april’s fool – random gum of april 2018 soundtrack

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It comes just slightly early – the April random gum soundtrack. I also think I will be sending out a few copies on CD (along with the previous few months’ music) in postal form because there are a handful of people who need more candy.

April’s fool
Random gum – April 2018

Entire playlist on Spotify. Listen!

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01 Negative Gemini – You Never Knew …now you’re pretending that i’m someone you never knew…
For all the beautiful negative Geminis
02 Gianna Lauren – Mistakes …Mistakes, they are my own…
Thank you to Esteban
03 ABC – All of My Heart …What’s it like to have loved and to lose that much?…
Thanks to J
04 Vorderhaus – Tanz Tanz Tanz oder ich bin verloren
Thanks to ML & Inken 
05 The Jack Moves – Doublin’ Down
06 Mark Gaetani – Rwanda
With Rwanda on my mind
07 The Aislers Set – Cocksure Whistler …Showers icy but the streets are chalk/Like the cocksure whistler’s on a winter walk…
08 Fine Young Cannibals – She Drives Me Crazy
For SD and to memories of Terra and her insistence that she would like to stick her tongue between Roland Gift’s front teeth
09 Katie Von Schleicher – Baby Don’t Go
10 Kelley Stoltz – Kim Chee Taco Man …Let your grace go wild…
“You’re not alone… You know the smile is real/It’s something you can feel/The stars with twisted teeth/Not so out of reach!” For Martina: “The Kim Chee Taco Man/The real Mexican”
11 Lushes – Low Hanging Fruit
For Annette and our dislike for low-hanging fruit preachers with deer-in-the-headlights eyes
12 Mugison – Patrick Swayze …there’s a ghost living here in the scrapyard…
For SD, the Swayze gym and the way Scottish people talk, even over strange Icelandic soundtracks
13 Jane Weaver – I Wish …I wish you were cool/I wish you were something…
MP. “So you really did nothing/So you really did nothing of concern?/In the distance I’m humming/Are the whispers nothing?”
14 Olivia Newton-John – Hopelessly Devoted to You
Sing-song singalongs with SD
15 Negative Gemini – Don’t Worry Bout the Fuck I’m Doing
“I don’t care about your shit face, the street goes down two ways, Don’t worry bout the way I’m going”
16 Belle and Sebastian – Poor Boy
True words. “Poor boy, I could never live up to your imagination/Poor boy, I was a crush that killed”
17 Emma Lee Toyoda – Nünü
18 Indeep – Last Night a DJ Saved My Life
SD and locker-room recordings
19 Feu! Chatterton – L’oiseau
Merci, Laurent.
20 Karen Marks – Cold Café …on the esplanade/my coffee’s gone cold/I won’t forget the sounds/you left me…
Australia.
21 Robyn Hitchcock – Godnatt Oslo
22 Cat Power – Nude as the News
Memories of Seattle, Naomi and the Finn from Funland
23 Ösp Eldjárn – Ástarnetið
Thanks to and love for Eva
24 Maggie Björklund – The Road to Samarkand
Danmark
25 Veronika Boulytcheva, Natalia Ermilova – Зачем тебя я, милый мой, узнала …И сердце песню радости поет…
For J. This ‘relic’ from the college years pops into my head now and then. I had to dig through all my old CDs to find it.
26 Houndstooth – Bliss Boat …words are just a poor man’s pennies, dear…
Portlanders. I love the sound of this. “My aching heart/my wounded knee/you were the only air I breathe”
27 Kon Kan – I Beg Your Pardon (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden)
Thinking back to being 13 and the people populating that period
28 Clara Luciani – Comme toi
“J’ai le coeur qu s’égare en attendant que toi/Qui me ressemble tant, qui ne me comprend pas”
29 The Sundays – God Made Me
“We’d love to be good but we’d rather be bad/But how was I supposed to know that?”
30 Scott Fagan – In My Head
31 Martha Ffion – We Disappear …guess we never really knew how good we were…
Irish in Glasgow 🙂
32 Velly Joonas – Kaes On Aeg
Estonia
33 YACHT – I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler
“Got my broken heart—/I got it sold right back to me—/By an algorithmic social entity!”
34 Widowspeak – Dead Love (So Still) …Even if it wasn’t as good/If it didn’t hurt so bad to remember…
35 The True Loves – The Dirty
Seattle, you know…
36 Martin Courtney – Airport Bar …I can pass the time/But I can’t undo the changes once they’re made…
“Life in that dream was just what it seemed/If I knew then what I know now I would not have stayed”
37 Cate Le Bon – Aside from Growing Old
“What’s the hubbub, I’m losing my mind/I’m running from people/What’s the measure of a passing time/I’m, I’m running from people/Deep seated inconsequence/Still running from people”
38 Fleetwood Mac – The Chain …And if you don’t love me now/You will never love me again…
For Erin
39 Vendredi sur Mer – L’amour avec toi
40 Laura Marling – Gurdjieff’s Daughter …Darkness can’t do you harm/Fear will hurt you…
“Man is made in such a way that he is never so much attached to anything as he is to his suffering.” –Gurdjieff
41 The History of Apple Pie – Keep Wondering
I keep wondering about some never-tasted mysterious apple pie
42 Jane Weaver – Slow Motion …I want to feel the life we loved in the sun,/Slow motion…
“Let’s get together/We keep changing/Sometimes everything’s amazing/Then the silence/Reminds us we are lost/Stop listening/To other people/Whose agenda/Doesn’t seem good/Then exception is the only/Thing we’ve got.”
43 Dan Deacon – Feel the Lightning …I try not to worry/But I always worry…
44 Belle and Sebastian – Lazy Line Painter Jane …Being a rebel’s fine/But you go all the way/To being brutal…
Missing my Jane
45 Crybaby – When the Lights Go Out …There’s a beauty in this/A privilege in parting I know…
46 Meshell Ndegeocello – Waterfalls
A Meshell take on someone else’s song that somehow outshines the original. Love to Anne
47 Strawberry Runners – Dog Days
48 Jessica Lea Mayfield – Sorry is Gone …Leave me alone, but I want you with me every minute…
49 Damien Jurado, Richard Swift – Radioactivity
50 Veronika Boulytcheva, Natalia Ermilova – Вьюн над водой

