Starry starry night
Image: Randy Bolton
Time City - Laura Barrett
If Peggy Lee had taken a right instead of a left from her wretched North Dakota girlhood to Manhattan instead of Hollywood and shared a two-room cold-water flat on a ragged street on the lower east side with another cigarette girl and tucked under her iron bed in an old blanket this African harp called a kalimba she won from a guitar player named Stan in a poker game. She had never played poker before that sharp barb-winded February night and never won anything she could remember except third place in a 4H singing contest, but she had been kissed -- lots of times -- so she wasn't startled or even especially surprised when Stan tried to fold her in his arms (whether for comfort or from cold she couldn't tell) on the fire escape at two in the morning after he'd lost the game and swallowed three-quarters of a bottle of rum. That next summer, the owner of a 10-table jazz club let her have the tiny stage every Tuesday and Thursday evening before the sun went down and the real band showed up. And she played her kalimba and sang a sad, arch, amateur soprano, stitching together songs as she went along from scraps of her mother's lullabies and half-remembered high school science texts, songs inspired by all the hopeful, heartless boys she had since met.
From Ursula (eMusic, iTunes), Myspace
Image: Betty TurboCome on Feet - Pete and the Pirates
It rattles like teeth in a tin can, rings like a hard right to the head, packs more handclaps per square feet that your average gospel choir and breaks landspeed records in a Lamborghini. If you only eat a meal to get to dessert, this song is butter-sugar-flour lumped on your plate like mashed potatoes and fed fingerstyle. And fuck the Libertines, the Arctic Monkeys and the last great British hope. Dig this lineage: The Kinks, Buzzcocks, Blur, Pete and the Pirates (ok, maybe they'll need to shorten their name).
If "Come on Feet" sounds familiar, it's because one of PatP's number is also the bloody brill Tap Tap, on whose bonus version of Lanzafame appeared a slower-mo version. (And, it should be said, these PatP tracks aren't really new -- they've been floating around the web for a while.) I hate to overstate things, but Little Death (Amazon, eMusic) is the best pop record so far this year.
Pluck all your silly strings
Image: Keith CarterJump In (For Gilkey Elementary School) - High PlacesThey're small, with soft hands, sweet-scented hair and clay-porous minds, kaleidoscope eyes and hearts radiant as day lilies. Even so, they recognize condescension by several paces the way forest beasts see poison plants, as pretty and greeny as they are, as poison. And they know immediately their own kind -- speakers of the secret hiccuped, jigsawed jargon of childhood, as leaped, crouched, spun, yipped, yelped, shrieked and heyed as spoken, as sounded as much as sensed.
From O3/07 - 09/07 (eMusic), Myspace
Chris has a story about The Beatles (and some early demos) circa 1960, at Locust St.
Chalkmarks on windowsills
Image: Megan WhitmarshHey peeps, I know I know. Every stolen moment I sit down to write a post, the words get sandtrapped somewhere between my brain and fingers. I hope to un-gum the machine with a new image & song mix in a couple days. So stay tuned for that.
What exactly have I been doing since I haven't been blogging?
Because you asked (or didn't): mostly disposing of inventory and supplies of a small business I used to have. Trust me, it's completely uninteresting, extremely time-intensive and absolutely necessary.
What else have I been doing?
Ugh. Anything fun?
I'm embroidering a wrap (shawl, whatever) with an elaborate flower and vine pattern of my own, increasingly elaborate, design. And making fingerless gloves from recycled sweaters. Crafty crap like that.
Have I at least heard any good music lately? This is a music blog, remember.
Yes yes, I know. I'm liking the new Mountain Goats record a lot. After the overslept, unshowered slug-pace of his last album, John Darnielle sounds like he's regularly consuming B12 supplements and falling a lot in love. Heretic Pride dons moon boots and a pom-pommed knit hat and leaps laps around town in below-zero windchill with energy and heart and momentum. I wouldn't say it's flushed with the same ruddy fever as the earliest material, so autodidactically enthusiastic for historical and mythological esoterica (Cicero wrote it allll down!). But what is? Opener "Sax Rohmer #1" is patented Mountain Goats -- finger-bleeding guitar hammer-strum intense, brooding and portentous as red clouds, and allusive as ever. Apparently, the title references the author of the Dr. Fu Manchu books. Do with that what you will. Actually, do nothing with it. Darnielle swapped out his clever, bookish, logorrheic runs with experience a long time ago. Home sounds like a real specific place these days.
Sax Rohmer #1 - The Mountain Goats
Also, I don't know if I can endorse everything on Oh:Io, but the cardboard cutout laser guns and mildewed-basement three-chord progressions of this Bearsuit sci-fi twee-punk shoutdown (surely not named after this) are holding my serotonin levels high and steady:
Jupiter Force (Recruitment Video) - Bearsuit
Oh hey: I actually wrote a (not very insightful or engaging) post.
I don't think you need to have weighed split vs. back stitches while working a stem to appreciate Megan Whitmarsh's embroidered art (see top o' the post). Whitmarsh exploits (in a good way) the tension between her demure and historically feminized-therefore-marginalized medium and her supernatural and popcultastic subjects -- yetis and elves and yetis and elves playing in punk bands (X-Ray Spex! Billy Idol! Really!).
It looks like Spoilt Victorian Child has (definitely? maybe?) called it quits again. A shame, but a crazy, great list of songs, eh?