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Listening

Going Steady With the Singles

Richard Ayoade said it best on an episode of Time Trumpet as to why, every day, he was compelled to watch an ape being savagely raped on television because “he had to take the pulse of the nation.” Truer words have never been spoken. And right now the pulse of the nation is not so much forced gorilla intercourse, but mutual gorilla love. It is still our inclination—nay, our duty—to watch with fascination this modern dance called “entertainment” through a sampling of its finest hit singles—all for the social good. Like Jane Goodall, but not taking as many notes.


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Yeasayer, “2080” (download)

If there were a word or phrase I would use to characterize this period of hyperrealism and anarco-capitalism, I’d be a much better public speaker. But if I did, I’d have it read by a group of kids on a playground in a panoply of shouts and murmurs. And then maybe one of the kids would say, “Your butt smells like anarco-capitalism.” So precocious these young tykes. Someday they’ll grow up to be race car drivers or astronauts and learn how the preparations for space flight can consume their will to live. Months of training, physical stress, tests at the far ends of human endurance, and the possibility of death. All to fly up and fix some cable TV satellite. Better they get a steady job at the plastic flower factory.

Atlas Sound, “Oh It’s Such A Shame (Jay Reatard Cover)” (download)

When oil goes to $200 a barrel and China sells off the dollar, the financial apocalypse we all have seen coming will finally hit. It will make the Midwest ripe for plundering by damaged noise barbarians from the hills, who will ride through towns on metalloid elephants, electrocuting us with Tasers made from discarded TI-81s, and playing this song. Eventually a rebel leader will rise up and overthrow the cyborg-barbarians—or Cybarians—by using a magnet fashioned from coat hangers and static electricity. You can read this and many more MacGyver: Mechaverse titles by sending $5 to the same person over a long period of time, and eventually they will write it.

Religious Knives, “The Streets” (download)

Every religion needs a good church organ, be it a Southern storefront church with a Hammond upright, a Californian Universalist with a hydraulic organ, or a gilded German Severikirche. It needs to be able to belt out enough polyphonic sounds to wash over the heathens with holy-ghost power—aka a sustained G-chord. This is important to remember for all of you newfound atheists, agnostics, and practicing satanists. Religion has been around for a long time, so they’ve learned a few tricks, and judging by the numbers, they work pretty well.

Excepter, “Kill People” (download)

More evil dub please. I need a beat here and there to keep things up-tempo, but I can meet halfway in the realm of dark ambient sounds if the conditions are right. Maybe we can go back to before industrial music got off track into nu-metal and pass out the Chrome boxed set to high school kids in trench coats, then see what happens.

SSION, “ASAP”

If one were to present the oeuvre of SSION to the surliest of teamsters, I’d imagine they would have to give them their due respect for really pushing the limits. “You know, if you’re gonna go gay, you might as well be the goddamn gayest thing possible.” Why dabble in the middle ground? They seem to have taken it to a limit so far beyond comprehension as to have little to do with sex, but having more to do with some sort of alien power ritual. And they’re from Kansas City of all places! Very inspiring.

The Sea and Cake, “Coconut” (download)

A friend called this song “insidious” recently, as if the Sea and Cake were hard at work layering the tracks with inside jokes and hidden references. If nothing else, it’s straightforward in its quiet and genteel ways. Then I was suddenly hit with a momentary flashback of waiting for a train three days before while listening to the same song. Just one of those inconsequential dreams that really don’t mean anything and may not have happened at all but still seem important, but it was like a potent memory recall that had me rethinking how insidious it might be. Is there another word for “insidious” without the negative connotations? More than “subtle,” less intentional than “surreptitious.”

Aidan John Moffat, “Fuck It” (download)

Scottish cockney erotica. Need I say more? I do? OK, this album by Aidan John Moffat is just brimming with eye-watering, surly accented sexual bluster. Like Barry White after three days of no sleep. Powerful, potent, sloppy stuff.

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