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Soundtrack – Trainspotting

27 09 2011

Listened: Monday July 18

Trainspotting was one of the important movies of my high school life. It was the first R-rated movie I went to that I didn’t have to be accompanied to or lie about my age to enter (though I didn’t do that very often anyway).

At the time, our “sit around and do nothing” movie was A Clockwork Orange (we were a strange bunch of teenage girls), and Trainspotting owes a debt to it, so its influence on our lives kind of makes sense. It was one of the first movies I remember seeing with a very “short attention span” style – cuts to a new scene were quick and abrupt, but it worked very well. The worst toilet in Scotland, the dead baby, the drug-withdrawal hallucinations of the dead baby, the clean friend Tommy going to pieces and dying of AIDS, I remember it all very clearly, even though I haven’t seen it in many years.

The soundtrack brings many scenes right back – Brian Eno‘s Deep Blue Day immediately takes me into that toilet with Renton. I’m so glad I associate Lust For Life with a Hard Day’s Night-esque opening sequence rather than with cruise ships. When I hear Perfect Day, I have visions of beautiful overdoses running through my head. As a recent convert to the cult of New Order, listening to this album again, I remembered how much I enjoyed Temptation and how much more it means to me now that I have more context. I also love owning a non-album Pulp track, as anything Pulp does anywhere is worth the effort to acquire. And Underworld! This soundtrack was probably my first introduction to the joys of Underworld; that alone is so important.

It’s not overstating things to say both the movie and the soundtrack changed my life.

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Ash – Trailer

27 09 2011

Listened: Monday July 18

It’s very 90s sounding, but Trailer really takes me back. I don’t remember how I got introduced to Ash back in high school – I think it was because they used to play their early songs on Live 105 – but I’m glad I did.

They’re about the same age I am, so that was pretty cool to hear  people that young on Live 105 at the time, since a lot of the bands they played were elder statemens/women of Modern Rock. I can hear the Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana influences pretty clearly in the guitars, as well as the Clash and the Ramones in the lyrics.

I’m also glad they’re not above having lyrics like “Bang, shang-a-lang”; they make it work.





Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History

27 09 2011

Listened: Monday July 18

Two Door Cinema Club is another lovely Coachella discovery. They sound a lot like an Irish Phoenix or Futureheads. I appreciate that I can hear the accent yet can also understand most of the lyrics (as much as I love a band like Glasvegas, their accents are quite intelligible sometimes).

Recently they did a show in San Francisco, and unfortunately I missed it, but heard from friends that they are amazing live, which makes sense. I imagine there’s lots of dancing, drinking, and singing!





The New Pornographers – Together

27 09 2011

Listened: Friday July 15

Woody’s brother Glen gave me a couple of New Pornographers albums for Christmas, 2010. Due to the project, I hadn’t really listened to this album at all, and I was sort of wary anyway, since the band is kind of universally known as cool and good in rock music circles. Sometimes my teenage suspicion that “anything a lot of people like is probably not that interesting” comes back. I was super-wrong in this case.

Together is a very catchy and well-crafted explosion of power pop. Plus it’s constructed with one of my favorite rock music things – men and women singing together (see Jefferson Airplane, Fleetwood Mac, Arcade Fire). Every song sounds very skillfully engineered and cohesive. I’m always amazed when the album ends; I just want it to continue!

Give The New Pornographers a try – I feel lame for putting them off for so long!





The Gears – Today & Tomorrow

22 09 2011

Listened: Friday July 15

Today & Tomorrow may be one of the more obscure albums I own. It’s apparently not in print anymore and seems to be hard to find used on the Internet. I even struggled to find a picture of the cover  art.

In 1999 or so I took a DeCal class in college on the Beatles. In class we discussed all the albums and watched the Beatles movies. I also had an unrequited crush on the student instructor. As a very inexperienced youngster (at that point I had never had a real boyfriend) it was every bit as clumsy and ridiculous as you’d imagine. But that’s not exactly related to this album.

One of the other people taking the class mentioned at one point that he was bassist in a band very influenced  by the Beatles called “The Gears” (it’s the guy on the right of the album cover, and unfortunately I don’t remember his name, I think it’s Jason Graham, based on the CD insert). After the class had ended, I was at Rasputin’s and I happened to look in the used CDs for The Gears and somehow found their album. At the time I barely listened to it, though. Until the project I don’t think I had heard it all the way through.

It’s actually quite good, I’m impressed. It is extremely early-Beatles influenced  in sound, themes, vocabulary, and even down to the design of the packaging. It’s very catchy and well-put-together for a bunch of 20-ish-year-olds. Unfortunately, the names of all the dudes in the band are extremely common, so I can’t reliably track down any of them to see what they’re up to now. Maybe this was a one-off, or maybe some of them are in bands to this day. Sad I can’t easily find out!





Future Pilot A.K.A – Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea

20 09 2011

Listened: Tuesday July 5

Interesting that Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea comes right after Tigermilk, considering members of Belle & Sebastian are involved in the project.

The music is a bit all over the place, but could be best described as a mashup between Indian devotional music and Scottish indie music. It’s an odd combination, but for the most part works pretty well. In terms of lyrics, there’s a lot of chanting, so the wittiness of Belle & Sebastian isn’t here, but the music and beautiful singing is. Then, they drop something like Beautiful Dreamer on you, which is a more traditional folk song sung by a 96-year-old woman, who sounds, well, 96. The album sort of reminds me of the Belle & Sebastian experiment Storytelling from around the same period.

If you like twists on Indian devotional music or you are a hardcore Belle & Sebastian fan who wants to hear them in another context, give this a try.





Belle & Sebastian – Tigermilk

20 09 2011

Listened: Tuesday July 5

I love Tigermilk. All the songs are beautifully sung (and sometimes even catchy and funky, like Electronic Renaissance) and wittily written (the classic  The State That I Am In is one of  my favorites of all time).

The one thing that stops me dead in my tracks though is the cover. A “baby tiger” suckling a human in a bathtub? What drugs was someone (probably Stuart) on? And how was that pitched to the model? Odd.