Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spanish Blue

On the train listening to Grant McLennan, recalling the melody the instant before it is sung, passing the green plains and windmills. Nothing happens here. It must be heaven.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Do you remember Ween/Parsons? Funny how I gravitate towards certain genre combinations.

1) Mr. Bungle, "None of Them Knew They Were Robots". I shut the band off totally after cursory listens to tracks off of Disco Volante many years ago. It seemed then to be the kind of weirdness in music that I least appreciate, because there was no core that gave it any meaning. Imagine my surprise on learning that the successor to Volante, California, is one of the strongest albums of the '90s. My first reaction to this fine track was that it must be telling a pretty epic story underneath all the noise and stylistic shifts. My later reaction after sifting through said noise and shifts was confirmation of this hunch.

2) Townes Van Zandt, "Pancho & Lefty". Sometimes one encounters a supposedly classic track and finds it no different to any other track by the artist. While things sometimes settle on that state, other times there is a gradual process where one starts to appreciate the subtlety of the song. With "Pancho", it's probably the understated melody that's easy to lose sight of initially; with it, the words become that much rougher.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

I fixed my gaze to the floor. Words were being spoken so casually. My brain was processing them, but my body was in complete meltdown. I thought that by looking away, maybe it wouldn't be true. But of course that didn't work. I know one often says such things, but sometimes they are true: at that moment, I truly did not know what the point of anything was.

People ask me how I like the country of dreams. I smile politely and express warm satisfaction. Indeed, I've liked it every time I've set foot in it. It's been very kind to me; it's given me so much over the years. But it's also taken away something very important from me, and from the rest of us stranded sailors. I don't hold a grudge, per se, but it's best to just stay clear. There are things I'd rather not think about. I'd rather do my crying at home.

Friday, December 02, 2011

1) The Go-Betweens, "Magic In Here". I recall the same: summer walks by the river, with the soft blue approach of the water, and the nightfall of diamonds evident on the surface. Life can be as peaceful and comfortable as the song suggests.

2) The Go-Betweens, "He Lives My Life". Rachel Worth bears at least one similarity to 16 Lovers Lane: it's pretty difficult to decide if it's Grant or Robert that wins out overall. Generally, when Grant wins it's by sheer lyrical acuity, while Forster uses atmosphere to get mood across. He pins that atmosphere here: like him, I know all too well the sound when that evening Sun goes down, and understand why one would ever want one's counterpart to succeed.

3) Iris DeMent, "You've Done Nothing Wrong". Forster once asked whether it was Guy Clark or Townes Van Zandt who sounded the best in the dark. Iris is simply too good natured to even be in contention for such an award, but some of her sadder songs do get a particular resonance in the late hours; with "Calling For You", you get a pretty sobering take on being kept up with regret, and finding no respite in the morning either.