Seriously, get your act together.

Okay readers, listen up. Both of you. Go buy this EP by Burial, here:


You might not like it, but in that case you can consider the money you paid to be a tax on your poor taste. Personally, I really, really REALLY like this new EP. I like all of his stuff.

I lack a vocabulary I feel comfortable with for talking about music like this. My half-form phrases all sound silly and/or contentless (“richly textured”, what the fuck?). It makes me want to write – well, if I’m being honest, it makes me want someone else to write – descriptions of scenery and photo stills and films silent except for this music. Anyway, it’s the most into a contemporary musician I’ve been in a while. I wrote a bit about this elsewhere, that this music makes me feel (or makes me think about the times when I feel) lonely, but it also makes me feel like (or reminds me that) I’m not the only to feel that way sometimes. I think that’s part of what I connect with so much in it. I’ve written a bit about this in other blog posts about some of the rock and punk stuff I like, I can’t remember where or the exact point, but it was something to the effect of how I like music that is bleak but in a sense expresses something more than (and something about the capacity to endure and the eventual end of) bleakness. Music is shared, social, so that music about being isolated is, despite itself, about being not as isolated as what it expresses, by virtue of it being music. At least sometimes, when it’s good, anyway, I’m not committed to the idea that music per se does this. I gotta think more about this. Anyway. Burial. Go give Hyperdub some money.

I haven’t written more that Team Dresch song yet. I will eventually. Whatever it is that I connect with in (or project into? [ugh that’s an ugly thought]) Burial’s music is also in that Team Dresch song at least to some extent, though that song is enjoyably angry and outraged as well.

One of my favorite lines in it is about ripping off the Smiths, which I like, and will come back to when I actually write about that song. Part of what I like about is that I like Team Dresch and I like the Smiths and it’s nice when musicians talk about being into music because it’s like “ooh I look up to this person and look we have something in common.” I realize that’s silly, but there it is. Also, I like to have music for/about things in my life that are important to me, and music matters a lot to me. So having music about how music matters, it’s just a good thing.

Also about the Smiths: I recently watched a documentary or two about the Smiths, one or two of several documentaries I watched about music in/from Manchester. I enjoyed them but the Smiths stuff… some of it was unpleasant and I don’t think it enhanced the music much for me. It didn’t make me come back to the music refreshed or hearing it differently or appreciating it more or whatever. Which is fine, but I don’t think I’ll watch a Smiths documentary again unless someone tells me that it did something like that. With artists whose music I like a lot… I’m not trying to date them or set them up with a loved one. So what they’re like in the rest of their life beyond/aside from being an artist, it’s only something I’m tangentially interested in as a music lover (as opposed to being interested as someone impressed by celebrities, or something like that) — unless knowing about the rest of their life tells me something about the music. Like there was a bit in one of the documentaries about different areas in Manchester that appear in or probably shaped some Smiths music, that did do something for me as a love of their music. More of that. Less of the dwelling on the human frailties and whatnot of the musicians in ways that don’t do anything for me as a music listener. Which is not to say they’re bad documentaries, not at all, just that I wanted documentaries that would help me appreciate their stuff even more.

The Factory Records documentaries, on the other hand, did exactly that, and I think this is why I had more expectations about the Smiths documentaries. For one thing, it reminded me that I really need to get my act together and really listen closely to a lot of New Order, because I like what I’ve heard from them. And I need to acquire the little bits of Joy Division I don’t have, and I should go through the rest of the Factory catalog eventually. Also: the Hacienda… I — it’s hard to express. That whole thing of how Factory ended up being a sort of cultural collective more than a business, and one that probably ripped of New Order in ways that weren’t good for them as individuals but one that as an appreciator of culture I’m glad existed… it’s all – wow. Just wow.


Writing about music makes me want to write about music. Who’d’a thunk it.

Fugazi, “Caustic Acrostic.” I like Fugazi a lot, and I like it best when I get what the lyrics are about. With a lot of Fugazi I have very little idea what they’re on about. I still like it though. The cryptic phrases stick with me, I just like the sounds of them sometimes, and sometimes more than that. With this one, I like the image in the song’s title, and I like that it’s an image about/from literature: A caustic acrostic.

Fugazi’s dissonant music and opaque lyrics often
Unearths sensibilities I didn’t realize that I, at this age,
Could still feel strongly about, and I can always use this
Kick, emotionally, because, I mean, who doesn’t

Yearn for an emotional kick now and that?
Otherwise, what’s the point, I mean, who wants to be
Used up and empty of strong feelings?


Part of why this song was on my mind is about me (of course, dear readers, the four of you know this already – here, it’s always about me), in that I was thinking about how I often feel uncomfortable in relationships, in that I sort of step away when I feel pursued, and I tend to step forward when people are coyly distant. There’s something to this that feels dynamic and enjoyable but it’s not a pattern I like when I’m thinking clearly. It’s one to think about. I also was thinking about how I have a hard time articulating what I want and asking for it.

Then I thought of this song and I thought about how at one point I wanted to write some short stories with themes of coded messages, and then embed layers of coded messages in them. I dunno why but that sort of thing appeals to me, the opacity plus the logic puzzle quality, plus the sort of shaggy dog story quality to it: you decoded this message, and it said… way to decode, decoder. I dunno why, I find the thought of that kind of let down funny. Like so much else I think this is one that, if it has merits, they’re in the idea, not the execution. As in, leave it on the “nice idea, maybe, but never gonna do it” list. (That list, by the way, is on itself.)

Anyway, Fugazi, “Caustic Acrostic.” I love the dissonant but not heavy intro, then the way it really kicks in, fast drums, driving guitar and bass, shouty singing. I like how the one guitar keeps playing a similar solo through all of that, while everything else changes around it, then the dissonant choppy pre-chorus annnnd everything drops out but the vocals. Start over. Ending breakdown with a riff that is as close as they ever get to danceable – shout – silence but for sudden stutterstopdrums. Great.

Edit again:
Following a random and beer-hastened train of thought tonight I thought about how I’d like to play this new Burial stuff for my kid, even though she’ll probly be disinterested and annoyed. Then I remembered a few times from when I was a kid, times with each of the several adults who raised me. In each of those memories they were excited about music with me, and shared that excitement with me. In the memories where I was younger, I remember liking the music more, I think because I was a kid and didn’t have tastes so much as I liked whatever. In the memories where I was older, I didn’t always like the music but I liked talking about it and I liked their enthusiasm. The adults in my life were often under stress and made poor choices (and frankly could be jerks sometimes) so these fonder memories involving music loom even larger in my list of good memories involving them. I raise my kid pretty differently than I was raised, of course, but I like that some of the good of how I was raised carries forward in what I try to do as a parent too. Even if my kid doesn’t like music I like, I want her to be exposed to me and other people being excited about music, because excitement about music is one of the unambiguously good things I got from my upbringing, and memories about this are among the memories I feel comfortable sharing with my kid.