Sunday, November 30, 2008


Image: Caitlin Atkinson

Yowzers -- didn't realize it had been more than a month!

As I've said before, I don't make excuses here -- blogs being totally optional and therefore not worthy of guilt, let alone hair-shirt-donning. But if anyone still reads this old thing, you might want to know what keeps me from punching "create new post" with any regularity. To a few of you this is old, old news, but I'
ve been writing record reviews for Pitchfork most of 2008 (hey, it never came up). If you read music blogs, you read Pitchfork, and if you read Pitchfork, you've almost certainly bitched about some of my reviews on your blog (hi there!). That's not the time-sucker, though. Aside from showing up at The Day Job for 8 hours, 5 days a week (*sigh* it pays the bills), I make stuff for my Etsy shop (warning boys: tis girly). Unless you too have an artsy-crafty bent and flog your own wares, you have no idea how time-consuming it is.

[Trying not to hyperventilate now that I've outed my various online personas. Breathe, breathe.]

ANYWAY, I've thought a lot about it and don't want to quit Shake Your Fist right now. Maybe it's naive in these mp3-blogging End of Days, but I remain committed, in theory at least, to amateur music criticism/evangelism. At the very least, I'd like to make it to SYF's four-year anniversary. So let's continue to limp along, shall we?

Oh and yes, I'm planning to do some sort of year-end list. But it won't be as elaborate as last years' and probably won't appear until we're deep into December, encroaching on January (yup, right about when the word "list" raises the sour specter of vomit in your mouth).

Ok, music! And not just music, but Christmas music! (that'll distract 'em!)

Come on Santa - The Raveonettes

I could've chosen any one of the four tracks on The Raveonettes' lil Christmas gift to the fans, they're that interchangable. Some synth-swamp with greater conviction, others bust out flashier tambourine moves, all of them sound like
Phil Spector's Christmas album on Quaaludes. Which doesn't seem festive, I know, but at least it's honest. We pay for any "joys of the season" with sleep and sanity, so an exhausted, almost catatonic, Christmas EP is so right-on you wonder why anyone bothers to record aggressively cheery or comic or sad or bitter Christmas projects when what they're probably trying to emote is, you know, tired. "Come On Santa" distinguishes itself by not being the lead track or the one about ghosts or the one about Cleveland. It has a fragile, winking music box intro (calculated and effective), a phoned-in drum part (not a figure of speech, the beats sound like they were literally mediated via telecommunications equipment) and detached boy-girl harmonies line-reading a romantic script with about as much conviction as John McCain arguing that Sarah Palin was presidentially prepared. A plangent guitar cuts through The Eurocool Raveonettes' sophisticated malaise, though, and lends the song surprising humanity, even pathos. You won't turn this one on when you need a little Christmas right this very minute, but on certain days and particular hours in December ... when you need to put the forced hilarity on ice.

From Wishing You a Rave Christmas (eMusic, Amazon)