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marching on – random gum of march 2018 soundtrack

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Here we go… music for March, which is the most wintry month of all this year. Check out the whole playlist on Spotify.

marching on
march 2018 – the good goo of random gum

01 Saint Etienne – “Nothing Can Stop Us”
*For poor deported, beloved Ben, who will nevertheless not be stopped; love for Tara, as this was one of our signature soundtrack songs when we used to spend time together
02 Negative Gemini – “You Weren’t There Anymore” ...you didn’t care at all…
*For at least those Gemini souls among us who are as negative as we’re accused of being
03 Vanishing Twin – “Choose Your Own Adventure”
04 Claudine Longet – “God Only Knows”
05 Neko Case – “Star Witness”
06 Los Zucara – “Lamento de Febrero”
*Uruguay. Love for J, Billy and Travis
07 Gwenno – “Tir Ha Mor”
*Wales
08 The Fall – “Mexico Wax Solvent”
*Love for Naomi – everything’s gonna be okay. (Must play LOUD)
09 Them Are Us Too – “The Problem with Redheads”
*Martina: Maybe Joel was right about the internet obsession with redheads. Haha. Sadly, one of the band members was among the dead in 2016 warehouse fire in Oakland, CA.
10 Dear Nora – “To Fall is Not to Fail”
“It’s better not to cry/Or to look me in the eye/When you leave and you let it go”
11 Yorkston/Thorne/Khan – “False True Piya”
12 Nicole Atkins – “Darkness Falls So Quiet”
13 Sexores – “Berlin”
*Despite being from Ecuador, this is one of two “Berlin”s on this mix. Sometimes I’m still missing it. Hard to believe it was already more than a year ago that I dashed off to Berlin for an afternoon just to see a movie, returning home the same night.
14 Julia Lucille – “Beneath the Spring” …Can a woman love/and not lose herself?…
*The countless onslaught of talented Julias continues. “We’ve had some fun/We’ve had some good loving/On to the next thing/My conscience forcibly brings/So many things that I could do/One of them being you/The slow slide into lying/And here come endless apologizing”
15 Beach House – “Chariot”
16 Pérez Prado – “Mambo No 5”
*A curious, out-of-place thing that reminds me of the misery of being 19
17 Siobhan Wilson – “Whatever Helps” …you’re stuck in the break of a wave/you’re haunted by a line from a song/you’re beaten by the wing of a prayer/try to move on…
*Glasgow. “Whatever helps to pass the time/when you’re on the other side/Switch it off, switch it off, whatever it is/That bleeds out all your best thoughts”
18 Thao & the Get Down Stay Down – “The Evening”
19 Tennis – “My Emotions Are Blinding”
*Love to Esteban & Ana
20 Laura Groves – “Friday” …You never gave a sign of pieced together phrases that Ive heard…
21 Beach Fossils – “This Year” ...This year I told myself it’d be a better one/Try not to fall back onto the knife…
22 The Raincoats – “Lola”
23 Ramona Lisa – “Arcadia Reprise”
24 Franska Trion – “Empty Space”
*Sverige, Sverige, Sverige
25 Gorillaz – “Clint Eastwood”
*Thinking more of Digit the gorilla, Mike, and Jesse Dude (another plastic gorilla, featured in the main image), but also Filbert/Ph’s fleeting flirtation with ‘fame’ via Clint Eastwood. The strange world of models and film extras…
26 Pink Mountaintops – “I (fuck) Mountains”
27 Charlotte Adigéry – “Senegal Seduction”
28 The Luxembourg Signal – “Laura Palmer”
29 The Fall – “Pumpkin Soup and Mashed Potatoes”
*When you need a dose of pumpkin soup to go with your fix of The Fall
30 Anika – “I Go to Sleep”
31 Jitka Zelenková – “Rád”
*Another Czech check-in, which means … love to Anne & to Martina
32 CCFX – “The One to Wait”
33 Katie von Schleicher – “Life’s a Lie”
34 Andrea Davidson – “Thank You Fuck You” …thank you for what we went through/and fuck you for something, too/I’m done with you…
35 Negative Gemini – “Ice Sluts”
