Archive for März 2010

4:36 U2 – New Year’s Day (live 1983)

März 31, 2010

All is quiet on New Year’s day
A world in white gets underway
I want to be with you, be with you, night and day
Nothing changes on New Year’s day

Quite unbelievable but the good old times when U2 made great music are more than twenty-five years ago. Here they set the sky to fire. Adam Clayton’s bass provides a riff that propels this song forward through thick and thin. The Edge’s mercurial, noisy guitar plus a piano solo rounding off a phantastic live performance. Even Bono’s singing is still bearable, U2’s success has not yet gone to his head.

4:37 Opal – Fell from the Sun (1989)

März 30, 2010

They say that every day is dying
Just like the sun

Before Mazzy Star there was Opal. Before Opal there was Rain Parade but that is another story. And before Hope Sandoval there was Kendra Smith. She sings on this gorgeous song from the late 80s. The Paisley Underground movement from the West coast to which Opal’s guitarist David Roback belonged was just fading out. It had put the focus back from the synthesizers to the guitar. There are few songs which marry melody and guitar distortion as successful as this one. Trust me, listening to this is way better than doing acid. And additionally the risk of a bad trip is zero.

4:38 Another Sunny Day – You Should All Be Murdered (1989)

März 29, 2010

One day, when the world is set to rights
I’m going to murder all the people I don’t like

Everything is perfect about this item. A great band name, an over the top song title, succinct lyrics. Don’t we all have sometimes the urge to solve all problems by just running amok? The song starts with a jangling guitar evoking Johnny Marr’s best solos in the Smiths. More than twenty years later it still sounds fresh & inspired unlike almost the entire output of today’s rock bands. Of course Another Sunny Day did not have the success they merited, Harvey Williams joined the most popular Sarah band The Field Mice which disbanded in the early 90s. He has also occasionally contributed to the I Love Music forum.

4:39 New Order – Truth (1981)

März 28, 2010

Oh, it’s a strange day
In such a lonely way
I saw some children dance
I watched my life in a trance

On some days there are hardly any good songs to choose from on others like today the choice is extremely hard. I was torn in between Us3’s Cantaloop („it’s funky, funky“ and the great Cocteau Twins night time ditty Oils of Angels. In the end I went for another song from New Order’s debut Movement. Peter Hook who was one of the first bassists in the rock circus to use his instrument to play the lead starts the song with a cool bass line. The haunting synthesizer sounds, the tribal drum programming, the occasional guitar noise, Barney’s singing, everything is perfect in this song by a band which still sounds a lot like their first incarnation but is already on the way to new shores.

4:40 Beth Gibbons & Rustin‘ Man – Mysteries (2002)

März 27, 2010

God knows how I adore life
When the wind turns on the shores lies another day
I cannot ask for more

4:41 Grace Jones – Pull up to the Bumper (1981)

März 26, 2010

Operate around the clock,
Slow it if you come in?
I’ve got lot’s of space for everyone,
One for you my friend?

Another Grace Jones song, what a surprise. I don’t even like her that much, neither in the 80s nor now. But 281 seconds proved to be a pretty dire length for the songs which have piled up on my hard disk. Anyways this is a nice change from my usual indie pop and songwriting selections. Good stuff to move the hips to. Did I already mention that I also had a soft spot for lyrics about the beast with two backs?

4:42 Joni Mitchell – A Case of You (live 1974)

März 25, 2010

Oh, you’re in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet

Words fail me right now but Joni has them aplenty.

4:43 Silver Jews – People (1998)

März 24, 2010

Moments can be monuments to you
If your life is interesting and true.
It’s just the same for a man or a girl,
The meaning of the world lies outside the world.

Something is going wrong with the great songwriters these days. Either they kill themselves. Or they stop writing songs alltogether. Like David Berman from the Silver Jews. His songs were not only funny and full of exquisite wordplay but they were also top-notch tunes delivered in a cool raspy deadpan voice.

4:44 Catherine Wheel – Flower to Hide (1992)

März 23, 2010

The sunlight bleaches you
It colours everything you do

My personal shoegazing favourite. What a majestic build up. It shines and glistens as if someone had solved the old alchemist problem of how to make gold. The solution being to start from sound instead of lead. Of course this is also a nostalgic choice as it evokes images of parties in Luxembourg where I was far from being the most sober person. After that jewel of a song I lost aural contact to Catherine Wheel, I don’t think they ever came close to it after.

