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The Smiths

—These Things Take Time

Louder Than Bombs    
1987/Rough Trade

A+ pop hook in this song. That is all. 
I am assuming the title of this song is referring to getting used to Morrissey’s falsetto.

Wire

—Surgeon's Girl

Pink Flag  
1977/Harvest

Imagine this in place of “Lust For Life” during the intro of Trainspotting. Eh? Eh? No? Come on. Maybe? Why not? fuck 

The Feelies

—The Final Word

Only LIfe  
1988/A&M Records

It’s a beautiful day where I am right now (in hell) so I figured I’d share a song from the most modestly feel-good band I know. In four albums, spanned out over 11 years (disregarding their recent come-back album, which was enjoyable), The Feelies mastered a particular sound (now regrettably labeled as something stupid like ‘jangle pop’ or some shit) without ever really deviating from their frequented path. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess. I almost want to say they sounded ‘samey’ or something, or allude to the fact that their songs all sounded pretty similar, but those things usually carry a negative connotation and I refuse to bad mouth The Feelies. Their songs all sounded similar and all of their songs were amazing. There’s really no Feelies song I don’t like. You can’t really find anything to outwardly dislike about them unless you’re some kind of fool. 

Their third album, Only Life, though not nearly as praised or even recognized as their debut, Crazy Rhythms, is a simple masterpiece. It’s “simple” in the way that there are no subversive surprises or weird diversions from what you get used to upon hearing the first song. That being said — each song is humble, unassuming, and undeniably charming as fuck. The Feelies were, maybe, the least pretentious band in the world, maybe next to Yo La Tengo. 

One thing, in particular, that I admire about this album is its unabashed positivity. A sense of joviality and acceptance-of-whatever-happens is extremely present without sounding cheesy or sickly sweet. I have had many moments where I’m feeling, like, just okay, and a Feelies song comes on and my mood is substantially heightened and the sun seems to shine a lil brighter and everything is nicer without being annoying! It’s great.

I love them. hope u do 2. 

Moonshake

—City Poison

Eva Luna    
1992/Too Pure

Sorry INTERPOL/FRANZ FERDINAND (the guy, not the band) but MOONSHAKE is the REAL post-punk redux. This album is also full of United States of America (the country, not the band) samples, for what it’s worth. It’s better when I don’t say anything, right?

If you don’t like this song, I’ll send you five dollars in the currency of your choice.

Cuddly Toys

—Guillotine Theatre

Guillotine Theatre
1981/Fresh Records

If you haven’t heard of this band, and you probably haven’t, or maybe you have and that’s cool, but if you haven’t, it’s probably because they, in their most nascent stage, made a very prosperous and smert decision to name their band THE RAPED, and in doing so, eliminated all potential interest from most, if not all record labels!
Fortunately, they took the VILE name down a notch to a more comfortable, Cuddly Toys(!), but still, no one bit! What gives? Who knows. Maybe it was because these musical bases were already being covered by Bauhaus, or something. A very obvious Bowie/Bolan influence comes through in this music (again, similar to Bauhaus), particularly through vocalist Sean Purcell, donning some wild n’ krazy fluorescent pink hair. 
This album is, in fact, pretty catchy and fun. Though similar to the gothish post-punk of the time, it has less of a brooding tone and more of a playful and glammy flavour. Check it out, you might like it, plus this song has that classic fake-audience-cheering effect dubbed over it, so it feels like you’re really at a Cuddly Toys concert!!!! 

Faust
-
Flashback Caruso

The Faust Tapes
 
1973/Virgin

Here’s a great lesser-known song by German psychedelic pioneers, Faust. This is one of the few songs written and sung by the late Rudolf Sosna, who succumbed to complications of chronic alcoholism in 1996. Though it may be lacking the spacey aural texture for which Faust is primarily known, the simple and unrefined quality is a perfect fit.

Glenn Branca

—Light Field (In Consonance)

Ascension  
1981/99 Records

and it’s all just cool because it isn’t but then again maybe it is and who will you ask it’s just that nobody knows. take care!

Phil Ochs

—I Ain't Marching Anymore

I Ain’t Marching Anymore  
1965/Elektra

Phil Ochs’ life was a tragic one. He expressed his opposition to the military and global conflict with the eloquence of a gifted troubadour and rode the 1960s out on a sadly common substance-abused wave. I think of him as a bizarro Bob Dylan; his raw and honest songs about his thoughts on the deplorable factors of war resonated throughout 1960s “hippie” America. He was a victim of drug and alcohol addiction, and his weakness to substance abuse was the sole cause of his mental frailty. Not long before his death, he would drunkenly rant about the CIA and FBI keeping tabs on him and such, stuff that was often dismissed by friends, assuming it was merely alcohol-fueled delusion. As it turns out, the FBI had amalgamated 500 pages on Ochs, seeing him as a counterculture icon and potentially subversive war protester. At the age of 36, Phil Ochs hanged himself.    
Phil Ochs was an honest and unfeigned icon of the 1960s anti-war movement, one without the cheesy glamour and hippie ethos that can sometimes outshine sincere messages and real talent. 

