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#MWE 2021 Expanded, Week One

Last year I started tweeted a Music Writer Exercise created by Gary Suarez. It happens every February all month long, here are the details:

I figured that I shouldn’t keep to just the 280 characters If I wanted to, so here goes for week one:

Television – Marquee Moon : The title track is a dizzying piece that mesmerizes you, while the remaining songs are improvisational post-punk to their core. Decades onward, and there’s still a lot on the album that’s fresh. “Venus”, “Friction”, and “Elevation” are standout of Verlaine’s poetic lyrics over unrestrained riffs. You can hear the influences its made on LCD Soundsystem, Interpol, The Strokes, and countless classic attacks like R.E.M. among others. Even Joy Division fans can’t deny that Television’s album, which came out years before Unknown Pleasures, is a bedrock to the genre and many that came after.

Doves – The Universal Want: Long time since Kingdom of Rust, and the sound is like they shook off a lot of it. Not overly ornate, but the expansive melody and Goodwin’s anguish (“Prisoners” and “Broken Eyes” come to mind) makes a luster that washes out the dull. It’s difficult to pull off a decent album after an eleven-year hiatus, many stumble on the comeback swing. yet Doves pulls the uplifting from the melodrama as the adept veterans they have become.

PJ Harvey – Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea: A love letter to urban life that reaches out to you. Nightlife, seediness, longing – Polly Jean makes the alt-rock strumming intimate, even with that widespread appeal. The Thom Yorke tracks are amazing, but you can’t overlook “Good Fortune”, “Kamikaze”, and “This Is Love”. On a more personal note, I feel a slight pang of guilt because I should have listened to this album DECADES ago when I heard her live when she opened for U2 back in 2001.

White Zombie – La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One: Slick, primal sleaze-metal w/ trashy intensity oozing out of every song. The monotony is saved by the punctuations of exploitation movie samples like the devil’s ad-libs. There’s nothing to be lost from an Iggy Pop spoken word bit in the middle of “Black Sunshine”, either. The crunch in”Cosmic Monster Inc.” and unrelenting “Grindhouse (A Go-Go) ” are of note, along with “Thunder Kiss 65”, of course. Faster, slimebag, kill!

Death – …For The Whole World to See: Some archeologists fight about the origins of musical instruments. It’s not the same for this album and Death’s mark on punk rock when you listen. From start (“Keep On Knocking”) to finish (“Politicians In My Eyes”) it is a burst of vibrant, nonconformist rock that should have been respected at release, but alas.

Animal Collective – Sung Tongs: What an offbeat little symbol of emergent 2000s weirdness. Veering on the twee at times, it’s a psych-folk album that takes you on a jaunt through an indie idyll. Whether it’s back to normal or down to hipsterdom, that would depend if you went on to listen to Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Actress – Karma & Desire: Certain hypnagogic melodies permeate this album. It has a Selected Ambient Works Vol II vibe, evolved into something organic, energetic, and cybernetic. Whispers slip into pulsating beats on “Angels Pharmacy”. There are haunting piano pieces throughout, but “Many Seas, Many River” with Sampha’s soulful vocals is a standout. Actress’ house roots still emerge on the bottom half of the album, and the T-909 special guesting.

The Weekly Tumblr Dump – 3/28/14

 

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From the post:

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is an entomopathogenic (it acts as a parasite and can kill or disable the host) fungus. It is known as the mind controlling fungi and in the 1st picture it can be seen growing out the head of a “zombie” ant in the Brazilian forest. It can control the behavioral patterns of the host it has attached onto. It takes control of an ant so it can move to an ideal location for the fungi to grow and spread its spores, after that it kills the ant.

I’ve always been a fan of this weird-ass organism. I know that it was used in The Last of Us, and I’d like to see it used in more fiction.

 

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This comes from a series of photos taken by Jonathan Hobin. He took children and recreated horrible tragedies (like the Jonestown massacre above). There’s a 9/11 and JonBenet Ramsey one, of course, but I was surprised he made one for the Lady Diana death.

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From an IndieWire interview with Robert Rodriguez about why he created the El Rey Network (via http://peaceloveandafropuffs.tumblr.com/):

When I was doing “Spy Kids,” the Weinsteins asked me — not that they were being jerks at all, they were just wondering — “Why are you making the characters Hispanic? It doesn’t make any sense, isn’t this supposed to be for everybody?” “Well, it’s based on my family.”

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(via http://fitoraemusic.tumblr.com/)

I love the original (probably listened to it hundreds of times when I was in junior high) and this spin on it is really goddamn good. I went on and listened to more of  Banks’ songs, and they are really good. I recommend “Before I Ever Met You”: