Help me to breathe

Some years ago, I stumbled onto an anime series called Serial Experiments: Lain. The series, which lasts for 13 episodes, revolves around a 13 year old girl called Lain. There was a scientist, Masami, who uploaded his consciousness to "the wired". Lain represented the barrier between the wired world and the real world. Masami tried to get Lain to upload herself as well so he could achieve his dream of breaking down the barrier between the virtual and real worlds.

It's kinda convoluted and sometimes difficult to follow, but I feel it's worth watching. There's lots of discourse on religion, memories, thoughts, and consciousness. Anyway, I enjoyed it even though I got lost at times, having to go back and rewatch scenes or entire episodes. The internet helped out a lot as well. This is a pretty comprehensive fansite, if you're interested.

So by now, you're wondering where the hell I'm going with this. Well, I absolutely loved the theme song. I just happened to think about it tonight so I put it on. It's done by a british band called BOA (no relation to the Korean singer, BoA). BOA's lead singer is Jasmine Rodgers. Her brother, Steve also plays guitar for the band. They happen to be the children of Paul Rodgers, who you may remember him as the singer for Free, Bad Company, The Firm, and now Queen. If you don't remember him, I'd say you're not missing much, and I also think the Queen thing is a huge joke. That, however, is a whole other story.

So their song, Duvet, from the Race of a Thousand Camels album (1998), was used as the opening theme for Serial Experiments: Lain. I think the song is utterly gorgeous. The chorus is such a cry for help, it makes me wonder what Jasmine Rodgers could have been going through at the time. Sadly, the rest of the album is not nearly as good as this track. BOA had a release last year, but I haven't heard it as of yet, but I might give it a try if I can track down some samples. In any case, here you are...

BOA > Duvet

Ecstasy of St. Theresa revisited

So I did a little research today and I was a little surprised to discover that Ecstasy of St. Theresa are still going, and they have an album coming out next month. It seems they've evolved into an electronica type band, which is not a bad thing in itself, but, to me, it's not nearly as attractive as the swirling noise of the Sussurate album. I just have a soft spot for the noise, I guess. Anyway, you can check out the obligatory myspace page as well as their own site.

Here's another track from Sussurate, just cuz...
Ecstasy of St. Theresa > Icecreamstar


Ecstasy of St. Theresa

This track is pretty much an MBV clone, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Waves of distortion and fuzzy guitars, complete with ethereal female vocals which get lost in the mix. It's lovely and completely mental. The album, Sussurate, was originally released in 1992, but I think it went quickly out of print. There was a limited reissue a couple years ago, and apparently there's a new pressing over at tonevendor.com. It's very much worth a listen if you're into the whole swirly guitar thing, I totally love it.

Ecstasy of St. Theresa > Sweetabyss


'No' said the stars to the moon in the sky

Tonight, I watched The Proposition and it has to be one of the best movies I've seen this year. If you don't know, the screenplay was written by Nick Cave, which was what really interested me in the movie. It's a western set in Australia and it really worked me over. I kinda sat there completely immersed, filled with dread and sadness as the film went on. Beautifully written, shot and acted, I felt overwhelmed by the time the end rolled around. It's just one of those films that really affects. And then comes this song as the credits roll, it's just so pretty and melancholy, it's a sweet little cherry on top of the cake. The soundtrack was written/performed by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. Ellis is the violinist for The Bad Seeds and also for the Dirty Three. Anyway, the track is called "The Rider Song." Both the film and the soundtrack are very much worth the time.

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis > The Rider Song


I just look at you and know you're pretty sweet

This is one of the best pop albums you've never heard. Crunchy guitars, three part harmonies, and cotton-candy melodies. Seriously, there's not a bad cut on this album. You might think differently, but you'd be wrong. Released in 97, this, sadly, was their final album.

Long Island
Never Say Never (I totally love the moog on this one)

Someone stole my record player, how d'ya like that?

Roaming around the great big internet, I recently discovered a Neko Case track I hadn't heard. It's a Tom Waits cover, "Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis". The original is on Waits' "Blue Valentine" album from 1978. It's a sad narrative with typical Waits loveable losers, and Neko's version is a home run. The organ adds a churchlike confessional quality to her version which is quite nice, and her voice is as golden as ever. You can find it on the Tom Waits tribute album, "A New Coat of Paint" (2000).

