Sammy the Seal

Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

“Sorry, I need reminding”

In vinyl on Thursday, 29 September, 2011 at 16:30


Song: Perfectly Crystal
Artist: Asobi Seksu
Album: Fluorescence

I don’t think I’m going to volunteer to work overnight again. Like how I used to work holidays for extra cash and to save vacation time. As the song says, “we always do what we never mean to.” Except I actually agreed, yeah. Peace of mind is better than money,

In order to express how I don’t feel, but would possibly like to, here’s a sunny, almost too-cheery slice of . I mean, my goodness, the shimmer, the effervescence, the utter sweetness of the melody and vocals. It’s almost a bit much, actually. But then there’s the surge of noise at the chorus. Especially the final one. Ahhhhhh…. Oh Asobi, why are you so dreamy poppy? Ha, that reminds me of an interview the band gave around the time of Citrus, I believe, it’s actually pretty funny. While asking about how Yuki deals with the nerdy male attention she gets from fans, the interviewer asks about her weirdest encounters, and she recollects:

“Someone talking to me about anime. That was weird. And I think I was surrounded by three of them at once, and they were all calling me Asobi. That definitely creeped me out.”

Or with people who want to speak Japanese with her, ugh:

“Sometimes it’s someone who’s like, ‘I’m learning how to speak Japanese, do you mind if I practice?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I mind.’ I’m not too fond of that, especially because I obviously speak English very well. I was born here. But I figure it comes with the territory.”

Fucking indie boys and their fetishes, ha ha. I bet for some losers, it’s a subtle (of course– what do you expect, directness?) way to hit on her. Hey, I know the male brain, especially the nerdy one. Put out a vague, mixed signal and see if she gets it. Yeah, good luck. I’ve met her. She headbangs and is a monster on the drums. I don’t think she fits the delicate Asian flower mold, ha ha.

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“Deathray!”

In music videos, vinyl on Wednesday, 28 September, 2011 at 17:40


Song: Doe Deer
Artist: Crystal Castles
Album: Crystal Castles (II)

Hot shit. And, off to bed, see you tonight. Pleasant dreams.

And seizures:

“You cried when you knew I would look”

In vinyl on Tuesday, 27 September, 2011 at 13:58


Song: You Can’t Break A Broken Heart
Artist: The 6ths (featuring Jeffrey Underhill)
Album: Wasps’ Nests

Aah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Great fucking line! It’s funny ’cause it’s true. God, how many times did I fall for that one? It doesn’t work anymore, as I’ve outgrown my sentimentalism, but only about a year or two ago. Far too long, unfortunately for me. Fuck emotional manipulation and the people who employ it, like, really, ha ha. For shame, kids.

As far as the musical, there’s nothing much special here, just Stephin Merritt and his insidious, effortless hooks at it again. A simple, sticky melody that’s held up after all these years. Those beats are kinda chintzy, but it was 1995, cut him some slack. There’s a quaint charm to them that I quite like. Regardless, the way they skip and skitter along are irresistible. Jerky dancing and tics follow.

Sam’s classic c.c. muffins, dusted/coated in cinnamon and sugar

In delicious on Monday, 26 September, 2011 at 20:53

“Classic”… uh, yeah. That just means the cinnamon cardamom ones I always make. I covered them in an orange glaze one time. This time I melted a few tablespoons of butter, applied butter to the muffins via gentle dipping, then tossed them around in cinnamon and sugar. I’m not the only one who thought it had a banana taste to it, I attribute that to the trickiness of cardamom, it is an interesting spice. The photos below don’t do justice, as I didn’t have anything aesthetic to present them on. Also, it would have worked better if I had some kind of basting or pastry brush to lightly butter the muffins with, as opposed to dipping. I even dropped one in while on the phone. Also, I used superfine sugar, as that’s all I ever carry, so the smaller particles likely soaked up the butter quickly and thoroughly, as you’ll see below. The butter/sugar-cinnamon was more caked on than I’d have liked, though you can sort of see what I was going for. I’m thinking it was more the sugar particle size than the butter application method.

Appearance aside, these were really good. Enough so, that of the 15 total, I only shared about nine or ten, and kept the rest. Buttery, sweet, spiced, and mysteriously and subtly banana-y. I was proud of them.

dusted muffins 1

dusted muffins 2

“No sir, oh, no sir!”

In funny ha ha, vinyl on Sunday, 25 September, 2011 at 19:00


Song: Here’s Your Future
Artist: The Thermals
Album: The Body, The Blood, The Machine

Man, did I need of a jolt of energy. I’ve hated lazy Sundays ever since I was a kid, when our routine consisted of church, lunch, then napping until 7 or 8. Waste of a day, ugh. I know some people, if not most, like those kinds of days, but I can’t stand them. That unbearable ennui permeates my Sundays ever since. My choice is also ironic considering the lyrics. I remember my scripture study, I don’t see how one can read all that and not get the impression that God is rather petty, petulant, violent, and partly psychopathic. Even back then, seeds of cognitive dissonance were sown upon learning the insane idea that hardship, injustice, “wickedness”, and life in general was a test by God– you know, our FATHER. (“I need you to pay for the sins I create.”) Now that’s some parenting, holding your children emotional/psychological hostage in order to control behavior. (“Fear me again, know I’m your father, remember that no one can breathe underwater”, “God asked Noah if he wanted to die…”) Watch this brief Mr. Show bit and tell me this isn’t the same (the first two scenes, not so much the butthole part), and that it’s just a joke.

