Heavy Rotation v. 59

January 23, 2011

Featuring Zombie Zombie, Atlas Sound, Robyn Hitchcock, Ceremony and Gr†ll Gr†ll. Contains equal parts shoegaze and witch house. Contact 2timegrime@gmail.com if you would like to have your fine piece of music removed from this post.


The latest in sustainable food: human cheese. You read that right. If nothing else, check out the sustainability flowchart in which something magical happens involving a child, a toilet and an El train car.

One of my favorite writers, P.J. O’Rourke, dissects the endless layers of bullshit political coverage that swallowed up the senseless tragedy in Arizona, turning five deaths into a petty partisan hockey fight.

What exactly goes on in these catalog dream homes? (Hint: mind games, pretentiousness and some wickedly funny punchlines.)

Zombie Zombie – Assault on Precinct 13.mp3

If you’ve heard their stunning debut (A Land for Renegades) or seen their killer G.I. Joe meets The Thing video for Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free, their latest project will come as no surprise. Zombie Zombie pay off all their outstanding debts to John Carpenter with a pitch-perfect collection of covers tackling all his most famous themes.

This one’s a stomper. Respectful without being obsequious. Expansive without losing sight of the original. Wave off the nurse. Your blood pressure may be rising but you’ll feel just fine.

Atlas Sound – Quick Canal (feat. Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab).mp3

A dizzying eddy of a track, all exquisitely tangled multi-tracked vocals and electronic rushes balanced atop a loping, percussive chug seeming built from an amplified phonograph needle stuck in a perpetual runout groove.

Sadier’s vocals (and unintelligible vocalizations) redefine both “soaring” and “ethereal,” as does Atlas Sound itself.

Robyn Hitchcock – Luckiness.mp3

This song (off Robyn Hitchcock’s latest, Propellor Time) always hits me right here (indicates heart) and right here (indicates throat). I couldn’t tell you exactly why but it presses all those happy/sad buttons at the same time. I think the ancients called this type of mixed emotion “bittersweet.”

I can’t tell whether this is a song of gratefulness or a song about loving someone so much you set them free.*

Luckiness in luck, lucky as it strikes you
Lucky in your veins
Luckiness in love, lucky ’cause she likes you
Over distant skies, over distant plains
Lucky in your veins

*Perhaps the wizened snot-nosed jangle punks known as the Dead Milkmen said it best with their track If You Love Someone, Set Them on Fire.

Ceremony – Breaking Up.mp3

Once upon a time there was a band called Skywave who delivered a trebly bunch of feedbacking titled Synthstatic. It was destined to be one of those brightly burning candles that burnt half as long, or rather sputtered and went out completely soon after delivering their audacious platter of well-heeled noise.

Agreeing to disagree, the bandmates went their separate ways. One, a certain Oliver Ackerman, took his noisy toys and headed back to his shop, emerging shortly thereafter under two new names: Death By Audio, his effects pedal workshop and A Place to Bury Strangers, his eerie approximation of the banshee-in-a-windtunnel that was the Jesus and Mary Chain of 1985. (You’ve probably heard of them. I’ve mentioned them in passing a time or two.)

The other two, Paul Baker and John Fedowitz, headed off in a slightly different direction, armed with their Wonder Twin powers — form of a bottom-heavy squall of white noise. Ceremony was born, a torrid love child of the Jesus and Mary Chain’s amp-impaling feedback and the roiling bass swagger of Girls Vs. Boys.

Behold. The prodigal phoenix, rising from the ashes armed with brutal melodies spiked in poisoned emotions.

Gr†ll Gr†ll – They All.mp3

Somewhere, out on the wrong side of town, cruises a jet-black SUV. At the wheel: a doom merchant with trouble on his mind and time on his hands. The otherworldly pulse of bass announces his arrival and the child-like treble interjections only serve to highlight how incredibly dark the street becomes as his machine passes through.



  1. Although I’ve read him before, I can credit you with officially turning me on to P.J. O’Rourke. I don’t always agree with everything he says but I love the way he lays out the argument and uses the language. He’s another Midwestern badass to go along with the hordes. Is it the climate that produces such prolific columnists?

    I enjoyed them all but my favorite tracks were the Atlas Sound and especially the Robyn Hitchcock.

    Thanks for the good look as always!

    • It might be the Midwest that does it. It’s usually under a thick layer of snow most of the year which usually puts a damper on heading out and broadening your horizons.

      There’s also lots of horizon which tends to lead to greater-than-average introspection. Plus, there’s corn. I’m not sure where that fits in, but it probably does.

      That Atlas Sound track has plagued my brain for the last couple of weeks and I just wanted to put it into someone else’s for awhile. Not that it matters. Simply discussing it has put it right back in. Better this than the Venga Boys. Have you heard about the Venga Bus? I believe it should be here momentarily. The number of people jumping confirms it.

  2. I have to agree with Scott: P.J. O’Rourke can write,m and this column was well written to say the least, although I think he fell on his own sword towards the end. Liberalism dying? Changing is more like it.

    I love the fact you actively search out various artists and post their music. I’ve never been much of a fan of mainstream music, thinking I’m quite capable of picking and choosing what I like from the endless list of amazing musicians available.

    I hope you don’t mind if I point you to a group, from the mid-seventies I finally found again, called Metro:

    • Many, many thanks for the kind words, Jammer. If I didn’t love music as much as I do, this would be quite a chore. As it is, I enjoy finding this music as much as I love writing about it and sharing it.

      I don’t care much for the mainstream, either. It’s always there if I want to dip into it, but a lot of these artists I feature can probably use all the exposure they can get.

      Thanks also for the Metro pick. I’m not sure what I expected when I clicked play, but that wasn’t it. I’m going to have to check out a few of their other tracks but they definitely have a very unique sound. Sort of Level 42 + Queen-esque guitar riffs + the bass strut of “You Sexy Thing.”

  3. P.J. O’Rourke is one grounded sonofagun. He reminds me a bit of a favorite columnist of mine, Jeff Jacoby (Boston Globe). Both have a knack for cutting though all the highfalutin liberal bullshit and spin extraordinaire.

    • He’s always been one of my favorites. The first place I read anything by O’Rourke was in Rolling Stone, which always seemed like the least likely venue for a conservative like P.J. Maybe it was all the swearing he did…

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