Boris playing Just Abandoned Myself.
After years of waiting, I finally saw Boris live. It was incredible. It was exactly what I was hoping for. It changed my perception of a band that’s been a favorite for almost a decade. I now see Boris is completely new light.
Standing in the Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids, MI, I felt a blast-furnace heat that burned away any trace of skepticism I had about the power of live rock music. It’s been a long, long time since a band gave me such a revelatory experience.
It’s been a violent week in America. Violence by police. Violence against police. The country’s long gone mad. All I can offer is a quote from one of my favorite films, Days of Heaven:
The whole earth is goin’ up in flames. Flames’ll come out of here and there and they’ll just rise up. The mountains are gonna go up in big flames, the water’s gonna rise in flames. There’s gonna be creatures running every which way, some of them burnt, half their wings burning. People are gonna be screaming and hollerin’ for help. See, the people that have been good, they’re gonna go to heaven and escape all that fire. But if you’ve been bad God don’t even hear you. He don’t even hear you talking.
In the lead-up to the big 4th of July holiday weekend, I’ve spent almost every night working on a new mixtape. I’ve finally got my passion for mixing back and it feels incredible. Instead of months or years between tapes, I hope to make them a regular feature here.
However, this latest mix isn’t quite ready yet. It needs a little more polish before I publish next week. In the meantime, I want to share the best new music I’ve been into all week. At least one of these three things will make your hair stand on end.
While we’re all salivating at the thought of an honest-to-goodness new Avalanches album, I thought I’d share this live gem, a recording of their latest single from last week’s Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain.
A lot of people like a lot of Christmas music. I don’t. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have some favorites, though.
My very favorite holiday tune, and the first one I can ever remember, is Darlene Love’s take on Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). The original is still a transcendent, hair raising recording over 50 years later.
Credit must also go to Phil Specter’s wall of sound production and the bouncy rhythm section that makes the song just go, go, go. It seems to accelerate as it unfolds, bursting with an energy most holiday songs would wilt under. It’s a joy to hear every single year.
However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a couple examples of Love’s annual Late Show appearances, where she’s performed the song since 1986.
Here’s Andy Stott spinning dark techno brilliance for almost an hour. I’m totally unsure of how I managed to miss this. Dropping two years ago – just before his stunning full length Luxury Problems – this live set mixes in a whole lot of his signature abrasive 4/4 monstrosities and searing vocal colors from Alison Skidmore. It’s a dark, sinewy construction, shambling its way through the back caves of your mind.
Basically, it sounds exactly how you’d expect Andy Stott to sound like live. Fans of Luxury Problems will be especially pleased around the 19 minute mark.
In typical Boiler Room fashion, the crowd consists of listless hipster types sipping on beers and occasionally tilting their hips. The real draw is the sound. Turn your volume up, and read something interesting while you listen. I suggest this illuminating treatise on the philosophy behind invisible prisons that shape our lives. It’s called The Black Iron Prison, a term birthed by Philip K. Dick in his final novel, VALIS. You should probably read that at some point in your life. It’s a transcendent (and partially autobiographical) dissection of sanity itself.
I don’t have much else to say about this. Just listen. Or watch, too, if you’re in the mood to see people looking miraculously bored at one of the most intimate, brilliant techno sets I’ve ever heard.
It’s been an amazing week for Aphex Twin fans and everyone else with open ears. Still digesting Syro, I feel compelled to share this clip. It features a piano on a swing.