2020-11-29 14:32:22 (UTC)

Random Assortment - November 2020

November 29, 2020 Sunday 1:33 PM

Black Sheep Boy #4 by Okkervil River [Maria hear me playing this song and she said it was pretty!!! I don't know anyone who also likes Okkervil River so it was nice to hear. Favorite lyrics:

Words falling down from the ceiling
Where the mirror is stealing
The light to reveal us both tonight
And we're both kneeling in the
Black pool of your shadow]

Slow Show [Live] by The National [this is a really early version of "Slow Show," a song which appears on Boxer and is also one of my favorites—"Leaned on the wall and the wall leaned away." The National has always been really good at expressing introspection and insecurity, and I think this song does it best. Anyway, in this early version, they involve some other melodies and lyrics that they eventually drop, including the term "blank slate" from the song of the same name. Plus the instrumentals sound a bit more countryish and I just like it a lot]

Blank Slate by The National

Never Let Me Go by Florence & the Machine [earlier this month, as a joke, I sort of referenced the chorus out loud, because any time anyone says the phrase "never let me go," I think of this song. I can't remember when it was, that I listened to Florence & the Machine so much. I want to say middle school, but it also may have been early high school. All I know is that it was before I met Liv, because when we began exchanging music, Florence & the Machine was one of the artists she liked and I remember reacting to that with familiarity. Anyway, that doesn't matter. I really like this song. I used to think it was about Virginia Woolf's death, but apparently it's actually "What the Water Gave Me."

Either way, this is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. It's a dangerous romanticization of suicidal ideation and it's not something one should listen to while depressed—although that's also when it hits hardest—but nonetheless. It really connects to something painful and tired within.]

Patricia - Acoustic by Florence & the Machine [I recently listened to the Florence & the Machine Tiny Desk Concert, and it was soooo beautiful. Their live acoustic performances are really, really impressive. I also think this song and the other one that I will list are both very hopeful and anthemic, and which I love. "It's such a wonderful thing to love."]

June by Florence & the Machine [once again, anthemic; nothing beats the Tiny Desk performance]

Nobody Else Will Be There by The National [a bit of a comfort song for me. A refuge. For some reason, I am sometimes reminded of Sanctuary for Independent Media back home, because Adrian's mom was very involved in it. It was based out of an old church and Adrian held his birthday celebrations there. I remember the whole thing being very cringey the way high school stuff always is, but I mean. I had fun so I guess it doesn't matter. Those experiences are the closest I have to school dances, since the only high school-sanctioned celebration I went to was Prom, lololol. Anyway, there was this big room and a stage and a screen on which a projector was trained, and usually a movie or a music video was playing, and it was dark, and it was essentially a dance-party but with a population of, like, 20 sweaty high schoolers. Sometimes, when I got overwhelmed by the people-ness of it all, I would go into the stairwell ("meet me in the stairwell in a second/for a glass of gin/nobody else will be there then") and sit down and breathe.

Once, we all stood right outside of the Sanctuary passing around a Juul or something. I don't know, I wasn't very interested in smoking. Anyway, someone suggested shotgunning. I remember Adrian tried to shotgun with me (fist as an intermediary) and I was unprepared so it was overall an awkward time and I was really embarrassed at both having been put on the spot by Adrian and also having failed. Worsened when his ex-girlfriend—who, according to Adrian, "hated" me because Adrian still liked me while they were dating... idk how much of that is true but it certainly informed my view of her—she shotgunned with him, only they dropped their hands at the last moment and basically ended up kissing. I remember Alexis saying something like, "Hot," and Liv was probably sort of grossed out, experiencing second-hand embarrassment, "Ooookkay..."

Weirdly, I felt humiliated. There was little basis on which to justify that feeling, and I knew that, but y'know. I still felt it. I retreated to the stairwell to breathe for awhile. Liv came out to find me and she made me feel better. I remember she said she felt restricted so she uncinched her bra under her shirt and pulled it out, brandishing them while going, "Ahhhh," hahaha. Man. That girl... is so good.]