*Lóa: Is an ‘ice slut’ a cross between a ice queen and a fuck mattress? 🙂
36 Pale Saints – “Half-Life Remembered” …It’s eating you away and some will never know it’s taste…
*O, emotional waves of late teen years. It’s like sitting in traffic-safety class in high school, the long drive to university, and more crying jags that I can count: “Biting off more than you can chew again/You’re just a child/And all you know is/That it’s sweetness brings you close to tears/Each time you can’t resist/And some will never know it’s taste”
37 Belle & Sebastian – “The Party Line”
*A spontaneous leap one day, deciding to go see B & S after many years of wanting to. And it was as lovely as I needed it to be. (And come on now, gotta love Glaswegian bands to bits.)
38 Gentle Hen – “I Wasn’t Looking for This”
*Thinking mostly about the use of “hen” as a Scottish term for a woman: “Gie us a kiss, hen“. “I wasn’t looking for this/I wasn’t ready for this/But it’s so convenient, I don’t have to do a thing/And I’ve always been lazy at best”
39 Meshell Ndegeocello – “Sometimes It Snows in April” …Springtime was always my favorite time of year/A time for lovers holding hands in the rain…
*Meshell doing Prince. For Anne, whom I must see in April.
40 Hanne Hukkelberg – “Berlin”
*Norway.
.. merci, Andreas
41 Madonna – “Crazy for You”
*Ended up here in some roundabout way after mentioning to S that Matthew Modine‘s daughter, Ruby, is in the US version of Shameless; he said he can only remember an 80s movies starring Modine that had this song in the soundtrack but couldn’t actually remember the movie (Vision Quest, of course, about wrestling… “God, you can count. See, I knew you had to be smart to be a wrestler.” –The Breakfast Club)
42 Kate Bush – “The Kick Inside”
*I fully, firmly believed I would never, ever appreciate Kate Bush. I have tried so many times over the years, and I just couldn’t hear it. Then suddenly in February, it was the right moment. More proof that we do change, and our tastes can in fact become more expansive rather than contractive.
43 10,000 Maniacs – “Trouble Me” …Why let your shoulders bend underneath this burden when my back is sturdy and strong?…
*And with the inclusion of this song, which I have never liked, we devolve (further) into the world of adult-contemporary, near-easy-listening. I remember my anger in 1989 when this song displaced The Cure from some top-five-of-the-week on some MTV show. Seems hilarious that I cared so much. I thought of this again recently when someone said, “I’ll trouble you later” and I said, “You could never trouble me.”
44 Crowded House – “She Goes On” …Pretty soon you’ll be able to remember her/lying in the garden singing/right where she’ll always be/the door is always open/this is the place that I loved her/and these are the friends that she had/long may the mountain ring/to the sound of her laughter/and she goes on and on…
*RIP Margaret, who died on 16 February 2018; “til we see her once again/in a world without end…”
45 The Sundays – “When I’m Thinking About You”
*Remembering the varied tastes of Mr Watts when we used to talk and he remembered weird folks like me
46 Pink Martini, The von Trapps – “Rwanda Nziza”
*Dreams of, thoughts on Rwanda
47 Cowboy Junkies – “Come Calling (Her Song)”
*One of those songs that, catching me at the right moment, makes me cry, remembering exactly where I was when I heard it, repeatedly, in one of the worst times of my life
48 Jane Weaver – “I Need a Connection”
*Opening act for Belle & Sebastian – when deciding whether to go spontaneously to see them, seeing that Weaver was opening, that tipped the balance and made me decide to go
49 Sarah Klang – “Milky Way”
*Gothenburg love
50 Shamir – “Lived and Died Alone” …I resign myself to the fact/that I will always love/never to be loved back…
*A beautiful ending, sad sentiments

