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Thursday, April 14, 2011 

Music Diary #4 (last Thursday)

Thursday, April 7

Toro y Moi - Underneath the Pine (6:40 AM)

I'd never heard Toro y Moi before this album, and previously I had listened to it once and deleted it (I think it was the one that sounded like a limp Elliott Smith parody that decided me). But I got to talking with a friend, and she told me that it was one of her favourite records of the year so far, and that it reminded her of the Beach Boys. (My official Beach boys opinion, by the way: "Good Vibrations" = one of the best songs ever, "Kokomo" = one of the worst songs ever, most of the rest is pretty good to decent) That sort of orthogonal opinion is enough to get any record at least one more listen. This one started in the bus on the way to the gym.

Phoenix - "1901"/Triangulo de Amor Bizarro - "El Culto al Cargo o Como Hacer Llegar el Objeto Maravilloso"/Butthole Surfers - "Ulcer Breakout"/Whipping Boy - "Blinded"/Six By Seven - "So Close"/The New Pornographers - "The Body Says No"/Idlewild - "A Modern Way of Letting Go"/Rival Schools - "Shot After Shot"/The National - "Mistaken for Strangers"/Primal Scream - "Rise"/Kitchens of Distinction - "Quick As Rainbows"/R.E.M. - "So Fast, So Numb" (7:00 AM)

Another exciting morning at the gym, another good batch of songs. Generally the ones I put on the exercise playlist I know and love, and I know them a lot better after hearing the playlist on shuffle hundreds of times. A couple of these are just live versions, but hey, at least one of them is a version of one of my favourite songs that's about 8x fiercer than the version I know (with altered lyrics, to boot; that would be Whipping Boy). In case you're wondering, the Triangulo de Amor Bizarro song title translates rather wonderfully as "The Cult of the Charge, or, As Wonderful to Get the Object" (according to my friend Andrew Casillas, who introduced me to the band; I thought it was going to be about cargo cults). Also, whatever you think of Primal Scream and/or Bobby Gillespie, you have to admit that when "Rise" came out, the line "Are you collateral damage or a legitimate target?" summed up the Western political landscape pretty pithily.

Toro y Moi - Underneath the Pine (8:40 AM)

The rest of the album, at work. It did sound better (a few tracks even sounded a bit like Twin Shadow), but I think I'll have to listen to this again before deciding.

The Delgados - Hate (12:00 PM)

Today I happened to wear my old Delgados baseball shirt to work. I got it on the tour for Hate (I think I saw them three times before they broke up, at least once with a small string section and a flautist, which was AWESOME); it says "Hate the Delgados" in flowing illuminated-style script, with a fake bible verse, some doves, and a cross. I love it, even if I get sick of explaining what it 'means.' Anyway, seeing it in the bathroom mirror reminds me I should listen to this again. God, I miss the Delgados.

The Lemon Pipers - "Green Tambourine"/The Association - "The Time It Is Today" (12:50 PM)

The AV Club had a primer on sunshine pop (incredibly smooth/well produced hippy music, basically; not something I'd normally like, but...) that I read while eating my sandwich, and when I get back to work I play a couple of the videos that go with the article. I was pleasantly surprised to hear "Green Tambourine" again, it turns out that it was included on one of a series of old compilation cassettes we got from a gas station in the 80s. I'd never heard the Association before, but this song was fine, if not really my thing. But I still love "Green Tambourine," and more importantly, when you watch the video it quickly becomes apparent just how much those kids hated what they were doing, which makes them weirdly lovable as far as I'm concerned.

The Low Anthem - "A Shot in the Arm" (1:00 PM)

The AV Club also had the newest installment of their Undercover series up, and so I leave that in my second monitor as well. I love "A Shot in the Arm" and had never heard the Low Anthem, and to be honest I wasn't that enthused about the match at first. I'm still not very interested in the Low Anthem, but by the middle of the cover I've begun appreciating the ragged, faltering beauty of this version of the song. Maybe it's that organ, or the clarinet, or the initially offputting vocals.

New Order - "Bizarre Love Triangle" (8:15 PM)

So myself, my housemate Julia, and our friend Peter are in the car on the way to Hamilton for a Timber Timbre concert, and nothing much that was on the radio really struck me (we skip back and forth between an old-fashioned oldies station and an 80s station), except for this. I adore this song. As a kid growing up in Kincardine, it was actually the first New Order/Joy Division song I ever heard, albeit in the Frente! cover version. The radio didn't quite play the full 12" version, but that's what you get here.

Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things (8:35 PM)

Julia doesn't really like driving at night, so she pretty much controls what we listen to (and that's fine, she's driving after all). We have this album in the car and play it a lot, although in this case we skip a couple of the slower songs. As much as I like Fujiya & Miyagi's other work (and I do like the new one a lot), nothing really stands up to this one, at least not yet. A very nearly perfect album.

Timber Timbre concert (9:00 PM)

The show is a slight disappointment for me, but quite frankly I have unrealistic expectations for Taylor Kirk live. I first heard of him/saw him playing a solo set opening for "Stars Like Fleas," all gulping Screaming Jay Hawkins voice and stark guitar, lights off except for some red ones; then I saw him at Hillside with his band, face covered in mud, kick drum pumping. This show is good, but the first two were both great and singular, which is a hard act to follow. He also messes around with the songs from the first album in a way I don't find compelling, but I like the stuff from the new album quite a bit. I kind of wish he'd played "Magic Arrow," but that's offset by the fact that I think they may have used Asva as intro music. I'm not complaining, it was a good show and we all enjoyed it, but I guess I had oversold the concert in my head. Aside from some random radio on the way home (which I believe included "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress," which sounds awesome on a staticky oldies station driving in the middle of the night), that was it for the day.

Tomorrow: I don't listen to very much music.

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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