE CLOSED!” SFX: slamming jail-cell door]

[The band’s scrawniest roadie—his job is sorting the drummer’s sticks by size—pops his weasely little head out of the darkness. He’s got lank, greasy hair and a weak, adenoidal voice] “Hey, guys? I bought this pedal the other day…” [Suddenly, really impressive stage lighting clicks on, and…wow, the scrawny roadie’s grown a foot taller, his chest is IMPRESSIVE, and he’s got LUXURIOUS, LONG WAVY HAIR, and his voice is now incredibly WARM, DEEP, AND RESONANT]: “Check it out!”

[C/U the CB-2 Cowbell Pedal]


“With the CB-2 Cowbell Pedal, you can input nearly any sound source…and what comes out is…glorious cowbell! [SFX: same SNL skit excerpt, only with heavenly reverb] Check this out: Our patented BoviTone circuitry can wrangle any errant pitch info you throw at it [SFX: the most crazed, all-over-the-fretboard moments of Hendrix’s solo “Star-Spangled Banner” from Woodstock…] and, using its unique, patented circuitry, output nothing but the purest, sky-blue American-sky COWBELL TONE!” [SFX: isolated cowbell track from prechorus of Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen”]

Reaction shot: band members in various states of mouth-open awe.

“And give a listen to THIS action: no matter what sort of wild, errant crazy-ass groove your band might throw at it, the CB-2’s patented beat-matching circuits—or, should I say, BEEF-MATCHING circuits—take you back to that pure, clean, country sound [SFX that bit in Rick Wakeman’s “Anne of Cleves” with the electric harpsichord—it’s in 21/16 time for god’s sake…]—but what comes out? Nothing but good ol’ four-on-the-floor, solid quarter-note time like God intended!”[SFX: “Mississippi Queen” cowbell again]

Reaction shot: band members even more gobsmacked.

“Right now, if you order the fantastic Cowbell CB-2, we’ll throw in a free bonus effects pedal…it’s the return of the famous Wood Block, as made famous by George Michael!”…

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Sent for some schoolin’, still hangin’ around my door

The idea of putting together Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and the Guess Who’s “American Woman” has been lurking in my mind for decades—even before the whole mashup thing started 20-some years back. The similarity of the riffs and rhythms (and key) made it seem obvious.

So I thought I’d have a go. Unfortunately…the usual tricks to try to isolate bits and pieces of the Guess Who track didn’t yield satisfactory results…so this is really the Zeppelin track with moments of “American Woman” here and there. On the other hand, on YouTube I found an interesting instrumental-only take of “Whole Lotta Love,” with about 30 seconds at the end after the released version’s fade—and I did a bit of restructuring of sections and redid the middle “freakout” section, so…

Well, you can listen to it. To me it’s sort of an interesting failure.

“Whole Lotta American Love (Guess Who Led?)” [Celltab mash]

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the pagan recipes that work so well have come back in style

More than a dozen years back, I recorded a cover of a very obscure Robyn Hitchcock track (from a 1995 Ptolemaic Terrascope compilation, the song titled “Creatures of Light”) which ended up on a fan-made cassette compilation of Hitchcock covers called Glass Flesh 3 (here’s a track listing, from the website of one participant).

For this song, I used a D-based tuning I call “Heather Has Two Daddies” (DADDAD—the two middle Ds are the same pitch) and thrashed away with more enthusiasm than skill, taking advantage of the not-quite-unison eventually resulting from said thrashings. I then improvised two different keyboard parts on top of that (with a few parts that were planned) and, while originally intending to choose one, discovered I liked both at the same time. Add vocals, and a few effects, and we’re done.

Except that the original had a lot of tempo problems (USER ERROR), and I ended up overbaking some production (USER ERROR). I found (nearly) all the original tracks (albeit not in any DAW but just isolated in a folder), and decided I’d reconstruct the thing in Logic Pro X, allowing myself to correct the more egregious timing errors. (Many remain because of limitations either of the software or the user…but it’s steadier than the original…)

This version turned out better, I think. As my original post noted, I had to guess at the lyrics (that post also contains much more detail, if you’re interested)…but that’s all part of life’s rich pageant isn’t it.

Monkey Typing Pool “Creatures of Light” (Robyn Hitchcock cover, 2022 reconstruction)

(Hitchcock’s original, for comparison)

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The Imaginary Continuo: Jeff’s Spring 2022 Songpile

It’s another one of these—my favorites among the songs that have come my way over the last three months, new or old. I somewhat favor tracks that aren’t on albums I bought, simply because I also do a playlist of tracks from my favorite albums.

