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Music Savaged By The Average Beast

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for June 27, 2005

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The Altrok Listener #5
by Bill Stella

The Mountain Goats - This Year
The relentlessly propulsive "This Year" seems to appeal to hectic moderns who project themselves into the struggle and gumption of John Darnielle's intense, uncharacteristically personal audio exploration of his growing up years, (and his new-found freedom to write about his life with his recently deceased father). "I'm gonna make it through this year if it kills me" is the kind of lyric that instantly becomes a mantra for anyone who identifies with it; the song, the anthem which contains it.
Lab Partners - Now
The thing about Altrok is that most every new song played would have been a radio add on rock radio if broadcast rock radio hadn't chased the nostalgic "Classic (sic) Rock" element of its aging audience. How could "Now" have missed becoming a radio hit at any time but . . . . now? We've left "radio hits" behind in the conceptual proverbial dust. (Go ahead, insert here whatever variation of a sentence that includes "But now we have a) "podcasting, b) internet radio" and / or 3) "nobody listens to the radio for new music anymore".) Lest we forget: it's not that the idea of rock & roll radio isn't viable, it's just not increasing profits year after year, so radio station owners insist it's not "good business". (When I was a child, that was called lying, but things have changed.) You can experience the joy of holding truth up in the face of their lies by taking the leeetle action of listening to "Now" and saying to yourself "Now that's a hit song!" And then, having fully convinced yourself, tell others.
The Magic Numbers - Forever Lost
And everything I just said about "Now" goes for "Forever Lost" as well. Just add high harmony vocals in the coda's chorus repeats.
New Order - Jetstream
I still can't believe that this is New Order. But I'm happy to hear it. Almost as happy as the music is. Last time, writing about "Hey Now What You Doing" (see Altrok Listener 2) , I thought it might be a cleverly disguised Matthew Sweet record. But now, I wonder whether it's more likely that Junior Senior are guesting on the track. Lyrics sample: "Long live love .. / J E T / You are so good to me / you are my Jetstream Lover" Plain, naked joy, accomplished with pop aplomb.
Sweet, Matthew - Tonight We Ride
Speaking of Matthew Sweet... He put out an album in 2004??!!?? And it had a song this delightful on it?? And I missed it / we ignored it??? How'd that happen? I fumbled and dropped this release, but now we'll change history and give it the attention it's due, right?

©2005 Bill Stella

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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