The whole playlist. Or follow me on Spotify to see all my playlists.

Image (c) 2018 S Donaghy

a love supreme – anti-valentine – random gum of february 2018 soundtrack

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a love supreme – anti-valentine
february 2018 – the good goo of random gum

01 The Supremes – Love is Like an Itching in My Heart
“Just an itching in my heart and I can’t scratch it”
02 Cate le Bon – Are You With Me Now?
03 Margo Price – Hands of Time
“Turn back the clock on the cruel hands of time”
04 Nana – Menino Carioca
05 Mary Lou Lord – I’m Ahead If I Can Quit While I’m Behind
06 BC Camplight – You Should’ve Gone to School
07 Sandie Shaw – (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me
08 Sibylle Baier – Softly
Here’s to hidden women making their belated mark
09 Grizzly Bear – Losing All Sense
“Like a rogue wave you/Wash right over me/Losing all sense of what my body could feel/I was able to drift away from here/I have lost all control”
10 Gingerlys – Incandescent
11 BRONCHO – What
12 Sofia Freire – Canção da Bruxa
13 Dita von Teese, Sébastien Tellier – Bird of Prey
14 Marta Kubišová – Už se léto schovává
…Hang up the Czech habit. Love to Anne, to Martina, to Mr MI
15 Claudine Longet – Medley: Jealous Guy/Don’t Let Me Down
16 Belle & Sebastian – I’ll Be Your Pilot
All the Glaswegians
17 Nap Eyes – Delirium and Persecution Paranoia
18 Angel Olsen – How Many Disasters
19 The Supremes – Forever Came Today
20 The Barry Sisters – Vyoch Tyoch Tyoch
Can’t resist a Yiddish song, now can we?
21 Tommy Allen – Ghosts in the Walls
22 The Fall – There’s a Ghost in My House
RIP Mark E. Smith – who seems like the type to linger as a ghost in another dimension, tormenting people for all eternity from the beyond.
23 Jenny O. – Lazy Jane …I’m feeling blue/Cause I can’t have you…
“I’m never gonna be a cheerleader/I can’t do tricks/And I ain’t that sick”. For all those so far away now I will never get them back
24 Emma Gatrill – Odd Ones Out
“Don’t judge a book by its cover/Its façade is simple, simple to see/But by twenty pages in/You’ll find the story is not what it first seemed”
25 Over the Rhine – Latter Days
26 Al Masrieen – Men Awel Deqiqa
27 The Fall – Feeling Numb
One can only feel numb at the passing of Mark E. Smith (RIP), knowing the end probably could easily have come earlier. Still, the only good thing about his death is that I have learned about so many more people in my circles who are fans of The Fall, and I might never otherwise have known.
28 Hollie Cook – Desdemona
29 Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou – The Homeless Wanderer
Ethiopia
30 The Fall – Big New Prinz
I didn’t think much about how The Fall served as a soundtrack thread through most of my life until the recent passing of the cantankerous Mark E. Smith. All the way back to my adolescence, when my friend Terra and I would be sucked in by the aggressive sounds of “Big New Prinz” (and the rest of the songs from the same album), and not too long thereafter when my bricklayer pen pal Peter in the north of England would send me mixed cassettes that included loads of The Fall. And then how Naomi and I would share this connection and even see The Fall together many, many years ago. The Fall continued to help me forge surprising connections through the years.
31 Renata Zeiguer – Follow Me Down