Also as usual, these are each one long mp3, sequenced and segued for smooth flow and transition from track to track…so it’s not like you can just fire this up in Spotify and get the same thing.

Part One

  1. Horsegirl “Anti-Glory” 0.00
  2. Maple Mars “Goodbye California” 3.28
  3. Charlotte Cornfield “Pac-Man” 7.57
  4. The Smile “You Will Never Work in Television Again” 12.17 (yes, that is Thom Yorke…)
  5. The Paranoid Style “Barney Bubbles” 15.00
  6. Lucy Dacus “Kissing Lessons” 19.03
  7. The Beths “A Real Thing” 20.58
  8. Wednesday “Handsome Man” 24.26
  9. Eyelids “Wayhome” 26.51
  10. Pixies “Human Crime” 29.22
  11. Night Crickets “Little Did I” 32.28 (Victor DeLorenzo, David J, and a guy playing horns)
  12. The Sadies “Message to Belial” 34.36 (RIP Dallas Good)
  13. Katy Kirby “Cool Dry Place” 37.48

Part Two

  1. Hidden Masters “She Broke the Clock of the Long Now” 0.00
  2. Franz Ferdinand “Billy Goodbye” 4.33
  3. Just Mustard “Still” 8.12
  4. Sharon Van Etten “Used to It” 12.14
  5. The Reds, Pinks and Purples “Don’t Ever Pray in the Church on My Street” 16.39
  6. The Legal Matters “Light Up the Sky” 19.21
  7. Hovvdy “True Love” 22.50
  8. Yard Act “Rich” 26.59
  9. Mazarin “Hello Prudence” 30.46
  10. The Big Believe “Girl on Wire” 36.38
  11. Holden Days “When I Wait” 40.01
  12. The Asteroid No. 4 “A Castle Built for Two” 43.32

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Generalissimo Dylan Is Still Not Dead

Nine years ago, I was going through some old papers and whatnot when I found an ad from the Shepherd or the like for a show on the ill-fated Grateful Dead/Bob Dylan collaboration. It looked like this:

I thought putting “The Dead” and “Bob Dylan” in the same font as if it were one phrase was a poor design choice — “Zombie Bob!”

When I found the ad, though, the idea of a song popped into my head…and so I wrote one, pretty quickly, trying not to overthink it. Which of course is why nine years later I remixed it and added a bassline. Also, as with the original, I wanted to do this before Mr. Zimmerman was actually dead, when recording a song of that title would feel very different.

Still, I like the idea of imagining what Bob’s spirit might know, want to know, or do. The lyrics are some thoughts along those lines, with obvious references to key verses in The Book Of Bob:

The Dead Bob Dylan

The dead Bob Dylan
sings a Geiger counter
whose slow peaks graph falling night
 
The dead Bob Dylan
hears the cypress shiver,
reads the words the keen wind writes
 
The dead Bob Dylan
knows the stones, coast to coast,
build a tower underground
 
The dead Bob Dylan
never bleeds—angel seeds
sprout from dusty cowboy sounds
 
The times are unchanging now
Answers fall as the wind dies down

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Another Day in the Life?

What if…Paul McCartney had never come up with the framing idea of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”? What if, instead, the loose concept of the follow-up to Revolver was a series of song portraits of people and places, often calling back to the bandmembers’ childhoods? (Which, of course, many of them already are…) What if they’d decided on bookending the album (just as they actually did) with the same song, different verses…only it was “A Day in the Life,” which lent the album its title? And what if they’d found a place in this sequence for “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”? 

It would not be a better album. But it would be a different album. I re-edited it, with a few bits and pieces borrowed from outtakes on the 2017 reissue…as follows: 

side 1

  1. A Day in the Life (pt. 1)
  2. Penny Lane
  3. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  4. With a Little Help from My Friends
  5. Getting Better
  6. Fixing a Hole
  7. She’s Leaving Home
  8. Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite!

side 2

  1. Within You, Without You 
  2. When I’m Sixty-Four
  3. Lovely Rita 
  4. Good Morning, Good Morning
  5. Strawberry Fields Forever
  6. Woke Up Fell Out of Bed/A Day in the Life (pt. 2)

(Fear not…the song “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” instead shows up on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack…where, of course, the band are introduced, in this timeline.)

