Everett True and his 40 favourite songs of 2014
This year stuttered in bits and firsts. Music is the healer.
Here are the songs.
It’s knowing that passion can be full-tilt and consuming. It’s about Shadow Morton and Ellis Greenwich and 2014. It’s a love for the same love for that a ton of other folk show a love for but damn alive there’s a reason for that love for and you think I can resist such reverb-saturated female gorgeousness then damn have you got the wrong fucking writer, girl. They have other songs, sure – but this is the one I’ve been listening to over and over and fucking over again (15 times easy) until the whole world is blocked out and my existence is an open top Oldsmobile driving down the freeway towards Disneyland even though we don’t even know if we’re in the right State, state whatever. It speeds up, it slows down, it makes damn sure you’re fucking listening, it pisses all over your notions of cool – while of course thoroughly retaining its own notions of cool – and it is so fucking wonderful it makes me wonder how I could even have countenanced giving up writing up new music, even for a split second.
Babaganouj – Too Late For Love
What can I tell you? This is wonderment. This is wonder. This is pop music. This is pop music created by people from Brisbane. This is pop music created by people from Brisbane who’ve already created pop music that I know I love and cherish but this is pop music created by people from Brisbane who’ve already created pop music that I know I love and cherish – Go Violets, for example: Johnny And The Fembots: that modern dance jazz – that is somehow different to what has gone before, but equally as catchy. It’s over-and-over pop firmament genius. Loads of melody and repetition. Boy-girl harmonies. An ear-worm or 50 to be stuck in your head and go whistling down the wind to.
Thinking about “kawaii” got me to thinking about how easy it’d be to behave subversively within it, use it as a tool for undermining conventional gender attitudes about how men and women should behave. (I’m not sure Kyary isn’t doing that already.) Think that’s just wish fantasy? Uh-huh. Think back to independent music circa ’86 and Talulah Gosh and how bands back then took on the trappings of 60s pop and the schoolyard, to help undermine the overriding masculinity in rock music – both mainstream and counter-cultural – of the time. Then flash forward a few years to Riot Grrrl and the ‘school librarian’ look as championed by Kathleen Hanna (among others). Nonthreatening fashion but entirely threatening behaviour and ideas.
I’m not sure if there’s a link between kawaii and Olympia’s punk rock librarians yet… but I reckon there could be, easily.
Frankie Cosmos – Joe Joe (Boys Are Dogs)
In November 2012, I was contacted via the Collapse Board feedback section by a friend of a friend (see above) about a singer called Frankie Cosmos/Ingrid Superstar. I didn’t find the message till a year later, but something about it rang heart-true. I listened, and wrote back immediately – pleading for downloads of the dozens of albums and apologising for the ridiculous delay. I found myself entranced by Frankie Cosmos, by her simple unadorned songs and heart-true melodies and intimate phrasing and the way you could hear all the hours of silences that went into creating just one guitar chord. I loved the gaps, the pauses, the hesitation, the beauty. I was revitalised, struck silent by awe and gentle wonder and delirious delight, that Everett True even at the age of 53 could still fall so heavily for music like this. In a perfect world, she’d be what people talk about at every… In a perfect world… well, I wouldn’t even exist so let’s not be too sad about that. I found myself entranced, by Frankie Cosmos, and revitalised, the same way I was once so entranced by a live cassette tape of Jonathan Richman that Stephen Pastel sent me in 1982, with a simple note attached. “Jerry, listen to this. I think you’ll like it. He reminds me of you.”
“Hope you enjoy the music! Toodles! Peter”
I mean, whatever. How can this beauty exist? How can it even exist and the world still keeps turning oblivious?
It’s an entire universe.
The video is mesmeric.