4:45 Swell – Song Seven (1994)

März 22, 2010

i take their side
and blame the day for luck,
you never know how things might change

In certain circles (students, intellectuals, indie aficionados) in France and Germany they were quite successful in the nineties. Not so much in their own country though. They are from Frisco but what always amazes me about them, their music does not sound like fog at all, more like the sunlight piercing into your eyes or the heat building up in the desert and creating fata morganas at the far horizon.

4:46 Santana – Samba Pa Ti (1970)

März 21, 2010

This is an instrumental which has left a lasting impression on me in my teenage years. I wrote about it (in tedesco) before.

4:47 Cat Power – Good Clean Fun (1996)

März 20, 2010

After this there will be hats on different bodies
After this there will be no more beautiful dresses

She was robbed the last song due to technical reasons so it seems more than fair that she gets this one. It is more of an austere affair, basically a simple guitar chord progression in a minor scale – that’s what it sounds like to me – coupled with some opaque lyrics about a bleak event after which everything has changed for her.

4:48 Nick Drake – Cello Song (1969)

März 19, 2010

But while the earth sinks to its grave
You sail to the sky
On the crest of a wave

Believe it or not but this is actually not my first choice for a track with 288 seconds. That would have been this phantastic live cover. Due to the abysmal black hole architecture of the ipod – you can copy to it from the pc it is synced with but you can’t copy from it – I had to go for something else. The first piece by one of my favourite songwriters. It is named after the classical instrument which repeats the melody several times. An instrument which gives this song a measured and grave quality. Add to that the prominent tom-tom drumming plus the jazzy bass play and you get a song which melds elements from pop, classical, jazz and world music into something which could be called a genre-transcending blues.

4:49 Thom Yorke – Pyramid Song (live, 2001)

März 18, 2010

Jumped in the river, what did I see?
Black-eyed angels swam with me

A voice & a piano is all there is in this live version of this devastating song by a well-known band from Oxford. I think it is even more affecting than the original. It is slower & therefore bathes even deeper in depression. An elegy about being in between life & death, not yet dead but not alive anymore neither. The sad beauty & immense loneliness culminate in the singer’s humming of the tune. The pain is too profound to be expressed in intelligible words anymore.

4:50 The Associates – Club Country (1982)

März 17, 2010

The fault is, I can find no fault in you
Assault is say it or I’ll say it for you

Party time. The synthie rings the bell of the 1980s, the singer has got a lump in his throat. He sings „Alive and kicking“ but he doesn’t seem to think it.

4:51 Neil Young – See the Sky About to Rain (1974)

März 16, 2010

I was down in Dixie Land,
played a silver fiddle
Played it loud and then the man
broke it down the middle.

There has been this book by Navid Kermani on the soothing effect of Neil Young’s music on his crying baby boy. I believe that this song which may or may not be mentioned in the book has an even stronger therapeutic effect on the listener than the average Neil Young song. As besides his high-pitch child voice it features an instrument which can express emotions like few others: the pedal steel guitar. The voice & the instrument are like brother and sister. They enter in a whining competition which the instrument must win due to it’s better capability to defamiliarise a tune by seemingly changing it’s speed and having this psychedelic effect on the listener. Somehow this strange duet with an almost dog-like feeling of harmony is exactly what I needed right now. The day has been a disaster and I astonish myself in somehow managing not to break into a dog’s bark after all the shit I had to take today. Let’s see what tomorrow will bring, it can get worse, I am 100% sure.

4:52 Arizona Amp and Alternator – Where the Wind Turns the Skin to Leather (2005)

März 15, 2010

messing with the strongest laws of nature
love grows large and you can’t escape her
dealing with the flaws of rapture
love grows large even after departure

From Tucson, Arizona one of America’s finest rock musicians. You can hear the desert sand trickling through the guitar chords. The last couple of days I did not enjoy listening to music at all. But yesterday going from Frankfurt to Berlin by car the appreciation returned. I think there are two main reasons. First I was feeling good, I was neither stressed nor emotionally feeling tense. Maybe even more important was that I listened on speakers and not on headphones. On earplugs I have the tendency to skip tracks after a couple of seconds, on speakers the music gives me more freedom, I can either listen to it or not. And when the music plays in the background I can focus better on it as I have to decide myself if I want to hear it. Does that make any sense?

4:53 Moriarty – Hanoï Blue (live, 2007)

März 14, 2010

The first time we met in a poolroom bar
We were dressed both the same
We looked like twins
You knelt down and invited me to dance

I heard this folk ballad for the first time live. And it gave me the shivers. Immediately there was a very intimate atmosphere, the intense music melded the musicians and the audience together. For five minutes time stood still and as in my childhood the world was a mysterious and beautiful place again.