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Revolutions 9.7

One of my musical hobbies is collecting cover versions. And, at one point, I tried to put together complete playlists of covers of every song on every original Beatles album (that is, not including the Anthology titles or any other collections…oh, and not including George Martin’s music from the why-does-it-still-exist-instead-of-its-handful-of-unique-tracks-being-on-Past-Masters? Yellow Submarine either). 

At the time, one of the more difficult songs to find covers of was, unsurprisingly, “Revolution 9.” A few more have come around since then…which, also unsurprisingly, has become a particular little project of mine, collecting such covers. 

It’s intriguing to look at how people choose to cover this track, which eliminates by its very nature many of the usual ways musicians “cover” other songs. At first hearing, it doesn’t sound as if the particular notes even matter—that they could have been nearly any note, that Lennon (primary architect of the track) was going for sound texture and feel rather than pitch. And, of course, there’s the fact that little on the track was performed for the track: it’s mostly bits and pieces from sound effects records, orchestral and other recordings, plus electronic effects and recitations of bizarre dialogue (performed largely by Lennon and George Harrison). So, if you’re going to “cover” the track, you have several options on how to approach it. 

The seven covers I’m going to take a look at demonstrate many of those possible approaches. (Also: if you’re at all interested in the track, you must read Ian Hammond’s brilliant, book-length exposition of the track…sadly trapped in a mid-nineties-looking website, but at least it exists: <http://beatlesnumber9.com/1number9.html&gt;.)

1. Alarm Will Sound <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WjfQSxcq0c&gt;

One approach is to transcribe and (re)perform the sounds on the record. The modern classical ensemble Alarm Will Sound takes this approach, orchestrating the sounds in some cases to duplicate the instruments heard in the original, in others altering the sound characteristics either by approximating the (often acoustically altered) source materials or choosing completely different instrumental textures. One problem here is that we see actual, live performers doing these parts: the original, as a collection of tapes of live performers, sits directly between live performance as such, and (non-played) electronic reproduction on the other. The effect in this regard of the original is strongly disembodied…so, for example, to see people onstage rhythmically clapping creates a very different affect from hearing sounds of applause which are clearly decontextualized from the event, and the feeling, of a live audience applauding. 

Also, Alarm Will Sound’s smallish ensemble cannot achieve the original recording’s sheer massive density of sound texture, nor the somewhat uncanny reactions we have in hearing sounds that are tape-reversed or speed-altered, or subjected heavily to studio effects such as reverb and echo.

Our reactions to those warped psychoacoustic spaces arising from the specific textures of the original cannot be be reproduced by a small, live orchestra performing on a straightforwardly illuminated stage. And because the piece is musique concrète, *all* elements of the sound are compositional, rather than being merely decorative “production.” 

Effectively, it’s analogous to hearing a band cover a song and leave out a key instrument (say, the bass guitar part).

I think this performance would have been better served if the ensemble had been less foregrounded, performing even in the dark, or under much subtler lighting, etc. There’s an estrangement from the directly human that’s a crucial part of the uncanny effect of the piece, which is lost under these circumstances.

2. Gameboymusicclub <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYpe2a_Zc58&gt;

As you might guess from the name of the act, this version uses cheap electronics…and while certain parts may seem to come from left field (like…where’d that fake sax at about 80 seconds in come from?), this is a surprisingly faithful rendition. Still a lot of voices and crowds…which is a good thing, because the arrangement makes me realize that, as I noted re the Alarm Will Sound version, the original occupies a space between sounding performed by live musicians and being completely artificial. The source sounds were live…but they’re manipulated and warped so that the original performance carries with it only a remnant of the sort of personal aura that comes with live performance. But because of that source, something of that effect remains, a diminished but potent if ghostly human intensity to the sounds. 

That intensity is cooled considerably by the electronics here, which sound less performed than programmed…and of course the lofi sound sources lack the depth and texture of either acoustic instruments or recent, more complexly textured electronic/digital ones. 

About halfway through we suddenly get a vintage videogame soundtrack part sounds like someone vaguely remembering part of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn”: again, like the “sax” earlier, it doesn’t seem to parallel anything in the source…likewise the shuffle-beat drum a minute after that. 

This doesn’t matter that much…except that my own reading of the original is strongly colored by Ian Hammond’s massive interpretation of the recording, who notes that one formative variable in the original is the types of instruments deployed in the piece’s three sections. Which is something I think I’d sort of internalized over the years…such that things that are both very close to the original (most of this) but significantly different (the “new” parts) thereby seem more jarring than if the entire version had been “new” parts.

