Monday, August 24, 2015

Shufflin' - August 2015

I think, in the process of compiling this month's playlist based on straight-up shuffling iTunes, I realized something: I really like Merge Records. No, seriously. Like REALLY REALLY like. Like LIKE like. It makes sense. I had a Merge Records sticker on my car when I still had stickers on my car. I read the Merge Records book! I'd say my LP collection is probably something like 10-15% Merge artists. So yeah, I really like what they do. And here I am, shufflin songs, and all like, "No, skip, blah, oh this is a good one who is this? Well shit, of course Seaweed is a Merge band." So it goes. Here are this month's highlights:

Seaweed - "Thru the Window" 
Hits all the same sweetspots as Archers of Loaf. Wailing, distorted guitars. Brain-meltingly great chorus. Perfect distillation of mid-90s college rock.

Girlpool - "Cherry Picking" 
I really like Girlpool's schtick. Two girls, lots of off key harmonies, a subdued blend of indie pop and anti-folk elements. "Cherry Picking" starts off slow but has a tremendous build that gathers steam over the track's duration and pays off nicely.

Fucked Up - "One More Night"
I don't know if I ever made it all the way through David Comes to Life more than a couple of times. I kept getting hung up on certain songs. "One More Night" is the penultimate track on that record, and it's a shining example of why I love Fucked Up: they are able to deliver a heavy emotional payoff via screaming at you over a cacophony of crashing guitars.

Destroyer - "Your Blood"
I burned this mix to a CD and played it in the car on the way to Lawrence last month. This song came on and I was surprised to find that I still know all the words. Destroyer, always fun to sing and feel like a foppish dandy dropping hundred dollar words.

Why? - "For Someone"
Relistened to the "Sod in the Seed" EP a bunch this last month. I still hate the title track and the closing track "Shag Carpet" has all of the lurid eww-ness that made Mumps, Etc hard to listen to, but the four quick tracks in the middle are a masterpiece of tone, instrumentation, and sequencing. They reminded me that, though I didn't quite like Yoni Wolf's last offering, I'll still eagerly consume whatever he throws at me next.

Guided by Voices - "Your Name is Wild"I think I read somewhere that Bob Pollard wrote this song about his daughter (or that it was at least a companion piece to "My Son Cool"). Or something. Who knows, everything Bob Pollard says is probably suspect in re what his songs are about. Either way, that's how I'm going to read "Your Name is Wild" now, and I love it.

Damien Jurado - "Gillian Was a Horse"
Poor Damien Jurado. I feel like he's made a career of being a second-tier singer songwriter, which isn't fair because he's a pretty goddamn great songwriter. And yet it always seems like he has a new album out and it's always pretty goddamn good. If he were a running back, he'd be the sort of guy I'd draft because he's consistent. Consistency is key in fantasy football, and something I admire in all fields. So anyway, fantasy football digression aside, I think I need to revisit Jurado's back catalog.

John Prine - "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore"
One of the funniest, most incisive anti-war songs you'll ever hear. Go listen to some John Prine, you deserve it, he is  God's gift to us all.

Sundowner - "Baseball's Sad Lexicon"
Lawrence Arms' co-frontman Chris McCaughan translates Franklin Pierce Adams' poem of the same name and captures all the bittersweetness of baseball's cruelty perfectly, even though Tinkers, Evers, and Chance played for the Chicago Cubs and, McCaughan being a good Chicago boy, I can only imagine he delights in the poem's subject matter.

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