I’m so late posting this that the apocalypse is nearly upon us. They’ll be no time for such frivolities as listening to records in our nuclear charred future so I feel better about cramming in so much listening to every waking hour right now.
Anxiety - Anxiety (La Vida Es Un Mus) / Yves Tumor - Serpent Music (PAN) / Roy Montgomery - R M H Q (Grapefruit) / Innsyter - Poison Life (L.A. Club Resource) / Accident Du Travail - Très Précieux Sang (The Trilogy Tapes) / The Lavender Flu - Heavy Air (Meds) / Roger Robinson - Dog Heart City (Jahtari) / Es - Object Relations (La Vida Es Un Mus) / France - Do Den Haag Church (Mental Groove) / City Yelps - The City Yelps Half Hour (Horsey) / Demdike Stare - Wonderland (Modern Love) / Scheich In China - Scheich in China (VIS) / Beatrice Dillon & Karen Gwyer - split (Alien Jams) / Heartplay - Téléphone (white label)
Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus - Promised Land Sounds (Dug Out) / Shadow - Sweet Sweet Dreams (Jamwax) / Gloria Ann Taylor - Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing (Luv ‘n’ Haight) / Mystic Inane - EPs of M/I (La Vida Es Un Mus) / B.B. Seaton - Dancing In The Moonlight (Jamwax) / This Heat reissues (Light In The Attic) / Sky Girl comp (Efficient Space) / Richard Davis - Methane Sea (Spanish Mission) / Augustus Pablo - Africa Must Be Free By 1983 (Rockers International) / Laddio Bolocko - Live & Unreleased 1997 - 2000 (No Quarter) / Alex Chilton - Dusted In Memphis (Bangkok) / Wicked Witch - Under Your Spell (Em)
BUNCH OF STUFF I HEARD RIGHT AT THE END OF THE YEAR THAT SOUNDS REALLY GOOD BUT IS STILL SINKING IN Helena Celle - If I Can’t Handle Me At My Best, Then You Don’t Deserve You At Your Worst (night school) / Marie Davidson (minimal wave) / John Bender reissues (superior viaduct) / People Skills (blackest ever black) / The World (upset the rhythm) / Digital Zandoli comp (heavenly sweetness) / Abdou El Omari - Nuits D'Été Avec (radio martiko) / Errol Brown - Orthodox Dub (dub store) / Sonya Spence - Sings Love (attic salt discs)
In our video on self care, @iamzachvalenti and I talk about (and experience) the beauty of the 10 minute dance party. Because it’s all about taking care of yo brain, I figured I’d take away some of the stress of choosing a good song to rock out to. They are separated by genre, but each has a good flow of mostly upbeat songs to get you out of your head and into your body.
So here are some options for a solid 10 minute dance-a-thon:
(because these playlists are so short, I’m just gonna lists the songs and you can put them together on your music sharing service of choice!)
conqueror : estelle //resistance : muse //walking on a dream : empire of the sun //stronger : kanye west //hardest of hearts : florence + the machine //stay awake : ellie goulding & madeon //freedom : pharrell williams //say my name : odesza (feat. zyra) //don’t upset the rhythm : noisettes //sum of our parts : mary lambert
Part Three Gil Tripodi was bunched up on a seat in the café on the
corner of the main street. He was nursing a black coffee and a broken heart.
When he looked into Scully’s eyes she saw nothing but pain and regret. Mulder
introduced her and Tripodi barely nodded.
Tripodi, I’m sorry for your loss. Agent Mulder has given me some background on
what happened in the caves. I know it’s a difficult time but we’re hoping you
could go over some of the details again.”
stirred his coffee and Scully watched the dark liquid spin in the cup. She
pulled her coat tighter around her.
had been busy at work. Stressed, really. Months and months of disagreements
with his business partner, a nosedive in profits.”
owned a restaurant?” Scully clarified.
trained as a chef in France. His cooking was exquisite. I…” he stopped and
sniffed back tears. “He carried the strain with him, he suffered migraines and
they became more frequent. He was short-tempered, snappy with me. We argued a
lot. I suggested we come here, try to ease the strain. This was ‘our’ spot.
These were ‘our’ caves. We were both looking forward to it.”
watched his face. His eyes half-shut, his lips quivered, his chin tilted
towards the window and he breathed out a slow breath. “He was upbeat that
morning. He talked about selling his share in the business, starting his own
bistro. He…he held my hand as we walked around. He was happy.”
“Agent Mulder and I are going back to the caves now. To retrace your steps. Is there
anything else you can think of, anything unusual that happened before you
separated, anything Mr Maddox said that was out of the ordinary?”