The song is like everything else but then it keeps going and keeps going and before long you realise that it isn’t. Like everything else. Thing is, with this sort of lo-fi do-it-yourself scuzz rock it’s often better to have no budget at all than unlimited resources. (I’m projecting here. Lady Neptune could well have spent $300,000 achieving a sound that could have been realised on $30 but… Well. You take my point, I hope.) It forces you to think, to improvise, to find new ways of communicating. This songs starts off grungy, like U.S Girls and Vivian Girls and quite probably Girls themselves, and then – well, somewhere the relentless echoed vocals that never quite take off despite their desperation remind me of Tunabunny and that ain’t no bad thing at all. There’s a break in the middle because, well there’s a break in the middle. I didn’t go see Cults play Brisbane last month but in my dreams they sounded like this, and CUTSS. I mean, they don’t. Way darker and more inward-turned. But in my dreams, you understand…
First time I hear The Tuts I am so completely overwhelmed with a yearning for my home ladies Talulah Gosh (personal connection one: Amelia sung at our wedding).
Second time I listen to The Tuts, I’m thinking of Dolly Mixture and all who sailed in her, only with a little more WHOOOMPH!
Third time, I’m madly deeply wonderfully stupidly in love.
This group are startling. I know little to nothing about them. Each time I think I’ve figured out their sound I watch another video, and my nerves are shot to ribbons once more.
This first one grabbed me, for sure – particularly the video, which is disconcerting and not in a comfortable way. I love the insistence in the vocals, and the gradual breakdown and build-up throughout the song. I ain’t sure if the lyrics are telling me what lyrics do, but the vaguely sinister carnival atmosphere doesn’t help. Is this what life that isn’t Brisbane (The Gap, Brisbane) is like? I almost want to be there, to be beaten and bullied into compliance in the snow. The music… it’s where the music threatened to go sometime in ’79 in the U.K. but never quite did because it was way too alienating. Or during the 80s. Or whenever.
She reminds me a little of the deep sonorous soul of David Thomas Broughton: the singer who moves like a rock star in slow motion, and loops mandarins un-peeling. There’s something about Verity Susman here, too… though not the voice, which I guess is the immediate draw card. Is it? Why would I write that? I love the sound of the piano, of slow motion loops. I love the repetition, the slow stately sweetly sad beautiful repetition. I remain a sucker for great music. I can’t help myself. I will always lose myself in music, great music. At one point during the late 80s, every movie I saw was soundtracked by music like this and I (heavy sighs) took it for granted.
It’s The Cosmopolitans (a little) crossed with Teddy And The Frat Girls (a little) crossed with The Roches(a little), crossed with The Diskettes (a little), taken in conjunction with some smart, sardonic lyrics (a lot) and some wonderful, unobtrusive harmonies (a lot) and some righteous 2014 fire (a whole bunch), and some beautiful, beautiful restraint, and some chillingly layered minimalist guitar lines and … fuck, this writing device is stale.
THIS BAND FUCKEN RULE, OK (“Proper Music Journalism(TM)” © Everett True 2014).
The Lovely Wars – Brân i Frân
This is what I love about Eurovision. Does that sound patronising? It’s not supposed to. It’s the way the voices lilt at the end of each verse, the slight but not futile obviousness of the melody which when typed out like that looks I say it like it’s a bad thing but it really isn’t, the sadness and hope in the lilt at the end of each verse, the slight 80s (OMD) sound to the electronic keyboard backing, the spaces before the ever-budding return of the verse, the breathiness in the vocal at the start of each line (I mean line not verse), the fact I am drawn in by the music and voice NOT the lyrical content, by the bass and twang, by the storm and seasons, by the rain on the patio. I have a feeling this may have come WAY recommended.
It’s classic (70s, 80s, 10s) pop and it is SO FUCKING WONDERFUL! “Proper Music Journalism(TM)” © Everett True 2014.)
You wouldn’t say Rattle are traditional rock, not a bit. Indeed, back of my mind, I have a feeling someone described them as being one of a brace of post-Scout Niblett bands (which of course is going to intrigue me). I mention this here because London scared and overwhelmed me and this music helps to cleanse me, reassure me. I understand it, really I do – but I still find it life-affirming, challenging. I love the clatter among the silence. The knowledge that something is being lain bare.
This isn’t so much London – much as I enjoyed my time there – as Worthing beach.
They’ve got that Distractions guitar sound, he thinks to himself idly. He then realises that approximately none of his readership – as rarefied and tuned-in as it is – will get the reference, certainly not in the context of 2014, so he hastily updates that thought to include the phrase Royal Headache. He’s not sure, has never been sure – can’t be arsed to get on the email to Nic Warnock and check his facts – that this guitar sound hasn’t been stumbled across by accident. Something to do with the mutilation of sound that occurs when a certain type of cheap guitar is plugged into a certain type of cheap amplifier, and the volume ramped up as high as it can go. He doesn’t really care, either. He just knows that he’s a hog for the sound, baby. A hog, baby.
