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Here’s an album from 2012 or so by artist, composer and producer Elizabeth Wailing/Bernholz aka Gazelle Twin. Her output is dark and remarkably cinematic. It treads a fine line between pop, electronica and ambient (Changelings is towards the former, albeit softer, end of that spectrum). The vocals murmur In a way that makes it clear this is not necessarily music to feel good to, at least not all the time.
Tracks like I Am Shell I Am Bone move gracefully along propelled by stuttering rhythms, keyboard sweeps and deep bass lines. There’s a purpose and urgency to the music even if sometimes it has a slow moving aspect.
I suppose an easy touchstone is post-punk, it’s in the drum patterns (some of which are remind me of another proponent of early 21st century music influenced by the early 1980s, albeit tangentially, that being Sandwell District and allied artists), in the mixture of vocal approaches – trills, choruses, whatever fits. And yet it’s not remotely post-punk. There’s a lushness to it that positions it clearly within this decade of the 21st century and part of that is the electronica that underpins the tracks and percussion.
Nor, despite and in places decidedly macabre aspect to her identity, is it the baroque formulations of goth – though there’s something of Dead Can Dance there in the background. Somehow it is quieter and consequently in its own way more unnerving.
Her latest album ups the ante on that feature of her musical and aesthetic identity – actually I find a lot of the video kind of creepy, but I think The Entire City, both album and track, is a good point to join this particular musical journey.
The Entire City
I Am Shell I Am Bone
When I was Otherwise
Formed in Cardiff in 1978, they broke up in 1980. Despite Punk being the fashion Young Marble Giants were quiet and introspective with the lovely voice of Alison Statton supported by brothers Stuart (Guitar) and Phil (Bass) Moxham , they also used a homemade drum machine and keyboard which gave an unusual sound.
They released one album ‘Colossal Youth’ which was reissued in 2007 which prompted a reunion and they have played a show or two a year since then. There’s a good
interview here from just before what is according to their FB page their final gig.
and I just noticed that there is already a TWIBMLT about them already but they are worth two ….
This live performance from YMG from 1980 is worth watching on Vimeo
One of the joys of the Euros has been the belting out of National Anthems, some aren’t great but some are fantastic. A selection of my favourites .. admittedly not all from the Euros as the number of fans from that country in the stadium didn’t quite make the cacophony of noise a home crowd makes. I left our own out
Not too many other ones that I liked despite the expansion to 24 countries!
This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Oh Hiroshima June 18, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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From Sweden, these are a genre that is known as ‘post rock’. It’s funny but I love this genre of music without even knowing it was called post rock. Oh Hiroshima have some great sounds with vocals on some tracks but its vocals to go with the music rather than music to go with the vocals. They have released two albums to date. 2011s “Resistance is futile” and 2015 “In Silence We Yearn”. Both are below in full and really well worth a listen. Their first e.p. “Tomorrow” is here also.
Like most post rock it will take multiple upon multiple listens to explore the aural nooks and crannies. I particularly like the live version of “Holding Rivers” here.
Well worth a listen.
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Here’s an album I really love. It’s honest and gritty and rock too. Hatfield I mentioned recently in relation to the album she and Paul Westerberg, late of the Replacements, released early this year, but Made in China is a good twelve or so years old.
The tracks are neat, succinct, blasts of energy, none over 4.47 minutes long, building and twisting. But they’re also catchy as all hell. Great big choruses, occasional bursts of metal punk, almost Pixies-like distorted guitar, and then quieter bits. The album starts with clanging guitar chords on New Waif before cool detached vocals over strummed guitar and feedback. And the structures while seemingly deceptively straightforward are actually quite complex, songs twist through multiple parts, dissonant, melodic, instrumental. The near Sabbath like riff that opens What Do I Care is just perfect – the song itself a sort of refurbishing and upgrading of the Breeders for the 21st century. Or the near glam undertow of On Video (a particularly bitter lyric, relived by the sheer energy of her cathartic vocals). Rats in the Attic is more meditative, some have suggested it is closer to previous output, but it too isn’t averse to increasing the volume.
That the album seems to speak of earlier parts of her life – particularly those when she was effectively starting out making music in the mid to late 1980s and that she to some degree sings in that almost confessional, sometimes silly, but often quite moving ‘voice’ – lyrically seems to have thrown up some criticisms which frankly I don’t understand. It is as if she is not allowed to, as it were, relax or adopt a persona or investigate parts of her personality that may well still exist.
And I wonder if in part the criticisms are drawn from a more or less unconscious sexism. It’s difficult to envisage an album released by a male artist taking stock of parts of their past being quite as heavily critiqued (for some reason some REM comes to mind). Or is it that as a female singer/songwriter/guitarist she is expected to make supposedly more ‘sophisticated’ material?
