Thursday, January 11, 2024

Lankum - Go Dig My Grave

Lankum are four people from Dublin who have been around for a while, almost 20 years I think. They seem to have honed their sound to a perfection in the past few albums, especially 2019's The Livelong Day, taking English folk songs from the 16th and 17th centuries (such as "The Wild Rover") and completely rethinking them as, I don't know, done by Swans or something like that. Intense stuff.

Their new album, False Lankum (2023) is not quite as brilliant as the last one, but it is really good if you're in the zone for that kind of thing. The instrumentation is really original, crystal clear, the vibe is ominous and they are not here to fuck around, evoking that perfect moment when you cut yourself really bad, and you see the blood, all beautiful and glinting in the sun while the actual gash on your arm is screaming in pain. And it's the year 1534 so there are no antibiotics.

"Go Dig My Grave" is the opening number of False Lankum, a motley combination of various English and old American ballads, including "The Butcher's Boy" which has been variously done by Elvis Costello and Sinéad O'Connor and Joan Baez.

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Beck - Colors

Speaking of Beck (or, I guess 'speaking Beck'), here's a RECENT song by Beck. I realize Beck has been naff since 1997 but I may be the only person on Earth who finds some of his recent party records quite fruit-juicy fun. Don't tell anyone but I really liked his last album Hyperspace (2019) which literally three people heard, all of them scientology heads. But more to the point, I really liked Colors (2017), especially the title track, which proves that dance-party Beck is way better than NPR-liberal-Starbucks-sad-sack Beck. How many Gen-Xers made good dance pop? One, Beck. Put on your dance shoes.

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Dua Lipa - Dance the Night

Disco circa 1976-77 has come back to haunt us in Dua Lipa's spectacular contribution to the Barbie (2023) movie soundtrack. Yes, it sounds like something that sounds like something that might have been Silver Convention or Andrea True Connection, or even a 1997-era Beck track lost to a compilation.

Written by Dua Lipa (the best thing to come out of Albania this side of Imperialism and the Revolution by Enver Hoxha) and Caroline Ailin, the Norwegian pop-song-writing svengali based in London, this is literally the best jam of 2023. (See Ailin's songwriting credits and weep).

Can you not dance?

Tuesday, January 02, 2024

Thom Yorke & Jonny Greenwood - The Numbers

So here's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood doing a live version of "The Numbers" in the back yard of the home of filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, a home which is in the city of Tarzana (yes, that's a real place), California. Tarzana is a kind of narcotically bourgeois suburb way past the Getty Museum, north of Topanga State Park, in northern Los Angeles. Apparently, Paul Thomas Anderson lives there because why not. (Apparently lots of famous people live there).

The song "The Numbers" was originally a slightly unremarkable track from A Moon Shaped Pool (2016), the last album released by Radiohead. With the help of a beatbox (a late 1970s vintage Roland CR-78 drum machine), Thom and Jonny transform what was a bit of ho-hum into a truly striking piece of guitar pop. Brilliant.

They recorded this on August 3, 2016. The video itself was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.

Anyway, this is the opening theme to 2024.