Walk It Back by The National [oddly enough, some of the instrumentals remind me a little of Bon Iver. Also I really like the lyrics: "I'm always mothering myself to bits, I'm always checking out."]

Miracle of Life by Bright Eyes [idk why this is on here. I'm sure I liked it for a reason but god DAMN, every time I hear Conor Obersts' voice, I feel REPULSION; it's an okay song, though, I think???]

Corazon de Melón by Hermanas Benítez [everyone knows this song, I think. My mom used to sing it me all the time when she was being silly. God, I miss that woman. Anyway, I kept singing it to myself one of these days and I decided to listen to the original, which I realized I had probably never heard—only my mom's brief rendition, lolololol]

Ballroom Dance Scene by Horsegirl [for a brief period, I was trying to find new music to listen to on Bandcamp and I came upon Horsegirl. This is a pretty cool song, which I think I might save in another playlist]

Get Away by Yuck [Another thing I found on Bandcamp. A little 90s-ish for me, but that's the consequence of searching for lofi rock or whatever it is I was searching for, lol. I got a lot of 90s-esque shoegaze etc. inspired music, is the point. I do like this song, though, it reminds me a lot of Dinosaur, Jr. or, a bit of Smashing Pumpkins. I think I will definitely appreciate this song more once I enter my annual Modest Mouse/764-Hero phase that usually appears somewhere between December and February]

They'll Only Miss You When You Leave by Carissa's Weird [I was already familiar with Carissa's Weird, but I didn't know this song and I am soooo glad I found it. It's so beautiful.]

Gospel for a New Century by Yves Tumor [Matt showed me this song. It's unlike what I could've found on my own so I was so glad, because it's really fucking cool. I've kept it on my playlist as a reminder to follow this thread into a new realm of music I wouldn't have otherwise found. I always really covet Matt's suggestions for that reason. He has very good taste in music. I mean, he is a musician—he's releasing a new music video that I sort of helped film soon!!! I have a hard time expressing to his face how talented and inspiring I find him, but I am really really fucking proud of him and impressed by his aesthetic and just... this is his best work so far. And I'm also really happy that the song that is being released contains my words :D by which I mean, I texted him a small phrase during conversation sometime over the summer, and apparently he really liked it and decided to use it in his music, with permission. I don't really see myself as being instrumental to the work, obviously—he really did it all on his own—but it's still nice to see a glittering piece of me somewhere among the sound. He's used pieces of me before. It's always just so nice, to have been part of the memory-fragments that inspired him to make something beautiful. Ughhh.... I just. Respect him so much. Anyway, I suppose that's what this song represents to me right now.]

Famous Prophets (Minds) by Car Seat Headrest [I am going through another CSH phase. I go through them pretty muc bi-annually, I wanna say. This used to happen when Modest Mouse was my favorite band, too—I'd listen to them twice a year, sometime beginning in spring, and then again beginning in winter. I think CSH has been my favorite band since about 2018 now, which is usually as long as "favorite" lasts, but oh well. It's still going strong for now. The last time I listened to CSH obsessively was the spring, before and during the release of their new album. This time, they just released a performance of "Can't Cool Me Down" on Jimmy Fallon, and it was so well-done and creative—given the circumstances—that I immediately fell back into a CSH hole. I somehow ended up listening to Famous Prophets a lot, which made me want to listen to the original, hence this. I respect both versions of Twin Fantasy very much and I like them on their own terms. I will always be partial to the 2018 release because that is the first CSH album I ever listened to and it's extremely narrative-oriented compared to the other CSH albums, which is kind of my jam. Anyway, the 2011 version is still really brilliant in its own ways (although sometimes I think Will Toledo's youth really shines through, when he, like, talks about galvanization in Nervous Young Inhumans... makes me cringe—but also, in the newer version, he seems to make fun of his own pretentiousness; knowing, paratextually, that he grows allows me to enjoy it). My favorite thing about the original Famous Prophets is the... idk what the anatomy of it is.. is it a bridge? It's the part that goes like:

For three transgressions of Wurtz
And for four, I will not revoke the punishment
For three transgressions of Will
And for four, I will not revoke the punishment

There is something about the condemning melody, the high reediness of the voice. I think Will Toledo, in an article I read (or maybe it was someone else entirely who said this), described Famous Prophets as the "death sentence" of the relationship; and this particular stanza for me really speaks to that.]