So thanks, gang, for this ferocious, blistering song. Even though the song doesn’t kick into high gear until 0:50 (fuckin’ A!), the strumming that starts at 0:06 still excites. The “hey!” at 1:25, the guitar line that starts at 1:31, and, of course, that blazing solo– no hyperbole, these are likely forty of the most exciting seconds of music I’ve ever heard. I love turning this one up to 11.

Earl de Darkwood’s Conquest Of Universe

In music videos, vinyl on Saturday, 24 September, 2011 at 17:58


Song: Veridis Quo
Artist: Daft Punk
Album: Discovery

A standout from the mellow back half of this wonderful album that serves as a comedown to the more hyped-up first half. All the tracks on the album have a video that, in sequence, make up a short film about an hour long, so this won’t make sense unless you’ve watched them all. I actually haven’t myself. A peaceful and ambient number, perfect for when I’m feeling all, uh, peaceful and ambient.

“An elementary desire to do good work”

In vinyl on Thursday, 22 September, 2011 at 20:12


Song: Your Blood
Artist: Destroyer
Album: Destroyer’s Rubies

Good credo, I feel. Didn’t I just do them again too? I was looking for something low-key, but still spirited and and with the right amount of jaunty. And this one fit the bill– listen to that ivory, for example. Also, I didn’t feel like searching harder when I had this in hand. Perfection is a waste of time anyhow. What does it matter if I just did them? Going through all the artists would’ve been like looking for gratuitous competition. I actually tried, got bored/annoyed. This feels right for a Thursday evening. Who cares if I have absolutely no idea what the song is about either : – )

Moonlight Sonata

In vinyl on Wednesday, 21 September, 2011 at 20:04

Song: Piano Sonata No. 14 “Quasi una fantasia” in C sharp minor Op. 27 No. 2, though more commonly known by its unofficial name, Moonlight Sonata (First Movement)
Artist: Ludwig van Beethoven

Doing the “song/artist” thing here seems a bit silly, but even Bill and Ted know this was written by Dave Beeth-oven. Sometimes at work, there is a pianist playing tunes in the main lobby, and she was playing this this morning. You can’t tell me that knowing that a deaf man composed something as stirring, mysterious, and timeless makes you feel like a shit a little bit. Okay, I’ll say humbled instead. The other day I was talking about songs that are decades old, and how magical it is that they still breathe from so long ago. It reminds me of that wonderful quote by William Faulkner:

“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again…”

Yeah, this is like that, even more so. It’s subconscious, but not a coincidence that I don’t put up so much new music these days, and that much of the music I listen to and buy these days is years, if not decades, old. Or centuries. I’m always interested in where we came from. 1801? Two hundred fucking years. Totally amazing. Respect this.

“We laughed off the quick tricks”

In vinyl on Tuesday, 20 September, 2011 at 19:00


Song: On The Bus Mall
Artist: The Decemberists
Album: Picaresque

I wonder what happened, I used to listen to these people fairly often. Actually, there’s a bit of history with this song, sort of. The song that precedes it, “The Engine Driver”, I remember standing in the hallway of my crazy girlfriend’s apartment when I lived in New York, just talking and talking, never going in, and I had lent her this album, and she had that song on repeat, so it played about twenty times probably. It got slightly annoying, but there was a girl there, so it wasn’t too grating.

Anyway, this is not that, I like this one better. It’s just a song about male hustlers, nothing more. But it is quite lovely. Many of Mr. Meloy’s lyrics can come across as slightly smarmy and/or erudite (they can occasionally test my patience) but this just a simple, affecting story, told straight up, with no angle, commentary, or editorializing. Something about the strum of the guitar sounds like raining, like the setting of the story. Now, if it had been this song on repeat, I wouldn’t have minded.

“Out of gas, out here on the Gaza Strip”

In music videos, vinyl on Monday, 19 September, 2011 at 18:09


Song: River Euphrates
Artist: Pixies
Album: Surfer Rosa

Didn’t I just do something by them? And I don’t mean the Breeders that just went up, that’s coincidence. Oh well, who cares. It would be easy to think of this song as merely the bridge between “Gigantic” and “Where Is My Mind?”, but what a foolish mistake. Other than the sloppy, yet melodic weirdness and fun vocals (including taking breaths in unison), the awesomeness of this song needs no explanation. And man, is it a simple song. Exactly halfway through, around 1:16, the song pretty much starts over and repeats, but with a different verse. And 1:15 later, it’s over.

Everyone all Doolittle this and Doolittle that, but– and I only speak comparatively, they’re all good– I personally tend to reach for Surfer Rosa and less respected, underrated Bossanova first. I still have a soft spot for the extra skrawk of their first full length. According to David Bowie, they were more appreciated in Europe than in the U.S. during their heyday (I always liked that word, it looks and sounds funny), and now that I think about it, much, if not most, of the performance clips from this time were from European shows, like this one in Holland: