Orville Peck “Dead of Night” – Roy Orbison gently weeps tears of joy

You might have heard of Orville Peck, if you’ve seen him in his amazing country getup, you definitely will remember the anonymous troubadour who is doing what SIA did but with country fringe/tassel instead of his actual fringe.

However, you might also remember him because that voice is something you can’t really get out of your mind. Roy Orbison would be proud and I am quite sure that Glenn Danzig is also a secret fan (and wishes he could pull off that look).

“Dead of Night” is a gorgeous timeless love song about a steamy summer in Carson City and the memories of it. Ok, if you’re boring you can also interpret it as two pals palling around like pals do, but come on, “Six summers down, another dreamless night, you’re not by my side” would sound romantic even in the pal-iest circumstances.

Peck is a fascinating musician, because anonymity in this day and age is almost impossible (and if you dig just a little, Wikipedia will spoil all the mystery) but to keep it up despite the fact is an artistic decision that fits incredibly well with the musical style which skips between classic and more powerful alt-infused modern country music. Peck’s vocals are front and center because that man has RANGE! But there’s also a genius way how he composes his songs and mixes up different genres and influences. Despite him saying in interviews that he has no idea what he’s doing, everything feels like delicate needlepoint work with no note, no word or sound out of place. He’s very generous naming his influences which range from Dolly Parton (d’uh) to Whitney Houston and John Waters.

I think “Dead of Night” made such a big splash a few years ago, because it has this very epic, big pathos mixed with a melancholy and loneliness that is very reminiscent to the 50s and 60s when so many love songs had this underlying sadness and feeling of loss and fleeting moments.

Funnily enough, Yola’s “Faraway Look” is the perfect sibling to this song because it also feels like straight out of the 50s/60s but instead plays into the dreamy prom clouds of teenage hopefulness.

Goose – ‘Hungersite’: looking for a ray of hope

I am looking out of the window into the dreary, grey behemoth that is Berlin in January and Goose’s „Hungersite“ just breaks through like a sunshine and makes me believe I am going on a beach cruise this weekend (I will not, I will stay at home and play video games). 

The song itself sounds like a modern version of a Beach Boys song that turned into a chill Sunday Jam Session and with 7 minutes, it’s slightly beyond the radio-friendly fare (does anyone still listen to the radio?) but does feel like a classic pop song. There’s something alluring about a song of this length and with quite a few instrumental parts, that is still catchy as heck. 

I love the slightly menacing but still hopeful lyrics. „Hope“, they sing, „it’s bent like rope“ and dark and moody me thinks of nooses. But maybe, as the following lines „I’m growing tired of hauling on yesterday“ suggests, it’s simply that sometimes it feels almost disheartening to keep on hoping for something better when the here and now feels so heavy on your shoulders. 

Hungersite is hopefull, though, that there are ways to „climb through“ until there is a nicer view, something to see, to feel, to experience. 

Now, I could go all „worst parts of tumblr“ and explain why it’s not that easy for everyone but let’s not. Let’s simply think how – in at least my privileged life – there are always ways for me to find something beautiful. And even if my seasonal depression forbids me from feeling it right now, I am at least aware that it’ll be there eventually. 

Stonefield – Dog Eat Dog will bite your ear off

I discovered Stonefield while watching TV and I will tell you what show I was watching at the end of the article, so you have some time to guess and then gasp because unless you’ve watched the same show and heard the same song, you’ll never guess (cue evil laughter).

„Dog Eat Dog“ is a massive rock song, the kind that has it all, the fuzzy guitars, the drums cutting through like you’re getting whacked with metal pipes, vocals that seem to come through a haze and then the golden centrepiece of 60s/70s rock: the motherfudging organ. Give it to me!

Since the song is about how power can destroy everything, no matter how much you rebuild and heal, the whole atmosphere of doomsday rock fits like the glove of a plague doctor making the rounds.

It’s been a while that Stonefield released an album, the beauty that includes „Dog Eat Dog“ was released in 2019 and was called „Bent“. Stonefield themselves are the rare but often magical family grouping (see also: Skating Polly) and they’re from Australia which is probably why their psychedelic stoner rock is so delicious. It must be the long distances that you have to travel when you want to play a show outside of your city, it’s a lot of nature to traverse that gives a lot of impressions to craft only the stoniest of stoner anthems.

Personally, I even hear a little bit of early Black Sabbath in the vocals but they also have some of those slightly disorienting prog tinges. The opener to Bent, „Sleep“ (which can only refer to the kind of sleep you have in the middle of the flu) is a bulldozer of a song that makes my heart sing and scream. However, us flannel loving 90s kids and even the hairspray synth-wavers of the 80s will enjoy Stonefield’s music tremendously. It is one of those blends that especially Australians and Canadians can do so well, where you find your little piece of nostalgia without getting stuck in the past.

I really hope that the pandemic didn’t do the band in, according to their homepage, their last tour was in 2020, however, their Instagram indicates that they have toured locally, so let’s hope that we’ll hear from them soon with some new shit.

