The Fall’s Mark E Smith
Jan24

The Fall’s Mark E Smith

In 1988, as a kid with a fresh CD of “I Am Kurious Oranj,” I was not the toast of the party. I remember playing it for friends. No one was into it.* Christgau loved it, not that that helped. My favorite records have always been alienating. When I was 10, I played this LP for my horrified grandparents. A few years later, I bought Fact. 40 in a sealed purple box at a Listening Booth record store (without knowing what was...

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14 Years of Heartbeats
Dec02

14 Years of Heartbeats

The Knife’s “Heartbeats” is 15 years old now. Not soon after its release, fellow Swedish musician José González released an acoustic version, setting the stage (along with Gary Jules’ version of “Mad World”) for a genre of pop song renderings that challenge the success of their source material.   José’s Version The Knife In case you haven’t heard it recently, here’s the...

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Mike Skinner, The Streets and Norwegian Death Metal
Aug02

Mike Skinner, The Streets and Norwegian Death Metal

1999 Norwegian death metal band, Bloodthorn releases the epic (and I am not being facetious) The Brighter the Light, The Darker the Shadow. 2016 The Street’s Mike Skinner begins posting tracks under the name The Darker the Shadow, The Brighter the Light (iTunes Music people, get them here). Stripped down, like early Mountain Goats, the music is a framework for the author’s quirky stories. Unfortunately, for Bloodthorn...

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We Were Promised Jetpacks – Unravelling
Feb15

We Were Promised Jetpacks – Unravelling

Scotland is a hell of place if you love music (and whiskey) without pretense. So many artists, so many radically different sounding artists: Primal Scream, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Arab Strap and Belle & Sebastien. Hell, even the Bay City Rollers. They might share a homeland but that’s about it. We Were Promised Jetpacks–like The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit–are the inheritors of this iconoclastic...

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Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It
Jun09

Perfume Genius – Put Your Back N 2 It

It’s been five years since Seattle’s Mike Hadreas released his first record on Matador. A beautiful, low-fi affair, it was the work of a songwriter who clearly needed a few more records to exorcise his demons. Now that he’s thirty–and two years after releasing his second record, Put Your Back N 2 It–Hadreas is getting ready for a third movement. After wrapping a tour with punk labelmates Fucked Up, those...

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