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Chasing an Illusion by Larkin Grimm
“Through this music I strive to be free,” Larkin said in a statement about the album. “Free from suffering, free from shame, free from inhibitions, free from language, free from hatred, free from oppression, free from gender, free from race, free from expectations.” This spirit is pervasive throughout Chasing an Illusion; the lyrics, though sorrowful and painful meditations on difficult subject matters, when set against the lush, experimental-bordering on-improvisational-sounding instrumentation,coalesce to create potent, primal lullabies. On my favorite song from the album, “Beautifully Alone“,Grimm croons and chants, “I want to be alone, beautifully alone; I want to be alone, dangerously alone; I want to be alone, peacefully alone…and dreaming a dream of my own”–and I too, long for that solitude, and the freedom from expectations found therein. It must be said though, that truly, the entirety of Chasing an Illusion conjures a vision of transportive tranquility, of light overcoming the darkness, and healing of the deepest wounds.
Necrophiliac Among the Living Dead (Original Soundtrack) by TERRORTRON
Billed as a “…a posthumous electronic orb that splatters the ears of the living with a flood of brain-washing sound waves”, TERRORTRON is the horror soundtrack inspired project of Anders Manga (also the creative force behind the dark occult rock band Bloody Hammers.) Necrophiliac Among the Living Dead is the imagined soundtrack to an 80’s erotic zombie movie wherein “the nation is in a panic over corpses rising from their graves in search of fresh human bodies to devour. But for Jessica, a mortician who’s been hiding a grim sexual secret, it’s an opportunity…” The structure and build up and tension of the album–from the opening credits, to the love scene, to the corpses attacking the city–really does play out like a genuine cinematic experience, and in listening to this synth-laden, retrowave, John Carpenter/Fabio Frizzi-inspired pretend soundtrack, you really find yourself wishing its companion was an actual grainy VHS movie you could travel back in time and rent from the greasy guy at the creepy video store down the road.
Cigarettes After Sex by Cigarettes After Sex
I have marvelous Ivonne Carley to thank for turning me on to Cigarettes After Sex. If they don’t show up as one of the bands performing at the Roadhouse on an upcoming episode Twin Peaks, I can only imagine scheduling issues were to blame, because they’re perfect for it. “I’m a flash, you were blinded by the love I had…I’m a flash, the light could only get in through the cracks” This slow, dreamy, melancholy pop feels like it’s meant to be listened to in a shadowy bar, relaxing alone on a peaceful patio or in a park at sunset, or, yes, while luxuriating in the afterglow of sex. “Think I like you best when you’re just with me And no one else…” Knowing nothing about the band when I first started listening to them, it suddenly struck me how beautifully androgynous the vocals are. I love that I realized I couldn’t identify the gender of the person singing simply by listening. I’m reminded of an interview with Andy Bell from Erasure in which he mentioned that despite being openly gay, he consciously writes lyrics that may be interpreted to suit the listener. The tenderly crooned vocals of Greg Gonzalez strike my ears as bewitchingly genderfluid. “Kisses on the foreheads of the lovers wrapped in your arms…You’ve been hiding them in hollowed out pianos left in the dark” These songs are wistful and tender, heartbroken and moonstruck. They make me incredibly sad and they make me cherish the love I’ve known. “And when you go away, I still see you…The sunlight on your face in my rear view…This always happens to me this way…Recurring visions of such sweet days…” If you like bittersweet lyrics and ambient pop, then you need this album in your rotation. “And I will gladly break it, I will gladly break my heart for you…”
Trouble – Snake Eyes 7”
I still have Twin Peaks on the brain and I’m completely unapologetic about it. Episode 5 of the new season featured a band called Trouble performing on the stage at the Roadhouse. Featuring Riley Lynch (David Lynch’s son) on guitar, Dean Hurley (Lynch’s longtime music supervisor) on drums, and Alex Zhang Hungtai (of Dirty Beaches and Last Lizard) on tenor saxophone, Trouble blends blues, jazz, and rock in a way that reminds me of Morphine minus the seductive crooning of the late and sorely missed Mark Sandman. According to their label, Sacred Bones Records, the two songs on this 7” could be the only music produced by Trouble. “There may never be any more music from Trouble, but this 45 serves as physical evidence of the group’s continued existence in a parallel cinematic universe, grinding out late night Roadhouse gigs in the fictitious town of Twin Peaks, Washington.” That’s right, with the release of this 7”, Trouble has broken the fourth wall of Twin Peaks. Somewhere there’s a young Audrey Horne, wearing her brown sweater, plaid skirt, and saddle shoes, dancing in place to these two moody tunes.
Nick Cave – literally everything
Since I saw Nick live in Portland the other week, I’ve been unable to listen to anything else. This isn’t altogether unusual; I’m a dead-horse type who often puts individual songs on repeat for days. Still, this return into Nick’s arms feels particularly potent. I first fell in love with Nick’s music after the release of And No More Shall We Part in (I think) 2001 — my stepdad had been a fan for over a decade and played me the album during a road trip to the coast. When Nick toured for the album, I went with my parents. I was fifteen or sixteen. It was the first and last time I saw Blixa play with the group.
Nick’s music continued to be incredibly important to me throughout my late teens and my early twenties. I took a bit of a break then, having turned into one of the marshmallow throwers in Oh My Lord and not finding quite what I needed in Lyre of Orpheus and, then, Grinderman. Eventually I started seeing his live shows again and it’s through these shows that I’ve come to understand his later albums, beginning to understand the powerful melancholy of Push The Sky Away and beginning to understand also the tenderness we can offer the psychopomps of our childhoods as we both grow and love and lose and change. There’s something beautifully cyclical in Nick’s music, and I feel it so much now as I watch him reel from a broken heart while singing the songs that used to comfort mine, as my entire body reverberates with the lines of “Are You The One That I’ve Been Waiting For?” and I stand next to the man I’ve been waiting for and think of all the nights weeping lonely eyes out in bathrooms of homes that aren’t mine thinking I will never ever find a person who sees me while repeating Nick’s lyrics under my breath as proof that such a person can exist: that a person can be mad and brilliant and hopeless and ugly and full of the kind of raw passion we’re always told to put away, and two such stars can find each other in the vastness of our empty black sky.
I’ve been listening to Flannery O’ Conner’s Nick, crooning about a Black Crow King. I’ve been listening to the hot lushness of Let Love In, all summer nights and let downs. I’ve been listening to the warrior poet, detailing the flowers of his town; the carnations, dear, and the daffodil; the magnolias, camellias, and azaleas so sweet. I’ve been listening to the pendulous Skeleton Tree and the part of Girl In Amber where he sings, “I get lucky, I get lucky, because I tried again” and I think about trying again during the worst time of my life, von a nach b der liebe wegen, and I feel so thankful to have been Nick’s student.
Goblin: Suspiria soundtrack
While trying to think if I’ve listened to anything other than The Smiths or The Smiths radio on Spotify for the past few months (I get stuck in aural loops and spend entire seasons on repeat), I remembered that we’ve been listening to a whole lot of Goblin at work lately, and it’s been fantastic. The atmosphere of unease that the tinny sounds creates is akin to a supernatural visitation, a strange shadow just out of the corner of your eye. The Suspiria soundtrack especially grabs me, with the Diamonda Galas-esque (is it her? I’ve never been sure!) vocals terrorizing and seducing you.