Hello and welcome to Basement Dwelling a column written by me: Daniel R. Fiorio where I review new records that should be on your musical radar. What sets Basement Dwelling apart from other music review columns is that these are all albums that are currently residing in my record collection. No promo copy was given, no stream was listened to, but a record was purchased (even if i didn’t like it). Don’t think of me as a critic but as a music obsessive looking to open a dialouge about some of the best tunes that are currently being released. Let’s head down to the basement and listen to….
Vampires are, at this point in human history, archetypal monsters that are as important to our modern psyches as almost any of the creatures that populated the folklore of the various ancestral lands that made up the world when it was a much simpler place. As humanity has branched and evolved so to have the needs within us that our ‘boogey men’ serve, and as such our monsters wear many hats, perhaps none more so than Vampires. Our eternal, bloodsucking brethren have been romantic, brutal, viral, pretty, considerate, comical and apocalyptic. For myself, while I’m always interested in new takes on old ideas, of late the simpler the approach to Vampires the better. Twilight and Sukie Stackhouse have, in my opinion, overly domesticated the Vampire, and as such anything that strips them of that, ahem, sparkly sheen is welcome. While admittedly I spent the early 90s enthralled by Anne Rice’s lush visions of her Nosferatu, the candlelight-and-leather approach is what the Cullens evolved from and thus have, for now, run its course. Today, if I’m going to be interested in Vampires at all it has to be a more visceral experience.
There was this moment that played out years ago, sometime in the early 2000’s, when I was in a record store, sifting through CD’s and LP’s, letting my mind wander and breathe, when over the store’s PA system came a revelation. To be fair, this moment has happened several times over my life, some record store somewhere playing some song that gets stuck in my ears, head, and soul, and demands that I procure a copy of it right then and there. I’m that sucker from that scene in High Fidelity where the clerks make a bet as to how fast they can move a copy of The Beta Band’s The Three EP’s album by playing “Dry the Rain” in the store. I’m that guy who perks up and starts nodding his head, glancing around the room for evidence as to what is being listened to. You have me trapped. I am in your control. You play something wonderful, and I’m probably going to buy it from you…right then and there. Over the years I’ve been turned on to everything from Stephin Merritt’s Future Bible Heroes project to Richard Youngs and Simon Wickham-Smith’s weirdo experimental album Pulse of The Rooster, indie rock from The Dears to old psych classics like Skip Spence’s Oar. I am seriously in sonic debt to you people, but the high water mark will always be the pure and beautiful sounds of Scott Walker (Engel) and The Walker Brothers.
Have you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.
“Burning Bridges” by The Mike Curb Congregation
Dad songs. They’re not like dad jokes, as in sometimes they can actually be good. But, good or not, they have an uncanny ability to grab you by the heart and ears and bring you right back home. I have plenty of dad songs. Some of them I like, some of them are there strictly for nostalgia purposes, and there are a couple that I completely adore. “Burning Bridges” is one of those.
Airboy. Holy crap – AIRBOY! This book is completely batshit crazy; a fearless piece of meta-fiction wrapped in a superhero shell (or is that the other way around?) and I am loving it! Highest possible recommendation. If you are over 18 years of age. Well, maybe even if you’re not but are a mature reader. But if that’s you and you snatch this book off your local comic book store shelves and any authority figures in your life catch you with it and demand and explanation, well, I didn’t tell you about. I only told you how good it was…
“People see rock n’ roll as youth culture, and when the youth culture becomes monopolized by big business what are the youth to do? Do you have any idea? I think we should destroy the bogus capitalist system that is destroying youth culture.” As a 16 year old who had been getting deeper and deeper into the world of music, hearing that quote (Spoken by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth) and the music that followed is the kind of moment that sticks with any music fan. Hearing a song that is so damn perfect, so well written, means so much to you at that time that it sticks with you forever; that you never want it to end. That’s the experience I have anytime I hear the second track on this record: “Heaven’s On Fire.” The entirety of The Radio Dept’s third record Clinging To A Scheme (2010) is just as joyful of an experience.