I can't seem to hide from the sounds around me

dear friends,

welcome to my new summer hours. blame the heat, other commitments & my spine. I'm currently sporting huge, dark purple circle-bruises on my back courtesy of my alternative medicine provider, susan aka my chinese torturer. I look like my little pony meets matthew barney in a crop circle in england. perhaps I can pitch that to him for the next cremaster... or is that series over? oh well, there's always the barney's new one with bjork where they turn into whales & swim away... sometimes reality provides you with such satisfying conclusions to your daydreams.

1. alas, the delgados broke up. I heard them rather late in the day. they were playing some peel sessions on bbc in honor of the man & I heard their utterly charming version of mr. blue sky. it had none of the uber-grandeur of the e.l.o. original (thank god, I say) & when co-vocalist emma pollock solemnly sings "bamp baaaamp ba-ba-ba-bamp bah" at the end like a child in a choir, I became inexplicably choked up. well...not inexplicably. I get very emotional by sincere attempts or approximations in popular music. do you know what I mean? when people try to replicate something honestly but wind up doing something that's not quite it but is just as meant, well it's as good as rudy* for me.

anywho, today the el pod-o shuffled onto keep on breathing from universal audio, their now swan-song. a stop/start carousel pseudo-waltz, something about the tune suggests sadness as well as derangement so I sought out the lyrics & enjoyed their desolate simplicity. someone is watching others driving away, waiting for phone calls, etc... & reports those observations in a flat affect. apparently, all this randomness is teaching them a lesson on just what exactly makes up life. huh? exactly! the narrator is a cypher & the music keeps spinning relentlessly so how is any lucidity possible in the midst of such sonic queasiness? of course, knowing me & my hyper-ventilating imagination, I could have this all wrong. the song could be really about cinderella or late night tv so why not seek it out & decide for yourself what is going on? 'cause whether there is meaning or not, it's a compelling slice of carnival noir-pop.

2. when you're feeling lousy, staring at the receiver after you've been screamed at & hung up on, I find it helps to put on music that will not only relax you but put things into pleasant perspective. life's a gas by t-rex is that song to me. no description necessary, just tuck it away somewhere until you need it.

3. I received a cd called vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot by sparklehorse as a gift. I thought the title of the record was really quite annoying so I ignored it for a year. when I finally put it on, I felt ashamed. it was as if the album was a neighbor who keeps inviting you to hang out but you always beg off, making excuses & at some point or another, 'cause you're BORED or lonely or something, you say "why the hell not?" & give in & they finally come over & you wind up staying up all night drinking, singing songs & talking on the porch. the morning light's coming, the gradual lightening of blues, the drink's wearing off in a good way as opposed to the circling sharks way & your brand new friend smiles at you & says "I'm glad we've finally gotten to know each other" & you're so very pleased you didn't have to say it yourself.

sparklehorse is really one man, mark linkous, a genius southern loner of the highest order who has managed to put out 2 other albums of considerable beauty** that occasionally feature some of his fans on vocals. oh fans like thom yorke & polly jean harvey*** & tom waits. the usual types you find gracing lo-fi albums of delicate oddities sung by a man whose voice evokes both finches & rust. while the more recent ones like good morning spider & it's a wonderful life are excellent like attics full of goodies for the curious hands of play-acting children, I always like to single out the most beautiful widow in town from the aforementioned vivadixie... because it is a brief plainspoken fragment of a tale & yet the story lingers long after the song is over. a man talks to a woman as they sweat like maniacs in her mother's living room. later he avoids her wedding portrait knowing that she is now a widow & he can't bear to look at her smile. is it real or a dream? the singer seems sure it is a dream but he sings about the woman of the title with such a beautiful bittersweet clarity that it all sounds hauntingly awake. linkous himself doesn't say much about this song except that it is "a true story recorded with a two dollar guitar". invite him over, you won't be sorry.

love, d

* apparently this is a movie that makes men cry. thankfully, not the monkey. he hates football.

** though not after lengthy but justified gestation periods. several years ago, linkous had a freak accident on tour in london where he passed out in his hotel thanks to a severe reaction caused by mixing his medication with wine. he passed out & fell in a position where his legs were trapped underneath him. when he was found twelve hours later & the paramedics tried to straighten his legs, he suffered a heart attack & fell into a coma. linkous awoke but because of the way his body had been those 12 hours, he had damaged his legs in such a way that there was talk of amputation. as of today, he can walk but he will have to wear braces for the rest of his life.

*** his polly jean duets (eyepennies, piano fire & sick of goodbyes) are among the many reasons why, generally speaking, miss harvey is magic.

songs to seek: mr. blue sky/the delgados, keep on breathing/the delgados, life's a gas/t-rex, eyepennies/sparklehorse, piano fire/sparklehorse, sick of goodbyes/sparklehorse, the most beautiful widow in town/sparklehorse


Blogger Gimp78 said...

Thank you for introducing me to SPARKLEHORSE! A southern crip loner- how can I resist!

4:18 PM, August 17, 2005  
Blogger Mike said...

Hey D - does that Sparklehorse album have "Someday I Will Treat You Good?" If so, think you could MP3 me? I'll make it worth your while.

4:33 PM, August 17, 2005  
Blogger d said...

g, ya know I'm all about the cripples.

mike, I can certainly get that to you. I also have an alternate version of the song from the film laurel canyon feat. actor alessandro nivola on vocals & lou barlow(!) on guitar. tres weird. like a xerox.

6:40 PM, August 17, 2005  

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