32 Duke Garwood – Blue
33 France Gall – Laisse tomber les filles
34 Mattiel – Whites of Their Eyes
35 Yo La Tengo – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
36 Slow Club – In Waves
“You can’t tell me you’re not like this/Staring down the pages of the shit you’ve missed/Hoping you’ll find a way to change/Days spent waiting in my living grave”
37 Julia Lucille – Darkening
Such pretty sounds “As I’m darkening I must go alone”
38 Brigitte Fontaine – Une fois mais pas deux
39 Ofege – It’s Not Easy
Nigeria
40 Luwten – Pinball
“I am the pinball/I am the deer/I hear the shot/I disappear”
41 Mogwai – I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead
“Jim Morrison… Van Morrison more like!” For S (naturally with an additional nod to Glasgow in Mogwai)
42 Wooden Wand – Mexican Coke
Martina! You know if it’s Mexican I will tag you!
43 The Fall – British People in Hot Weather
I had been an avid anglophile as a kid/adolescent, and I don’t really know what happened to make me so negative on the English. Still, The Fall has been something of a ‘negative soundtrack’ all along.
44 De Lux – When Your Life Feels Like a Loss
45 Ramona Lisa – Dominic
“Forgive me if I was too forward too fast”
46 The Fall – Powder Keg
And what else is the world today than a powder keg?
47 Sexores – Bluish Lovers
Ecuador
48 The Supremes – Someday We’ll Be Together
…but will we?
49 The Psychedelic Furs – Sister Europe
“Words are all just useless sound” … for all my Furs friends
50 Tori Amos – Josephine
51 Cowboy Junkies – Cowboy Junkies Lament
Memories of college-era road trip with my Russian class, all long disappeared, all of us singing together in that fleeting moment of closeness. And the long, lost Townes van Zandt, who wrote this song for the Cowboy Junkies. “There’s a hole in heaven where some sin slips through/Close your eyes and dream real steady/Maybe just a little will spill on you”
52 Al Green – How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?
“I could never see tomorrow/I was never told about the sorrow”
53 The Cranberries – No Need to Argue
RIP Dolores O’Riordan. I remember listening to this song on repeat one year during college – it had such a sad, resigned finality to it that resonated with me (as I greeted endings, particularly of relationships with this kind of sad resignation. I have never been the type to really “freak out” and go crazy). This seemed like the perfect anthem for that kind of sad acceptance. Much as we must go forward with sad acceptance when people die too soon.

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life just bounces

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There aren’t many people who read this or even people in my life who will know who Mark E. Smith was. He died at age 60. Surprised it did not happen earlier. But my god, could I ever have imagined how influential The Fall would be to me … since I was 12/13? How vast the influence of people who have been in my life who also felt that The Fall meant something to them?

It’s sad and inevitable.

Meow Mix – Random Gum of January 2018 soundtrack

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Meow Mix – Random Gum of January 2018

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https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/comraderadmila/playlist/2k0qZu0AIqoePAqcBYeepW

