The Bugle and Low
This morning’s dog walk, at 6.45am, was to the sound of The Bugle podcast, which is a weekly fixture. The latest edition is a filler featuring 20 minutes of Andy Zaltzman doing stand-up in Dhakar, Bangladesh.
This left 10 minutes or so, and with Pretty Goes With Pretty‘s comments about Low’s ‘Drums and Guns’ lodged somewhere in my head, I skipped to the last three tracks of that album. I’m not sure I agree that they are the best, and with my new half-decent headphones on, I noticed some weird stereo-panning effect that stuffed Alan Sparhawk straight into my right ear and made me feel like I was going to fall over. Not ideal really, so I was glad to get home vertical.
I love Low and i’m excited about ‘C’mon’ as I am about ‘Tomboy’. Both are streaming this week, but for artists I’m interested in, or besotted with, that first listen still has a ritual importance. I’ll wait for the physical artifact in both cases.
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
I was in the office on my own today, so listened to the new Pains of Being Pure At Heart album on Spotify, playingf through the internal speakers of a closed laptop. Didn’t concentrate at all, but I did get a feel for how it sounds, which is something.
I saw a Facebook page this morning which was full of comments by one Terence Ng. So I ended up with this jerking around my head for much of the afternoon.
‘Ana Ng’ is everything you could want from 3 minutes of a pop song. It reads like a David Lynch mood board, has stabbing, slicing guitars, a beautifully complex and addictive chorus and a bonkers video. Take a moment to consider a chorus that has the nerve to go “Ana Ng and I are getting old/And we still haven’t walked in the glow of each other’s majestic presence” in the space of about 3 seconds. It’s like a multi-barbed fish-hook. Once you’ve got it in you, you’ll worry at it until one of you is shredded.
They Might Be Giants
Following my head instead of my heart for once, when I had 15 minutes of my car journey home to spare after P.M. finished on Radio 4, I put ‘A Users Guide To They Might Be Giants’ on shuffle, from my iPhone via a Belkin FM transmitter. I started with ‘Ana Ng’ and then got ‘We’re the Replacements’, ‘John Lee Supertaster’, ‘The Statue Got Me High’, ‘She’s an Angel’, ‘No!’, ‘Istanbul (Not Constantinople)’ and ‘Cyclops Rock’.
Put another way, I got transglobal invisible romance, childish rock and roll, freakish culinary weirdness, a haunted killer stone, celestial love at a dog show, a pre-school anti-rape tract, post-empire revisionist geo-politics and, well, i’ve no idea what ‘Cyclops Rock’ is about, but it’s great.
That’s a pretty fine use of 15 minutes if you ask me. I don’t know why They Might Be Giants don’t get more respect. Cramming ideas into song lyrics is not a crime, and sounding quirky is okay if you make it worthwhile. I don’t know them inside out, but their best stuff is some of my favourite stuff.
I came home, had a floor to mop, some food to prepare and a wife to spend time with. I also had to prepare for tomorrow’s Devon Record Club, and as part of this, I listened to approximately 0.5seconds of ‘Moanin’ at Midnight’ by Howlin’ Wolf.