cartwheels into your heart

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I have to say, I'm not at all surprised that Jason Clark of Pretty Girls Make Graves contributes to the Bloc Party's Silent Alarm Remixed record. In addition to the fact that the bands have toured Europe together (which is probably how the association was formed), I've also thought that PGMG was a more immediate antecedent to Bloc Party's moody, anxious sound than Gang of Four or whatever other tired post-punk reference points that get trotted out just because the band's from the UK and is making music in 2005. Compare, for instance, the darting, dissonant guitar riff that opens "Helicopters" with the one that opens PGMG's "Ghosts in the Radio" (from Good Health). The irony, of course, is that Clark's remix (of "Positive Tension") keeps the guitar subservient to a battery of sped-up skittering beats.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Here's an article I wrote for Stylus about the David Bowie song "I'm Not Quite" (recorded later, more famously, as "Letter to Hermione"). You can download mp3s of both songs at the site.

Note to mash-uppers: The idea to mix Sufjan Stevens's "They Are Zombies..." with Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" is an inspired choice. Both songs, after all, feature a strong unaccented beat that serves as the foundation for a steadfast chant. When I heard there was a Sufjan/Kanye (Sufje/Kanyan?) mash, I knew exactly what you'd done. But, umm, did you notice how dreadfully low in the mix K.'s voice is? And you know, it would've been nice to actually hear the "Jesus walks" shout at some point, to further reinforce the songs' similarities, but I guess it didn't come with that a capella that you and I both downloaded from Limewire. Seriously, I could've done this in GarageBand in fifteen minutes. [Via Stereogum]

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More belated singles and a few mp3s on the subject of loneliness.

I thought I had a witty follow-up but it's been forgotten. I'm working on three hours of sleep here, people.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Belated singles reviews.

To be honest, I haven't been wowed by too much on the radio lately. I feel like the first few months of the year were quite strong ("Hate It or Love It," "1 Thing," "Mr. Brightside," "Signs," "Since U Been Gone"), and there's been scraps since. I can't tell if things are about to pick up or not.

On a different note: Within the past 24 hours, that new Sufjan Stevens album has moved me to tears twice. I'd heard "John Wayne Gacy, Jr.," probably a dozen times already, including once while sitting in my apartment with friends, all of us perfectly silent, but it still chills me. I was circling the parking lot at Trader Joe's yesterday when it came on, and my lips quivered, and I had to wipe my eyes as I got out and shut the door. "Even more / They were boys / With their cars, summer jobs."

This morning it was "Casimir Pulaski Day," which I always found pretty but never noticed the lyrics before. Oh man, heartbreak city.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I feel like I've been talking about this a lot lately, but only because it's so easy to talk about. Instead of "I wrote about this obscure singer from the 60s, and it's for this column where you write about something you've never heard before but always wanted to hear and then record your impressions," I can just be like: "I reviewed Lollapalooza."

Monday, August 01, 2005

in which I present my top ten singles from April thru June, in no particular order, one day at a time

Supersystem, "Born Into the World"

Yep, it's another Brooklyn dance-punk band, and despite the fact that much of their album sounds warmed over in exactly the way you'd expect from dance-punk in 2005, two things stand out in this song, which I first encountered on a Luminfire mix several months ago. One: the snaky, insidious guitar hints at an Arabian flavor akin to the Offspring's "Come Out and Play" (or, if we're being honest, countless other songs); the band's equally strong "Everybody Sings," featuring Molly and Phyllis from Out Hud in cute, blinking robot mode, even throws in a few off-beat "hey! hey!"s as if it were a Yiddish folk tune. Two: singer Rafael Cohen's lyrics aren't just up-to-date abstract hipster slogans, but appear to sketch a fanciful narrative that suggests, in its shifting backdrops, the mid-20th century NYC of Little Shop of Horrors, a cheap and colorful urban neighborhood where kids play stickball on the stoop and you pick up a paper at the bodega on the corner. Except ominous. (Heh.)