‘When Will We Learn’ by Pauline MurrayWhy is Pauline Murray so overlooked? She’s amazing. This track is when she collaborated with “The Invisible Girls”- John Cooper Clarke’s backing band after her punk band Penetration split up and resulted in this ultimate dancing in front of the mirror,a 80s synth pop gem, but it’s also vaguely dark and broody and actually, very punk.

‘When Will We Learn’ by Pauline Murray
Why is Pauline Murray so overlooked? She’s amazing. This track is when she collaborated with “The Invisible Girls”- John Cooper Clarke’s backing band after her punk band Penetration split up and resulted in this ultimate dancing in front of the mirror,a 80s synth pop gem, but it’s also vaguely dark and broody and actually, very punk.

decemberembers:

Song of the Day #213

Dead Girlfriends - “On Fraternity” (Stop Pretending, 2013)

First things first - this is a terrific piece of soundcraft. This sounds exactly what I’d hoped the new Baths record would sound like (but I ended up hating Obsidian); it’s a much more interesting version of that “dark side” of that brand of hip-hop influenced chillwavey synthpop. It’s partly because vocally, James Brooks (formerly Elite Gymnastics) is a dead ringer for Baths - but his methodical disruptions and white noise blast dismantling of what might have been an initially lighthearted beat is a brilliant means of delving into what has already proved to be a controversial subject matter.

Yesterday Grimes made a post about the Stereogum article which laid into Dead Girlfriends for the way he’s writing about feminism. Even though Grimes is biased because Brooks is one of her best friends, I was expecting to fully agree with her (especially because the Stereogum article about Grimes which she mentions is a thoroughly unjust & sexist piece of writing). However, Grimes denies that Brooks is writing about female experience and so does Brooks himself (implicitly), yet it’s impossible to read the song any other way. (The first couple of verses are really similar to her own song, "Oblivion"). Accusing the Stereogum writer of linkbaiting is lazy. It’s a really considered critique (I’m baffled by Grimes’ argument that it isn’t based in fact - what does that mean?), and moreover, I think if Brooks is causing this kind of critical attention, he’s doing something right. He’s still (despite the problems with his writing) trying to be thought-provoking above all, I think, rather than some kind of transcendental, definitive voice.

the way your heart speeds up 
when you notice someone walking behind you- 
well, that’s why. 

the way they’re all watching for your guard to drop 
at the end of the night now- 
well, that’s why. 

it’s like you have to wear black in places like this 
in their opinion you were always kind of asking for it 
all along 

who cares if it’s right as long as it’s fun? 
so if someone gets hurt and then the cops come, then 
no one talks. 

the way they act like even bringing it up 
means you’re the one with a problem- 
well, that’s why. 

the way they say they can’t just stop being friends 
with him because of what happened- 
well, that’s why. 

it’s like you have to wear black in places like this 
did you not see them roll their eyes every time we walked in 
all along? 

who cares if it’s right as long as it’s punk? 
so if someone gets hurt and then the cops come then 
no one talks. 

this is why i wanted out

It’s not that he’s being mansplainy, because the concept of mansplanation only really makes sense on a more personal rather than artistic level. Like I said in this post on “Suggestion” by Fugazi, I think that even though it’s shitty that it has to be like this, it totally can be powerful for men to preach feminist messages to other men (cf Kurt Cobain). This is a song about wanting to reject the punk scene because of its veiled misogyny. It’s also about wanting to escape from the expectations of masculinity. One stanza essentially explains why the song had to be written: “the way they act like even bringing it up / means you’re the one with a problem- / well, that’s why.”

So I appreciate that gesture.

But there’s something unsavoury about Brooks’ use of female experience. As this Tumblr user claims, it’s still reappropriation. There’s nothing original about these sentiments but there shouldn’t be because they’re quotations from women: he cannot claim to directly empathise. What bothers me about these lyrics is his use of second-person. "The way your heart speeds up" - you can see why he’s being accused of mansplanation. Is he supposed to be empathic or merely recognising and repeating what he’s learned about womens’ experience of abusive behaviour? Or, does Brooks merely give himself a metaphorical pat on the back by ending his song by saying that he wishes he could escape male bonding rituals?

Aforementioned post closes thus: “you’ll have to forgive me if I’m uninterested in having a watery paraphrasing of the words I’ve been screaming for years gently sang back to me in a male voice.” What I personally would have been interested in is a male musician addressing his male counterparts - rather than addressing women with that naive 2nd-person, as if he’s trying to show that he’s understood women’s pain rather than do anything useful with that energy. When Fugazi addressed their male fans from a female perspective with the fury of having to "suffer your interpretation of what it is to be a man", to me that was a blistering political gesture (even if it too paraphrased what they’d learned from women, and although many other aspects of the song were problematic.) I’m aware that I should appreciate the irony of me saying this. But to me that is more what men’s role as allies should be if they’re making art about it. Aforementioned Tumblr user also points to “Suggestion” to illustrate what men should be doing if they do feminism, ie being more self-critical. The problem with “On Fraternity” is that even though it’s supposed to be about fraternity (as Brooks acknowledges), it’s addressed to some apparently transcendental female subject.