01 Grace Lightman – Halloween is Over
Because Halloween really is over
02 Inspiral Carpets – This is How It Feels
Lonely and nostalgic
03 Robyn Hitchcock – Raining Twilight Coast
“Just one thing, baby, you forgot my heart”. Glasgow in May
04 Soccer Mommy – Switzerland
“i trace and memorize your curves and lines until my fingers start to bleed
we could go some place alone
don’t you see
we could go somewhere it snows
just you and me
we could go to switzerland
never come back home again “
05 Calypso Valois – Amoureuse
06 Luwten – Double for Me …You don’t want to need but need to know what you want/You think that if you need too much you’ll end up with none…
“What you said is not what you meant
You haven’t quite figured it out yet”
07 Lykke Li – Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone
Sweden
08 Nap Eyes – Alaskan Shake
Nova Scotia
09 Moonface, Siinai – The Nightclub Artiste
Pretty prolific Canadian from delightful British Columbia
10 Elvis Perkins – While You Were Sleeping
11 Niobe – Hawaii Duet
12 Summer Aviation – Thrust
Old friends
13 Nana – Gato é Crime, Denuncie
meow… meow…
14 DRINKS – Hermits on Holiday
For beloved grumpy would-be hermits and mugwumps
15 The Amazing – Perfect Day for Shrimp
Why, Swedish, of course…
16 Black Marble – Iron Lung
17 Vashti Bunyan – If I Were
A name-dropping opportunity
18 Lily & Madeleine – Devil We Know …Come the memories, come the shivering cold, let the rain fall…
Better the liar you know…
19 Fats Domino – Every Night About This Time
RIP – 2017
20 Al-Masrieen – Asef Gedan
Egypt. Cheers to Aurélien and Cat
21 Moon Palace – Shapeshifter
Is a person a liar or just a shapeshifter? …Seattle
22 Sylvia Striplin – You Can’t Turn Me Away
23 The Third Bardo – I’m Five Years Ahead of My Time
24 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – The Pilot …A tough-love motherfucker, who was born a clown…
“What could I say? What was I after?
I forgot, but you figured it out for me again with your radio silence”
25 Sevdaliza – The Language of Limbo
Iranian-Dutch
26 Over the Rhine – Faithfully Dangerous
Memories of the 1990s. “I wonder which part of this will leave a scar”. Ohio.
27 LCD Soundsystem – Emotional Haircut
Glasgow in May?
28 Anchorsong – Butterflies
29 David Cassidy – I Think I Love You
RIP – 2017
30 Cults – Right Words
31 An Luu – Pourquoi tu me fous plus des coups?
32 Christopher Owens – Heroine (Got Nothing on You)
33 St Vincent – Sugarboy
34 Sébastien Tellier – Drunk on the Radio
35 Luwten – Indifference
Netherlands
36 Maggie Rogers – Alaska (acoustic)
“And I walked off you
And I walked off an old me”
37 Kyu Sakamoto – Sukiyaki
The old days: Japan
38 Laibach – Drzava
Slovenia
39 Otis Redding – That’s How Strong My Love Is
You can’t not love Otis
40 Eivør – Salt
Much love to very music-loving colleague, Eva
“langt burtur úr landi
hómi eg gráan av minnum
lati aldurnar taka meg
føli djúphavið darra
havið er í mær
er saltið í tárunum”
41 Tropic of Cancer – The Dull Age
42 Helado Negro – Lengua Larga
Ecuador-USA
“Abre tu boca que quiero conocer
Adentro
Y hay un gran vacío
Conocido”
43 Sound of Ceres – Gemini Scenic
For twins of all kinds: birthday twins, astrological twins, lost twins
44 Patio Furniture – Please, Please, Please Let me get what I want
A song for the hardy, sturdy patio furniture
45 Neşe Alkan – Kaçma Güzel
Turkiye
46 Acetone – Shaker
47 Aimee Mann – Knock It Off …You had your chances but now they’re gone…
“Seattle finally couldn’t hold her”
48 Summer Aviation – Angle of Attack
Old friends, lovely sounds
49 Coparck – A Dog and Pony Show
Netherlands
Martina! Here’s to, if not the end of dog and pony shows, at least new and exciting ones
50 Shura – Nothing’s Real
“I’m a dead girl walking
I need medicine”
51 Salma Agha – Barish Men Main Khari
52 Natalia Lafourcade – No Más Llorar
Mexico
“No más llorar
Sé que ya lo nuestro no tiene remedio
Pero no más llorar”
53 Anna Burch – Tea-Soaked Letter
Detroit
“I forgot to fake
The way that I was feeling
I guess it’s too late
Now all my cards are showing”
54 Malena Zavala – Should I Try (acoustic)
Argentina
55 Mdou Moctar – Iblis Amghar
Tuareg/Niger
56 Softer Still – 1993
England, of course
57 Ages and Ages – How It Feels
Portland, Oregon
58 Jaws of Love – Love Me Like I’m Gone
Thanks, with love, to Andreas
59 Heartless Bastards – Marathon
Cincinnati (why are people always surprised that Ohio has not only a bunch of cities but a ton of bands?). Not my kind of marathon, but okay…
60 Marta Kubišová – Cesta
Requisite Czech. Love to Martina, dearest Anne and Mr MI
61 P.P. Arnold – Medicated Goo
Good goo of random gum and love and life
62 Hatchie – Sure
Australia
63 Mattiel – Not Today
“Everything’s okay – but maybe not today”
64 Cinnamon Tapes – Cinnamon Sea
São Paulo.
65 France Gall – Les sucettes
RIP – 2018
66 Xenoula – Tororoi
South Africa/Wales
67 Essaie Pas – Futur Parlé
Montréal, bien sûr
68 Jonathan Bree, Clara Viñals – Say You Love Me Too
Thanks to Tom
69 Julia Holter – Don’t Make Me Over
The simplicity of this song makes me overly emotional
“Don’t make me over
Now that I can’t make it without you”
70 Angel Olsen – Fly On Your Wall
“I found a feeling inside
Or should I say it found me
I turned into someone I
Never imagined I’d be”

