The new record from Glasgow’s Errors has been bending my ear of late. Entitled Have a Little Faith in Magic, it’s reminiscent of the promise of Antarctica‘s 81:03, released in 1999, this is the way music was supposed to have gone. Welcome back to days of future past.
The British Expeditionary Force release their new record March 26, 2012, long years after they changed my world at first listen. That’s news that makes for a good day, isn’t it?
This week I had a Deerhunter moment. Tweaking from overstimulation on all fronts, unable to find pleasure in anything, turning away from myself and my tasks in ever tinier right angle spirals of repeated procrastination, it was suggested to me that I give Chicago’s Bottomless Pit an innocent listen. Jaded and beyond hope and seeing no harm in it, I plugged them into my headsockets and set the tunes to “blast.”
O, would that I could have felt anything.
And at the first golden guitar notes and motorik drumbeats of “winter wind”, the first track off their 2010 record Blood Under the Bridge, I felt the wintry ache of spring awaken in my bones, and in those in the human ossuary loved by God most of all—the hammer, the stirrup, and the anvil—first.
That is the Deerhunter moment, by the by- the sudden epiphany that something mind-blowingly good can appear from nowhere and change everything.
As a friend recently put it to me, music is a disease. We wake to life innocent, and we take things to mean what they mean. Like the addict deserving of compassion, all men are too ready to love, or perhaps not well enough prepared for the repercussions of discovering the grand, immediate secret that cannot be shared. When we give openly of ourselves, of our time and full attention, how much more often we find ourselves asking whether the losses we have sustained by not instead investing in the funds more hedged is the result of our misunderstanding at a hopeless, inceptive stage the valuable things in life, or whether our constancy has been undermined by others who reframe the straightforward task of living as enterprise. Like Bottomless Pit sing on “Is it a Ditch”, whatever it is, “…We won’t find what it is before we stop.”
O, the loss of innocence, the passing, as it were, of our first vain and fallible sorrow.
Of course, music is not a disease, and, further, it is a testament to our small human spirits, drunk and ignorant and swelled up disproportionately most of the time on the wrong things, that it takes five angels with five trumpets (and probably Ke$ha) in the terrible amphitheater of humanity to provoke the crowd into such anomie and torpor as befits opening up for Abaddon. In that tired club, where the bouncers have scales like iron breastplates, teeth like lions’ teeth, and tails in which is the power to harm people for five months, I affirm that the saved are the ticketholders who only came because they heard they might get to see Bottomless Pit sing songs that redeem. Let’s face it, no one could learn these songs except those who have been redeemed— particularly not those of whom they sing on “Winterwind” who are “waiting on a winterwind like they’re gonna get something”, but only those who are “waiting on a Winterwind for free.”
As the Old Possum warned us, in order to possess what you do not possess, you must go by the way of dispossession. And as I have said before, you have to live with yourself if you are to live at all. Bottomless Pit remind us of that simply by making some of the best music that’s ever been heard in defiance of the apparent impossibility of anything in today’s world for the artistically inclined who would invest everything.
Music is not a disease, artist, but steel yourself if you are going to venture to that bad club and cling to the medicine of that organ-grinder’s monkey on your back- I read somewhere there are still two woes to come.
There’s plenty more Bottomless Pit live to be seen at the Union Rockyards Youtube channel, and plenty of recorded stuff to stream and buy at their website. The digital end of things (CD-only and download purchases) is being handled by NJ’s Comedy Minus One label.
It was about a year ago that a good friend of mine revealed to me that he had unwittingly quite possibly discovered the secrets to New York City Barons of Blasé Interpol’s incontrovertible- even despite their last couple albums- awesomeness.
It was not Joy Division that the band took after most, as some mused when the band’s first record, Turn on the Bright Lights, appeared on record store racks at a special Matador-reduced price intended to to move those units. Sure, both Joy Division and Interpol were bands whose music was at times dark and sparse, but there was something cavernous and distant about Interpol’s attitude and sound that didn’t match up with the barely contained fury of Ian Curtis and co. Joy Division was suffused with a similar darkness, but something about the two styles didn’t mesh when the bands were compared.