Go Sailor

—Last Year

Go Sailor  
1996/Lookout! Records

There’s something nice and sweet and fun about the very contained and very saccharine alt-twee-girl-indie pop scene of the early to mid 1990s. Go Sailor, fronted by Rose Melberg, singer of the more established group Tiger Trap, is the epitome of this sort of thing. They never gained any commercial success, but their material was recently reissued on Slumberland Records, which, if you’re familiar, caters to this exact sort of awkward ‘what-year-am-I-from’ cute indie pop like Henry’s Dress, a band I posted a couple of months ago. Either way, if I had an older brother, I’m sure he’d beat me up for listening to this sort of shit. 

Wooohooo ooo oooooo

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

—Is This The Best Spot?

Mature Themes  
2012/4AD

This is like the perfect mix between Devo’s “Duty Now For The Future” and Wire’s “Chair’s Missing”. It has the same goofy and almost psychotic melodies and timbres, dry and monotonous [faux] Brit vocals, and even a fun dynamic tempo!!

IS NICE!!! -borat!!!

R.E.M.

—Gardening at Night

Chronic Town   
1982/I.R.S.

R.E.M. has always been one of those bands that I’ve felt at least a little bit compelled to like. I’ve tried to appreciate them numerous times with little success. There are some bands out there with surfaces that take a bit of effort to break through, but after too many uncompleted listen-throughs of Murmur (their putative magnum opus and debut) I pretty much decided to throw in the towel. 
Months would pass and I would, again, feel that I was missing out on something really fantastic by not giving them another chance. I tried Document, Life’s Rich Pageant, and Reckoning over the span of a few months and was left with nothing more than a slight interest in the odd song here and there. I didn’t really bother with anything post 80s because, maybe I’m just fucking ignorant, but I’ve heard Everybody Hurts and I’ve heard Shiny Happy People and I’ve never cared.
I was so determined to force myself to like R.E.M. because every other band I loved had either cited them as major influences or had been compared and contrasted to them by critics and fans alike. I had heard things like “If you like Husker Du/The Replacements/The Feelies/Guided By Voices, how could you not like R.E.M.?!” countless times and just couldn’t for the life of me see the parallels. 

Anyway, much later after my initial exposure to the band, I heard Chronic Town, their first EP, prior to Murmur, and it instantly clicked. Michael Stipe, nearly 22 years old at the time of recording, hadn’t found that distinct power to his voice and the recording was relatively crude. It’s the epitome of what I think ‘jangle-pop’ means; the songs are short, fun, and extremely catchy. It may be slightly shabby and only five songs long, but it serves as an extremely enjoyable introduction to one of the most prolific alternative bands out there.  !! !  1! ! ! ! ! 

R. Stevie Moore

—Cool Daddio

Delicate Tension
1978/H. P. Music

I’m not very familiar with R. Stevie Moore, but after only a few days of listening to his stuff here and there, I’ve already developed a soft spot for him. The whole “outsider” musician label can be pretty touchy at times; so many ranges of qualities can deem an artist “outsider”. I guess on one end of the spectrum, you have those who battle with some sort of acute illness, like Wesley Willis or Daniel Johnston, and the fact that they are simply able to make music is what gives them distinction. Then, on the other hand there are those who are renowned for approaching a medium unconventionally, like The Residents or Jad Fair.

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the former: I saw Daniel Johnston perform in 2009 and, although it was totally expected, it was just a little sad and uncomfortable. Johnston definitely has some powerful songs - I was obsessed with ‘Walking The Cow’ when I’d first heard it - but the majority of his catalogue, in my opinion, doesn’t stand on the novelty of his situation alone (that said, I am all for supporting him and I don’t think he’s undeserving of what he’s achieved). Same goes for the Shaggs. It’s a neat story and it’s freaky and weird and stuff but that’s all I can really take from it. The strange backstories don’t always make the music any more palatable, ya know ? ??