My source has it that this sounds “like Raincoats or Malaria! singing traditional Spanish music. The lyrics are specially brilliant”. I can’t vouch for the latter, or even part of the former, but this sounds more like New York 2007 than my dark Teutonic sweethearts from the early 80s, or (well, duh) my Rough Trade tender-hearts. Damn. It is most definitely a female form of music. Sure, I’ll split music down gender lines if the rest of the world insists on doing so and claiming only bands that play like men are any good. Effi Briest, that’s the band I was looking for. Don’t be mad. Don’t be scared. Don’t be mad.
I cannot hope to match Tom Randall for poetic eloquence. All I know is that I like being spooked, I like the drone of repetition. I like the childhood memory of the repetition of drones flying overhead in my imagination, chilled beyond speech. I know that music like this is often called beautiful because it has that stained glass feeling of solemn joy around it, and I am aware that there are probably practitioners of this music in other (non-Australian) countries that produce moments of equal iced-breath chilled ‘beauty’. But I’m not listening to them right now. I’m not listening to anything except this one track from the Ela Stiles album, and it sucks my breath out of my body, as sure as the way you never look at me that way any more.
The 16th Century with The Legend! – The Way You (Didn’t) Look At Me
Singing, I channel past trysts, and a negative worldview. A lot of the time when I’m improvising words I’m imagining myself as a member of The Undertones jealously regarding Talking Heads’ lyrical prowess in 1978. If I can reach the heights of simplicity coupled with repetition that I once adored so on Hypnotisedor Love Bites, I am more than content. One song, I steal from my of my old songs. I grab the mic like I once saw Karen O grab the mic. My intonation is still in thrall to Anne Clark. (I’m a fucking music critic, allow me some awareness when it comes to influence.) The 16th Century’s music reminds me of this(perhaps unsurprisingly).
The See Gulls – You Can’t See Me
I’m not going to lie to you. I ain’t even going to try to resist this. Why would I? They sound like they’re having such a great time. A fraction of me thinks “yay! Tunabunny!” when I hear the euphoric rush of joy that lies behind these over-excited, highly enthused voices, the way the singers nearly tumble over themselves in their glee at finally getting heard. A fraction of me thinks “yay! The Breeders!” when I hear the smart clever, not too smart clever, harmonies and melodies and all that shit, and the fact they’re cool enough to realise it doesn’t matter a shit about appearing cool. Mostly, I’m just pleased… pleased? Overwhelmed – to have discovered yet another group I can loll helplessly next to. The second song on this BandCamp disorientates me cos it’s fairground in its excitement and when I type the word “fairground” I always somehow have the image of Daniel Johnston pop into my head, barricaded inside a telephone booth, trying desperately to avoid a livid carnie.
Somewhere too, I’m reminded of how much I have always loved The Roches and That Dog (two or three songs of the latter, at least).
Stanley Brinks & Freschard – If You Have Time
The whole album Pizza Espresso offers relief, balm.
It chugs along gently. It won’t intrude – and thus won’t make you happy, joyous – unless you let it. It blossoms with melody and personality. There is room to enough for you to stay and sup, if you want.
Or you can just turn your back. That’s fine too.
Somewhere down the line I’m reminded of an evening spent in Glasgow in the early 90s, in the company of The Pastels and the films of Jacques Tati. This is a fond, treasured memory. The restaurant where we ate forgot to charge us our bill, so we all ran back in and paid them the money. The colours were black and white, electrifying. The knowledge that people I really liked seemed to also really like me to filled my heart to bursting. Honestly.
Thought I’d be honest with you.
This is what I listen to in my moments of strength. I was reminded of this particular song last night by a student linking to Frank Ocean. I like Frank Ocean, particularly when he quits trying to be so damn soulful. I like Beyoncé a whole bunch more.