4:54 Bill Evans – My Foolish Heart (1961)

März 13, 2010

Another jazz number which is even more relaxing than yesterday’s choice. There is an incredible lightness and playfulness in this piece. Somehow it reminds me of Satie. A somnambulistic interplay of piano, bass and drums. One of the great standards in a version which is as „there“ as a Japanese calligraphy. All speed has been sucked out and we are transported into the pure present.

a day a second (31-40)

März 13, 2010

Here are the solutions to the fourth bunch (1, 2, 3) of blindtests in my 2010 music countdown series a day a second. Until end of November I intend to post each day a song a second shorter and write a little bit about it.


März 12, 2010

My love has the eyes of a dreamer

It’s Friday evening, time to relax. Here is a song of one of my favourite female singers. Listening to your voice is like being embraced by you. The way you stretch the syllables is so cool, foxy lady.


März 11, 2010

I look to you and I see nothing
I look to you to see the truth

A sleepy voice to melt away, a sweet melody for daydreaming, a slow beat to make love to.


März 11, 2010

Someone take these dreams away
That point me to another day

I read an article based on an interview with Patti Smith in the subway this morning. There she said that she was religious but did not have enough time to pray to God anymore. Many of her friends have died and she has to talk to them first. If this does not give you a clue about the title of the song I don’t know what will.


März 9, 2010

Singing on the famous street
I want to love a boy that won’t love me

Not sure if she sings that, not sure if she sings any words except the title but it is definitely fun to try to decipher what she is singing. There is a lot of enthusiasm and positive vibrations in this song, it sounds festive as if something phantastic has to be announced. Like in that old book where the birth of an infant boy is proclaimed. The singer’s joy seems to flow over into her delivery. Today I received a totally unanticipated e-mail from the management with some good news. It took me by surprise. Here’s to you, Berlin!


März 8, 2010

It was dark as I drove the point home
and on cold leather seats
Well, it suddenly struck me
I just might die with a smile on my face
after all

I still cannot believe it. Another great songwriter has killed himself: Mark Linkous, the mastermind of Sparklehorse (their 1st album was amazing). He was one year older than me and he apparently suffered from depression. Like Vic Chesnutt who committed suicide on Christmas day, Linkous had had a very severe accident due to drug consumption. In 1996 after overdosing on a cocktail of alcohol, valium, antidepressants et al. his legs remained immobilised for 14 hours and his heart beat stopped for several minutes. But somehow he managed to survive without being handicapped too much. On Saturday he shot himself into his heart. Today’s song I chose yesterday before knowing of the sad event. By coincidence the lyrics mention death a couple of times. I hope Mark Linkous did die with a smile on his face. You can listen to the version of Eyepennies (my 5:28 song) where he duets with PJ Harvey here.


Alohol am Steuer

März 7, 2010

Ich kenn die genauen Zahlen nicht, die kennt nur der liebe Gott, aber ich schätze mal, dass auf einhundert Fahrten mit besoffner Birne ungefähr ein Führerscheinentzug erfolgt. Das heißt, dass die meisten Alkoholfahrten unentdeckt bleiben. Zwangsläufig sehr ähnlich wird die Statistik sein, die die durchschnittliche Anzahl der Promillefahrten einer Person bis zur ersten Kontrolle, bei der diese Person erwischt wird, erfasst. Randbemerkung: Diese Zufallsvariable stelle ich mir poissonverteilt vor. Ich glaube nicht, dass es bei der allseits und auch von mir geschätzten Bischöfin viel anders war, auch wenn sie natürlich so tut, als hätte sie nur einen Fehler gemacht und nicht erst beim zigten Fehler erwischt worden ist. Eine zweite Überlegung, die mir in den unzähligen Kommentaren gefehlt hat, betrifft den Messwert von 1,53 Promille. Das entspricht in etwa zwei Flaschen Wein, bei K da sie klein und weiblich ist wohl etwas weniger. Um so eine Menge überhaupt an einem Abend trinken zu können – und dann auch noch vor 23 Uhr – muss man in Übung sein. Man muss regelmäßig größere Mengen Alkohol runterschlucken, sonst erreicht man so einen Wert nicht. Mit anderen Worten Frau K hat ein Alkoholproblem und hat allein schon deshalb mit ihrem Rücktritt die vollkommen richtige Entscheidung getroffen.