Ok, did you try to guess which TV show I was watching? Look, I watch a lot of super cool, hip, meaningful, subversive shows. But don’t you dare overestimate my tastes, since I discovered Stonefield during an episode of Catfish (if you don’t know, it’s a reality TV show about people getting catfished on the internet and it has 3000 episodes and it’s almost always the same and you almost always scream at the people getting catfished because it seems so obvious but I somehow feel like this will totally happen to me in my lifetime which is probably why I love this show so much).

Also: Happy New Year, it’s been a while since I posted, sorry not sorry, I was busy over at my Lets Play channel (my new favourite child, I guess) but even though I hate good resolutions, I really really plan on writing a little bit more on this blog again, especially now that social media is breaking down and I am sure we’ll all go back to blogging.

Cover me: “Where is my mind” by the Pixies is made to be covered

After I recently heard a rather charming wedding band cover version of the Pixies’ “Where is my mind” (including seeing an old teacher from uni at the guitar, how weird is that?), I somehow gotten into that weird plane of existence where this song suddenly pops up everywhere.

I actually never would have thought that it’s a song that can be covered successfully but then I watched “Malignant” and if that isn’t one creepy beauty of a cover then I don’t know what is.

Ok, but first things first. Released in 1988, even though it sounds like it should be from the 90s, “Where is my mind” is from the album “Surfer Rosa”, the debut album of one of THE indie bands. It’s kind of hilarious that this was/is the hymn for the weirdo guys at the club who will shuffle on the dance floor when this song comes on and absolutely explore on the dance floor only to shuffle back into their dark corner after. It rose to prominence when it was featured in “Fight Club” – you know, the movie that criticises toxic masculinity but has been a favourite for way too many toxic asshats.

The song itself is about when Black Francis went scuba diving and where he was chased by a small fish. I love this, though, because the song fits both a nice little diving excursion and also the existential feeling of being just one small drop in the ocean once you’re faced with the actual ocean and its vast ecosystem, the fact that we’re all made of water, that we’re all nothing without water and – as of late – that we’re heading towards a Mad Max Fury Road hellscape of water shortage.

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Bully ‘Just for Love’ is an angry cry for self-love (I think?)

“I would never talk to anyone the way I talk to myself” is a line from the newest single by alt pop outfit Bully (mainly Alicia Bognanno but now and then also a few other people) and it cuts through the angsty garage anthem “Just for love”. I wonder whether it’s supposed to be a nod to “I’d do anything for love (but I won’t do that)” by the late Meat Loaf but if it is kudos to being so timely. I can’t 100% say what I think the song is about since lyrics are scarce (and riddled with question marks on Genius.com) but my initial interpretation would be someone who slowly realizes that they’re in an unhealthy relationship and need to cut ties for their own sake.  

(You’re invited to correct and discuss in the comments)

What’s to love about this song is this throwback to 90s/early 00s garage punk, the perfect combination of sneering at someone whilst also shredding a guitar and feeling all your emotions. Not that I would ever want to go back to that time of teen angst but I do like music that reminds me of it. The song was initially written as part of the sessions for the most recent album “Sugaregg” but didn’t make the track list, so here it is to give our seasonal depression a little kick. It’s appreciated.

No Party for Cao Dong ‘還願’- Dreamy post rock for dreamy post rockers

I recently watched a Lets Play of the Taiwanese game “Devotion” (partly horror, partly drama) and this song played at the end and it’s the kind of song that immediately grabs me, because it starts like dream pop, then turns into an singer/songwriter-ish guitar ditty and suddenly erupts into dizzying post rock and all this happens in 3:45 minutes but it feels like 10 seconds because it flows so easily, it’s like a perfect train journey.

The song is – as far as I could tell from the translation given within the game – about a bittersweet ending or seeing some beauty in something ending because you decide to see the light in it. According to Wikipedia, the song was specifically written for the game, so I won’t go deeper into the meaning because I don’t want to spoil it for you in case you want to look it up or play it yourself.

No Party for Cao Dong are a Taiwanese band founded in 2014 and currently being on hiatus with the remaining members Wood Lin (vocals and guitar), Sam Yang (bass) and Judy Chan (guitar).

If you want to find out more about the band, there’s a lovely article on them on asianpopweekly.com.

Sadly, the drummer of the band, Fan Tsai, died in October this year. She had been with the band since 2016 when they met at university.

Favourite Song: Richard & Linda Thompson “The Calvary Cross” – the things you do for love

So, I recently watched “The Night House”, a horror movie about grief and how far you would go to protect someone you dearly love and this song was playing in the background a few times. I actually thought it was a modern song but lo and behold, this song is from the album “I want to see the bright lights tonight” by Richard & Linda Thompson from 1974. Goes to show that the term “timeless” really can describe songs that feel at home across decades.

The lyrics are – typically for the 70s – covered in myths and therefore a little difficult to grasp but I personally interpret it as a song about death. It’s about a pale-faced lady and her one green eye and how she’ll hurt the protagonist till he needs her. And how everything the protagonist does is for her. Which is somewhat a metaphor how so much we do in life eventually leads to death but also is shaped by death. What we want to achieve, how much we want to take in, experience, who we want to meet, how we want to grow, all before it finally gets us.