3. The Thurston Lava Tube <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVDfxwdvLBM&gt;

You thought you’d never hear surf music again? How wrong you are! 

This one builds on the original’s main hook (you didn’t think it had a “hook”? one listen to this version and you’ll realize that it does) and, being only two minutes long, clearly is a sort of digest of the original. One or two other key moments are reprised (“if…you become naked…”) but it’s mostly just the hook.

4. Kurt Hoffman’s Band of Weeds <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dCT4xPbWns&gt;

So yr Downtown Jazz guys…they hear The Hook too, adding a little bit of sauce to it (an extra grace note or two at the beginning), in a version that adds distinctive grit and slop to an arrangement that nearly could be one of Duke Ellington’s ‘30s bands. 

I like the way the piano intro of the original is reproduced here as one of those old-fashioned “choruses” (a part that introduces the song and is never heard again—largely out of fashion since the ‘50s, but think of “If I Fell”…). 

Someone dosed the band, however—there’s a freakout two-thirds of the way through that I don’t think the Duke would have endorsed. Another digest (3 minutes this time), although they hit a few more key “Revolution 9” moments compared to the Thurston Lava Tube cover.

5. Chuck U “Revolution 9.5” <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSODZGnkWbI&gt;

This version uses an interview with Lennon about “Revolution 9” alongside someone else saying “number nine” (forwards and, of course, backwards). 

It’s maybe appropriate that the artist changed the title of the track, since few musical materials here “cover” the sounds, melodies, and harmonies of the original. This is more of a reinterpretation of the piece, with many new bits arranged in a similar spirit. But its source is blatantly obvious—you just can’t say “number nine” more than once without evoking that source. 

The new orchestral material near the end is kind of interesting, in that it strongly evokes the type of music the original uses without actually being any of that music.

oi6. The Analogues <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNJqz0icvVs&gt;

This Dutch band’s entire raison d’être is reproducing, live, and in detail exacting as possible, the albums the Beatles did as a solely studio-bound unit. 

This version, therefore, sounds very much like the original…but the Analogues have gone back and relooped, resampled, and recreated every sound on it. There are one or two places where they add things (notably the cantillating singer near the end), but for the most part, this is a rather impressive forgery of the original (except, of course, that the forgers have signed their names to it openly). 

The video in this link is very cool: every sound has its corresponding visualization, which sometimes allows you to “hear” things you might not have noticed, once you see the visual component on the screen.

7. The Shazam <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zezS-UEkisk&t=24s&gt;

Finally, we have a cover by an Actual Rock Band…and what they do here is, miraculously, turn almost every moment in the original into something plausibly “rock song.” 

One subtlety: they shift a few of the key centers of the samples to make the entire thing develop a cohesive set of chord changes. 

The most triumphant moment? The ending…when the band finds a smashing, slashing coda to an unreleased Who song in the original’s materials, complete with some drumming that’s over the Moon. 

The version for people who think the original’s just 8 minutes of incomprehensible noise—this comes across like a somewhat avant-garde number…but in a rock idiom, not noise or musique concrète.

(If you just want to listen to all seven covers, click here.)

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Universal Surreal Bus (songs from Jeff’s fave 2021 albums)

As I’ve done the last several years, I haven’t overextended myself trying to pick the single best track from my top 30 albums…on the grounds that if they’re truly good albums, any track I might choose will be a good one. So, I just arbitrarily decided I’d use track 3 on each record (cuz 2+1=3)…except where I arbitrarily decided track 3 didn’t work well for whatever reason and chose another track. For example: one third track began with a synth texture I just didn’t that much care for, and which blended poorly no matter where I put it in relation to other tracks…except at the beginning, but it didn’t work well there. So fine: use another track!

As the last sentence implies, the order here is what works musically and bears zero relation to any ranking of these top thirty albums (which I don’t really have anyway).

Part 1

  1. Field Music “Not When You’re in Love” Flat White Moon 0.00
  2. Geese “Fantasies/Survival” Projector 3.31
  3. Robert Harrison “Real Life Satyr” Watching the Kid Come Back 7.58
  4. Bachelor “Stay in the Car” Doomin’ Sun 10.50
  5. The Small Breed “Wanda Your Angel” Remember a Dream 13.33
  6. Liz Phair “Soberish” Soberish 16.53
  7. The Besnard Lakes “Christmas Can Wait” The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings 20.39
  8. Kiwi Jr “Maid Marian’s Toast” Cooler Returns 28.40
  9. Maximo Park “Baby, Sleep” Nature Always Wins 31.01
  10. The Armoires “Great Distances” Incognito 34.07
  11. Guided by Voices “Dance of Gurus” It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them! 37.26
  12. Proper Nouns “Situation Undone” Feel Free 40.01
  13. Aeon Station “Fade” Observatory 42.32
  14. Dolph Chaney “Beat It” This Is Dolph Chaney 48.00
  15. Lucy Dacus “First Time” Home Video 50.29

