Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bill-paying music!

Oh, those tough fiscal days of the month, when you're bashing onna calculator & scribbling figures in yer checkbook, hoping you'll have enuf $$$ left after paying the bills 2 actually buy food. Or, this month, 2 squeeze-in Christmas.
Might wanna put some music on. Loud is good. Something 2 drown-out the sound of your checking account emptying with a flush -- a giant sucking sound like the entrance 2 a black hole. Fast is good, so you get it all over with quick. & silly is good, so you can maybe avoid facing the fact that you have a grand total of 29 cents left 2 yer name til next payday.
Or maybe you'll start laffing & look up & realize that as long as you gotta roof over yer head, food in the fridge, & heat in the house, the rest of it doesn't really matter that much....

Florence + the Machine -- Only if for a Night, Shake it Out, No Light No Light, Seven Devils, Heartlines, Spectrum, All This and Heaven Too, Leave My Body, Remain Nameless, Strangeness and Charm, Bedroom Hymns, What the Water Gave Me (demo).
Be-Bop Deluxe -- Jet Silver and the Dolls of Venus, Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape, Maid in Heaven.
Gong -- The Pot Head Pixies, Tropical Fish: Selene, Flute Salad, Outer Temple, Inner Temple, Eat the Phone Book Coda.

I remain impressed by Florence + the Machine, & especially by their powerful choral vocals that save even the weakest songs on their latest, CEREMONIALS (2011) -- of which there R only a couple. "Only if for a Night" has nice choruses & the sound of church bells ringing that sounds like it was taken from 1 of my favorite movies ever, FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL.
I only played "Shake it Out" 3x on Tues aft, but I still think it's the best thing I've heard in years. Course I was hooked on it as soon as I heard the line "I can never leave the past behind." Luckily, the rest of the lyrics R freaking brilliant too.
"No Light, No Light" is my choice 4 the next single -- tho it has an almost-conventional breakup-song-type structure. Some of the same power of "Shake it Out" & "What the Water Gave Me."
"Seven Devils" sounds like some kinda gothic horror-movie soundtrack, & not in a good way. "Heartlines" has nice choruses, & "Spectrum" has a great "say-my-name" chorus. "All This and Heaven Too" also has nice, powerful choruses -- it's these vocals & choruses, along with the often pounding drums, that gives these songs such power. "Bedroom Hymns" has Xcellent keyboards, good chanting vocals, more pounding drums, & almost overpowering choruses; it coulda gone on longer.
The demo of "What the Water Gave Me" is quite a bit diffrent from the released version -- some of the lyrics R diffrent, without as heavy or moody an impact. Otherwise, all that's missing is the huge, booming, gothic-spooky production.
What I get as Florence's message from all these dramatic, booming, heavy, dark songs is that life is hard & love is WAY harder -- but worth it, even if you can only connect 4 a little while.
So maybe paying my bills on-time is somehow a noble & worthwhile thing 2 do. Onward.

Have always loved Be-Bop Deluxe in theory. Flashy guitar & dreamy, futuristic topics with Roxy/Bowie-style vocals -- OK, I'm listening. I always thot their SUNBURST FINISH (1975) was 1/2 of a REALLY GOOD album.
But their early "Jet Silver and the Dolls of Venus" seems kinda simple compared 2 their later stuff. "Adventures in a Yorkshire Landscape" is pleasant ... but there isn't enuf flashy guitar in it.
"Maid in Heaven" is more like it. Suddenly there's a whole 'nother level of electricity here -- sparkling electric gtr runs, & generally just LOTS more rifferama gtr. Some Xcitement! That's what I want! There's a near-Roxy sound. But it's 2 short, & it ends 2 abruptly. But I'll havta listen 2 more of this. All from RAIDING THE DIVINE ARCHIVE/THE BEST OF.
So maybe I'll just stylishly glide my way thru a check 2 Capital One. & then 4get 2 sign it....

Gong. Yes, well. I've said B4 that mayB I'm just 2 STRAIGHT 2 fully appreciate these hippie sillies. Ghod knows I've tried. & their post-Daevid-Allen almost-jazz-rock SHAMAL (1975) has some very nice atmospheric stuff on it. & Ghod knows it's more ... uh ... sober. I've had a copy in the house since '78.
But their earlier "classic" period that gets all the raves? Well, I ain't heard all that much. But I'm trying 2 fix that.
"The Pot Head Pixies" has Xcellent-as-usual sax from Didier Mahlerbe, & the group's usual silly vocals. "Tropical Fish: Selene" has more Xcellent sax & some pleasant, spacey riffing -- + Gilly Smith's spacey wordless vocals. "Flute Salad" has, of course, Xcellent flute, again by Mahlerbe, & some very spacey synth from Tim Blake. "Inner Temple" has some nice percussion effects at the end. "Eat the Phone Book Coda" has some Xcellent drumming from Pierre Moerlen & some tight group riffing.
It's tough 2 Xcerpt this stuff out, Bcos everything flows 2gether. All these R from ABSOLUTELY THE BEST OF GONG, which I'll B Xploring more of, especially the longer, spacier, jammier, riffier trax (allegedly). 4 me, Mahlerbe's great sax & flute work make this band, at least during their earlier "classic" period. That musta bn some great acid they were on, back in the day.
If I write-out a 29-cent check 2 Bank of America do ya s'pose they'll get off my back 4 awhile....?

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