This song. Well, they had me from the opening 2 seconds, y’ understand. Like a Breeders cleaned-up for the present age. (I show my preconceptions with a statement like this, nothing else.) It has a smoothness that I used to love about The Concretes that does not jar or irritate me the way smoothness often does. The vocal is just enough off the beat to please. There’s a touch of the Eleanor Friedberger‘s about it, by which I mean it reminds me of something released by Stiff Records in 1978. (Age, against.) Some folk would doubtless use the word ‘twee’ here as a compliment, but it NEVER is. I don’t even know how this came to be in my iTunes folder, the demeanour is so nothing. These days, though. Often these days, I listen to music late at night through my headphones, and this is late-night headphones-listening music: music to comfort and nurse the chill at my core. Music to hug me when no hugs are forthcoming (and these years they never are). Like my own personal Beatles (I know I’ve used that line before… but here I’m using it to signify traditionalism, the fact that what to other people is Oasis is to me Hospitality).
I’m whistling soundlessly in the dark here, aren’t I? The mix tape I keep dreaming of doesn’t exist. I know I could create my own. That’s not the point, is it? Here’s the link to the music. Beautiful and… just whistling soundlessly.
Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball G-Major
I’d never made the connection between Miley Cyrus and The Residents before.
It’s cold up here. Cold and scary. Not outside. Inside. Inside my head.
Listening to music like this makes me feel better. I don’t often listen to music these days. Too dark. Too cold. Listening to music like this makes me feel better, sparks associations, make me think fleetingly of catching cabs through Manhattan drunk, living other people’s lives vicariously, repulsed and attracted by the bright lights and randomness of humanity, by the way folk aren’t scared to go outside and take their chances on chance meetings, random occurrences. Listening to music like this warms me up, makes me feel warmer, makes me feel like I’m lying down low on the floor spitting mucus, spitting mucus and staring fascinated by the petrol-fed flames spitting out my bin, hitting the ceiling, wandering if the fire’s going to spread. Music like this makes me feel alone, less alone. Just alone. Listening to music like this makes me remember trips down to Bristol, to Hollywood Hills, to elsewhere. It doesn’t. It’s always raining. My recollections last less than half a second and then shift. To nothing. Seems it would be fine to have conversations like this, even arguments. Somewhere you can’t fall back into the illusion of conformity.
Damn. This new Neil Young album A Letter Home is fine. And I mean fine like you haven’t ever experienced the sheer thrill of listening to your own home recordings over and over again until there’s a dull pummelling blister in your ear where some semblance of sense used to exist. See, I long since figured The Beatles are a great group, but they knew shit about recording technique past about their fourth – possibly fifth, if you count Beatles Live At The Star Club – album. I’ve always managed to play their songs way better than they managed, with my mangled, rudimentary two-note piano technique and my mangled, rudimentary, two-note, former choirboy voice. I’m serious now. I don’t give a fuck what you think. (This, incidentally, is near core to the reason why I get Daniel Johnston and you don’t.) (This, incidentally, is near core to the reason why I love this new Neil Young album so greatly, and you don’t.)
I mean, let’s have a listen. Don’t listen on headphones. Don’t listen on fancy speakers. Listen when you’re driving through howling wind or morning stillness, nothing existing, not even the road in front.
There’s a bug in the machine. A virus. It stops shit from reaching you. I know it does. Every time we reach 47 seconds. It’s not a coincidence. Forty-seven seconds, and you can’t even begin to get going. Forty-seven seconds and some folk are already out of here. Forty-seven seconds and some folk have already stated all they need to state. This is not fiery. This is not brittle. This is not angular. Unless you choose to view it that way. It’s from Prague, and Prague looks alien to these Brisbane eyes, but frankly a suburb five kilometres away from The Gap looks alien to these dulled acclimatised Brisbane eyes. Did I write dulled? Not necessary. Dull. Dull. Dull. It’s beautiful and it’s commonplace and it’s unsettling. You might not have encountered anything like it before (heh: you ever LISTENED to music?), especially at Christmas. It reminds me of all those pictures you saw of all those music writers desperately Tweeting about Kate Bush like that makes them relevant in 2014. But we can all fucking try, can’t we? We can all fucking try. All the background noise and hubbub worked in.
