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Autumn music

Voilà the second edition of Mercredix: a collective selection of our favorite songs of the season. This autumn arrives full of synthetic sounds, as well as with the revival of the folk (or hippie) guitar. Now for the selections…

1. Prévert & Nevchehirlian – “Travailleurs, Attention” (taken from the album Le Soleil brille pour tout le Monde?)

Considering the Senate’s move to the left, the mounting issues for the majority, and pending strikes, a revolutionary track seems appropriate.  Featured here is a modern spoken word interpretation of a piece written by Jacques Prévert during the 1930s.  Here, the echo of “debout les damnés…,” or “rise up outcasts,” gently returns with all appropriateness. [Rockoh]

2. Bombay Bicycle Club – “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep” (taken from  the album A Different Kind Of Fix)

I’ve always thought the band name “Bombay Bicycle Club” sounded nice (not really sure why), but I have only vague memories of their first two albums.  This changed after hearing the ghostly first track, “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep,” from their newest record, “A Different Kind of Fix.”  This song is like a recitation memorized by heart, or even the repetition of a mantra.  I especially enjoy listening to the intangible quality of Jack Steadman’s cold vocal delivery.  For me, it’s an object that floats in some space above my head: like a curling cloud of smoke, insinuating itself throughout every nook, and finishing by inhabiting every possible space.  Only the drums and the production, for me at least, bring it back to earth…[Clumsy]

3. Roll The Dice – “Calling All Workers” (taken from the album In Dust)

Le duo suédois composé de Peder Mannerfelt (That Subliminal Kid, Fever Ray) et Malcolm Pardon n’en est qu’à son deuxième album mais distille déjà la bande-son de notre époque aliénée, à coups de progressions de synthés vintage, souvent soutenues, comme ici, par un motif de piano fantôme implacable. Héritiers des visions de John Carpenter, des longues plages hallucinées des premiers Tangerine Dream et du monde décrit par Blade Runner, Roll The Dice rappelle à notre bon souvenir que le monde futur qui se dessinait hier est aujourd’hui sous nos yeux. [Rom]

4. Psychic Ills – “Mind Daze” (taken from the album Hazed Dreams)

The last thing that I had heard from this group was “Mantis:” an incredible eleven minute odyssey composed of entranced shaman-like voices gliding over liquid guitars.  It’s been two years since their first album Mirror Eyes came onto the scene.  Since then, the New York quartet has colored its sublime droning and diabolic sound with shades of pop.  This summer, they graced us with the puzzling, but incredibly addictive track,  “Mind Daze.”

“I’m doin’ fine your mind on my mind…”

The recipe for this sensual indulgence includes the following: a raging Hammond organ, a languid groove, luminous guitars, an enchanted wah-wah pedal, and a reverb that evokes images of Ray Bans, threadbare jorts, Brando’s leather in “The Wild One,” roaring engines, and a Thunderbird ripping doughnuts under an Indian summer sun…[Co_SwEuphoria]

5. Ghost Outfit – “What You’ve Got” (taken from the EP Young Ghosts)

There are a couple of ways to approach autumn: either you timidly retreat to your own corner and read the writings of condemned poets while your Lapsang Souchong brews in the teapot, or you jump into piles of dead leaves while cussing the world and throwing your middle finger up to nearby pedestrians.  With the following video by the shoegaze-garage (imagine Lux Interior meets Kim Gordon’s bass) group Ghost Outfit, I’ll leave it for you to decide which attitude I’ve chosen… [Disso]

6 . Quilt – “Penobska Oakwalk” (taken from the album Quilt)

Dad’s taken his retirement, now wears pressed pants to restaurants, and started voting republican.  Mom wears an apron in the kitchen, and she’s always in the kitchen.  Some weekends, I pass by their house but not because we have a lot to say to one another.  This being the case, I usually lock myself in the back of the garage, behind their massive cars, and I dig through their old storage boxes.  Here I see my dad (topless) kissing my mom (also topless) in her long skirt at an outdoor festival, as well as another photo of a crowd of their friends lying high on a rug with posters of Jane Fonda taped to the walls.  I imagine that the smell of the weed was pretty strong.  I also imagine that music that they would have been listening to…something trippy and psychedelic, I’m sure.  I know because I make the same music with my Boston friends as part of a band that we call Quilt.  So, here’s in homage to my mom’s patchwork and craftsmanship.  It’s without a doubt the only thing in common between her present and past self…[Chryde]

(And isn’t the guitarist super cute?)

