Let’s turn down the static world…
The year is not yet half over but there are already a few tunes that will certainly show up on ‘favorites’ lists when we are bidding 2013 farewell. Some super strong songs through mid-May:
Black Skinhead by Kanye West (built around a mindblowing reimagining of Gary Glitter’s Rock and Roll)
Eschew all your preconceptions about, and current cultural references to, Kanye West. Then link to the video below of the great artist tearing it up on SNL. The intensity and the commitment on display cannot be manufactured. This is truth as delivered by Kanye West, and the best analogues for this performance are athletic. The comparisons that will mean anything will come from sport: think of Pele balletically contorting for a bicycle kick on goal; Reggie Jackson ripping a third, clutch homerun in a post-season game; LeBron James hitting a gamewinning three pointer at the buzzer. He was electrifying.
Kanye is just killing it – always himself – always owning the performance – and also laying it down ala Malcolm X, Isaac, and Sly: “For my theme song / My leather black jeans on /My by any mean on / Pardon I’m getting my scream on.” How is something so shocking as this even still possible? Prepare yourself for the thrill of Black Skinhead:
Open Eye Signal by Jon Hopkins
When you were a little kid, you occasionally had dreams where you were running. And your running became almost like flight. Remember? You ran, picking up speed, and after a number of paces your body was so solid and light that the lengths of your steps widened almost impossibly. You just barely touched your foot down before propelling your churning body back up, springing forward from the ground. Floating forward.
Jon Hopkins will release the record Immunity on Domino in early June. If you want to have the waking musical equivalent of your old running dream, hit this link for his tune Open Eye Signal. It is eight minutes of wonderfully entrancing music:
Wax Idols is a Bay Area outfit making choice music that is very welcome (and new) to me. While sounding brilliantly fresh and original, they give me the desired “time travel” experience that the best music can give. In this case Wax Idols transport me back in time to the rich and dark early-1980s. They are led by a tornadic creative force, Hether Fortune, who openly draws on the influences of my beloved Siouxsie (and the Banshees) and Daniel Ash (Tones on Tail, Love and Rockets, Bauhaus.)
Fortune is the architect of a remarkable release from March 2013 called Discipline and Desire, out now on the Slumberland Records label. She and her band blaze, and they deserve your attention. The sound is brand new and also somehow like something from your heavy rotation between 1981 and 1986. I can’t get enough of it.
Listen to their magnificent song Sound of a Void:
only tomorrow and if i am by My Bloody Valentine
The band comes together like parts of a sentient, warm-blooded machine on m b v, My Bloody Valentine’s long-awaited February self-release. The magic of this band for me is not just its inventiveness, its sonic variety, or the wild guitar mixes. It has been their ability to marry a sincerity and vulnerability in their vocals with swirling, muscular, and decisive rhythms. My Bloody Valentine creates an artistic experience that goes way beyond listening. It is a whole way of feeling.
Check out their beautiful song only tomorrow
and if i am