März 7, 2010

There is something about this instrumental that makes me feel uncomfortable. I first got into it a couple of years ago when the album cd played on the car-hifi and we were coming back from a family party in the South of Germany. The noise in the car made it a challenge to make out the melody of this piece, it took me two or three listens to fully realise the beauty of it. The synthesizer crescendo slowly building up, the reaching of the plateau, the sudden intrusion of a whirl wind and the transformation into a wonderful, simple, serene guitar tune. And then an even huger crescendo starts building up. What a richness of sounds, e.g. a kind of xylophone, some solemn strings, lots of nature noises and the strong pull of the drum programming. Somehow I associate this song with fascism, it totally grasps my aural sense. It sounds so incredibly rich, as irresistible and in the end unsatisfying as a marshmellow. I love it but I am very suspicious about it. I am afraid of the manipulative potential in this music. Quite similar to the Wagner preludes this washes and sweeps over me like an ocean wave and when the wave has passed I feel empty and somehow betrayed. Know what I mean?


März 6, 2010

Mieux vaut se taire
que paraître faux

The first French song here, I hope many will follow. This band from Toulouse succeeded in making some of the most exciting arty rock in the vein of the Velvet Underground in the first half of the nineties without finding an audience of more than a couple of thousand people. How could it be? At the same time a second rate hard rock act from Bordeaux cashed in. Mauvais goût if you ask me. Their singer did not get along with fame though. The unsuccessful band performing this jewel of a tuneful measured ballad with noisy guitar elements disbanded after three rather disparate albums. This is from their second longplay, their flirt with pop rock.


März 5, 2010

You just picked up a hitcher,
A prisoner of the white lines on the freeway

This ballad opens an album which has already been featured here with a song on Memphis, Tennessee. An album which flows like the viscous Mississippi, from the North to the South, getting wider and hotter near the delta and finally outpouring into the cool and dark ocean. This song is about travelling and falling in love on the road and about the loneliness when being with someone. For the first time I heard it on a hot summer day in a house of a stranger on a hill near a small lake South of Munich in 1985, I think. It was a place out of this world. Additionally I was the only person in the room when the record played. From the beginning on I was totally mesmerised. The interplay of the acoustic guitar and the electric bass, the way they move forward in a slow but determined manner was utter magic. It really sounded like a trip transformed into music. The singer’s warm and at the same time crystal-clear voice grabbed my attention immediately. Later on the meaning of the lyrics full of subtle images unfolded steadily. Add to that the flickering heat and the fabulous location and you may get an idea of the effect.

Do you know who this is? And remember, if you cheat, you just cheat yourself.


März 4, 2010

My feelings are hurt so easily
that is the price that I pay
the price that I do pay
to appreciate
the beauty they’re killing

I posted the b-side to this single a couple of days ago. When this came out for a week they were the greatest indie band of the world. Here they merge their emotional indie pop with a new genre which was just about to take off: shoegazing. A short definition: hypnotic & melodic guitar riffs soaked in distortion & noise repeated ad infinitum. The band in question did only record this track in this style, so music-wise this is rather untypical for them but lyric-wise this song is about one of the themes dear to the singer’s heart. His other big topic being – surprise, surprise – heart-ache itself.


März 3, 2010

Her aura supposed he is
For all of them home alone
And the soul, sleeps for days

This is from the first album of a band which created some of the most original and characteristic music of the 80s. Here they have not yet shaped their final smooth and heavenly sound which has been labelled ethereal by the critics. The female singer was just over 18 years old when this was recorded but her voice already has got that siren like quality which she accentuated over the years. In this track I really like the clash of the ominous, catchy bass line which starts the song and the pure female voice suddenly coming out of nowhere. It is like the collision of hell and heaven. The roughness of the overall sound makes this piece especially attractive to my ears.

a day a second (21-30)

März 3, 2010

Here are the solutions to the third bunch (1, 2) of blindtests in my 2010 music countdown series a day a second. Until end of November I intend to post each day a song a second shorter and write a little bit about it.


März 2, 2010

We walk like a ghost,
We learn dances brand new dances,
Like the nuclear bomb,

With this one I surprised myself. Last night I had the blues and was going for a different song by a band which has already been featured twice here. This morning I checked it again and I realised that my morning mood was too good for their song. I like melancholic music best when I am sad myself. Today’s choice therefore went to a song from a late disco or early new wave queen. She was pretty bizarre, actually thinking about her she was more than a woman. Something like a woman from another star. This song seems to be good stuff to explode on the dance floor to.


März 1, 2010

The greater is the beauty,
The profounder is the stain

Some music does not need to be wrapped up in words.


März 1, 2010

This ocean will not be grasped

When the pond in Central Park is frozen in winter, the ducks are probably in the recording studio.