Robyn Hitchcock in Oslo: “Yesterday it seemed so cool, and everything was fabulous”

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How do you tell a musician you’ve admired for more than 30 years how much their music means to you, how much it means that you were finally able to see him perform after 30 years of waiting for and wanting to? Providing the soundtrack to my nomadic life, he (Robyn Hitchcock) too has wandered, touring a host of unusual places, often landing in places where I should have seen him (Seattle). But I was always somewhere else – wrong place, wrong time. Finally, finally, I was able to catch him last night in Oslo in a small venue called Cafe Mono. Against all logic or reason, standing there in a small crowd, I found myself getting choked up with the emotion of the moment, and thought, “Ah yes,” because I do tend to forget this, “This is why we go to concerts and participate in these kinds of experiences.”

After the show, I had my 15 seconds to say hello and thank him, but I found it difficult to be able to find the right words in that moment. How can you convey something meaningful without being a babbling idiot cliché? I am not a ‘lingering’ or manic/maniac fan type (and I needed to jump on the subway to get back to my car for the long drive back to the woods) who sticks around to talk to musicians, but this time I felt such a need to say thank you (and the place was so small and all the Norwegians swarmed out quickly when the show ended). But feeling a bit tongue-tied, I managed only the thank you I intended (maybe that was enough) and the mist (“whoever remembers only mist – what does he remember?“) of his mild incredulity that I came from Seattle (“Viva! Sea-Tac”) but had somehow never seen him in the 30 years I had wanted to. Of course, touring musicians are not the only ones who wander.

What I felt like saying was some combination of the impersonal and personal. I never would have because I’m not that person, encroaching on other people’s space and time. It was rough enough to say ‘thank you’.

More impersonally, that Hitchcock is woven into the fabric of influence (he has been influenced by and has had influence on). And yet, when one talks to people and mentions Robyn Hitchcock, the majority are at a loss. Access to the surrealist ache of Hitchcock’s music is open but still somehow limited. As J put it: “I wonder how it is that I’m not familiar with Robyn Hitchcock? I did some cursory googling at 2:30 AM… and I can see that he has more than left his mark on the contemporary music scene. And yet… I have somehow failed to make him part of my musical culture.” I feel as though I have for 30 years enjoyed a gift modestly few people have embraced as they should. At times I wish more people knew him, but then I suppose the vague intimacy of what he does would be lost.

