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Tuesday , December 14, 2010
Heavy Rotation: Margo Guryan, Helium, Elastica + More!
Margo Guryan, "Sunday Morning"
What is so damned great about Sunday mornings that so many musicians feel compelled to pen odes heralding its utter fabulosity? Personally, I think Sunday mornings suck. They're boring. I'm always in an especially bad mood on Sunday mornings because I know everything is going to close at 5 PM and so am unmotivated to even bother trying to go out. And then there's the unbearable tension that arises from knowing tomorrow is work and/or school and that any peace you may find in the moment is fleeting and will soon be painfully disrupted. If I were going to write a song about a particularly pleasant time of the week, it would probably be called "Thursday Evening at 9 PM" because that is when new Lost episodes play. But all that aside, this song is swoony, dreamy girl-pop at its apex, and if I were ever going to totally cornball out and listen to a Sunday AM glorification tune on actual Sunday morning, I would pick this one over the Velvet Underground's in a half a heartbeat. (Laura)
The Charlatans, "Number One"
This song has been my theme song since the first time I heard it. In my not-even-the-tiniest-bit-humble opinion, The Charlatans are the most overlooked band of the 1960s, which I believe is because they were just too perfect to make much of an impact in a musical climate defined by charming imperfections and anti-structuralist tendencies. Plus there is the whole draggy coincidence of the boringest band of Britpop, The Charlatans (UK) accidentally ripping off their name and making it impossible to productively e-research the first Charlatans. My favorite thing about this song is how the lead singer spends the majority of the lyric discussing how he wants to kill himself pronto, yet his delivery is yawny, blase and even kind of uplifting! Definitely the chillest song about suicide ever written. (Laura)
Helium, "Ancient Cryme"
In celebration of my finally posting the Mary Timony interview I conducted a thousand years ago, I decided to post one of my favorite-ever Helium songs. This is off The Magic City, which came out my junior year of college; I remember playing it on my car stereo while driving onto campus with a friend, and when "Ancient Cryme" came on she said to me, "This song sounds like you, like 'la la la, la la la'!" I still take that as a big huge compliment. Also around that time I saw Helium for the second time, the first being when they opened up for Sonic Youth at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in '96, and Cibo Matto were playing next door and sort of crashed the show and played a whole set, with Sean Lennon on whatever instrument it is that Sean Lennon plays. It was my first Helium experience and I thought they were boring, but that's almost entirely because I was stupid 18-year-old. Helium are actually the opposite of boring. I miss them so. (Liz)
Sonic Youth, "Purr"
Speaking of Sonic Youth! I'm still on my retroactive Thurston Moore crush and listening to Dirty and Washing Machine a wicked lot. Dirty's the first SY album I ever bought; I had it on cassette and it took me a while to get all the way to "Purr" cuz I'd usually just play "Nic Fit" over and over. I think "Purr" is kinda overlooked in general, but whenever I actually remember it exists I get super-excited and dance around a little. It's probably one of the most rawk Sonic Youth songs out there, without being all that rawk at all in the grand scheme of things. And if they'd kept on making more pop stuff like this I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have ever started sporadically hating them, but I guess the upside is that sporadically hating Sonic Youth leaves time for lots of other fun things. So it all evens out in the end. Thanks, gang. (Liz)
Elastica, "Never Here"
Elastica's self-titled debut record from 1995 is so underrated, but it's probably one of the best records of that decade. It manages to ooze both the post-punk stylishness and pure pop perfection that could have made this band the Blondie of the new millenium; if it had come out in 2003 amidst the dance-punk phase of indie bullshit, it'd have kicked all those records' asses in a "Wire-and-Buzzcocks-Referencing Records Death Match" or something. The thing no one wants to admit is that while Elastica copped from all those rock dude bands like the aforementioned Wire or the Clash or the Stranglers, Elastica was ten times better in one record because of their hooks, their playful sexiness and a secret weapon in the form of Justine Frischmann, a dark-eyed, foxy tomboy whose nonchalance at her general rockingness revealed how the "Women in Rock" label was as condescending as it was. This song is the longest on their first record, but it's epic and vulnerable and kind of perfect. (Kat)
This song just makes me laugh. I picture this crazy video where some guy sings in a bad wig and a wrestling costume in a bowling alley; I don't know why. It's like it should be the theme song of a Alejandro Jodorowsky movie or something. (Did you ever see El Topo? Nutso, dudes.) Instead, this track is actually a cover of the theme from a 1966 Italian spaghetti western starring an impossibly charming actor who once told me I was really pretty. (Not in 1966, though; I wasn't alive yet.) Thrones are a one-man sludgy metal outfit from Joe Preston, a guy who used to be in the Melvins. I don't know if he ever performed this cover in a costume when it came out in 2000, but he should have. (Kat)
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