Famous Prophets (Stars) by Car Seat Headrest [I have less to say about this, the 2018 version of the song, just because I think I've sort of said all there is to say about it??? Or at least, I've thought it. I love this song very much. It's the counterpart to Beach Life-in-Death, my other favorite on the album, and I just... will probably never get over the narrative wholeness of it. Listening to the old version has allowed me to develop a new appreciation for this version as well. I will sometimes sing that now-missing bridge I referenced above within this version of the song; weaving the old into the new, just for myself. It's nice. It's like the implicit memory of it still exists like a secret and I am just drawing it out from between the words, between the notes. The melody is still there.]

Deadlines (Hostile) by Car Seat Headrest [this song and its counterpart are my favorites from Making a Door Less Open (MADLO). I think someone described it as "sexy," LOL, and I also read Will Toledo's reflection on the lyrics and it interested me—because it's kind of, in its own way, about sex/sexual desire. But the part I find most interesting is that he describes a sense of "repulsion," being repulsed by one's self and their own taboo desire. Really cool. Also, the construction process of the song itself is super cool. One of the really rewarding things about liking and exploring CSH's discography is that you will find they repurpose old melodies and lyrics. Some of the tunes and lyrics in this particular song come from old CSH tracks, and I think also from Will Toledo and Andrew Katz' other project 1 Trait Danger. So uhhh yeah, lol. I really enjoy this song. Once again, part of the genius of CSH is not just in the individual songs, but has a lot to do with the network of context that CSH builds around their music—its connection to other songs, etc.]

Deadlines (Thoughtful) by Car Seat Headrest [this song struck me as the most interior on the album. It's kind of abstracted from me, in terms of lyrics, but somehow it still manages to make the connection—ironically, lol, given the lyric "can't get connected." In an interview (according to Genius), Toledo said it had something to do with aging and the way people become cemented/simplified caricatures of themselves as they get older. I won't express my agreement/disagreement because I only skimmed the explanation since generally I don't like knowing too much about the artists' intent. Anyway, I do like the opposing forces: compassion and disconnect. There is a sort of loneliness, especially to the denouement of the song.

Unrelated, but in yet ANOTHER interview (or perhaps the same one as earlier, I doubt I read too many), Will Toledo described his ideal song structure as that of a narrative story, which coalesces about 80% of the way through the song and then disintegrates. He didn't put it like that and I don't even know if he said it was his "ideal" song structure or if it was just a structure he was trying to mimic after seeing it in many other songs. Anyway, for me, it explained a lot about my own enjoyment of his songs, because I think I sort of agree with this idea, that a satisfying song is one which draws you through to a highest point towards the end. Obviously, not everything works like this—thinking of Bill Callahan, who is either a musician too laconic/spread out for me to witness the structure, or does not abide by this theory whatsoever. But yeah, ideally, I think most linear forms of art will follow this structure. Not as a rule, but as a trend.]

Broken Birds (Rest in Pieces) by Car Seat Headrest [due entirely to the name, this reminds me of Mechanical Birds by Modest Mouse. They do not sound alike, lol. But there's something about the distorted image of birds that gets to me... Anyway, this song gets sort of stuck in my head and I like it, although it's not one of my favorites.]

Death at the Movies by Car Seat Headrest [I've listened to this track so little that I don't really remember why I added it to my monthly playlist in the first place, lol. But now that I'm listening to it again, I sort of like it.]

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