A lot has sucked lately, so I figure, why don’t we just dance?(More music. I like music and writing about music so I’ll take a few minutes to listen to two songs I like and write about them.)
Josh Turner, “Why Don’t We Just Dance”
I like the piano and the DUNdaDUNdaDUNda kinda beat. I like the fiddle in the break. And his voice is nice, good singing from real low to higher up. I should listen to more of his stuff. (This one‘s kinda vacuous – the extended metaphor is mildly clever – but I really like what it sounds like.) The content is nice – a lot sucks, but dancing is fun so let’s dance. We should dance more often. I like the video playing through different clothes and dance moves.
And… I relate to the content. Kinda. Dancing’s on the list of things I’d like to be better at and feel more confident that. My formative experiences with punk, plus feeling both socially and physically awkward while young, meant that I never learned much about dancing or feeling comfortable dancing. Relatively late in life I figured out that dancing is actually really fun. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but my wife was key to that. The first song we ever danced to was a tune by the (International) Noise Conspiracy, in our flat in Edinburgh. I remember how much fun that was, and how surprised I was that dancing was fun. I’m still a bit shy about it if there’s, you know, other people around, especially if I’m sober, and don’t dance as much as we have at some points in our live because we’re busy with work and parenting but we do dance now sometimes. Mostly with our daughter. We have a list of songs we play for bopping around the kitchen together, and I have another of songs I will dance with my daughter with to help her get to sleep or settled and willing to sleep. (My wife’s underwhelmed by this because she doesn’t like pop country. There’s no accounting for taste, or so she says about mine.)
Jawbreaker, “Jinx Removing”
A friend recently made a joke about being jinxed so I joked back about removing the jinx via this song. Which got me to listen to it again. It’s been a while. I saw Jawbreaker play right after 24 hour revenge therapy came out, that’s the album this song is from. I didn’t know who they were until that show, they opened for Nirvana. That was in 1994. The album is almost 20 years old. I am aging. There are aspects of this record I relate to less now but over all this record is one that I come back to and find new things in. I still relate to this particular song a great deal.
“Feeling crowded.” “Too dumb to pretend this is all we want from life.” “Saying nothing you don’t know” – a sense of being banal. More positively: getting old enough to get excited about some things without being self conscious, or certainly less so. Rain. Roads. Ruins. Superstitions.
These things speak to me.
Having done those, I figure I’ll do another. (I wanted to make a joke about the opening of Blue Suede Shoes, something about two being ready so three for the show, but the joke didn’t work and I can’t be bothered just now to fix it.)
Feist, “Brandy Alexander”
Yesterday or the day before I had a huge fucking mess of stupid fucking dishes in the god damn sink and was trying to get dinner done before my family got home and I really – I … I just – ugh. So to make the best of it, taking advantage of the empty house – meaning, the ability to play whatever I wanted, with impunity, I threw on some music, loud. I knew that I wanted to listen to something like Feist: a dancey noisy guitary punky band kinda like some stuff by the Killers stuff or the Editors or the Arctic Monkeys or something – something edgey, loudish, darkish, good to turn up loud, but with a beat. Good music to do housework to while working off a bad mood. And I had it in my head that I had this Feist album from when one of my younger brothers lived with my wife and me a few years back, one of the albums he left at ours that I’ve never listened to. The second part may be true, I’m not sure now. So I put it on. And the first track was “So Sorry.”
I really like her voice. I like how stripped down it is, and I like the long clean/acoustic intro before it kicks in loud and fast, almost like a change of genre. Except it never kicks in. Because I totally had the sound wrong. It’s cool, though. I like it. Pretty. Plaintive but not whiny. Powerful voice. Beat’s not loud but it’s uptempo and the beat’s there, in a way that I didn’t pay enough attention to the few weeks of music appreciation class I took to be able to describe but I know I’m still right here despite my lack of words for it.
I turned it up louder, cooked an awesome dinner and washed a bunch of dishes and whatnot. Just before my family came home, I listened to “Brandy Alexander” which is likewise pretty.
I initially thought it was just a drinking song, it made me want to drink brandy but we don’t have any. Instead I served ginger beer. (Dinner was great, food turned out good if I do say so myself, and my family finished my music-induced transition from ‘fuck it’ to ‘it is nice to be here’.) Listening to this song again now, it’s a sad love song, which is one of my favorite sorts of songs, via a drinking metaphor, so double points. And it too is pretty. Triple points. I know the album is a few years old but it’s nice to discover some relatively recentish music and be into it. Other than pop country, I mean. (Which reminds me I want to post about Burial eventually.) I wish we had some brandy in the house, gotta add ‘buy brandy’ to the list of chores to carry out angrily.
More music in this post rather than posting new.
On a trip out of town I said something to my wife about the Undertones, “Teenage Kicks,” and talked about when we saw them with the Methadones at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago. She listened to the song again and said “it’s good to know I can still get excited about a song.” I had a similar feeling recently while listening to forgetters (they prefer it that way, no ‘the’ and the ‘f’ is lowercase). A new album! a new band! oh! I can still like things!
Both of forgetters’ releases are here – http://www.midheaven.com/label/too-small-to-fail
The vocals are sung in a way that sometimes sounds talky, in a good way, with more singy parts and just enough shouting at the right times. I like the guitar sound – distorted, power chords, occasional palm muting, occasional very short solos and dissonant chords. My kinda thing. The bass and drums and the occasional keyboard are in the same vein. All the playing sound really good, and none of it jumps out in front to take center stage and demand the spotlight. All the parts pull their weight and put in their contribution to the songs. And the songs! Beat-driven or at least beat-prominent music, driving, sometimes dissonant, sometimes pretty, but/and fully within a powerpop framework. This isn’t rewriting what I expect from music, which isn’t what I want anyway. This is well crafted rock music with lyrics that mix angry and sad and introspective effectively. Some of the lines really stick too: “someone’s gonna love me some day,” a hook with barbs. This is not joyful music, but it’s enjoyable music for and about the times that don’t feel all too joyful. Personally, I can never have too much of this sort of thing. I’d like to hear this turned up loud on good speakers (so someone would have to invite me over, I guess). I think it would be especially fun to drink and dance to, and live I’d bet it’s cathartic.
(I guess I should mention that Blake Schwarzenbach is in forgetters, who was in Jawbreaker and Jets to Brazil. According to this he’s not as well off financially as I’d have expected given those bands, so, buy the forgetters records.)