Part 2

  1. Micky Dolenz “Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun to Care)” Dolenz Sings Nesmith 0.00
  2. New Sincerity Works “Person of Interest” Heirloom Qualities 4.43
  3. The Black Watch “Another for C.” Here & There 8.42
  4. The Spires “Half an Idea” Era Was 11.47
  5. Courtney Barnett “Here’s the Thing” Things Take Time, Take Time 14.36
  6. Julien Baker “Faith Healer” Little Oblivions 19.02
  7. Suuns “The Trilogy” The Witness 21.51
  8. Piroshka “Scratching at the Lid” Love Drips and Gathers 27.37
  9. Torres “Hug from a Dinosaur” Thirstier 32.35
  10. Mothboxer “Lost and Found” On the Flipside 35.51
  11. The Joy Formidable “Sevier” Into the Blue 39.38
  12. Low “All Night” Hey What 43.30
  13. Rostam “Unfold You” Changephobia 48.39
  14. Clinic “Take a Chance” Fantasy Island 52.30
  15. They Might Be Giants “I Broke My Own Rule” Book 54.48

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2021: What Happened? (my favorite albums of the year)

I borrowed my title from the sadly out-of-print book by Scott Miller (Game Theory, the Loud Family). Musicians still release albums, and I still listen to albums (as opposed to random stray tracks…although I listen to those, too), so that means I still come up with some sort of year-end favorites list.

Top Tier

  • Aeon Station Observatory
  • The Armoires Incognito
  • The Black Watch Here & There
  • Cub Scout Bowling Pins Clang Clang Ho
  • Lucy Dacus Home Video
  • Field Music Flat White Moon
  • Geese Projector
  • Guided by Voices It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them!
  • Kiwi Jr. Cooler Returns
  • Maximo Park Nature Always Wins
  • Mothboxer On the Flipside
  • New Sincerity Works Heirloom Qualities
  • Liz Phair Soberish
  • Proper Nouns Feel Free
  • Torres Thirstier

A few comments: obviously, these are just in alphabetical order. Aeon Station is Kevin Whelan from the Wrens, plus the rest of the Wrens except Charles Bissell. A sad story: Whelan finally got sick of waiting for Bissell to finish all the songs for the absurdly long-delayed Wrens record. The sad part is that due to clumsy communications (Bissell found out about the album when he heard it was on Sub Pop’s release schedule) and business disagreements, this led to the end of the Wrens. Hopefully Bissell will release his own solo record before we’re both dead.

There are two Robert Pollard records here…and the third one’s in the next tier. A hot year for Uncle Bobby.

Liz Phair unexpectedly released a full-fledged album that didn’t sound half-assed and also did not sadly attempt to sound like it was still 1994. Excellent work—and, along with her fine memoir Horror Stories, a great year for Phair.

The Armoires are getting better all the time. On this one, they originally released the tracks as a series of singles under (somewhat flimsy) disguises—thus the title. And while the stylistic dressing-up isn’t too extreme, it showed that Rex Broome and Christina Bulbenko (both of whom I have the privilege to know) have mastered an increasing range of music with affecting songwriting and great arranging and playing.

Tier Two

  • Bachelor Doomin’ Sun
  • Julien Baker Little Oblivions
  • Courtney Barnett Things Take Time, Take Time
  • The Besnard Lakes The Besnard Lakes Are the Last of the Great Thunderstorm Warnings
  • Dolph Chaney This Is Dolph Chaney
  • Clinic Fantasy Island
  • Micky Dolenz Dolenz Sings Nesmith
  • Guided by Voices Earth Man Blues
  • Robert Harrison Watching the Kid Come Back
  • The Joy Formidable Into the Blue
  • Low Hey What
  • Piroshka Love Drips and Gathers
  • Rostam Changephobia
  • The Small Breed Remember a Dream
  • The Spires Era Was
  • Suuns The Witness
  • They Might Be Giants Book

