Six Month Stickies #2

October 3, 2008

These are the tracks of music that got stuck in my head
in the course of the last six months.
(In order)

*Click Image to download a rar of the compilation

New Order – Leave me Alone

Joy Division is one of my favorite bands, so the next logical step was to see how they got on without their front man. I had a few tracks off Power Corruption & Lies scattered in my library for years, that I really liked, it prompted me to get the New Order discography. Unfortunately I found that album was the only worthwhile achievement without the somber integrity of Ian Curtis. It seems Curtis’s residual influence lasted long enough to inform the sensibilities of one more great album. After which, they wasted no time in selling out, and pandering to an obvious and mindless dance club demographic. Still this is probably my favorite track of theirs, had me shacking my head in satisfaction at work for a good week or so.

Sticky point: 2:16

From my head to my toes
To my teeth, through my nose
You get these words wrong
You get these words wrong

The National – Friend of Mine

Apparently I just can’t get enough of The National. They really bulldozed their way into my musical life, I don’t know how I was ignorant of their music for as long as I was, considering how prolific and consistently amazing all their recordings are. As a result I got their entire discography nearly at once, and have since always had a song or album at the center of my musical universe. While the brunt of my National indoctrination was during my last sticky list, this song didn’t reveal itself to me in full until later.

Talking Heads – Sax and Violins

Talking heads finally took hold of me these last six months. I’m not sure why it took so long for me to board this train, but now I’m on for good. This is probably my favorite song of theirs. I love the subtle shifts of tones between the different sections, and the waning synth sounds blooming in the background.

M83 – Skin of the Night

I’ve been into m83 for the last few years and was a little nervous at how easily I took to the new album. Usually a sign that approachability was traded for replay value. But I really enjoy the semi Kate Bush inspired theme, and I think the explosive moments stand out beautifully against the languid connective tissue. There is such great design to how this song plays out over its six minutes. This song got me through the long hours when I was staying at work past three in the morning every night. I would suggest listening while half delirious and full of sleepy/anxious/strung out energy, I think I unlocked something in the song doing so. I saw them(him) live a few months ago and was a bit underwhelmed, as I usually am when I see electronic based music live, but it was still great to hear this song blaring loud in a room full of people.

Sticky point:
1:02 – 1:20
After a minute build; the first major and the most powerful drop, that forces my ass to shakin’

Brian Eno – King’s Lead Hat

I probably have more respect and admiration for Brian Eno than any living musician. This is another gem from his cheesy early days. What’s he even talking about?
“Four turkeys in a big black car” ?!
Crazy times.

Beach boys – Disney Girls (1957)

Apparently people cringe with pain at this song. I think it’s fantastic , but everyone I sent it to thought I was making an ironic gesture. I’m not ashamed to admit I like the beach boys. I love good song writing, I’m not prejudice to style and form. Whether it be Lennon, Michael Jackson, Daniel Johnston, Dylan, or Brian Wilson (beach boys). The more I get into music the less distracted I am by the particular pallet and genre, and the more I respond the core of song writing. And while this song in particular wasn’t written by Brian Wilson, I think it’s rather lovely regardless.

Hot Chip – Playboy

As I might have said in my last six month stickies; I think Hot Chip is kind of hit or miss. This song was love at first site. It’s so damn fun, and dare I say: Groovy? I mean, “Blazing out Yo La Tengo. Hey yay. Yay, yay.” This song was all the more satisfying as two of my friends and I all simultaneously had the song stuck in our heads while we were on road trip in the bay area. And half ironically ‘bumped’ it during the drive.

Cornelius – Tone Twilight Zone

This song also played a major role in the road trip I mentioned. If you’re ever driving across the rolling hills of Jackson in spring with a couple of friends, and are looking for the perfect song to play as you watch the green trees rush across a cloudy sky; this is it.

Spoon – The Beast and Dragon, Adored

Honestly I’m not wild about this song. Nor am I too wild about spoon. But thems the head-stuck breaks. This song stuck regardless. Not too surprising, it’s catchy as all hell.

National – Cherry Tree

Well my national obsession continues unabated.
It took me over two weeks to gather the escape velocity to clear me from its orbit. Which is unfortunate when you consider having this song stuck in your head means you appear to be a deranged and homeless as you walk the streets muttering “loose lips sink ships.”

Low – Dinosaur Act

I’ve been listening to Low for years. But for some reason something finally clicked a few months ago, and suddenly I couldn’t get enough. I listened to nothing but Low for days and loved every minute of it. I have over seven ep’s and albums and collaborations from them. By the end of a week, I was mostly playing about ten or so tracks that would almost all justify being on this sticky list. Notably the Christmas album. This was the track that started it all. I don’t know why exactly I singled it out, but I did. Something about the steady somber brush work on the snare, the guitar like soggy fireworks, coupled with the listless harmonizing of the two singers, who are in no rush to tell you how they feel, about what I have no idea. Something about dinosaurs is all I gather, and that’s enough.

