Wednesday, April 05, 2006



Clock Song (Go Girl Go) - Scrawl

Trying Not To Think About Time - The Futureheads

Time or Dateline - Circulatory System

Making Time - The Creation

In My Own Time - The Three O'Clock

Daylight saving time is killing me. For a borderline--or smidge over the border--insomniac who in normal circumstances just barely negotiates that fine distinction between tired-but-functional and can't-focus-for-longer-than-10-seconds-at-a-time utter exhaustion, these tiny time adjustments that throw my finely calibrated internal clock off and deprive me of a precious hour are a bitch. So I'm watching the clock more than usual this week--three minutes til I absolutely must drag my weary self out of bed and get ready for work or I'll definitely miss my bus, 30 minutes til the end of the work day and I can officially pull the switch on my Swiss-cheesed brain. And so on.

But I've always been a clock watcher. For the longest time, I had this maddening tendency to show up early for everything because I couldn't bear to be a minute late. Apparently I would melt or spontaneously combust or morph into a small desert-dwelling rodent or something. Since the friends I was usually meeting were on the slightly late side (in other words, they were cooler than me), I wasted a lot of energy fuming and imagining scenarios in which I might, just might, forgive them (being dead was the only one that seemed reasonable) .

Growing up, my parents liked to tell the story of how "clock" was my first word. I think they wanted to impress friends and rivals with my precociousness: you know, infantile intimations of mortality or some such. Unfortunately for them, the only thing precocious about me was the cynicism. The practical reason for "clock" rather than "mama" or "daddy" is that at the time it seemed appropriate for me to start testing the English language, we were living in Germany and my dad was collecting clocks. This was in the 70s when the dollar was almighty and the Deutschmark and pound were worthless (ah yes, the long ago days of American economic imperialism!). So our apartment was crammed with five or six antique German and English clocks and one 18th century American longcase with this amazing little sepia scrawled missive from the original owner hidden within (whimsical, but true). (My brother doesn't realize it yet, but that grandfather clock is so mine.) Anyway, what could possibly be more entrancing for a little person than fancifully carved wooden objects with shiny metal faces producing mellifluous purrs and clangs. Those intrusive chimes in the Circulatory System track above? Just like that, times six, times 24 hours a day, times two times an hour.

So given my recent struggle with the clock, how perfect is it that SYF just received an email from a Toronto duo calling themselves The Invisible Clock Factory? And the fact that I actually like their music? And that they seem to celebrate the wonder of childhood, the joy of noise? Invisible Clock Factory sound like kids who received a large parcel from their mysterious Uncle Frederick. Inside the unwieldy pine crate they find all manner of odd objects that don't seem to have any practical function, but make clicky, clacky, wheezy, yelpy, tinkly, plucky, thumpy noises. And on that base, TICF layer some hammy filtered vox, sincerely strummed acoustic guitar and lyrics like "How I miss Penelope Rose/ With the sweet pink lips and the perfect nose," and "Everything is always changing/ La la la la." For fans of, oh, everything pop and low-fi and charming.

Penelope Rose - The Invisible Clock Factory

The Quantum Particles Song - The Invisible Clock Factory

Head over to TICF's Web site for a free download of Charlie Takes a Holiday, a very John Darnielle-esque sounding concept album "about a man who is driven mad by the existential pressures of mundane, middle class life, seeking reassurance in the melodies and lyrics of rock and roll." You know it.

International Pop Underground, V/A (US)
The Futureheads, The Futureheads (US, UK)
Circulatory System, Circulatory System (US, UK)
Sixteen Tambourines, The Three O'Clock (US, UK)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're going to the Invisible Clock Factoy site, check out the song "The Land of the DJ's". Its fascinating!

11:13 AM  
Blogger Jon said...

Sigh. You post a Scrawl song and don't even discuss it. I'm not sure you could do anything to make me more upset.

Expect a full post on these Columbus, OH ladies (and Dana) that gives them their due.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

I look forward to that, Jon. I forgot about your fanboydom when it comes to Scrawl.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

highest commendations to the invisible clock factory! silly songs over quantum mechanics! marvelous! and the circulatory system! ooooh!

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Jeremy K said...

Yeah I like this band. Kind of an Elephant 6 thing going. Also thanks for the 3 O'Clock!!!

4:06 PM  

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