More personally, I remember first hearing songs from Fegmania! when I was little more than a child, but then Robyn Hitchcock really registered with me (it’s all about timing, I guess) upon seeing the video for “Balloon Man” one evening, and a visiting cousin expressed that the music ‘scared’ her. Of course “Balloon Man” felt like a novelty – it endures still because it is catchy and somewhat accessible, but in a way served only as a gateway to the more potent, mysterious and absurd Hitchcock work I know and love. Globe of Frogs became a constant soundtrack (and always springs to mind when I am driving in rainy Swedish summer weather, and the roads are covered in frogs, alive and dead), and Queen Elvis was transformative. I shared it with my best friend at the time, and we delighted in singing “The Devil’s Coachman” loudly while wandering around our suburban neighborhood. (We were children; we imagined we were scaring our neighbors. I am sure we were noisy nuisances.) “Autumn Sea” remains one of my favorite songs.

None of these impersonal or personal accounts would make a difference; the musician certainly hears variations on these every day. I thought about that while attempting to find the right words, and ultimately, only sincere and basic gratitude seems as though it could offer any meaning or value.

Since then the music has been a constant presence, accompanying me through every stage of this nomadic life. As I have spent time hopping from one country to another and then another, this growing, glowing, gorgeous, amorphous musical catalog follows. Grounding it, even if only once in my whole life, in the same place, same time, space-time moment, in face-to-face reality (and all reality is only reaction and interaction, of course – “the universe is based on sullen entropy – It falls apart as it goes on” – “The Devil’s Coachman”), as I was at last able to do, was worth the wait.

Defiant

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The other day, reading Joan Didion’s Slouching Toward Bethlehem, I was struck when reading her writing on Joan Baez by the statement:

She “…was a personality before she was entirely a person, and, like anyone to whom that happens, she is in a sense the hapless victim of what others have seen in her, written about her, wanted her to be and not to be. The roles assigned to her are various, but variations on a single theme.”

These words evoked for me the feelings I have long had about, and the image of, Sinéad O’Connor in the late 1980s, an embryonic personality driving and sometimes hindering a skyrocketing career and startling voice. I’d always felt back then that the well-publicized “mania” (I wouldn’t really call it this), early in her career, had unfairly stuck to her, giving her a reputation she could never outrun. She was so very young when her career took off, and we forget – today, as always – that people are still quite unformed and incomplete throughout their early adulthoods; I’d venture to say that many people continue to be unformed well beyond youth. She fit Didion’s description: a personality before she was a fully formed person.

O’Connor, though, also experienced very public controversies (which many would dismiss as publicity ploys), public identity crises and shifts, and quite gut-wrenching bouts of depression and battles with other forms of mental illness (and here I mean gut-wrenching for her fans to watch her go through; I cannot even begin to imagine or put into words what these bouts are like for her, undoubtedly something much worse than just “gut-wrenching” – maybe The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon begins to touch on some part of it, but certainly not all of it), which continued well beyond her youth, worsening with the passage of time.

Could one say she never had the opportunity to become a fully formed person, to move beyond the preternatural talent and preconceived ideas people had about her? And, given the revelations she has shared over the years about her own experiences with abuse and mental illness, how could she ever become a fully formed person? How could she not struggle, often – again – very publicly?

I thought about all of this rather without aim while plowing through the Didion writing, humming tunes from The Lion & the Cobra album to myself, overcome by memories of the summer of 1988, listening to this album repeatedly (when I finally got it on vinyl, after waiting forever), so in love with its extremes of ethereal wave and primitive scream. How, oh, how, I was asked by classmates, could I like this? (Perhaps another case of people failing to look beyond the shaved-head surface.) Eventually Sinéad gave us I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, which, at least for a while, turned her into a mainstream favorite, and the masses could finally understand what I had been saying since 1987.

In one of those all-too-frequent little coincidences, it was only a week or so after being reminded of Sinéad by Didion’s writing that Sinéad herself posted a heart-rending video of herself on her Facebook page talking about her diagnosed mental illnesses and recent suicidal thoughts. It feels exploitative to post the video again (certainly in its complete form), although it’s on her official Facebook page to see. A cry for help, a need to be heard, a voice reaching out to others who perhaps felt as she did? In a way, this act felt very much like the Sinéad O’Connor who has always existed, no matter how lost she feels: she won’t be silenced; she won’t care if you, we, anyone doesn’t want to hear what she has to say; she is, despite being devastated by the effects of her illnesses and the rejection she has perceived from her loved ones, still defiant in the way only she can be. Hopefully it will be this defiance that keeps her going.

Photo by Jenu Prasad on Unsplash