I don’t spend the time I used to seeking out and sharing new music. It was a weekly habit at one point in time, but I have to remind myself that the particular point in time I am reflecting on is now a decade or so ago and my life is so much less lonely and wretched than it was at that time. I don’t have the time and energy to devote to this particular task because now I’m spending it with actual people, and I’m just busier and more motivated in general, I suppose. And so the weekly mixes have now become a quarterly occurrence at best, and really, more like twice yearly, if I’m being honest about it.
Ah, well. Such is the way of things. Over on Spotify I’ve curated some things I’ve been listening to over the past few months and while there’s no distinct theme and I suppose the genres are a bit all over the place, I think there’s a bit of eerie melancholia connecting all of it, and which no doubt is what drew me to it in the first place. Anyhow, mixes shouldn’t require explanation. It’s some stuff I’m listening to. You may like to listen to it, too.
A new mix of lullabies and volcanos and the divining of sounds made by cracks in the ice; the eerie creaking shriek as they form, the moan of the wind scouring over them, the ghostly sobs of those who met their end within the fracture.
But mostly, you know, ambient/electronic. Not trying to oversell it.
Það er margt sem myrkrið veit,
– minn er hugur þungur.
Oft ég svarta sandinn leit
svíða grænan engireit.
Í jöklinum hljóða dauðadjúpar sprungur.
There is much that darkness knows, my thoughts are heavy.
Often I watched the black sand burning green meadows.
On the glacier cry deadly-deep ice-cracks.
If you enjoyed this little Icelandic lullaby, then you will find more here. I never thought I’d have comfort blog posts that I’d revisit and spend so much time with over the years, but if I had to pick one, this would definitely be it.
I used to love to share music with friends and would compile playlists on a weekly basis featuring the new, or new-to-me artists that I had uncovered. I both love music and I also love it when someone says, “hey, thanks for introducing me to this new band, I’d never heard of them!” I guess it’s a bit of an ego thing. I always want to be the reason that someone found out about something new and cool. I want credit for something. That’s probably an embarrassing confession, but it’s undeniable. It is also probably something to look at more closely and sit with for awhile, like why is that important to me, and what am I getting from that recognition? I don’t know the answer right now, but it’s a drive that’s compelled me for as long as I can remember.
Sometime in the past few years I’ve slowed down when it comes to seeking out and sharing new music. I don’t have the time for it that I once did, but aside from that, it’s possible I have become more comfortable with just listening to other people’s suggestions, recommendations or even whole-ass playlists. What a weird and dumb thing to think and write, but it’s like, hey, why not let someone else do all the work and get the credit for once? It doesn’t always have to be ME. And also, I don’t have to know everything, I can’t find or don’t have access to everything, so why not listen to someone else’s offerings now? Think of all that I have been missing while I was trying to do it all on my own!
HOWEVER. as part of something else that I will touch on at a later time (although I will note that it is an initiative having to do with revisiting old activities that I loved as an effort to keep myself off of social media) I kinda miss my eternal quest for fabulous new musicians, every-song-is-perfect new albums, and breathtaking new songs and pieces of music. And so I have slowly been dipping my toe back in, and thought I might include a handful of favorites here today.
But ok, wow. This is super frustrating. Apparently with whatever version of WordPress I am using, I can’t embed bandcamp albums. Boo! Stupid WordPress. Whatever. Anyway!
MALA HERBA is a solo project of a sound artist and queer music activist Zosia Hołubowska. Their sets fluctuate between minimal darkwave, experimental interpretation of Eastern- European traditional music, noise soundscapes, and dark techno. Demonologia “is peppered with allusions to Eastern European music, magic, herbalism, and demonology, combining these references with contemporary electronic music. The results are akin to a disco at a witchy ritual.” (I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing about music, so I realize I am pulling a lot of quotes here. This is from The Quietus.)
Pitchfork describes this duo’s sound as that of “disco extravagance with Old Hollywood glamour” and “lush, shape-shifting glam rock, orchestral pop, and breezy psychedelia.” Sounds about right. I concur,
On weekends my partner and I will often share a bottle (or two, le whoopsie) of wine and stay up til the wee hours of the morning listening to music. We particularly love to find new artists and musicians through KEXP live shows.
Tomo Nakayama is a Seattle musician is and songwriter and his most recent album, Melon Day has been touted as an “exuberant synth-pop spectacular” and we just adore this guy. His offerings, to me, just feel so universally relatable. In “Get to know you,” Nakayama sings:
Tell me stories, tell me rhymes Tell me anything you like Tell me all about the good things That could make you feel alive Could be just one little spark Just two strangers in the dark, honey I’d like to get to know you I’d like to get to know you now
…and this conjures so vividly for me the wonderful, exhilarating nostalgia of a first date wherein we went from coffeeshop, to restaurant, to bar and stayed out until 4 in the morning talking and laughing and learning all about each other the first time. Feels! Lots of them!
Bonus! A BPAL Playlist!
Lastly, the folks over at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab polled their fans with the question of what songs make them thing of BPAL scents. The results of this enquiry are reflected in this playlist. I think friends who have been listening to my mixes and playlists for a long time can probably pick out the song that I submitted! Any guesses?
It’s been forever since I’ve put together an installment of For Your Ears, wherein I ramble at you about all the stuff I’ve been feeding my earworm with lately.
…which could be due to the fact that I spent the majority of 2019 listening to the same album on repeat, and while I love you Lana, I think it’s time we start unearthing new sonic baubles again. Here are four possibilities!
