There are some choices we make, some paths we take and addictions we turn away from, that we do out of love, not for ourselves but for those around us. It’s not always the easiest thing to do but the most necessary. How then can we maintain the will to pursue what we had to choose, if, left to ourselves, it wasn’t actually our choice?
A little heavy duty but that’s what happens when I completely forget the time and drink an espresso with dinner. I am up awake again, sleep far from my eyes, saddled with a mind that is racing with thoughts I’d put on the shelf in the midst of a busy life.
I remember the first time I made a choice for someone else other than myself. It was quite significant as I was only eight and mired in childhood self-preoccupation. I was ready to die. I had written my goodbyes and was standing by the window of my four-storey apartment, waiting for the perfect moment to climb out and take that leap. That perfect moment never came. Images of my parents crying continuously hounded me and I was caught up in pity for them (never mind why I wanted to die in the first place) and that suicide moment passed.
Today, I stand in 2009, a culmination of choices I made, promises I broke and responsibilities to honour. Being retrospective, I know it’s a little late, but here’s tribute to some of the best bits in 2008.
2008 Is Juz A Number
01. 1969 – Why The Suspense
02. M83 – Graveyard Girl
03. MGMT – Time To Pretend
04. Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
05. Yeasayer – Wait For The Summer
06. Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
07. Bon Iver – Lump Sum
I won’t review the bands featured because hey, you can always google them and get better write-ups. Moreover, it’s easy to review a band heartlessly, not realizing the journey that they went through, the things that they put aside to believe in dreams. I won’t belittle that. Hopefully, they are happy with the choices they made, both in life and in music. Hopefully, you are too.
A looooong time ago, shoegazing bands like Ride, My Bloody Valentine and Chapterhouse were more known for their music than their ‘live’ performances. It could be due to their general discomfort of ‘entertaining people’ as they were just guys who wanted to play their music or that they were seriously trying to figure their guitar effects out… I’m not sure, but they literally gazed at the ground while remaining almost motionless on stage.
It was a ‘scene that celebrated itself’ (NME) and boy did we have great fun dancing to them while we got happy-high in our baggy striped tees, skinny jeans and floppy hair.
The shoegaze sound is typified by guitar effects & vocals that blend into a wall of sound. Sometimes ethereal, sometimes exhilarating, almost always melodious, the sound spawned today’s post-rock genre (take a listen to the last track by New Order for the similarity) and it could be due to my current tastes in music that I find myself revisiting these bands once again. If you like The Verve, Broken Social Scene and M83, you should like them too.
01. Teenage Fanclub – Star Sign
02. My Bloody Valentine – Only Shallow
03. Chapterhouse – Pearl
04. Ride – Vapour Trail
05. Catherine Wheel – Black Metallic
06. New Order – Elegia (Full Length Version)
Old perhaps. But they still rock.
And listening to them again makes me feel (as I listen to today’s current rock trends) like… I’ve heard it all before.
In a time these things will change
Hey there’s a side of me unknown, big deal.
And say, should this unknown force be shown, big deal.
If these thoughts make your day
Well if these thoughts change your day
Seen it all before, seen it all before
Given time these things will change...
– Teenage Fanclub
My favourite time of the day is dusk. It belongs entirely to me. It speaks of endings and new beginnings. It’s grey. It’s perfect. Here are a few songs compiled again by The Husband and I play this often on loop while I write. It’s the soundtrack to my thoughts on many occasions and I hope you’ll find it great for you too. A fellow writer actually played this on his road trip across the States and found it a great counterpoint to the monotonous drone of the engine.
01. M83 – You, Appearing / Kim & Jessie
02. Primal Scream – Autobahn 66
03. Mute Math – Peculiar People
04. Caspian – Loft
05. Helios – Sons Of Light & Darkness
Individually, these bands are worth taking a listen to if you like music that works as a soundtrack to quiet thoughtful moments. The use of intruments are akin to voices, painting colours across your canvas of thoughts. M83 has already had some success with Saturdays = Youth while Primal Scream is just a classic in my growing up years. I cannot gush more about MuteMath and while some get distracted by the fact that these guys are Christian, give them a break, they are awesomely mathematical in measuring space, vocals and tight instrumentation. What is amazing is that they can perform the same tracks live with no discount. If in doubt, try to lay your hands on their live performance of Stall Out. It’s heartrending.
Those who love post-rock but want something quieter really need to explore Caspian and Helios. They employ more digital sounds and effects, not losing the organic touch with piano moments.
I suck at giving album reviews so to avoid giving more inane comments, I’ll stop here.
These are just some of my favourite bands. They stuck with me through a tumultous 2008 and hopefully, will soundtrack your 2009.
I love rain. And I was glad that Ms G lovingly mixed a soundtrack to accompany me on my moments of solitude. Download it quickly because I have no idea how long this link will last. It’s worth the waiting time.
Soundtrack to a rainy day
01) Kim & Jessie – M83
02) Strawberries (Ulrich Schnauss Remix) – Asobi Seksu
03) Hurricane Jane – Black Kids
04) Sometimes – Ash
05) Silent Sigh – Badly Drawn Boy
06) Your Heart is an Empty Room – Death Cab for Cutie
07) Never Let Me Down Again – Depeche Mode
08) Unfinished Business – White Lies
09) Eau d’Bedroom Dancing – Le Tigre
10) Skeleton – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
11) Greenlander – Pavement
12) Louise Louisa – Mew
13) Blur the Lines – The Meeting Places
14) Everyday is like Sunday – Morrisey
15) Art Decade – David Bowie
16) For What It’s Worth – The Cardigans
17) The Crystal Ship – The Doors
Puddles. The smell of wet. Winds. Thunder. Lovely.
Thank you Ms G darling.