Brian Jonestown Massacre – Crushed

As is often the case with transitory periods in my life, they are signaled and paralleled with suspicious accuracy, by satellite events and observations. These satellite echoes of my main theme often don’t become obvious until afterwords. In this case I was going through a rather significant transition in the romantic sector of my life, during the whole of which I was obsessed with this song. I listened to it non stop on loop for days, before it occurred to me to look at the lyrics (when listening to music I can’t make out lyrics, bur rather only hear the sound of vocals). Sure enough the lyrics perfectly paralleled my sentiments in there own abstract, though no less accurate, way. The song continues to have a chemical reaction with me when I listen to it, I think it will act as an emotional guidepost or memorial for a romantic period of my life, that’s better articulated in the song then I could ever hope to express in my art or writing. While there wasn’t any particular sticky point, I’ll include the lyrics here, as they are more relevant and penetrating for me than maybe any song has been in my life.

i’m tired of living alone
i’ve just discovered alone
i feel uncovered with you
i feel right here
i’m kind of silly i know
i’m not your lover although
i shouldn’t bother
i fall for the deep clear

eyes blue
and you know
i’m in line with you here

i’ve tried to give you enough
i learned from living it rough
i think i know when i must
make myself clear
i’m tired of living alone
and discovered alone
when i’m uncovered with you
i feel right here

can’t you see
i can fly
but i’m not free

careful you
all alone
clear blue clear

and if you see
i can fly
but i’m not free

it’s kind of silly i know
i’m not your lover
although i shouldn’t bother
i fall for the deep clear

i can fly through the clear blue

dry my eyes in a cool breeze
can’t you see i’ve a soul too
I suppose I really fall away
i’m in love with a lie still
and carefree
i can fly but i’m not free here
i can fly but i’m not free

Cat Power – I Believe In You

While I don’t especially like most of her music, I always really liked Moon Pix. So I thought I would give this album a chance and was rather startled by how good it is. Honestly I would be justified in putting over half the songs off of it in this sticky list, but this song edged out in front of the rest. Probably because it’s the one that gets my ass most a ’shakin. I love the control and feeling in her voice, and the visceral sensual thrusts of the instrumentation. She should be really proud of this cover.

Air France – No Excuses

Every once and a while I like to indulge in some blatant euro-pandering. (Kings of Convenience, The Legends etc.) When I was in the mood to get a bit indulgent, and celebrate the start of summer I listened to the new Air France album. This was the song that got most stuck in my head. The album art shows a woman launching a kite at sunset, I would often see it from the corner of my eye while I listened to the album and it complimented the music perfectly.

Low – Just Like Christmas

I suspected for a while that I have a proclivity for poignant Christmas music.
(Vince Guaraldi Trio’s Charlie brown Christmas soundtrack being a prime example)
It was during the long Low marathon I made reference to before that I discovered the brilliance of the Christmas album. After about the third day I found myself continuously repeating this track, and Taking Down The Tree.

As usual I didn’t realize what the lyrics were until I looked them up. The lyrics for “Just Like Christmas” really knocked the wind out of me. A perfect example of writing that’s simple, yet emotionally profound.I find it particularly heart wrenching when she sings:

We got lost,
the beds were small,
but we felt so young,
it was just like Christmas
it was just like Christmas…

It never fails to send a shiver up my spine and flood my stomach with warmth.

TV On The Radio – Staring at the Sun

This song like a couple others on this as well as my last sticky list, have come to represent a certain philosophical archetype, to be referenced in my abstract musings about my life and relationships and where I’m going with both.

you’re staring at the sun
you’re standing in the sea
your mouth is open wide
you’re trying hard to breathe
the water’s at your neck
there’s lightning in your teeth

Hearing this song is like coming home. As a result I can almost never listen to it just one time through. I often listen four or five times in a row before I can move on.

Neil Young – Oh, Lonesome Me

This song got stuck in my head just barely enough to make the sticky list. I think mainly because the music is sort of incidental to the lyrics. And my aesthetics for music are much more instrumental than lyrical. Unfortunately, the lyrics are far too apt a description of my life than I would care to admit. While some songs offer up an understanding of yourself and life you wish to grow into, others reflect back where you are, with all the cringing accuracy of a bathroom surveillance camera. It makes this song for me at once both comforting and painful.

Jeremy Enigk – Been Here Before

I’m the biggest Jeremy Enigk fan I know. Which is really too bad, I think his music is much better than his popularity would suggest. Return of the Frog Queen captures a tone and a quality and sound unlike anything I have ever heard. As a result when I’m in a mood for that sound I have that album and only that album to satisfy it. And while his new album The Missing Link is less distinctive in that sense; it’s full of great songs like this one. Half of which came close to making this list.

Sticky point: 1:57 – 2:15

After a two minute build, a strong organ sting, and snare tumble, into the explosive release. Always sends me into a sort of mini dance-seizure at work.

Grouper – Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping

I have a feeling each of these sticky lists is going to be anchored by a central obsession. The last list was anchored to National, which I listened to with more ferocity than all the rest of the bands on the list combined. And for this list that anchor is Grouper. I honestly can’t remember the last time I was more overwhelmed by a musicians’ work. Liz Harris has really tapped into something amazing with her music. It has this incredible unforced organic wisdom, without a lick of pretension. It’s as if she paints this ocean scape with washes of guitar and voice. I feel like I’m swimming at night and can’t see well enough to know if the tide’s pulling me to shore, drifting me out, or if I’m sinking, but I realize it’s a dream so it doesn’t really matter.

I’ve since acquired her entire discography and listened nonstop for four days straight, something I’m not sure I have ever done before. If you want to see the proof go here (Caution not for the feint of heart):

Grouper Madness

Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping is my favorite track off her most recent album. It’s also one of her most accessible, and was sent to many of my friends during the first two weeks when I was a walking commercial for her music.


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