Cat scratch fever
Shake Your Fist didn't start out as an mp3 blog. Originally, it was a bunch of old friends who wanted to write about film, books, music, television, technology, politics, etc. That lasted about a day. Because I was the one with the time and tendency to adopt hobbies that assume gargantuan proportions and take over my life, and because I felt like writing about music, it became an mp3 blog. Jon gamely stuck around (bless his heart), Joe's still on board as artistic director/tech troubleshooter, and we were fortunate to pick up Troy along the way. But as many things that grow organically, SYF has never adopted a theme or mission. I'm not saying I can articulate one now. But I can tell you what this blog is not. It's not a hype machine or a P.R. mouthpiece. We talk about music we genuinely like, and most of that music is either newer stuff that's so under the radar, it's barely left the ground (and, needless to say, doesn't have major marketing muscle behind it) or older music that probably once got some notice, but could hardly be considered trendy now.
I have nothing against Cat Power. Whenever I hear "Maybe Not," I'm incredibly moved, when I listen to "Nude As the News," I'm frightened...in a good way. But it's safe to assume we won't be posting any tracks from the new Cat Power album. Nor from Arctic Monkeys, Test Icicles or, good God, Morningwood. That's not to say we shun everything that's popular or ignore what's sent us. I listen to it all. Most of it just doesn't interest me and I have nothing to gain by pretending it does (nor do you).
However (you knew a "but" was coming), one of the few recent "represented" bands I do admire are these spazzy Japanese kids who call themselves Polysics. With their matching retro-futurist factory uniforms and pogo-punk hyperactive rock, they're fixin to spearhead a major Devo revival. Their new album, Now Is The Time! will be released in March and you should check them out.
Mr. Psycho Psycho - Polysics
Speaking of Devo, WFMU's Beware of the Blog, has some fun Devo-related news today. And totally unrelated: I think I've found the bitterest, most bile-soaked breakup song that ever arrived swathed in gossamer and lace (from Manchester, England's Anna Kashfi).
Ash Ballad - Anna Kashfi
In case you didn't catch all the words, they go:
On the bed we lay last night, let's fuck it til it dies,
Let's watch it turning blue,
Let's watch it turning blue.
They're talking about killing their love. But still. Anna Kashfi cover an original by folk musician Matt Hill, which I haven't heard. But could it possibly be more chilling? The band has a couple more excellent downloads on their Web site.
I don't know what's going on over at Stylus. First an ELO tribute, now, the definitive ABBA. ABBA is the first band I really got into. In fact, I think Arrival (US, UK) was the first record I ever bought. And I recall a slumber party where I forced my poor friends to watch an ABBA concert my parents had taped. (The other girls wanted to watch Grease again, go figure.) So we're talking mad, deep, unironic love.
When I Kissed The Teacher - ABBA
Finally, I need your help. My father is collecting train songs--songs about trains, songs that prominently feature trains or train sounds--for a train song playlist. It's not just for personal enjoyment, he volunteers at a children's group home where he and some other train buffs are building a model railroad with the kids. He also regularly visits a recent stroke victim living in a V.A. hospital who loves trains. So he's planning to put some mix CDs together. If you have something to contribute (my dad especially likes old-timey folk, but rock, blues, country, whatever is welcome), please email in mp3 format to email@example.com. Thanks!