I like this album. It has an unsettling, darkly translucent quality. It hints at screens most of us don’t have access to. It suggests and beckons. It feels quietly futuristic – suggesting a future that might just not be unwelcome. It contains elements of the same mid 90s trip hop that retains my attention (the good stuff, natch), and also of folk music (the Vashti Bunyon stuff, natch) and secret dub. It has a grain that runs contrary to the grain of popular music. I mean, I love all that shouty stuff and the colour and vigour and poise of fashion house-wearing Vice acolytes (and doubtless this has already been sucked up under that coat) but that’s not what we’re talking here. We’re talking moments for reflection, Moments in Song. We’re talking silence and solicitude and tea being sipped slowly.
It’s a bit fucking PROPER music, isn’t it? You know: stuff that even Radiohead fans might not sniff at (Radiohead being right on and liberal, it means in 2014 it’s OK for their fans to admit to liking some female acts, long as it ain’t too many).
That’s OK, Jerry. You don’t need to be scared. Take a deep breath now. 1-2-3. 1-2-3. 1-2-3. Peak. Trough. Plateau. Peak. Trough. Plateau. Come on. You can make it through this.
Peak, trough, plateau.
Eight Rounds Rapid – Channel Swimmer
This is is is great. Art Brut meets ATV, with a touch of the old Wilkos. With a smattering of all those (rather scary) old ruffians: The Inmates, Nine Below Zero, Dr Feelgood. All that crowd, but in 2014. You need to understand. I’m an Essex boy. Some of me grew up on this music. And aggression was part of my life.
Sleaford Mods – Tied Up In Nottz
Bam. It’s fucking everything I like about certain whole fucking sections of music. Articulate, sparky, nervous, grubby, funny, minimal, incisive, direct, repetitive, never dull, a Kellogg’s punch, a sardonic slash in the ladies’ toilet. There is seriously so little not to love here. Sure, it’s male. The way looking for pubic hair in bath plugholes is male. The way destroyed by… no that’s female too. Whatever. I don’t fucken hate males, you know? Just great fucking whining spotty-arse sections of them. Better than paper bag sex. Better than three lorry-loads of XX videos. More fun than your dad’s collection of I, Ludicrous B-sides.
We’ve been here before, but I make no apologies. Wendy’s voice still gets me – tears me apart – 25 years on. And maybe it gets me even harder these days, because it reminds me of all that I missed and all that I now miss. (You know what I miss most these days? Being unable to grab that iron bar in my hand and go around smashing clocks and fittings and walls, wrenching off bannisters from entire staircases. Being unable to stub that cigarette out on my arm. Punching walls. I can’t because I can’t let my kids see the marks.) You think I’m making this Song of the Day out of simple nostalgia? You’re wrong. Nostalgia is never simple. I want to dance and leap so high, I never come down. I have no idea about major and minor keys. I have no way of knowing what chords are played where. I just know there are certain notes when played in a certain sequence that cut me every time. I’m not sure why Wendy is singing of love and obsession and desire and pain in 2014 (I appreciate it’s a reference to the 1995 album) cos no one feels that shit any more, do they? (Wait. I’m starkly reminded of a beach in Hastings, last summer, England season time.) But I’m glad she is, but it feels so remote. The guitars do what the guitars must: and they tear me as well. The drums tear me. The bass that sounds like Girls At Our Best! The slightly clumsy middle-eight tears me. I mean, wow.
That’s how it works, right? You see a band, you fall in love for a minute, an hour, a week, a year… whatever it takes. It’s even better when it’s unexpected cos then the rush of blood, the surge of adrenalin feels more pure somehow, genuine. A few days ago, I had my head blown apart by an unruly assortment of unruly types on stage at Brightside – as part of the Blurst festival. I was caught unawares. Back of my mind, I had this band marked down as “fine, not extraordinary”. I’d listened to a bit of their recorded stuff. It was fine. Not extraordinary. Now it seems like clouds billowing across the sky as I lie on my back on a roundabout in Oaklands Park. Now, it feels like I’m crying to Sebadoh at the Avalon Ballroom in Boston 1992. I’m not a fan of “indie” as a genre these days. It really bugs me, tell the truth. But this ain’t that, same way Pavement weren’t that either when I first rubbed drinking shoulders with them, same way The Box and The Laughing Clowns were just a bald excuse to get my dancing shoes on. I’m old now. My days aren’t long. Life is not timeless. Life is mostly a drudge, an admitted failure. But I can still dream and spiral out to the stars with Nina Simone and Beyoncé and The UV Race.
