themes this week – work and its entrapment, summer icumen in, itinerant yearning in lands symbolic and real.
The Blue Orchids – Work
Haunting organ, frail seething vocals, tinny drums. lot of fuck off anger. great.
ABRA – FKA MESS
Beautifully produced, its sophisticated sounds augur summer to me. what is it? the beat? the crystalline guitars? the synths that usher it in and see it out? are the vocals strong enough? i’m not sure. how strong is that feeling of the ‘80s? i feel as it unfolds for me it’s going to be a track of the year, an early defining sound to my moods and the events around me. whatever it brings, if it brings a new Abra album, then that is something to aniticipate v eagerly, especially if it’s all of this quality.
Gina Birch – I Play My Bass Loud
A very enjoyable single from the former Raincoats bassist and singer. Not enormously challenging or anything, just fun to play, and again, a whiff of summer pop, being played as the song says too loudly with the window open.
Van der Graf Generator – Refugees
And so, more Pete Hammill, this time in Van der Graf Generator, and Refugees off their second album, though this is the single version. Big fan of the lyrics, I’m a sucker for mysticism sprinkled with idiosyncrasies of grounded detail. With its progression through North, East, South and West, each with their telling characteristics, it reminds me slightly of Calvino’s Inivisible Cities, (itself a template for Helen DeWitt’s wonderful The Sexual Lives of the Europeans). Also love references to specific names, here ‘Mike and Susie’. Ok, apparently the ‘city’ is London, and Mike Moran and Susan Penhaligon who lived in Ladbroke Grove (this via Bob Stanley’s v good English Weather collection notes). It doesn’t matter, within the abstracted layer of the song, the names are curious, infused with yearning, but remaining appropriately opaque. The West is where all days will someday end reflects back to this post, a vision the West bringing about its own demise, barren stagnation and tumult under an enflamed sunset, new people taking their place.