Six Month Stickies # 8

January 16, 2012

As usual the tracks of music that got stuck in my head in the last six months, in order.
* Click image to download a ZIP of the compilation:

Purple Rhinestone Eagle – Thirteen Cycles

An awesome all girl band I just randomly saw at a smelly little house party in Oakland. They rocked hard, and I went home that night with this album. I like the methodical guttural development; almost like a darkly magical call to arms.

Paul Simon – Train in the Distance, Song About the Moon

Both songs by an effortless songwritter. Playful, abstract, deeply penetrating, and carefree, all at the same time.

Kate Bush – This Woman’s Work

I don’t know if I’ve already spoken of my creepy infatuation with Kate Bush’s music, but this song is a perfect example of how she can take something so simple and execute it in such an unintuitive, powerful, at times alarming, yet perfectly coherent way. Her music is so singular and impactfull, I often just sit back after listening to one of her songs, awed and slightly confused as to how I can be so altered by a woman’s voice and seemingly simple instrumentation.

Paul Simon – Gumboots

At this point I think I’ve had every song off Graceland stuck in my head at one time or another. I really like the upbeat jubilance of this song.

I was walking down the street
When I thought I heard this voice say
Say, ain’t we walking down the same street together
On the very same day
I said hey Senorita that’s astute
I said why don’t we get together
And call ourselves an institute

I had that passage stuck in my head for about two weeks singing it with a smile, riding my bike to work in the bright sharp morning light.

Brahms – Denn Wir Haben Keine Bleibende Statt

Not often that I get orchestral music stuck in my head. 3:15 is the sticky point for me. Normally I like more austere orchestral music where the beauty and feeling comes from it’s intelligence and structure as in the case of Bach. But sometimes when a more forceful piece isn’t too indulgent but properly harnesses the grandiose options of a full orchestra, it can be pretty amazing.

Daft Punk – Recognizer, Arena

It was my brother who first turned me on to Daft Punk when I was ten, so not surprisingly he was the one to tell me that the newest Tron film featured a soundtrack composed by Daft punk using a mixture of orchestral and synthetic instruments. He played me the album during a long car ride and it is every bit as good as I could have hoped. I’ve never heard synthetic/analogue blended so perfectly outside a rock or ambient context. My favorite thing is the sense of space in the music. It’s so easy to close your eyes and suddenly imagine giant sweeping vistas open up beneath you, or towering monoliths eclipsing the sky above.

Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why

… Okay let me explain… I had a dream that Samuel L. Jackson and I were crying to this Norah Jones song… Okay I realize that doesn’t explain how I let this happen. I attempted to dream analysis this with limited success ( ) Now let us never speak of this again.

Radiohead – Lotus Flower

What can I say, I’ve said Radiohead was my favorite band since I was twelve years old. I was one of those true believers in the nineties that thought O.K. Computer was the best thing musically of that decade. But the last twelve years has seen the band allow themselves to slide into complacency, dripping out music doodles that have none of the fire and ardor of their hay day. Of course a mediocre Radiohead album is still better than 99.999 percent of music being produced. Still each album always has at least a couple tracks that I think are brilliant. The King of Limbs was the first to actually not offer up a single brilliant song. I think Lotus Flower comes closest, but it’s certainly no Paranoid Android.

The Cranberries –
Ode to my Family, Zombie, Empty, Ridiculous Thoughts

Speaking of the nineties. I’ve been weirdly obsessed with the cranberries since I was eleven. My friends throughout middle and high school, most of whom were in hardcore/punk bands, were always confused why I was so committed. I still don’t really have an explanation. But even this many years later when I hear a cranberries song I think “Damn, this is amazing.” I cant get enough of the vocals, the controlled voice cracking, darkly hopeful themes, and just the right amount of poetic abstraction. Emotionally touching delivery that never crosses over to affected or maudlin. Yay Cranberries!

Supertramp – Breakfast in America

Not sure why it took so many years for this song to become stuck in my head. Anyway, another example of the high pitched fun catchy music that Supertramp does so well.

Paul Simon – The Cool, Cool River

Paul Simon is just an amazing song machine. I don’t understand how he seems to so effortlessly produce the most shockingly powerful yet un-indulgent music.

And I believe in the future
We shall suffer no more
Maybe not in my lifetime
But in yours I feel sure
Song dogs barking at the break of dawn
Lightning pushes the edges of a thunderstorm
And these streets
Quiet as a sleeping army
Send their battered dreams to heaven, to heaven
For the mother’s restless son
Who is a witness to, who is a warrior
Who denies his urge to break and run

Who says: hard times?
I’m used to them
The speeding planet burns
I’m used to that
My life’s so common it disappears
And sometimes even music
Cannot substitute for tears

Toe – Temolo + Delay

I’m not sure how I went so long without hearing about Toe. It’s like a Japanese extension of Mogwai with ridiculously good drumming.

The Byrds – You Ain’t Going Nowhere

I have a feeling the older I get the more I’m going to like The Byrds. This song is so irresistible. Don’t even try.


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