Tripodi shook his head and choked out bitter laugh. “We’d been talking about
the future, throwing about names for the bistro. He wanted something exotic,
French. He stopped suddenly, told me he loved me and only wanted the best for
me. I told him it was his decision. Then we saw that strange little man, and
David went after him. I told him not to. Something just felt wrong. It was like
the atmosphere changed.”
leant towards him. “How so?”
minute there was hope, and the next I felt a wave of anxiety come over me. I
felt desperately that we needed to leave, to get out, but David was chasing after
that man and I had to follow.”
David say anything to the man?” Scully asked.
couldn’t make out the words but I heard his voice. It was calm, gentle,
soothing almost. But when I got there, he was gone. David was just gone.”
Mulder was talking on the phone. The ranger at the
Visitor Centre was telling her with an equal mix of scorn and pride, about the
sightings of the small figure in the caves, variously a ghost, a homeless
woman, a Moon-Eyed leader or the spirit of a child lost in the system more than
a hundred years ago. Scully was trying to tune him out as she flipped through
the book on the counter.
you know about ciladaids?”
no offence, but your partner already asked me this stuff. He seems like the one
who’s open to believe this kind of thing, but you, you seem like the sensible
type. These are the sorts of stories that sell books. Tourists lap it up. The
Moon-Eyes and the ciladaids and the path to enlightenment and all that. It’s
just marketing BS.”
shut the book with a satisfying thwump. “Thank you, Sir.”
joined them. “Find out anything new, Scully?”
that people love to hear a good story. Did you get the water?”
up two bottles. “Ready?”
you?” she asked, holding his gaze.
opened with a pop but he said nothing.
The sun was high overhead, bright in a hard blue sky. The
rock formations on the ridges seemed paler, sharper, viciously scraping the air
around them. The caves seemed darker, deeper, boundless somehow. She walked ahead
of Mulder, swinging the beam of her flashlight over the cave roof and walls
capturing the silvery dance of dust with each arc.
been trying to work out why the ciladaids would want to lead people to their
deaths? Why would the Moon-Eyes allow that? Was it some kind of primitive
justice system? Did they use it as some kind of punishment? Was it a test, an
initiation ceremony? How did they choose their subjects?”
She stopped to inspect the walls, silvery liquid streaks
running down the walls. “What if it were the other partner who had to make the
decision, who had to change in some way?”
“I read a few stories where
the subject was saved from a terrible fate. But mostly the stories are tragic. Scully?”
swung around to make out Mulder a few yards away. “What, Mulder?” “Is
something bothering you?”
she said, holding the light down to highlight the smooth cave floor. “I’m
been distracted since we came here.” He handed her a bottle of water. She
watched him as she drank. “I guess I don’t see why we’re here. It feels like
you’ve plucked this case from out of nowhere. Like an initiation ceremony for
me.” She sucked in a juddering breath, pressed the cool bottle against the
pulse in her wrist. “And, if you want me to be totally honest…” The small nod
of his head, the way his eyelids began to close, the jut of his lips gave her
permission to go on. “I feel some kind of distance from you. In truth, Mulder,
I think it’s you who’s distracted.”
shifted on his feet. “And you think it’s something to do with Diana?”
looked beyond her. “There, Scully. I see him.”
She swung round, following the light as it tracked over the gothic interior.
moved past her towards the back of the atrium they were in. “The Moon-Eye,” he
said, turning back into the beam of her light.
His expression was pure wonder,
a look she’d seen many times. Usually, this childlike Mulder was a joy to be
around, his enthusiasm infectious, but something stirred in her blood and she
stood rooted to the spot, unable to follow. He melted away into the darkness
and she turned off the flashlight. Under the ground, hearing only the pulse of her own life
force beating in her ears, she sank to her knees. Her skull tightened under a
pressure she couldn’t determine. Her skin cooled. Her chest sunk in as she
struggled to breathe. Her fingertips scraped on the cave floor, bulking dust
under her nails until it hurt. She knew she should call out but she couldn’t
face Mulder and his concern, genuine or otherwise. When she looked up, she caught sight of the man. Small,
gaunt, ethereal. She blinked twice but was unable to shake the vision. This
man, this Moon-Eye with his pale skin, his neat, pointed beard, his wide grey
eyes that shone, he crooked a finger towards her. He smiled. His presence
changed the rhythm, upset the tempo. She heard herself moan.
“Look up, Dana,” he said.
She shook her head, aware at least of danger on some
subconscious level. Despite her scepticism about Mulder’s rote knowledge of the
Moon-Eyes and the ciladaids, she instinctively knew not to follow his orders,
not to open her eyes.
“It’s the only way, Dana. You know it. He’s leaving you.