It’s Kim Warnick.
It’s Tobi Vail.
It’s Corin Tucker.
It’s The Go-Go’s.
It’s a taut coiled spring ready to pounce.
It’s The Pleasure Seekers.
It’s Blue Angel.
It’s Patty Schemel.
It’s repetition as a weapon.
It’s The Donnas.
It’s The Detroit Cobras.
It’s Dolly Mixture.
It’s Johnny Diesel.
It’s Au Pairs.
It’s Jennifer Finch.
It’s Coloured Balls.
Arre! Arre! – Word On The Street
We go around in circles. We go around and round and round and round. No, that’s not me speaking. That’s me quoting the first ebullient scratchy song from the ‘Word On The Street’ EP by righteous Malmö feminist punks Arre! Arre! (Malmö: home to Alice Boman and The Cardigans, if I recall correctly. I’ve been there. I remember it was twilight, and clean.) We go round and round and round. Silent treatment is a guilty pleasure. I don’t know what I’m typing here. I’m just a cipher, a bad translator. Makes me think of ’78 – The Avengers, specifically (no, not the fucking superhero film, you Cross-loving bozo) – but then, most everything does when I feel down and suffering from the ‘flu. Marvellous stuff. Sparks, and sends incendiary hope across the garage millions. I guess there’s a touch of Bikini Kill too: but that’s like saying The Velvet Underground, The Beatles, Joy Division. A canon too obvious to reference, mainly. All the songs here are better than a three-banana smoothie. All of them. Maybe it’s the drumming? I’ve long noticed that most women drum better than most men. I have no idea why that should be.
“You say you’re not a sexist, but you don’t believe in equal rights.”
No, that’s not me. Though it could be, I suppose. That’s Arre! Arre! again, on a wonderful rolling song called ‘Word On The Street’. Chiding and softly venomous and a call-to-arms. It’s the fucking drums. Honestly.
It’s so good. Transparent. You can hear all the workings, the fluidity, the spontaneity, the beautiful melody at the heart of the craft and… why can’t anyone else manage this?
It’s playful. It’s profound. It’s nonsensical. It makes me giddy with momentary euphoria, and makes me wish I had a switch in my brain that could transfer sound into physical sustenance, sensation.
So natural. So human. Never boring or mundane.
Couple of weeks ago, under the impression the new Saints album – King Of The Sun/King Of The Midnight Sun (one’s a messier take on the other) – was indeed a new Saints album, I was asked to review it for The Guardian (Australia). So I listened to it, several times over. Closely. I wasn’t expecting too much, frankly. No Kuepper, no comment. Yes, it’s a long time to hold a side. Whatever. Also, any singer whose song Bruce Springsteen covers on his latest album (as he did with a Bailey composition)… well, let’s just say. I weren’t impressed. But Bangs alive! What a great rollicking, swaggering album of storytelling and electric(ifying) guitars. What an audacious and searing lilt to the voice, but smooth as all those music journalist clichés involving finely matured whiskey would have it, only smoother. And what fucking GREAT songs! Blink, and I could almost imagine that Kuepper had been responsible for it (except that the voice is…uh…better; and the guitars not quite so). I am so not familiar with The Saints’ catalogue post-early 1980s, but what a champion reawakening. Anyhow, turns out that this new Saints album is only a new Saints album in Europe. In Australia, it’s been available for a couple of years. So. Halfway through writing a review, I binned it. Sigh. Music that I wouldn’t normally like, but man. You can taste all of what followed – from Nick Cave, The Triffids and The Drones and The Gin Club onwards – within these lines and the sweet, sweet brass. Just wonderful.
I am so way in love with Chris Bailey’s insouciant gaze right now.
A trusted source suggests I may love Seattle’s Fear Kittens. They’re right. I do.
