walk like a robot from 1984

Dear friends,

I'm writing, it must be Thursday. I need to do many things. I need to do the work of three people tomorrow when the sales department will be out. I need to trim my fingernails so I don't resemble Rip Van Winkle. I need to shoot dirty, dirty looks from my perch on the 63 bus as it slowly passes the salon where a hairdresser named Natasha left me looking like I have two big parentheses (parenthesi?) on the sides of my face after she attempted to freakin' layer. I need to get that Kylie Minogue DVD from Netflix NOW. I don't care if there is "a very long wait". I want dance numbers and scantily clad, toothy Aussies strutting and doing rump shakes. That will certainly make me feel better after what is turning into a very special feel bad month. Grrrr!

1. I love The Dirtbombs because no one makes me happier currently in a live setting. They are sweaty shouting good times and while the overall sound could be called garage rock, there's so much dance in it, there's more groove than flail. Fearless leader Mick Collins has a teenage daydreamer's idea of what a rock star should wear on stage: HUGE black glasses (to disguise the fact that he usually needs bottle-thick specs), shiny shirts (to distract us from those glasses?) and the gigantic smile of a man that loves his job and and his double rhythm section (two drummers, two bassists) make such a righteous, groove-heavy racket that whenever I see them I feel this revival tent feeling coming from the crowd. They forget themselves and dance. How wonderful is THAT to see at a rock show? Especially here in the too cool for school capitol of the world, New Yawk.

The 'bombs just released an excellent 2 disc comp called If You Don't Already Have a Look (a poke at a bit of advice Little Steven gave bands playing his garage fest shows - apparently that sentence ends "...you should consider getting one"). One disc of singles and one disc of covers. Give the Elliott Smith cover, Brand New Game, a few listens. One of those great songs that ends too quickly and you have to hear again; it's revved up, angry and authoritative in a way Mr. Smith would've loved. But there's more to love in this collection than that tune. So go get it. It's tasty, filling and naughty like fried chicken. You'll pat your belly a bit, then get up to get down.

2. I can babble about Bearsuit until the banjo playin' bears take off their skins and repair to their favorite local Orlando dive. So I control myself and pipe in about them now and again, just to remind you how great they are. Sometimes their songs are fierce, fun and fast like the fabulous Chargr. Sometimes, like on Your Special Day, which is available to download here, they are fantastical islets where flutes appear in the form of bluebirds flying in a heart formation and the harmonies are sweet and warm. The ending refrain which is adorned with all of the above as well as what sounds like determinedly pizzicato'd violas** is so charming that it might make the more rockist among you want to plan a mass murder***. Those who like their glockenspiels light will bop their head, smile and dream of the day when Bearsuit will finally come play America. One summer, kids. One summer. Just not this one. (Sniff)

3. As some of you know I like monkeys. They amuse me to no end. So when I'm bored I'll often google the word and this is how I came across The Arctic Monkeys. These British boys provide funny, little social vignettes in pop punk form that don't come with irritating eye-winking and elbows to the rib. They know you get it and they respect that but it's much more important to them that you FEEL it. Go to their site, find the music section, download I Bet You look Good On The Dance Floor. Jump along to it. Or do the robot if you MUST be arch. Then go and have a frozen banana milkshake. Repeat the next day.

4. I talked up the Nine Black Alps single Cosmopolitan here. Luckily for NYC, not only will you be able to catch them at Siren if you are crowd + relentless sun inclined BUT if you are not, they are also playing The Mercury Lounge next Tuesday July 19 just in time to coincide with a USA-only introductory EP. 7:30 show, nice andearly. You down? I'm down. Let's go.

5. Some time ago, in this Soft Communication post, elusive Contributor Dan recommended that we all go to anti-folk songstress Diane Cluck's website and download the song Easy To Be Around from her album O Vanille**** and get it stuck in our heads immediately. Short post. No why's, just do's. I did. Wow.

I am not the model of brevity. No. I am the picture, the photograph, the etching of long-windedness. I'll tell you I too, could not stop, in fact have not stopped listening to this song. Especially of late, like yesterday as I made my way home after a rough day of work & correspondence. It worked its magic and I was succored.

The song starts innocently enough with the simple but oddly gorgeous "I was in the coalmine picking up diamonds that the miners had left behind". Somehow or another as the song progresses, her double, then triple, then quadruple-tracked vocals quaver and shine like raindrops caught in a spiderweb that dazzle the eyes with reflected light. She turns and twists the vocal melody so that it falls into unexpected dissonant shadows and swoops back up into brightness. Standing in contrast is the strumming of her guitar which she plays in hard, percussive downward slashes; a welcome respite from the usual and also a subtle way of making you listen more closely. Lyrically the song appears to be a paean of contentedness albeit one that never sounds cloying or trite or ignorant of change but is still somehow, just utterly blissful. Another number I never, ever want to end. I could play it and play in it for a long time with quiet stupefied joy.

So yeah, what Dan said. Go hear the song.

Love, D

* For a man who claims to be legally blind, Collins has unerring ability to spot the most bust-tacular woman in the audience and thank her...for dancing. It would be almost skeevy if he wasn't so earnestly grateful.

** Violas? I don't know. It could be violins I suppose though the range seems a bit low. Listen to it. Get back to me. Correct me if I'm wrong.

*** Thanks Moz!

**** O Vanille can be purchased by contacting Diane Cluck through her website.

Songs to seek: Brand New Game/The Dirtbombs, Your Special Day/Bearsuit, I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor/The Arctic Monkeys, Easy To Be Around/Diane Cluck

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Anonymous Tina said...

The Cluck song is one of the best songs I've heard in a while. Phil has been playing it nonstop for a while now at the Estate and you describe it perfectly. At first all of the layer vocals freaked me out and then I just went along with the song. GET IT NOW!!!

Oh, and the Dirtbombs rule. Hands down, yeah yeah. I want to go dancing.

3:20 PM, July 15, 2005  
Anonymous Tina said...


3:21 PM, July 15, 2005  
Blogger d said...

I am purchasing o vanille. I'll write about it as soon as I give it the deep listen.

3:33 PM, July 15, 2005  
Anonymous Tina said...

Nice...if it's good, I'll get it too.

4:46 PM, July 15, 2005  
Blogger Kirsten said...

Bearsuit! Bearsuit! Beeeeearsuit!

I remember when I first started reading Softcomm and saw the name Bearsuit, I was thrilled someone else knew them! For the longest time "Hey Charlie Hey Chuck" could be found on my CD mixes.

Speaking of obscure British bands, I was at my kid bro's house recently and saw a tattered sci-fi novel by Michael Moorcock lying among the squalor. Now I didn't know who he was before but it brought to mind a song by Half Man Half Biscuit called Dickie Davies Eyes.

"Mention the Lord of the Rings just once more and I'll more than likely kill you. Moorcock, Moorcock, Michael Moorcock you fervently moan."

That line amused me before the connection was made. I played it for my dad and he giggled. He is up there in the realm of Tolkien geekdom.

End ramble now.

7:05 PM, July 16, 2005  
Blogger d said...

I loves me some half man half biscuit! "joy division oven gloves" is my mix staple.

1:04 AM, July 17, 2005  

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