These are a Few of my Favourite Things … from 2011 | Victoria Birch
By Victoria Birch
This isn’t a cohesive Top 10, more a brain spew of my 10 favourite things from this year – oh, and one thing that rankled me.
I did fiddle around with an introduction of sorts, then came across an interview with Kate Bush in the Sydney Morning-Herald. She’s talking specifically about 50 Words For Snow, but her words have a wider relevance, especially in relation to all the amazing people that contribute articles and discussion at Collapse Board.
I think it’s almost a law of nature that there are only certain things that hit an emotive space and that’s what was always special for me about music: it made me feel something. If you are interested enough to have a listen, hopefully you will enter that world and enjoy it. That is what is so great about art: it is a personal relationship between the person who chooses to engage with album and the music.
Florence And The Machine – Ceremonials
The girl behind me implores me to dance. My stasis is a scientific conundrum! A biological impossibility! How could I do anything other than dance? I turn and point at my gut. I’m a Weeble – except I could fall down. And if I did I wouldn’t be getting up without the aid of a forklift.
I’m twice as big and twice as old as 99% of the audience – young women goggled eyed at the streaky, thin lady in front of us who has arms like ribbons and is a whirl of diaphanous material and big singing.
As I rub my swollen belly (like us pregnants do) and look around at the youth and joy, I have a small but significant epiphany. This may not be for me, but in 16 years my daughter will have her music. I won’t have to steer her through the soft porn and auto tune. There will be a Florence. There will be Gothic overtones. There will be clever bombast. When she shuns me (as she should) I will entrust it to guide her through her brittle teenage years to the music of her life.
Who will no doubt ask what the buggery was going on in my hormone-addled head and why I didn’t foresee the humourless, stadium-baiting Ceremonials coming a mile off. “Everett wept!” she’ll yell as she slams the bedroom door for the umpteenth time at the ignominy of being saddled with a name synonymous with disappointment.
Maybe I’ll save the angst and tell her we started here all along …
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
I wasn’t going to. I already feel like the indeterminate piece of meat in the Collapse Board pie (yum, yum, yum … urgh what’s that?!). I knew I found the album more than passable, but on reflection I’ve played it most weeks. Ask that I leave quietly and take my limp handshake of an album with me if you like. I can’t ignore the fact that at 5am when I’m up and the night is hanging on by a thread, Robin Pecknold butters my ears and smooths out the creases. I guess there’s been more than one occasion this year when all I’ve wanted to do is open a big ole’ jar of easy.
Alexander Tucker – Dorwytch
“Doom chamber-pop songs and psychedelic music-concrete collages” … allegedly. I’m not sure about that, mainly because I have no idea what it means. Plenty is made of Tucker’s experimental adventures and I dare say his live one-man-band shenanigans are a sight to behold, there’s just not much evidence of it here and I like that. Whatever trickery is at play, all I hear is a string section to drown in.
Haunted House – Blue Ghost Blues
A shitty, scummy recording bleeding black static. Blue Ghost Blues is for dark, dark places and shifting realities. Suzanne Langille’s sinister poetry connects with parts of the psyche most of us try and keep well hidden from loved ones.
ADULT. – I Feel Worse When I’m With You
It’s from 2006 and discovered by me this year, so this is where I’m playing my Laura Crapo “It doesn’t matter when songs were made” card. The techno backing is fantastically obnoxious and worthy of any souped-up automobile with bass speakers the size of tractor tyres. It’s smashed together with a bit of psychobilly and the hammy vocals of Nicola Kuperus. The egg-cracking moment in the video is very great but it’s all totally bonkers and a fine go-to point at the end of a dull day.
Royal Headache – Royal Headache
Hey you, let’s dance!
Adalita – Adalita
Magic Dirt always seemed to be about the tatts and the rawk and the bad ass. I thought it was boring as all hell. No matter, the circumstances surrounding the band’s demise were truly awful. There’s been plenty of conjecture around Adalita’s solo album, that it’s informed by loss and the burden of grief. True in many ways but to me it’s the sound of someone shedding artifice and clawing her way back home.
Grimes – Crystal Ball
“FUCK THIS SONG MAKES ME FEEL LIKE A FLYING UNICORN”. Isn’t that grand? Not my words though – I plundered them from the YouTube comments section. ‘Crystal Ball’ is delicious. Watch out for the stomping boots, they’re a precursor to 20 seconds of breathy gorgeousness that (much like Brigette’s Azelia Banks clip) is all the better for folding back into electro jiggery pokery never to be heard again.
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