In any case I think it remains remarkably fresh. Songs like Going Blonde see Hatfield twisting rock conventions neatly, moving from alternative to near metal to rock but in a way which somehow retains the power of all. A genuine classic. One of my favourites.
What Do I Care?
Rats in the Attic (Live, 2005)
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There comes a time in your life when you have to pretend to your Children that you’ve heard of a band…… hence I recently said I’d heard of Overhead,The Albatross…. who are an Irish band and have a member that is a friend of a friend of my son. Instantly looking them up I found that they were excellent. They play purely instrumentals which are full of intricate melodies and it’s kind of funny but they sound even better played loud in a room rather than with headphones. I’ve yet to see them live but intend doing so.
Earlier this year they released their first album “Learning to Growl”.
Guy Clark 1941-2016 May 21, 2016Posted by yourcousin in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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When George Jones died I shrugged and gave his memory a metaphorical “tip of the hat”. I felt something more for Merle, but Guy Clark’s passing genuinely upset me. Next to Johnny Cash he is my favorite country musician/singer/songwriter. And as I told my friends from Texas aside from Ray Wiley Hubbard, and Willie Nelson, Guy Clark was one of the last three things Texas had going for it (That list originally included the author John Graves). Perhaps it is telling that my list of decent Texans only includes old white men, but que sera. For some reason I as I reflected on his passing I couldn’t help but keep coming back to Graves and his book Goodbye to a River. In the fifties a last canoe trip was taken down the Brazos river that was to be dammed. The book, part travelogue, part local history, part memoir is a moving picture of the price of progress. It is also a reminder that the old ways were not always better. The idea of husbandry and stewardship were/are never universal. The line that I keep coming back to (one that eventually became its own book, The Last Running).
Damn you for not ever getting to know anything worth knowing. Damn me, too. We had a world, once.
Perhaps it’s that as part of my job now I regularly drive all over northern Colorado and hardly recognize the land I grew up in. Between the fracking sites with their hay bale walls and mcmansions springing up all over what was once prairie and farm land is now being squeezed out of existence. Guy Clark was the soundtrack to that existence. A literate red neck of sorts whose music was essentially poetry set to music. He sang of an America that was passing even in his youth and one whose gravestones are being bulldozed for a new strip mall.It is telling that he is often referred to as a folk singer or grouped in the “Americana” genre. I can think of no greater indictment of modern country music. He has graced TWIMBT before, but he certainly deserves his own remembrance.
These songs are essentially the “best of” cuts. There are so many great songs that he has. I never even saw him in concert so I guess his passing is an abstraction but my world has become a little greyer, less colorful for his passing. Enjoy.
Desperados Waiting for a Train
That Old Time Feeling
The Randall Knife
My Favorite Picture of You
This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… BabyMetal May 21, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
Read about these recently, apparently they are very popular. A Japanese band comprising of Three teenage girls fronting a Metal band. They are mixing pop and various styles of Metal with results that are gaining popularity outside of Japan. It’s quite odd at first but as an ‘Idol band’ it’s surprising that someone hadn’t made a success of the concept before. They are actually quite good too.
Having been formed in 2010 , they have released two albums with their most recent ‘Metal Resistance’ selling very well. The backing band are the Kami band and the main singer is Suzuka Nakamoto (“Su-metal”) with Yui Mizuno (“Yuimetal”) and Moa Kikuchi (“Moametal”) doing backing vocals and dancing.
It really is a strange mix and the below song ‘Death’ shows it’s not all dancy but darker too. Their live shows are supposedly excellent.
A glowing review in The Guardian of their recent concert at The Wembley Arena
What do our resident Metal fans make of them?
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It was the catchy tune “George Hamilton’s Dead” that first caught my eye although it was a different George Hamilton to the RTE commentator we know and love. A Scottish band they had some nice jangly pop and liked their feedback. They were on Sarah records for a period in the late 80’s. There was also a band in the late sixties of the same name that released a number of albums……. oh and there’s the Greek Far Right Party Golden Dawn too.
And while we’re on music this might be of interest …..The Old Grey Whistle Test Dublin 1985 features on Come Here to Me
This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Earl Scruggs April 23, 2016Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
I like a bit of Banjo, I even bought a Fureys and Davey Arthur record on the strength of the banjo in ‘Sweet Sixteen’ ! However I’m going for a far faster style of banjo picking here with one of my favourite bluegrass banjo players, the late Earl Scruggs. You’re probably familiar with some of the tunes (especially The Beverly Hillbillies theme song).
It’s funny too how Scruggs went out of fashion for a period and then in the mid 90’s his career picked up again as he was ‘rediscovered’. It really is feelgood music.