I wanted to share some album art I made over the last couple weeks.
Maybe it’s different for you, but I get pretty OCD about my iTunes browser. I like having album art for all my music. Ever since the Napster days when people would fight university site restrictions to download desperately-needed 96kbps rips of Moxy Früvous tracks, I’ve been kind of nuts about file naming conventions, file systems, or something.
I have to appreciate iTunes for standardizing all that nonsense. And it’s ability to find album art or let me drop in appropriate art found online. Sometimes however, you find songs only on, say, Youtube, that hasn’t been released due to legal restrictions of one kind or another. And you wish there was some way to grab the audio from these files and then quick-timingly save them as MP3s you could listen to any time. But that’s craziness of course. Never going to happen.
So lets just say that, out of boredom, wishing fervently that I could have this music on my phone or musIcPod to listen to on the go, I made up some art for someday…
Starting with “Don’t Call Me (live at Bedrock Studio).” I first heard of Mars Argo on “Harmontown,” my favorite podcast. They used the “Marimba” iPhone ringtone (the Pavlovian iPhone response) as a sample they loop. It’s a clever foundation for a song about cutting someone out of your life who you know is bad for you, who is needy and always calling, but you still feel sad for leaving, for not picking up one more time.
It’s a quick little thing, done before it wears out its welcome, with a sweet vocal and crunchy guitars in the back. It’s not a perfect song. The recording has been criticized a bit, but Mars Argo didn’t have a lot of time to make this song happen and they were apparently on their third engineer, having had two others flake out on them.
“My head is spinning, falling down, collect myself when I hit the ground.”
Mostly I just like it because when I heard it, it reminded me of a specific time when I was 24, 25-ish, and every damn thing seemed so titanic.
Metric keeps surprising me. By which I mean I keep taking them for granted, “Oh yeah, fine enough band. Did the songs for The Clash At Demonhead in the Scott Pilgrim movie. That was cool,” and then I keep finding more songs of theirs that I really like. I downloaded about half of “Fantasies” when I discovered this acoustic version of the title track.
It takes a good track and makes it into a really raw, amazing musical experience. This is the acoustic version of this song.
I’ve got to stop underestimating Emily Haines. Go Canadians, go.
I’m a humongous Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds fan. It helps that I got into his music during one of his least “Nick-Cave-y” periods. I whiplashed from a copy of his “Best of” album I got in my last year of college to the sedate, stately dread of “No More Shall We Part.” There wasn’t a lot of violence or blasphemy, at least, not a lot to my ears. So it’s all been better and better for me.
After his last couple fantastic albums and the Grinderman side stuff, though, I’ve had a hard time getting into his latest album, “Push The Sky Away.” It’s a very different-sounding album. It’s built around these delicate loops and has some strange songs I just haven’t been feeling.
Except for the first and last songs. “We No Who U R” (sorry for not having the individual song separated) is a great Nick Cave song. I’m convinced it’s a little bit about current events, about mob mentality, about never being able to escape the ever-present digital awareness. Instagram. Youtube. Twitter. Location services. “We know who you are and we know where you live, and we know there’s no need to forgive.” Why? What happened? What did you do? We never are told.
The way he shifts his voice, just slightly on that second “know” about 3 min, 44 sec in just kills me. A great song made even better by a fantastical performance.
I have a lot more to say about Father John Misty, but sufficed to say his debut album as FJM is my album of the year. And this intense-staring, arms-crossed, pissed-off, full-throated performance on Letterman of what was, to me, a pretty throwaway track on the album transformed the music. This is one of the peaks of Misty’s year as a demonic clown spawned from mushrooms growing in the dank corners of Laurel Canyon.
His album is a great shrug and swig in the face of life’s absurdity that would be easier to ignore if it weren’t for those majestic pipes he roars through these songs with. Even Letterman wakes up long enough to be impressed.
His interview with Duncan Trussell is a great psychedelic treat, too.
Also, look at that bassist. That dude is into California.
Last but certainly not least, we have these guys.
Megan Jean and the KFB came to the Main Street Museum in White River this spring, on a warm Friday night when I saw them with my friends Markell and Arthur. Arthur heard about this funny mashup they did, and it was, as it is in this performance of Bed Intruder/In The Air Tongiht, the last song of their set.
It’s probably about run its course. The pop culture meme of Bed Intruder is rapidly dwindling in the distance. But even independent of that, it’s a fascinating mix up of things. “In The Air Tonight” can be one of the weirdly ominous pop songs ever written, and blending Phil flippin’ Collins with a home invasion “joke” and Megan Jean’s morbid preoccupations becomes this weird mutant song that I couldn’t stop listening to all year.