7. Siskiyou – “Revolution Blues” (taken from the album Keep Away The Dead)

Quavering and ghostly voices supply the vocals on this track.  It’s as if this nearly a capella chorus is itself from the grave (not to say that the underlying guitar riff isn’t heavy enough to be, either).  After a minute though of this phantom chorus, the accordion picks up these faux-blues and transforms the song from desert howls to an obscure western folklore.  Doleful and cold, this Neil Young cover is ideal for the voice (and the hidden demons) of Colin Huebert (ex-Great Lake Swimmers). [Rockoh]

8. Chelsea Wolfe – “Tracks (Tall Bodies)” (taken from the album Apocalypsis)

Sacramento-born artist attracted to the sun of the City of Angels, Chelsea Wolfe  doesn’t write love songs.  She’s also not one to tell you much about herself.  Even in public, she is as evasive of a character as she is on the stage (which says a lot considering she performs behind a veil of black lace).  On her last album, Apokalypsis, this enigmatic figure splits her focus between the end of the world and intimate revelations…

It’s a machine we’re up against/Devoid of reason, devoid of sense.”

“Tracks (Tall Bodies)” begins like an Edgar Allen Poe poem, or even a Horacio Quiroga short story, with delicately winding guitar riffs, shady percussion, a venomous rolling bass, and several dangling piano notes.  It’s like a clock without arrows, a dance at a funeral, or the soundtrack of a broken heart wandering through the wilderness.  There is also a noticeable likeness to the imagery Inger Berman’s Fraises Sauvages, as well as the celestial, pale, and disenchanted voices of PJ Harvey and Beth Gibbons:

It’s a system full of regret, we wear it on our shoulders”

Despite being mostly a macabre ballad (e.g. the dominance of the phantom-like organ), in the end, Wolfe’s piece is a strangely carnal and sexy blues song…  

We could be two straight lines in a crooked world…Someday we’ll win…

9. Leyland Kirby – “No Longer Distance Than Death” (taken from the album Eager To Tear Apart The Stars)

Even after undergoing several different incarnations since 1996 (e.g. the disturbed sounds of V/Vm), James Kirby continues to work through his label, History Always Favours The Winners, at all costs.  He started an independent subscription six months ago, and has since continued his projects: the Lynch-inspired The Caretaker, and the more ambient effort, Leyland Kirby.

Accordingly, his most dedicated fans (self included) have the privilege of receiving each of the label’s albums – for free – at least fifteen days before their digital release.  The opportunity to listen to Eager To Tear Apart the Stars under these terms solidly attests to the value of the whole album model.  [Rom]

P.S. You can find the best of his work on Boomkat.  You can also stream the album on Kirby’s Bandcamp.

10. Boston Spaceships – “Make a record for a Lo-Life” (taken from the album Let It Bread)

Robert Pollard is probably God…or at least the most indolent person ever.  Either way, the fact remains that after having written his first good song, he decided to repeatedly reproduce it.  It’s almost as if he never knew how to write anything else.  Yet considering that the results are always outstanding, I guess it’s hard to complain.  Since working with Guided by Voices, he continues to churn out the same song, on the same album, and it’s always too long.  A recent example is the last release from the Big Star and Teenage Fanclub inspired group, Boston Spaceships, featuring J. Mascis Mick Collins, and others.  True, their disc’s more of what’s already been done; but what a fucking great sound all the same…


Translated by Ariel Wilson