Featured is a new series of mixes brimming with delicious lunar energies, created by my best good friend, more of which can be found over on Mixcloud (or played directly above!) For much, much more of her lovely soundwave manipulations and brilliant sonic artforms, take a peek at her website.
La Femme Pendu’s new full-length album, Absolute Horror, was released on the Spring Equinox and I wrote a few words about it over at Haute Macabre. If smoky parlor ballads lyrically inspired by classic horror cinema, sung by a“Satanic Jane Birkin, or Françoise Hardy alone in a graveyard at midnight” is your thing, then you will adore the gloomy diableries of La Femme Pendu.
I have been waiting for this new album from Myrkur for quite some time but I actually haven’t had a moment to sit down and listen to it the whole way through. From what I’ve heard so far it’s a bit of a departure from her previous black metal efforts for more traditional Scandinavian folk songs, but it’s not altogether unexpected–her music has always had that sort of shadow folk sound– and it’s thoroughly gorgeous.
I was honored to be asked by the folks at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab to contribute a playlist to their channel for an BPAL X Haute Macabre collaboration, which you can find on Spotify here, or listen to it, above.
What’s in your earholes right now? Comforting yourself with old favorites? Or keeping yourself busy by searching out new tunes? Let me know in the comments!
For over a decade I made a habit of sharing each mix I made over on 8tracks, so now I guess I’m starting a new tradition over on Spotify…even though it’s not really new, I’ve got 200+ mixes over there!
Track list: Sun Forest by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds | Closer To Grey by Chromatics | The More I Cry by Alice Boman | One Last Kiss To Remember by Trentemoller | Light Caught by January Thompson | All Mirrors by Angel Olsen | Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Hval |Mirror Forever by Weyes Blood | All That Is Beautiful by Mamiffer | The Ocean At Night by Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys | Temples by RISE | The Mother Road by Chelsea Wolfe | Letter Never Sent by Mark Lanegan Band | Coven by RY X | Nowhere to Go by Nicole Saboune | Island Of Doom by Agnes Obel
A few years ago I saw the most fantastic, campy-kitschy video sung by a group of fabulous 80s new-wave ladies in comfortable sleeping attire, and last night when I was trying and ultimately failing to conjure forth who they were and the title of the song …I was convinced of at least one thing: they were singing about Dracula.
When I woke up this morning, after posting queries all over social media, the answer had been revealed to me by the miraculous Mondo Heather–and now that I reflect further upon my first hearing the song, I am almost certain that it was Heather who shared the video that I initially saw!
Mystery solved: it’s Dracula’s Tango from 1982 by British group Toto Coelo. The video is an absolute blast and I couldn’t help but try and grab some (ultra blurry) captures below, along with the delightfully demented lyrics. And of course, here’s a Spotify link for playlist purposes!
The moon was shining in the night The hounds were baying under simple stars And as you storm under the lights I knew my heart would be at stake
Am I just another victim? ‘Cause I never can resist him Oh don’t, don’t go You’re gentle touch Is what I need so much, and…
Dracula la la I’m a sucker for your love When you do do do what you do to me And you la la la now I’ve got you in my blood Supernatural love’s getting through to me Dracula la la I’m a sucker for your love When you do do do what you do to me And you la la la now I’ve got you in my blood Don’t you know dear Count it’s a mystery?
Prima Donna I’m yours
Even though you have the cross to bear
We take the mirror off the doors
And snuggle in our double tomb
‘Cause your castle is a nightmare
You’ve got batty friends who live there
Oh please, just squeeze
I go insane don’t tap my windowpane
Dracula la la I’m a sucker for your love
When you do do do what you do to me
And you la la la now I’ve got you in my blood
Supernatural love’s getting through to me
Got to get my teeth in you
Necking is the thing to do
Even though they never know it
Positive or not
You and I coagulate Vitalize a dying rate Vladimir my dear You know I’m after every drop
Get into a different vein R.I.P is all the same I was bitten now I’m trying Transylvania
You’re the coffin I’m the key We tune up in harmony I’ll do anything for you Except for mania
Dracula la la I’m a sucker for your love
When you do do do what you do to me And you la la la now I’ve got you in my blood Supernatural love’s getting through to me Dracula la la I’m a sucker for your love When you do do do what you do to me And you la la la now I’ve got you in my blood…
Track list: The Moth by PJ Harvey | The Swan by Ionna Gika | For The Sun by Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky | All Of This by Ayla Nereo | Cold Clear Moon (Written By Tomo Nakayama) by Swimming Bell | Tiptoe by Gracie and Rachel | Possession 2019 by Kompromat | Psychic Sobriety by Foie Gras | Romance Noire by Double Mixte | Kuiper Belt by KÅRP | Starbound by Mouth Wound
Feel Nothing by Health | Glass Candy by Naked City | Bury A Friend by Billie Eilish | Alone Together by Ritual Howls | Concerning The White Horse by Jozef Van Wissem & Jim Jarmusch | Gorgon Madonna by Yugen Blakrok | We Appreciate Power by Grimes | Buried In The Sand by HÆlos | Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For A Woman Like Me To Have But I Have It by Lana Del Rey | Be Still, My Tongue by Snorri Hallgrímsson | Burning Sea (feat. Tomasz Mreńca) by Daniel Spaleniak | Adorations by Burial Hex
Track list: Fever Dreams by Emma Ruth Rundle | Cross by Louise Lemon | Woman by Cat Power | Sky Full Of Song by Florence + The Machine | Blue Vapor by Marissa Nadler | Mariners Apartment Complex by Lana Del Rey | Lovely by Billie Eilish With Khalid | Black Lagoon by Still Corners | Alpha by Anna Calvi | Dancing And Blood by Low | Stundum by Hekla