The Joup Friday Album: Pavement ‘Terror Twilight’

terrortwilight I gather y’all had a total eclipse of the sun this the past week? We rarely have anything as interesting or extreme in this perpetual gloaming we Brits call a climate. Last time we did was August 1999, and the next isn’t due until September 2090, which I can confidently RSVP in the negatory. I at least experienced the last we had. I was losing my shit job-virginity in a Cash & Carry. Customer footfall into the warehouse disappeared the closer it drew, and we stepped into an Omega Man-outside, pedestrian and vehicular traffic along the busy corridor into the city eerily absent. The celestial sequence began and Co-workers drew out little rectangles of amber perspex to view it through and the weekday world began to take on an incongruous gloom on this hot and clear August morning. I looked at the random assortment of specimens I was contractually obliged to spend 37.5 hours of my waking week-with all craning their heads sunward and decided for some reason I might be better off looking behind me…

The Joup Friday Album: (smog) ‘Accumulation: None’

smog accumulation noneThat kid who sat at the back of the class, seemingly almost monochromatic except for his Egon Schiele pink-tinged skin? You never heard of him again. You assume he was institutionalised after leaving school for the strange things he was rumoured to be doing to the neighbourhood pets in his bedroom. Or perhaps he even managed to drift along under the radar for a while until he finally did that hushed-up ‘something’ that got him put away for the rest of his natural days. It thrills my soul to think, that for someone in the world, that kid has wandered back into their consciousness as a bona fide dyed-in-the-wool purveyor of American song. The signs were already apparent on the aptly named ‘Supper’, the penultimate, most accomplished album of Smog’s career to that point. The songs were sumptuously crafted, achingly poignant or else chugged-along rockingly, teeming with an abundance of astute observation delivered in his trademark laconic style. After declaring his love for a watercourse, the Smog lifted, and along with it, so did his mood…albeit temporarily, making it easy to forget that this monochromatic, Egon Schiele-skinned kid used to do strange things to his tape recorder in his bedroom.

The Joup Friday Album: Earth ‘Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II’

Earth Angels of Darkness Demons of Light 2 Earth specialize in dreary forays into the subtly supernatural that, in the hands of a lesser band, would be laughable, but if you use these records to soundtrack the news, it’s easy to believe in demons. Judging by recent promotional shots of the band, Dylan Carlson is increasingly taking on the appearance of some world-weary, handlebar mustachioed Midwestern prospector — lines furrowing his once Elfin face.

The Joup Friday Album – Jeff Buckley ‘Sketches (For My Sweetheart The Drunk)’

Buckley Sketches What with US politics having descended into what feels like an aborted late 80s Rodney Dangerfield vehicle (he gets no respect, he’s even got the red tie and everything) to distract from the actual mortals scheming behind his Cheeto Benito decrees, I must have gotten to thinking about something that leads-in with a big anti-establishment agitpop-song, but swiftly realigns its sights inward, to study something more rudimentally human, if no less depressing. I’m not sure how much the last 20 years has done to improve the appreciation of the ‘Hallelujah’ dude in his homeland where he was always incongruously overlooked. I dismissed him for a decade after his debut, due to it being a staple of the record collections of students whose taste I didn’t respect, alongside the same slew of CDs that made it look as though they’d signed up for a record club with the same stroke of a pen as their University application. I’m a serial record collection forensic expert at the best of times, but this pastime served as a useful attention-deflection technique when finding myself at parties I didn’t really want to be at.

2016: A Solipsistic Musical Review

I dispensed with the terror that accompanied force-feeding myself popular music news and reviews shortly after I started writing about music in 2011 (in a brief, quasi-professional capacity anyway), both activities seemed from the-off to dissipate in enjoyment the more they were required of me, and the further I got from ‘my path’.  I felt in my twenties, as my tastes diversified that my discovery of new music was effortless; a self-sustaining passion driven not by trend-setting publications, but word of mouth and meticulous cross referencing of liner notes, or the research and natural curiosity that was born out of adoration. As I’ve gotten older and responsibilities have overtaken the free time I had to dedicate myself so absolutely in this pursuit, progress as been slow but sure; in this strolling I came to accept that I couldn’t keep abreast of everything new, and theorised – informed by the deluge of new music – that there was already in existence more great music than I likely have hours left in my body, and I should just drift with the current. My ‘path’ is now forged by the happenstance of hearing something on independent internet radio stations (chief among them the indefatigable Freeform Station of the Nation: WFMU), from past purchases that I never gave a fair crack back in the day, or my many expeditions round local charity shops where I fill holes in my collection or take chances on interesting looking discs. Here are ten choice selections from the discoveries I made this past year.

The Joup Friday Album

melissa

“Yo, Melissa, Imma let you finish, but I have one of the best Friday Albums of all time.”

No one invited me this week, but I have to take the stage. I have to mention it, this Elephant in the room (well it was once a Donkey, then a…whatever, then begrudgingly welcomed back as an Elephant when it looked like it might get its trunk on the peanut-keys. ‘Off she went with a trumpety-trump, trump, trump, trump’). It’s been two weeks since the combined nationwide clapping and gasp abruptly went reverberating around the world like the amplified unveiling of a waterfall of severed genitalia. To think, I was once torpid with apprehension at the prospect of the Romney-bot, who in retrospect looks like a chuckling uncle with no more nefarious-a-skeleton in his closet than a used-car lot, albeit with a dog strapped to the top of one of his inventory.

The Joup Friday Abum: Silver Jews – American Water

 

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

I was watching a documentary on Netflix the other night. In an opulent Florida hotel’s conference room, a defeated looking stringbean of a boy was sobbing confessions of suicidal ideation into the face of a millionaire weightlifter surrounded by an audience of strangers with whom all he had in common was the $5,000 dollar-wide hole in his pocket. Before soaking-up the boy’s despair, the muscular man – who was so strong, even his vocal chords were audibly ‘pumped’ – sort of Vogued, or did the robot or something, spun around a few times, jumped on a child’s trampoline a couple more for good measure, before ascending a handful of steps , emerging through a curtain to the conference room’s stage and fist-pumping the crowd into a frenzy with some kick ass 90s techno music before roaring a primal scream to the heavens. I mean, it looked and sounded like a roar, but I suppose it could have been a long, drawn-out slow motion guffaw at being the Cat’s Mulberry silk Pyjama’s in a room full of self-affirmed losers paying him for being so great.

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