Archive for September 13th, 2009


Heavy Rotation Vol. 14

September 13, 2009


Yo La Tengo – From a Motel 6
From out of New Jersey, the original indie critics’ darlings (take that Vampire Weekend), who hold forth with their combination of folksy guitar picking, squalling feedback freakouts and a lot of stuff that falls somewhere in between. From their shoegazer masterpiece Painless. A lurching buzzsaw of bitterness and rejection and a general “haven’t we all been here before” feeling. The guitar sounds are magnificent, rising and falling like turbines.



Pulp – Mile End
Hidden all the way at the end of the Trainspottingsoundtrack lies this beautiful tune by Pulp. (It’s right before the Sean Connery-lovin’ throwaway track by Blur.) Jarvis Cocker conjures up all the frustration, desperation and random violence of living the slum life. Not so much about drugs and gunplay as it is about decaying buildings and the pointless brutality that accompanies living under the poverty line and under the radar.

One thing that Cocker absolutely has nailed (other than him deflating a self-important Michael Jackson with a well-timed mooning) is that there is no inherent nobility or wisdom in being poor. It just fucking sucks.

Nobody wants to be your friend
’cause you’re not from round here
as if that was something to be proud about
The pearly king of the Isle of Dogs
feels up children in the bogs
Down by the playing fields someone sets a car on fire
I guess you have to go right down
before you understand just how
how low
how low a human being can go



Syntax – Pride
Some dark electronic loveliness by two former members of Fluke. This track has been used in a variety of television shoes because it just has that perfect soundtrack feel. Abused actually, by yet another Law and Order offshoot and The O.C., to name a few offenders. But who could blame them? If I had a key scene that was a little sad, a little wistful or just needed an elegant but propulsive tune to dial it all in, this would be the one.

Presumably Syntax formed because Fluke wasn’t “dark enough.” I beg to differ but I will hash this point out in a future Heavy Rotation.



Toecutter – Best Party Ever
From the dark and moving to the ass-shaking and disruptive. Toecutter (recording as a very thinly disguised Troecutter for this one — oh, and named for a Mad Max character) takes Kool & the Gang’s “Tonight” and slaps it all over the dancefloor, using pitch shifts, Bmore bass, bells, whistles, bangs and some very effective chopped and blocked vocals. Periodically, some virtually unaltered Kool will escape (with some of the gang) before Toecutter shoves the whole mess into the trunk and does high-speed donuts in the parking lot (around the 2:50 mark).

Just keep holding on. You’ll trip across a few vocal samples and a smattering of Madonna before T(r)oecutter returns the banged-up tune to the dance floor, with the pounding 4/4 beat somewhat intact (around 3:40).



Whitey – Stay on the Outside
Some outstanding electro rock from the mysterious Whitey. Starts rather low key with Whitey’s subdued singing, a little organ and some sparse handclaps. It proceeds along in a rather orderly but catchy fashion until around the 2:50 mark, when the floor drops out (and into a faux-fade) only to be replaced with a whoosh and a banging return to the original beat. An augmented original beat.

Various electronics join the commotion and the tempo shifts as does the tone of the song, going from a plaintive to pissed off (protagonist to antagonist). Stick around for the whole thing.

Previous Heavy Rotations can be found here: Heavy Rotation Archives

All mp3’s in an vacuum-packed zip file:
Heavy Rotation Vol. 14 (link opens in a new window)

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