R. Stevie Moore, unlike most (not all)”outsider” music I’ve heard, has material that is not only of totally acceptable fidelity, but is also consistently catchy. His home-brew D.I.Y. approach, which is what he is best known for, wasn’t in and of itself his whole ‘thing’, it was a small component that worked in tandem with a knack for writing fun melodies and pleasant poppy hooks. 
His voice in this song immediately reminds me of something off of Syd Barret’s “The Madcap Laughs" while the pummelling percussion brings Chris Knox (New Zealand artist, one half of The Tall Dwarfs) to mind. 

eeennjooyoyyy

Luna

—Hedgehog

Penthouse  
1995/Elektra

So if you’re like me, you think Galaxie 500 is pretty nice and catchy, you think they’re a good band, and even if you don’t, you lack the confidence and independent thought to think otherwise. But then you start wondering, “Hey, I know this is ‘dream pop’ but isn’t there going to be one song on this album that is, like, exciting?” And then you wonder, “why does Dean Wareham always have to sound like such a pussy?” 

I mean, Yo La Tengo are remotely passive and dreamy and they still have some pretty chaotic tunes. Even Spacemen 3, as strung and/or burned out as they sounded, could still get a little wild from time to time. Or maybe you think this is stupid, and you think that if you want something energetic, then listen something that’s not usually labeled ‘dream-pop’.  Well, in any case, this LUNA song is the best of both worlds.   

Luna was Dean Wareham’s band after the dissolution of Galaxie 500. Although they never really broke through anything close to the mainstream, they’re a catchy, not-too-twee-but-twee-enough-if-you-aren’t-repulsed-by-idea-of-‘twee’ progression for anyone who thinks Galaxie 500 are OK. Due to either age or self-awareness (or both), Wareham’s voice has descended a register or two, and his songs have now begun to appeal slightly more to the timbres of popular rock music. 

Wareham has set the unmistakably melancholic Galaxie quality aside for now — the sound that he will always be recognized for, not only as an icon but pioneer — but the charm and poignancy that made songs like Fourth of July or Tugboat so definitive still shines through, unobstructed. 

Half Japanese

—Day And Night

Charmed Life
1988/50 Skidillion Watts

This is my first post of the Neu year and boy does it feel great to be back! My several-week hiatus was the result of a fantastic occurrence that transpired on the eve of Xxx-mas Eve! Lady luck shouted my name high to the heavens and I won 38.2 MILLION dollars from the national lottery. Luckily, before I had the opportunity to bask in my nascent wealth, I lost it all to a “Ponzi” scheme (and by “Ponzi” scheme, I mean BONZI scheme [and by BONZI scheme, I mean BONZI BUDDY scheme]), but, as they say, easy cum, easy go! 

Half Japanese, for those unaware, is the primary vehicle for wildly influential and equally eccentric multi-disciplinary artist Jad Fair. 
This music - sung with a distressed and almost helium-affected whine, by a bespectacled Bizarro Poindexter  - seems to scream aggression and belligerence way more effectively than any band like The Sex Pistols or, to a lesser extent, Guns N’ Roses (or any other band notorious for attitude and general vitriol) does. 
Similar to how some people believe that wanting recognition for doing a good deed can negate the moral value of said deed, could it be that the authenticity of a devil-may-care hell raiser persona can be diluted by the presence of cameras and/or a constant audience? I think so. 
Jad Fair didn’t have to give the finger to the camera (I mean, if there were a camera) or adorn his tattered denim with pins to show that he was RAW, just in the way that an attractive person doesn’t need to wear a sign that informs people of the fact or an intelligent person need not garrulously and assiduously confabulate with magniloquent parlance. 
    Jad Fair is a testament to the whole 'never judge a book by its cover' idiom, which in itself is kind of unrealistic. I think the cover of a book is probably the most important factor when it comes to deciding on a book to buy. Thanks to the hideous design of Wordsworth Classics, I’ve spent my hard-earned money on more aesthetically pleasing editions of books that I already own.
Sometimes, when I’m reading a novel, magazine, or any publication, and I tell myself I’m enjoying it, I ask myself, “Would I be enjoying this just as much if it were printed on continuous-form/tractor-feed paper and typed out in Fixedsys?” This is one of many questions I ask myself every day in hopes to figure out if I am a fraud and my whole lifestyle is an ostentatious LIE. 

Yo La Tengo

—Big Day Coming

Painful
1993/Matador




A Band From Hoboken
A poem for Yo La Tengo

A Band From Hoboken
Bereft of pretension
Three decades of unbroken
Shrewd comprehension

Continually changing,
Evolving and growing
No tawdry ascension,
Or arrogance showing

Their musical range
From calm to commotion
Demands your laudation,
And utmost devotion

And cover song choices
Are vast and reliable
A repertoire sonically
Unclassifiable

A band from Hoboken
Since just before
Painful
Bespectacled bassist
Came; lyrically gainful

An upstanding trio
That none could disparage
A shining example
Of musical marriage

'I have it! I have it!'
A genius encroaching
Their biggest day coming
Forever approaching

With only one listen
it’s true! anyone,
Can hear their hearts beating
Together as one