Monday, September 15, 2014

The Wooden Finger Five - September 2014

No. 5 The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) – U2

When iTunes and U2 conspired this past week for the Irish band’s new album to be automatically included in the library of every iTunes user, many people complained about the album being foisted upon them against their wills, and the difficulties of deleting it.  As for me, I actually wanted to listen to it, and initially couldn’t find the thing. A friend helpfully pointed out that it was in the ‘not in your library’ part of my ‘purchased’ folder. Following that advice I downloaded it, dragged it over to the iPod icon, and then pressed play only to find … none of the files worked on my iPod. I tried, Bono, I really tried.

No. 4 Knock Knock Knock – Spoon

I recently read Grantland’s ‘The American Band Championship Belt’ article, in which Spoon was named the fourth best American band of the 2004-07 period. That was when I realised I really hadn’t heard that much of Spoon. I then went back and listened to their entire catalogue over a day or so, and I was really impressed. In particular I like 2007’s excellent release ‘Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’, which is a good ‘old time’ rock album. (Actually I think one of their weakest albums might be the one that gained them the most notice, and might be why I never really got into them – 2002’s ‘Kill The Moonlight’.) Anyway, their 2014 album ‘They Want My Soul’ is also very good, with the slightly noxious, can’t-be-arsed track ‘Knock Knock Knock’ being my favourite.

No. 3 Brill Bruisers – The New Pornographers
No. 2 Champions of Red Wine – The New Pornographers

I only discovered the New Pornographers’ classic ‘Letter From An Occupant’ a couple of years ago, which brought me up to the band’s work as of … oh, the year 2000. Which means I am still have fourteen years on their work to catch up on. But I have listened to their latest release ‘Brill Bruisers’ and there is not really a dud song on it. The real heavy-hitters are the first two tracks though, with the title track opening things off with a massive sound that seemingly uses every instrument in the book. Better still though is the more muted, Neko Case-led ‘Champions of Red Wine’, which would indeed be perfect music to drink red wine on your patio to.

No. 1 Cthulu – EMA

Listening to Spoon was great, but they have been in my background for years; my real discovery over the past month was the music of the ambiguously pronounced EMA. I really have trouble describing why her music is so good, in trying to do so to someone I came up with the rather lame ‘[long pause], um, jagged pop …?’ Her second album (I thought it was her first, which means I now have another whole EMA album to go listen to), ‘Past Life Martyred Saints’, has at least five semi-classics on it, in particular ‘Milkman’, ‘Anteroom’, and closer ‘Red Star’. The new album, ‘The Future’s Void’, might only have two, one which is the punkish ‘So Blonde’, but the other is the epic ‘Cthulu’, which is some good old gothic, industrial shit. Here is what you get when you search in Google Images for Cthulhu – I don’t know if that’s exactly what EMA meant to evoke, but it seems pretty apt to me.  

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