Some of these are very close to those in the top tier—as always, these lists are more a snapshot than a permanent record. I’m glad Micky Dolenz recorded his tribute to Mike Nesmith before Nesmith died earlier this month: it’s a fine tribute to a brilliant songwriter, very cleverly arranged by Nesmith’s son Christian, and winningly sung by Dolenz, still in excellent voice. Robert Harrison is the guy from Cotton Mather and Future Clouds & Radar. He did a low-key solo record, detailing its evolution on his Patreon page, and it turned out to be a fine, country-tinged demonstration of his affecting songwriting. I discovered the dreamy psychedelic act the Small Breed through my friend Rachel, who forwarded a playlist a friend of hers had made that included the title track from this album. (If that title reminds you of the early Pink Floyd song, I do not think that’s an accident!) Low continues their string of difficult but rewarding records, dark lyrics alongside extreme digital distortion offset by Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker’s beautiful vocal harmonies.

Tier Three

Big Red Machine How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last? * The Chills Scatterbrain * Flock of Dimes Head of Roses * The Goon Sax Mirror II * John Grant Boy from Michigan * Japanese Breakfast Jubilee * Victor Krummenacher Silver Smoke of Dreams * Aimee Mann Queens of the Summer Hotel * The Mountain Goats Dark in Here * The Orange Peels Celebrate the Moments of Your Life * Pardoner Came Down Different * Squarewave Tasting Chance * Teenage Fanclub Endless Arcade.

Still Cool

Anton Barbeau Oh the Joys We Live For * Chris Church Game Dirt * Colleen The Tunnel and the Clearing * Django Django Glowing in the Dark * Eleventh Dream Day Since Grazed * John Foxx & the Maths The Machine * Of Montreal I Feel Safe with You, Trash * Sounds Incarcerated Unswitchable Hits – Vol. 1 (covers) * Spygenius Spygenius Blow Their Covers (covers)

Some Good EPs

Beauty Pill Instant Night * The Black Watch The White EP * Elvis Costello (and friends) La Face de Pendule à Coucou * Cub Scout Bowling Pins Heaven Beats Iowa * Field Music Another Shot * Maximo Park Art Apart * The Nervous Hex Wash * Andy Partridge My Failed Songwriting Career: Vol. 1 * Real Estate Half a Human * Suss Night Suite * They Might Be Giants Pamphlet * Richard Thompson Serpent’s Tears * The Tubs Names (a friend noted that the singer sounds like “Richard Thompson impersonating Andy Partridge”: this is 100% correct)

There were a ton of good reissues, and several releases that came too late in the year for me to have an opinion on…and of course, a lot of stuff I simply haven’t heard.

Coming soon: songpile with tracks from the top 30 above.

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Inter-Pillar Family (Jeff’s Winter 2021 Songpile)

Here’s a collection of songs that came my way (some new, some not) during the last three months. (Its title, if anyone is wondering, comes from a rather baroque example of bureaucratese which was an actual salutation of a group e-mail I received a few months back. No, I do not know what the actual a “pillar” is, nor what it means to be “inter” one.)

Part 1

  1. Plaid “35 Summers” 0.00
  2. Enter Shikari “Satellites* *” 3.20 (the asterisks are part of the title)
  3. Vanishing Twin “Big Moonlight (Ookii Gekkou)” 7.04
  4. Laetitia Sadier “New Moon” 11.53
  5. Belly “Spaceman” 15.57
  6. Jim Trainor “Staring Down the Sun” 20.16
  7. The Spires “Xerox Heaven” 22.50
  8. The Nervous Hex “Wash” 25.35
  9. Aeon Station “Queens” 28.26
  10. Stephen Yerkey “The Final Word” 33.24
  11. Philip B. Price “On the Edge of Finding Out” 36.07
  12. Rozi Plain “Silent Fan” 39.34
  13. Flock of Dimes “Through Me” 44.17

Part 2

  1. The Small Breed “Remember a Dream” 0.00
  2. Blonder “Ice Cream Girl” 3.54
  3. Horsegirl “Billy” 6.16
  4. Spoon “The Hardest Cut” 10.00
  5. Wet Leg “Wet Dream” 13.12
  6. Hatchie “This Enchanted” 15.32
  7. Mae “5 Light Years” 19.23
  8. The Big Believe “Hundreds” 23.41
  9. Elvis Costello & the Imposters “Magnificent Hurt” 26.32
  10. The Yardbirds “Only the Black Rose” 29.45
  11. Copeland “Lavender” (‘Twin’ version) 32.32
  12. Yellow Ostrich “Fog” 36.39
  13. + 41.00


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