Unflagging devotion to what band gave these well-dressed dudes the edge over other indie wunderkinds?
Here is the video for the new single, “Lights”, from the forthcoming self-titled 9/7 CD release.
Here is the first track from the Chameleons’ 1983 debut album, The Script of the Bridge.
Do these two songs bear any significant resemblance to one another?
Is this Chameleons record the shard of Krypton that lies at the cool, cool heart of Interpol’s fortress of attitude? If so, they deserve their accolades for bringing back a cool sound and doing it really, really well.
Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story
First aired on VH1 in July, 2001, Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story hit all the plucky young working class blokes work hard and get it right success story buttons, taking care to offer an easy to digest gloss on how a bunch of good friends who just love good times and hard work can let a little success and excess go to their heads and perhaps even cause them to roll what appears to be a 1987 Chevrolet Corvette over in an English meadow at 88 glorious LED indicated miles per hour, severing one’s arm in the process. Yea, this genre, whose special purpose was to assuage the guilt and mixed feelings of looking back on the narcissistic and blissfully unaware good times of the eighties, could well have been the poultice that hid and detoxified the psychic wounds of the liberal West long enough for us to charge ahead into the 2000s, unironically looking forward to a 180g vinyl triple gatefold Bobby McFerrin comeback LP.
Unfortunately, not 2 months later, certain events occurred in September of 2001 that would render it seemingly impossible for anyone but the baby boomers to continue to effectively rehabilitate their legacies through cinema. The cheerful gloss put on such topics as a deadly case of alcoholism, the innocent and apolitical acceptance of a worldview that had no problem putting individuals firmly in the “have” column in the global tally of the “haves” and “have-nots” as a reward for public overindulgence in good times and conditioner, these things would soon take a backseat to a polarizing case of the terrors that would strip the paint right off society and take us, unfortunately, back to the right-wing primer coat while American culture went up on blocks in the world’s front yard.
This 2001 gem of a biopic was released at generally the same time as another frank, straight-talking coming to grips meditation on our collective insanity, the Mark “Marky-Mark” Walberg and Jennifer Aniston vehicle Rock Star. Rock Star (a movie I do enjoy thoroughly), was actually given an unfortunately timed release in the month of September, 2001. Can you imagine? Just as we were just beginning to connect the dots between our troubled ’90s inner Eddie Vedders and the crimped and blow-dryed blonde ’80s angels of our natures, we had to put the all the chuckling “those were crazy days” reminiscences aside to join the rest of America in being scared shitless.
Only now, almost 10 years on, do we have someone like Lady Ga-Ga—medicine woman, shaman— who can finally make us feel mindlessly good about ourselves again. Thanks, Hope! Thanks, socially splintering new media! Let the Hair Metal Ideal Truth and Reconciliation Committee reconvene, with Lady Gaga shepherding the lost offenders of the ’80s into her folds to bear the standard that will unite us in all we have been meaning to recuse ourselves from for the past 30 years. Let it begin here with your own private screening of Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story, starring Anthony Michael Hall. You’ve suffered for it, motherfuckers. Now take your reward.
There aren’t many other places as well-matched for this very simple story to have been located in. A tired-looking blue-collar type approaches a vending machine in a sleeping Japanese village, only to have voice and music issue instead of refreshment. What does the fellow do? Well, the machine intelligence suddenly at play in the bank of vending machines has nothing to do with him, does it? He looks on, nonplussed, until he can finally get the beverage to dispense. When it does, he walks back to his truck and drives away. It’s like a scene out of a Murakami novel- an ordinary person in an extraordinary circumstance willfully remains ordinary.
Oh, crushingly abetted modernity.
This is from glitch pioneer and sound artist Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto) and collaborator and French sound poet Anne-James Chaton, the project issued under the name unitxt in 2008 from Raster-Noton.