If you open your eyes to the truth, you’ll find the better path.”
His voice was fluid, seductive. She knew he was moving
towards her, she could feel his aura and as warming as his presence was, she
shivered and felt chilled to her marrow. Her eyes flickered open and she saw
the light he cast around her. Where was Mulder? Was he safe?
“Come with me. I’ll show you the way,” he said.
“No. I don’t want to go. I won’t go. I don’t need to go.”
His hand swept over her and she felt the air freeze
around her. She sucked in a breath, her heart hammering.
“You are troubled and he dishonours you with his
“No! He is my partner. Mulder! Where are you?”
She dragged herself backwards, across a sharp ridge on
the floor. She felt the sting on her skin, the rush of blood to the surface.
Sense zinged back into her, sharpening her thoughts. She pushed herself up,
held a hand up to blot out the man. She called for Mulder again. Dust danced between them. He shimmered behind it, like a pale flame dancing and teasing. She turned away, looked at the solid grey mass of
the cave wall. Logically, she knew she shouldn’t be able to see with any
clarity but this man, the Moon-Eye seemed to be casting a glow strong enough to
illuminate the smallest details.
It was suddenly so clear. She stood up, walked
towards him. He held out his hand. He was so small, so contained. And there
were no blurred edges or ambiguity. He was unequivocal. He just was.His touch was smoother than she expected, cooler. She
shivered as he gripped her hand.
“Look up, Dana. See your way.”
She tipped up her chin, blinking against the unexpected
brightness. The world above her was a miasma of sparkling fragments floating
around her. They danced and shimmied around her face and she groped around her
trying to connect, to catch them.
People are what ruin me
Seeing them, hearing them, knowing they think it’s okay to say things to me
Like they get to be in some part of my life
People upset my rhythm, their misfortunes flow through my brain like a river
I can’t explain it to anyone when they ask me why I don’t look happy
What could I say? I feel too much of everything and everything around me is a mess
When I close my eyes I see everything in colour
But when they are open all I see is dark.
Without a doubt the musical project that excites me more than any others right now. Take one of the best modern performers going in Freddy Ruppert, add contributions from the beautiful vocals of Zola Jesus (third track in the top 50 for her, this one) and the most important figure indie-rock has seen in a good ten years in Jamie Stewart and you’ve got yourself an amalgamation of ridiculously talented individuals. And that’s without mentioning the more recent addition of Yasmine Kittles whose fragile singing helped make Winter’s Year one of the best tracks across two near-perfect records.
The difference between Former Ghosts and most (every?) supergroups though is that the talent is used to it’s full potential, and I think in part that is due to Freddy Ruppert’s ability to write perfectly for those that are contributing, as well as excelling, himself; I find it a real shame that Pitchfork has such influence with its reviews and that many will be put off because of their recent lukewarm review of New Love - and subjectivity, innit - but to use his vocals as a particular point of criticism I couldn’t disagree with more, in particular on Fleurs his vocal takes on This Is My Last Goodbye and Mother being two of the most heartbreaking and powerful put to tape. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing Freddy perform three times this year including one for a gig I booked myself, and perhaps unsurprisingly, they’ve accounted for some of the most incredible performances I’ve ever seen.
I actually think of Former Ghosts being something of a modern This Mortal Coil in set-up, with Freddy Ruppert effectively being a modern day (and more prominent) Ivor Watts-Russell; Kittles, Danilova and Stewart being a smaller group of contributors. This Mortal Coil feels especially like a fitting analogy because on The Bull & The Ram, Danilova gives a devastating vocal turn that makes the song all about her in the same way that Elizabeth Fraser made Song To The Siren hers all those years ago - the only, hugely impressive, difference being that a song this beautiful was made from scratch, and not reinterpreted.
Oh man, John Maus. Last summer I spent a lot of nights listening to Jeff Mangum’s WFMU archives of the weirdest sounds imaginable, over 24 hours of material and there was no consistency but it was nearly all awesome if almost totally ungoogleable. Due to that inconsistency I can’t really say that John Maus is at all representative of the music you’d find on those radio shows, but for me he sounds like a manic depressive genius half-singing over the more ambient tracks there (though the music is far from ambient). This is a pretty absract and ridiculous description but I think it’s as close as anyone can come to describing the batshit world of John Maus.
Baltimore trio Future Islands new single is an echoey pop number served up with a nostalgic gospel vibe, thanks to the choir-backed vocals of Jenn Wasner (of Wye Oak), Lexie Mountain, and Elena Johnston. The tone perfectly suits lead singer Samuel T. Herring’s deep and soulful voice, which occasionally flies into high-pitched wails.