I mean, how couldn’t I? They remind me of (deep breath)… The Groceries, Ed’s Redeeming Qualities,Lesbo Pig, Maria And The Gay (the band I once threatened to shut this website down for), Marine Girls, The Diskettes, Girlpool, Stanley Brinks, Clive Pig, Trixie’s Big Red Motorbike, The Crabs, Frankie Cosmos (the artist who caused me to stop writing about music for three months because I couldn’t find the words), The Cannanes, Clag, The Penguins, The See Gulls, Tangerine, Kimya Dawson, Manors… oh and so many more secret crushes and full-blown love affairs and hate fucks besides. This is some heartland Everett True music: witchy, breathy, silence as a rhythm too, the odd tumble of melody and anguished vocal and chair being scraped across the floor. It’s the accent. It’s the gender. It’s the non-reliance upon muscly wife-beater rock. It’s the brevity. It’s the beauty. It’s the secret car pooling. It’s the sound of the bass and clattering, human drums. It’s the wind on my face as I cross over the freeway at Pike. It’s loneliness and distance and the memory of a… It’s snow angels and snowball fights and a truck stuck at the side of the road in Detroit snow. It’s bake sales and fire hydrants. (This is all terrible English. No apologies.)
Everett True thinks that very few people can howl so coherently and cogently as the ladies of Sleater-Kinney, very few people can make such adrenalin surge down the spine just by opening their mouths to sing. Everett True also believes that the guitar was created to be played by a woman, and that the ladies of Sleater-Kinney fucking ROCK like few others, whatever gender. I know, because I also asked him about this.
I know and I love this song so well, though – ever since I saw him perform it on a grand piano in the Quakers Meeting Hall in Brighton a few years back. Or perhaps it was in his and Sadie’s flat in Worthing. (I say a few years. It has to be over six, because that’s how long I’ve been living here in Brisbane. This video was released 18 months ago. So long ago, I’ve seen Chris perform with Crayola Lectern on a beach in Worthing since then. On pebbles, and with random revellers snared in and entranced by the hypnotic loveliness of the Lectern keyboards.) I know what the song is about, loosely: he’s told me. So I’m not going to tell you. Interpretation, remember? Always leave it up to the listener. It’s haunting, mournful, beautiful. It’s like something drawn from that wonderful 1974 album Rock Bottom, but I don’t mean that to sound like it’s copyist. It ain’t. It’s so fucking good, it should be closing out the end credits of three dozen TV serials about surrealist loneliness and isolation and long-distance worry. Such a graceful way of making the silence linger. Such a beautiful sonorous trumpet. Such a lovely dance. Such wonderful double-layering of the vocal line. Makes me miss my dear friend’s companionship and caring so much.
What am I? A recommendation service. Another link in a chain that probably has too many links, or maybe not. A casual observer. A non-participant. (How do folk who don’t participate, commment? That’s been one of the hardest readjustments in my Brisbane situation.) A cipher that frequently stutters upon translation. Faceless value. If you don’t know my currency then why would you bother clicking in? Neil Kulkarni – the man who always induces slight dyslexia in me whenever I type his name – recommended me this song. I immediately dug its groove, the black and white starkness of the message, the call-back to late 60s funk and soul. I own – I say own, but no one owns music anymore do they, in this world of the loaned MP3 – several dozen albums from that era that have vocals that hit me trembling with the high like 7evenThirty. Dude rhapsodises so eloquently, laidback but deeply affronted and ill at ease with the system. I mean, vinyl. I mean hundred. Several hundred.
The rap is Outkast good.
The Phi Mu Washboard Band – Love Hurts
The charm of this lies much in the way it is in no way overstated. Indeed, in its gentle love for music and reckless willingness to try its own hand at same, it reminds me of Langley Schools Music Project. There’s the same wide-eyed naivity. The same wonderment.
Alvvays – Archie, Marry Me
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by Everett True
My name is Everett True. I am a music critic. This is what I do. I criticise music. The clue is in my job description – music critic. I do not consider myself a journalist, as I do not research or report hard news. I do not consider myself a commentator as I believe that everyone should be a participant. I criticise people and in return I am not surprised if other people criticise me. It is part of the whole deal of being in the public arena. I am Everett True. Believe in me and I have power like a God. Quit believing in me and I no longer exist.