This album completely knocked me out. I remember reading late last year how Conor had to cancel a tour due to exhaustion and was sent back home to Omaha to recover. Turns out he was suffering a full on breakdown. Every single song on ruminations is amazing, and nothing else could touch it. Beautiful, heart felt songs about a guy losing everything and trying to find peace in a world he doesn’t recognise or understand…
I’m so happy it’s the julie ruin, and this was almost my album of the year. I’ve written so much about Kathleen Hanna there’s little more to say, so here is the single. She still has the coolest voice around. The album, hit reset, which strangely enough I bought on cassette, has so many amazing songs on, I think it’s one of her best albums to date.
Uber-hip and occasionally annoying Thurston Moore said something silly this year like “I only buy tapes these days”, and of course that’s a ridiculous way to live, but it’s true there are an awful lot of amazing bands that only release things initially or on cassette. A few years ago I’d be scoring tapes at little charity shops getting over excited by a copy a early 7o’s Elton John tape for 25p, whereas I get things now like the new julie ruin album and twin forks on cassette and hardly ever pick up old stuff on tape anymore.
So, it’s no surprise that the best EP of the year is out as a download and on cassette too. It came out in October and by it’s a little New York band called Wild Pink. The title may not be the most exciting (4 songs), but the songs are. Calming, instinctive and soft. It’s reflective beautiful music, and that’s where I am right now, and I think where a lot of people are after all the craziness. “Don’t let the fear of losing me keep you from moving on….I’m the one that goes away”. Poetic daydreaming songs for daydreamers. What more do you want? Not only EP of the year but a close contender for track of the year too, to find out who gets that title come back in a few days.
So turns out I needed a 6 month break. Everything fell apart, but then it started to grow again in a different way, full of light so strong it could blind me. So, I turn back to music and books, and it’s a good time to reflect on the past year. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be celebrating my favourite music video, song, album and EP of the year. Going to start with video.
It’s been a crazy dark year, and it certainly seems like every music video reflects that. A couple of years ago there were lots of fun bright, breezy videos of people going surfing, or falling in love in the summer. This year it’s all about the end of the world, darkness and people falling apart. Even Lily and Madeline have a horror film for their new video! I’m still trying to make sense of the world in 2016, but I know, like Fontane wrote, there’s no way back. We’re in a Brexit, Trump, broken world. Now need to find the happiness and hope, and joy of everyday life. I’m hoping the music videos next year help bring some of that.
Anyway, here’s the best video I’ve seen. Radiohead. For anyone, like me, who dreams of moving to Camberwick Green…or maybe not, if this is what it’s become in 2016.
next week >>>> EP of the year.
Last time I’m going to write until after the summer so here goes….Quiet night here in the countryside, apart from a hamster chewing on my socks, I’m thinking of a Mark Kozelek sad song about him staring at the ceiling and singing about all the people he has lost in his life. Thinking too of all my favorite writers – Kerouac, Richard Yates, Stefan Zweig and how they all suffered so much. I’m writing poems again, many disposable lines that I just throw on the fire at the end of the day. I’ve kept a few, but I don’t need a poetry collection, throw them all away 🙂 It’s much better to spend 10 minutes writing a poem about the day than scrolling down facebook feeling disconnected. I’ll read a couple of these poems out at poetry club, but that’s as far as it will go.
International Noise Conspiracy once had a song called “abolish work”. The title “what do you want from me” is from a scene in Reality Bites. Ethan Hawke (of course) trying to explain why he doesn’t want to get a job because he wants to be free. Winona Ryder is saying he’s wasting his life and is going to end up a loser like his dad and doesn’t understand why he doesn’t want to get a job like everyone else.
I use to make that same argument as Ethan 15 years ago. I use to read “days of war nights of love” and had this romantic idea about a better world. I still believe it, but the book has now long gone from my life. I guess things change, people change, life is a weird mix of happiness and sadness at the moment, but hope is eternal.
Enjoy the summer. Here’s a song from a few years ago. It’s a bit crazy, but that’s ok…The best things in life tend to be. Oh, and don’t forget to buy the brilliant new Kathleen Hanna “julie ruin” album.
Three songs below, here’s why :
Tonight I’m watching the dvd Norah Jones: Live from Austin, and she’s so talented and so brilliant I always get goosebumps lying on the sofa just listening to her voice. As she sings I’m thinking about things, trying to make sense of sad things – it’s all good. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me, to you, or to anybody but I know what makes sense in life – it’s astonishing to just be alive and feel free and let yourself be in awe of nature and to surround yourself with words and songs, and “Rosie’s lullaby” is a good place to start.
You can’t get much different from Norah Jones to Dr. Frank from the Mr T Experience. He’s a guy I listened to a lot in the early years of this century. He’s still around, writing novels for teenagers, being all dopey-intellectual. I can’t think of anyone else who makes such happy music, even if he’s singing about his broken heart and how he’s “running out of girlfriends as they keep on running out on me”…anyway here’s “love is dead”
Finally, Elliot Smith. Just those two words have so much emotion to me now, reading about his life, waiting for the film to come out. So many cool songs, it’s hard to choose one but here’s “everything reminds me of her”
I don’t usually write much about films, except once last year I suggested 7 films for 7 days , but I am pretty excited about the new Richard Linklater film “Everybody wants some” a kind of sequel to one of my favourite films ever made, Dazed and Confused. Pretty much everything Linklater does I enjoy, boyhood and the before sunrise triology – particularly the final one “before midnight”
Something else to be happy about is the new Norah Jones album, out in a few months. She played a concert a few months ago with some new songs, and so if you feel so inclined you can check out a couple of songs below! It’s not the best recording, some kid with a mobile phone I think, but it still sounds pretty interesting.
Finally… I just ordered the twin forks album on cassette. It’s a limited edition 100 copies only thing. I think tapes are the kind of thing I can afford to collect. I tried collecting first edition books but it got far too expensive! Just because it’s Monday, and because I love everything Dashoard Confessional and Twin Forks have done, here’s a video too which feels like a little short film (the sequel is “cross my mind”). Enjoy.