The Calvary Cross or “Cross’ of Cal’vary” is a cross with steps beneath it, apparently a representation of the structure on which Jesus was crucified. It is used as an emblem to Christianity. This could give the song a Christian meaning but the pale lady with her green eye makes me thing that the cross is more a symbol of dying or maybe sacrificing everything for something or someone.

Which in turn fits The Night House. If you like horror movies that not necessarily get to the bottom of the scares, feature weird architecture and a bit more psychological horror, this might be for you. I am not yet sure I think it’s a great movie but it was quite unique in some ways that is always interesting and I am sure some of the visuals will stay with me. The idea of specific architecture achieving some sort of protection or deceit that the movie touches upon is just incredibly fascinating and as someone who loves all things impossible spaces, I loved the premise.

Favorite Song: Spencer Krug “Winter Sings to Fall” – to fall for Fall

I have a deep fondness for love songs that voice the many whirlwinds of emotion, to not just show the saccharine sweet aspects but the anxiety, the feelings of being overwhelmed by all of it, this maelstrom of everything.

“Winter sings to fall” is such a song if you like to read it this way. This could be a song about someone who is being loved but nearly unaware of the amount, the intensity of this love. It might even be the love of someone who puts too much on this loved one (“while a bitter winter watches”) and who seems to nearly wish it weren’t so or at least wants just as much love in return (“you owe me for how much I love you”) which sometimes is not granted.

And if “Winter sings to Fall” is the title, then maybe it’s about an older person being in love with a (somewhat) younger person? Or maybe it is very literal, well, as much as it can be if winter sings.

Therefore, it could also be a song about the change of seasons and how winter watches as autumn gracefully moves through the world. Krug’s mentioning “Spider Season” which is apparently the time between September and October when all the spiders look for warm places inside houses and scare all the people “on top of our chairs”. A song about how autumn is this beautiful grace, the leaves in love with the wind who takes them for a dance. How winter watches, yearning, bitter even, because where the leaves are dancing for fall, they only lie dead for winter.

Who knows. Maybe I am completely off. But isn’t it a nice song?

Favourite Song: Bad Nerves ‘Baby Drummer’ is a juicy throwback

Favourite Song: Bad Nerves ‘Baby Drummer’ is a juicy throwback

This meta song is about yearning for a band, a song, an album or a baby drummer to really excite you. As someone who used to listen to tons of bands, I can tell you that there isn’t necessarily something like too much music but listening to a lot of bands from the same genres can easily soften all the edges of every new song you listen to and it takes a lot more to get you really excited (weirdly, I have not found this with 80s/retro 80s pop – yet).

So, color me happy and surprised that Bad Nerves actually, ironically are somewhat my Baby Drummers because their frantic, self-titled album is a beautifully catchy, glam-inspired speedrace through tight rock songs that light up the disco, electrify your tape deck and get your heart pumping.

At first glance, I was a bit surprised that they are from Essex, since they could just as well get noise complaints from a grumpy New York neighbour but especially the melodies do indeed have that Britrock glamour that is always a bit more playful than their American counterparts. In fact, there are instances when T.Rex or the Sweet peak around the corner and this album is all the better for it.

I am a little less enamoured with the songs that lean more into the pop punk direction such as “Radio Punk” but the great thing about a short album is that it’s less than a cigarette break till the next song (which in this case is “Bored of Babies” that I like for its frantic vibe but am not really not agreeing with since it’s about “losing” friends who start a family, like, dude, not everyone can and wants to be a punk rocker till the end of time).

Anyways, all in all I really love this album, there’s enough for any playlist, dancefloor and summer night.

Favorite Song: The Replacements – Answering Machine

A beautiful thing about the Replacements was, that they went through different styles of punk music but with a spirit that fit their legacy: trying things out and trying to have fun and trying to avoid rules, even those hiding in the anarchist punk movement. Playing pop and glam cover songs during a show full of hardcore punks to piss them off is a beautiful thing because it shows that dogmatic rules on what is and isn’t punk were counter to what the scene actually wanted to be.

The Replacement’s “Answering Machine” is the perfect example how melodious punk really was (and still is). And how much emotion it could convey. It’s teenage angst perfectly distilled in 3 1/2 minutes. Admitted, The Replacements where in their 20s when they released “Let it be” in 1984 (and their harder punk style had been softened a lot) but a song about how difficult it is to put raw emotion into a letter or – worse even – on the silly little tape of an answering machine is basically every 80s and 90s teens woes.

I also want to mention “Androgynous” which is a beautiful love song about two people who love each other.

It’s a little bit sad reading lines like “kewpie dolls and urine stalls will be laughed at the way you’re laughed at now”, when nearly 40 years later, today’s trans rights are being threatened with – of all the things – a weird disturbed horror scenario where trans women roam bathrooms to attack cis women. But maybe that’s just the weird, off-putting hurdle we have to get away with (soon, please)? Eh, I could live without those hurdles, honestly.

As to not end on such a super bummer note, here’s an adorable cover of the song by my problematic face Miley Cyrus, punk icon Joan Jett and punk icon Laura Jane Grace. What a holy trinity of not giving a fuck right there!