Single of the Week!
Deerhoof feat. David Bazan - ‘No One Asked Bazan To Dance’ from ‘DeerBazan’ 7” (Polyvinyl)
Mr. David Bazan is a new one on me but it is definitely love, he has so much heartbreak in his gob it is like so many marbles splashing onto the floor. Sounding not unlike (and just as fainty as) Matt Caughthran or Hamilton Leithauser, marvellous, big ol’ Dave has re-voiced Deerhoof ‘s ‘No One Asked To Dance’, with its perfect production and its delicious guitar part. A guitar part that people are allowed to say divvy things about, like ‘That is good guitar’. And you will say it back, ‘Yes, that guitar, is good guitar,’ - presumably because a starved, thickie lexicon provides the only possible reaction when you live in a world where classical guitar has been forgotten; it is scuffing stones in niche magazines, but it has long since expected anyone to love it. I like it when this happens – when a song comes along that forces you to remember that songcraft and musicianship are not just for the Rockists, and it needn’t be dread to appreciate either. The latest in an almost faultless series of sevens, ‘No One Asked Bazan To Dance’ is the prettiest song about scraping by I’ve heard in aeons. Original here.
Dan Sartain feat. Jane Wiedlin - ‘Now Now Now’ (One Little Indian)
People who make 19 minute-long albums and singles that barely trouble the one-minute mark are alright with me. And even though ‘Now Now Now’ is new-old-new-wave it’s okay, because a) Jane Wiedlin is on it and b) some people are so good at doing bops that you don’t mind that they’re not doing nothing with those bops. Also: look at that ruddy artwork! Ooooh, it’s lovely.
The Big Pink - ‘Hit The Ground (Superman)’ (4AD)
I think the problem with The Big Pink (or at the very least, mine) is that they sound so very like bigness for people who need bigness explaining; dream soundtracks for replicants, epic anthems for sociopaths, drama for toddlers. You get where I’m going with this and it’s just so odd, for so much to be happening and for the end result to sound so utterly hollow; the musical equivalent of Truman Burbank’s pretend sky.
Fair Ohs - ‘Salt Flats’ (X-Ray)
You guys, finishing songs is super hard, you guys. Which is why Fair Ohs are doing that thing where you speed up the last third of your song to create the sense that something is happening; it’s definitely happening everybody, everybody look like it’s happening or someone might think that it’s not. So it is definitely not that Fair Ohs started a thing and then, halfway through, realised that the act of creation is often akin to digging a hole - sooner or later you have to step into the hole to make it any deeper. And that’s when - sky obscured and worms for company - the real trouble starts, and the real rewards present themselves. ‘Let yourself be overwhelmed,’ they sing, and I sort of wish they had.
Male Bonding - ‘Aneurysm’ (Nirvana 7” with EMA cover of ‘Endless Nameless’, on For Us)
Male Bonding are from Now and they are interpreting a band from Then by using musical tropes that are even thenner. And it all depends on what you want from a cover version - but if you still feel they should be radical, genre-switching interpretations or that reggae re-rubs of 80s TV theme tunes are intrinsically interesting then be off, there’s nothing for you here. For me, what Male Bonding have done, especially with their wimpy stylings, and their vocals as sung by Leo Colston; is to highlight just what a weedy band Nirvana were. And how very submissive they seem now, how all this calling for someone to ‘beat it out of me’ sounds not like primal rage but sheer, furtive, hand-wrung masochism. A drug-ruined, whirlwind blonde; feeling impossible shoes imprint your spine, it’s all the same, you know.
NotSensibles - ‘I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher’ (Reissue 7” on Not Sensibles)
I include this to remind you of the olden days of yore, when it was possible to be in a band precisely for the purpose of making inane songs. And because a far more interesting question than ‘Why is no one making political records anymore?’ [SHUT UP OLD PEOPLE] is ‘Why is no one making silly ones?’. It’s almost as if embarrassment were the final pariah-making taboo; no hotter shame than a failed punchline hanging in the air like stale beef fart. And I don’t mean to pointlessly bash hipsterdom when I say that they appear to be a group of people for whom nothing is worse than Getting It Wrong - it is a lifestyle formulated by twelve year-olds in which every life occurence can turn on a sixpence and see you doing P.E. in your pants. So it's nice to hear a political record from a time when being a bit of a daft apeth wasn't seen as ohmygod, so mortifying.
Virals - ‘Magic Happens’ (SexBeat)
Virals are dopey and half-asleep, they just want you to hear their happy jangle and for no squares to make them do anything that might make them cry, like go to the gym. They are wearing their favourite The Box Tops t-shirt and oh man, they are dying for you to ask them where they got it but you must not, even if secretly you really like it and are well impressed. I’d be lying if I said I’d never worn or adopted a thing for precisely the same reason and besides, ‘Magic Happens’ is entirely successful and not a little fun. But it is lacking in ambition to the point that it will check to see if it loses any benefits before it agrees to anything.
Youngman - ‘Who Knows?’ (Digital Soundboy)
What I like about modern pop music is that it can turn everything into a cause for beatific, transportive, arms-aloft experience. I mean, Bruno Mars can write a paean to clinical depression and everybody just claps; I wonder if one day we will find him on a buried cable channel, eyes bloodshot, angrily complaining how nobody saw the signs when they were RIGHT THERE. In any event, here is Youngman, and he and his chipmunk chorusline don't know where the love goes, so I think what he's saying is that he doesn't love you anymore SHIT WAIT WAS THAT A SPACESHIP DOESN'T MATTER PUT YOUR ARMS UP. I can see myself stood on the dancefloor saying, 'No, I don't know either, Youngman, but are you alright?,' and then I will get distracted by all his shiny and feel almost sorry for him. Until I turn around and he's flipping well fucked off.
Also out this Week!
Sic Alps - ‘Vedley’ (Drag City)
Holy State - ‘Dial ‘M’ For Monolith’ (Brew Records)
Therapy? - ‘Living In The Shadow Of The Terrible Thing’
Clock Opera - ‘Once And For All’ (Island)
M.I.A. - ‘Bad Girls’ (XL)
TV Casualty - ‘TV Casualty’ (Matador)
Late Night Fiction - ‘Exits Pursued By A Bear’ (Late Night Fiction)
Talk To Angels - ‘Hickory Dickory’ (Warp Speed Carousel Recordings)
Last Harbour - ‘Never’ (Little Red Rabbit Records)
Twin Sister - ‘Kimmi In A Rice Field’ / ‘Bad Street’ (Remix 12” on Domino)
Piney Gir - ‘Outta Sight’ (Damaged Goods)
Hoodlums - ‘Dark Horses’ (Blow The Whistle Recordings)
Capital Sun - ‘Forgotten Songs’
Cut Yourself In Half - ‘Say Goodbye To The World’ (New Heavy Sounds)
Feeder - ‘Borders’ (Big Teeth Music)
Wendy is on Twitter, here.