This last week I started twittering. Suddenly all the small moments in my life are memorialized in 140 characters or less. So now in addition to being able to keep up with what some of my favorite real-life friends are doing RIGHT THIS MINUTE, I’ve also laughed daily at the twitter feed of writer Joshua Green Allen aka fireland. I don’t know him for reals but I first read about him over on Heather’s Dooce blog, and he turns out to live up in Denver. Now, my Denver is never as fun as his Denver, but now I can chuckle at his twitter feeds like: “First time I’ve ever been fired for sexual harassment during a job interview, but your sick gams ARE my biggest managerial weakness.”
Allen also penned a great article about the perfect length for a song, and posits that it “had to be closer to three minutes than two, but definitely shorter than three minutes. Three minutes is where bloat starts to set in. Where the band thinks: Hey, let’s do the chorus seven times. Hey, let’s give the saxophone guy a real moment to shine on this one. Hey, let’s add another bridge.”
He goes on to give some love to The La’s “There She Goes” as the ultimately perfect song of that perfect length. In sum, a man after my own heart. Listen to the 2:42 muxtape too if you’re in an abbreviated mood.
Music for this week:
This Portland band played on Saturday at Denver’s Hi-Dive but I was literally still trying to thaw under my comforter from a freezing afternoon attempting to understand Australian Rules Football in a friend’s tournament over at the Air Force Academy. Starfucker rocked the joint, and I dozed cozily. But I’ll bet the cool kids there enjoyed their sound — sexy but not sleazy, light but with an undercurrent of electronic grime. I think this song should have played in Empire Records; it’s got that mid-90s innocence and pop heft. Starfucker’s self-titled debut is out now on Badman, and their cover of Madonna’s “Burnin’ Up” is also streaming on RCRDLBL. Worth noting, they are neither the NIN song nor the Belgian band of the same name, but apparently this recreational hobby seems to be hitting its stride.
Balloons (Foals cover) - Holy Fuck
Balloons (original) – Foals
Hey, while we’re already using words that make my mom blush, let’s throw this little nugget in here as well. This week Foals and Holy Fuck released a collaboration/mutual admiration society 12″ where they each covered one of the other’s songs. These dudes both played Monolith, so I like to picture them sitting down at the oxygen bar and coming up with this idea amidst the red rocks. It could happen. To get the vice-versa cover (Super Inuit), click here. The split 12″ is out now on white vinyl via Young Turks, or on their tour(s).
As I write this Sunday night (35Â° outside!), I’ve been listening to Mountain Goats on shuffle while I pack and go through stuff I’d rather not look through in prep for moving this next weekend. The poetic ache of Darnielle’s lyrics, his indignation and passion keep these songs on repeat. The newly-released Satanic Messiah EP is not Darnielle’s foray into black metal but rather a lovely 4-song acoustic collection with religious metaphor themes (not uncommon in his songs). Of these songs, Darnielle writes, “I am fond of them; they remind me of old vanished things.” This particular tune is ostensibly about going to see a show or performance, and how “we were all made young when he stepped onto the stage, like an animal escaping from his cage,” and then sings about how they all were “too dazed to leave when it was over.” Mountain Goats play Denver on Friday night with Kaki King, and I’m going to hope for something similar.
I Can’t Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt cover)
No, really. Listen to this cover, even if you haven’t given Bonnie Raitt much thought since you (like my sister) sang this song in Pops Choir in high school. Philadelphia folk artist Denison Witmer loves covers as much as I do, and he’s taken to releasing a whole slew of them for free in his achingly stripped-down style. Through his MySpace and a partnership with the ace Cover Lay Down blog, Denison has been giving away free songs on a regular basis, including ones originally by Band of Horses, Oasis, Van Morrison and Red House Painters. This particular one is my favorite of the batch. It starts with a settling in a room; you can hear the grey empty space starkly bouncing back his plaintive, resigned voice. It is an absolutely devastating song, and especially the way he does it — all void and defeated. Witmer’s new album Carry The Weight is out November 11th, and side project alert: check out his River Bends band with Steve Yutzey-Burkey of The Swimmers.
Urban Lull (At Once Charmed)
The Umbrella Sequence
I’ve said it before, but our local community college radio station is one of the best I’ve ever listened to. They have turned my ears on to so many things that I previously missed, like The Umbrella Sequence from Minneapolis. This song came over my car speakers the other day and I was instantly addicted and turned it way up. With sunshiney chiming pop melodies that fight valiantly (and occasionally win) through a scratchy wall of fuzz and electronica, they garner comparisons to Flaming Lips and Super Furry Animals. This is the lead-off track from last year’s Events (on Princess Records), and like a good aspiring rock star, Ryan Rupprecht sings over and over “We’re all getting bored” — but no, I am definitely not. Great song.
OH, A CLOSING PLEA: Help me think of fabulous Halloween costume ideas, potentially surrounding a long red dress with marvelous sequin trim I found in my basement? I also have a red feather boa, if that helps (or perhaps doesn’t). Or suggest something completely different. I’ll probably be at the Girl Talk show first that night, so I could go dressed as a hipster in neon sunglasses.