Check em out:
Neko Case > Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis
Tom Waits > Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis


You are an apple in disguise

Proving yet again how much of a geek I am, I used the Motorola phone tools and made myself a ringtone using the opening ten seconds of Lush's Sweetness and Light. I remember the first time I heard that track; it was fucking magic. And when the rhythm section kicked in, it was pure heaven. I tend to OD on them when I listen to them, but Lush always manage to find their way back into my rotation every couple months or so. So yeah, I have a Sweetness and Light ringtone on my phone...somebody fucking call me, like now.

Check out the original track from the Gala album, which is a comp of their first three EPs. Also, check out the MBV (Orange Squash) remix, which is on the Splendor soundtrack. I haven't seen the movie, but the soundtrack is damn good. Judging by the soundtrack cover, I'm not so sure I'd like the movie anyways, and I don't know anyone who's seen it. The remix is pretty cool, it packs a punch whereas the original sort of floats along. You can't go wrong with either version or their respective albums.

Lush > Sweetness and Light
Lush > Sweetness and Light (Orange Squash Remix)


Goin' to the chapel

So, next month I'm going to Maine for a friend's wedding. In a fit of...I dunno what, I decided I was gonna make a wedding mix cd as an little extra gift to them. I spent an evening and this is what I came up with. I started out with an enormous amount of tunes, however I ended up cutting quite a few just to make the 80 minute CDR limit and also for flow. A mix definitely has to have flow. Hopefully this one does; I quite like it anyway. It's a 93mb zip file, so it'll take a little while to download.

Check it out:

Mirah > Words Cannot Describe
Doris Troy > Just One Look
The 6ths > You You You You You
My Bloody Valentine > Sometimes
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds > Breathless
Darrell Banks > Open The Door To Your Heart
New Order > Temptation
Cowboy Junkies > Anniversary Song
Jose Gonzales > Heartbeats
Wilson Pickett > I'm In Love
Nick Drake > Northern Sky
Malcolm Middleton > Best In Me
Ben Folds > The Luckiest
Spiritualized > Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
PUFFY > Always Dreamin' About You
Lamb > Gorecki
Yo La Tengo > Nowhere Near
Connie Francis > Don't Ever Leave Me
Matthew Sweet > We're The Same
XTC > Stupidly Happy
Teenage Fanclub > Norman 3
Joe Jackson > Happy Loving Couples


I light the fires while the city sleeps

Okay, I'm back from holidays. Anyone miss me? Didn't think so. Right, so tonight I've been listening to the KCRW compilations. There are something like 7 or 8 titles, I've kinda lost count. I'm sure you could find out on their website if you are so inclined. Basically, they've been making comps which consist of live on-air performances from whomever they can get to come down to their studios and play. They've had a wide range of artists on the air, from Radiohead to Fiona Apple to Yo Yo Ma to Ryuichi Sakamoto. Seriously, there's something there for everyone. Look for the Morning Becomes Eclectic shows. They always have someone interesting being interviewed and playing live. Based in Santa Barbara, California, KCRW is one of the better internet radio stations I've come across.

I could probably write a whole shitload of posts about the tracks included on the KCRW comps, so I'll start with this one. One of my favorite KCRW performances is by MC 900 Ft. Jesus. Honestly, I really don't know much about the guy. This is the only track that I've ever heard and, while I really like it, I've never gone out to explore his catalog. This track, "The City Sleeps", has got a lazy hip-hop beat, I especially like the drums and the hi-hat action going on, it's just nice to hear an actual drumkit on a rap track. There's some scratching goin' on, too, but it's more in the background than anything. There's a pretty good keyboard solo in the middle. His delivery is low-key and smooth, the song is about some guy who goes around setting fires to buildings in the middle of the night. As an insomniac, the line, "Everyone has a little secret he keeps / I light the fires while the city sleeps", has a sort of double meaning for me, although I'm no longer a pyromaniac. As a child, I once set fire to a garbage can in our house and received the beating of my life...but that's another story.

Listen to this story:
MC 900 Ft. Jesus > The City Sleeps