Arcane Fire Vol. 9

Hyper-ballad by Bjork. A song with a chorus that’s too beautiful for words, really. For those of you who don’t know Bjork, she’s an Icelandic art-diva with a huge, distinctive voice and a brilliant artistic vision. I wish she were President of Everything, and I bet I’m not alone in that.

Hit by Sugarcubes. This is the band from which Bjork sprang into worldwide acclaim. It’s a strange but addictive 90’s melange of Bjork’s already-distinctive melodic sense and a slicker rock sound, punctuated by the ravings of her bandmate Einar Orn Benediktsson. This song has turntablism, icelandic chanting, and great melodies.

I Wanna Destroy You by Soft Boys. The Soft Boys were a very short lived and hugely influential band that Hitchcock co-founded. Basically, no one ever paid any attention to these guys while they were making these records. Amazing. This song is a glorious, richly harmonized triumph that sounds like Heroes by Bowie, but with Hitchcock’s razor wit slicing through it all. All hail the spirit of punk crossed with the creativity of psychedelia! I believe I could not live without this song.

I Wanna Be Sedated by Ramones. One of the first gigs my hgh school band ever did was at a mental hopsital – New Year’s Eve 1986, baby! We ran out of songs to play and briefly considered doing this one, but thought the better of it. Looking back, I bet they would have loved it.

Little Water Song by Ute Lemper. Oops, more grimness. It’s the third day of summer and all I can post up here is a song about a woman being drowned by her lover? What can I say? I just finished watching the last episode of Six Feet Under last night. Ute Lemper is a German cabaret singer and an underground icon. Just want you all to know what the fuss is all about. Oh the pathos, drama, and such.

Sometimes a Pony Gets Depressed by Silver Jews. David Berman, luminous American poet and early mentor to Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus, is also a titanic songwriter. In my opinion, no one can be so disengaged and simultaneously so compelling as Berman; and for my do-re-mi, this song demonstrates his comedic, existential-ninja style. Sometimes a pony gets depressed. I don’t know how or why, but please let me know when you figure out how this works. This song makes me so very happy. Plus it’s funny, which helps this list transition from the grim to the less grim. [Note: this song contains a tiny bit of profanity].

Brokedown by Slaid Cleaves. I heard earnest, folksy songwriter Slaid Cleaves play a show last week, and this song kind of crushed me. Very well written, classic country-ish singer songwriter stuff that I would think would be a great starter point for contemporary songwriter stations on Pandora. Please let me know if this makes a good station if you try it before I do!!

I’m a Yogi by Free Design. I always have to get my sunshine fix, especially now that it’s summertime, and plus if I can point anyone to this absolutely astounding easy-listening/psychedelic band, I’m happy. This is also a super happy song, so this week’s list is rebounding from its earlier gloomery (probably temporarily though). Dig the extremely sophisticated musicality, perfect singing, and charmingly dated yet happening sounds. We have lots of these kinds of goodies in Pandora, so try this song as your personal musical time-travel vehicle. See you yesterday!

911 is a Joke by Public Enemy. Public Enemy. What can you say? They are simply one of the greatest bands ever, on the level of the Stones, Earth Wind and Fire, Elvis Presley, etc. This is off the “Fear of a Black Planet” album, and decries the unequal response times for 911 calls made from poor parts of town. The rap is by Flava Flav, and not Chuck D, who usually leads the charge. Don’t miss the music, either. Public Enemy was and still is intensely musically innovative, working in samples and sounds that surprise and deeelight.

Pyramid Song by Radiohead. I know, Pyramid Song is an obvious choice, but it’s so beautiful and stunning that it’s always in style. A bunch of us are going to see Radiohead tonight at Berkeley’s Greek Theater. As the song says, we’re “all going to heaven in a little rowboat.” See you soon!

That’s it for this week. Have fun!
best,
mz

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