And I’m agreed with Claire Lobenfield about the name “Dead Girlfriends” - supposedly it’s a reference to a powerful idea of Andrea Dworkin’s, but it’s irresponsible to decontextualise it into a band name, and it’s not Brooks’ place to do so. Still it’s good to see him responding to criticisms on his blog and I genuinely feel a bit bad for the guy because like he says, he’s just a dude making music in his bedroom and it must suck to be him at the moment. I asked Sai what she thought about it and despite largely agreeing with Lobenfield’s criticism she said “I think this is why guys are really scared of addressing these issues” - which is true especially because not all the criticism he’s received has been very fair. I wouldn’t have posted this track on SotD if I didn’t feel that it was an exceptional song, but to me the types of debate that have arisen since the song came out overshadow it and even if it’s somewhat unfair that it comes at Brooks’ expense, it’s good to see these issues of male places in feminism being explored via the song - and for this, Brooks should feel flattered.

Edit: a couple of hours ago Flavorwire published this interview with Brooks about the song - the problems I identified with it remain, but it’s the clearest the dude’s come when explaining where he’s coming from with this and it’s worth reading because he’s a rad dude and it’s great to see a male artist so eager to learn about feminism. My favourite thing is when he uses the phrase “the entire men’s rights movement on Reddit and elsewhere” <3

best new dead girl

theremixbaby:

I was being a little glib about this on twitter earlier, so let me set the record straight…

I don’t doubt that James Brooks is sincere in his feminism. I also think he seems like a decent and intelligent person, at least based on his internet persona. And I’m sure that his Dead Girlfriends project was made with the best of intentions. I appreciate when men are feminists. I think there are ways for men to talk about oppression and sexism, and I’m not the kind of person who thinks allies should be silent. Men can be hurt by misogyny as well, and it is legitimate for them to express that pain. And, to clarify, I’m not
angryabout any of this… I’m just not totally on board either.

Primarily, I am uncomfortable with the way the lyrics of Dead Girlfriend’s new song presume to know the female experience:

the way your heart speeds up
when you notice someone walking behind you-
well, that’s why.

the way they’re all watching for your guard to drop
at the end of the night now-
well, that’s why.

it’s like you have to wear black in places like this
in their opinion you were always kind of asking for it
all along

It seems like this song is trying to explain what it feels like to be a woman living through rape culture, something that no number of feminist books or tender convos with the women in your life can give you. It is so obviously an amalgam of things Brooks has heard about what being a woman is like, repeated in his own voice. However good his intentions are, he is appropriating the very real pain and fear of women. Ally or not, Brooks is still a man speaking on behalf of women. I don’t think this approach is particularly helpful. This song utilizes women’s suffering to make Brooks look profound. It doesn’t help that what he is saying here is a very superficial, obvious take on rape culture. We all know that women feel afraid when they are walking down the street or out late at a bar. We all know that women modify their clothing and behavior to repel male attention. I can’t hold this against Brooks, because he will never know what it feels like to be female, so I don’t expect him to say anything about the experience of being female in a rape culture that wasn’t first told to him by a woman.

I’m not trying to say any of this makes Brooks a bad person or a sexist, or that he isn’t ‘allowed’ to make whatever music he pleases to. And I’m not trying to say anyone who responded to this song is somehow not a valid feminist. But you’ll have to forgive me if I’m uninterested in having a watery paraphrasing of the words I’ve been screaming for years gently sang back to me in a male voice.

Thought I do entirely agree with this, I do essentially feel like it seems a bit unfair on Brooks, and I think it’s also important not to discourage guys from speaking about these subjects. It’s important they know how to speak about feminism in a constructive way that doesn’t seem patronising and “mansplainy” of course. But I also know from experience of my friends that they also feel wary to speak about these things for exactly this reason. 

Bombshell baby of Bombay - A Rock and Roll composition by Shankar Jaikishan

It’s funny how when I listen to “Indian music” it’s often music that i’ve heard in “hip” indie films, or from “alternative” playlists (like this one I’m posting ;) ), rather than anything that’s been discovered from my own culture. It’s also very often Bollywood music, and being from the South I’ve never grown up with that sort of music, don’t speak Hindi, nor do I recognise any of the films they’re from. 

Which is why I get particularly excited when I hear Indian music in Tamil (my family’s mothertongue) because I can actually understand it, not just linguistically speaking, but from my oldest musical memories.  

It’s why I really enjoy M.I.A.’s Mantagi Mix because she incorporates so many tamil songs I remember growing up with.

This one wasn’t on the mix but it’s a very popular tune from a 1992 Tamil film that I remember being sung to by my uncle and my mum:

I would have been 2 when this film came out. When I listen to it I remember the strangest things; smoke that burns of an incense stick coming out of the pooja room where my grandmother used to say her prayers, white bread that I liked to dip into my mum’s coffee when I refused to eat anything else, the coconut trees growing beyond and above the roof terrace making them look like tiny trees from the same level, the woven chair that’s fading in colour out on the front porch, the ornate shapes of the metal gates, and the colours of the flowers at the front of my grandparent’s house. 

  

decemberembers:

Song of the Day #196

Life Without Buildings - “The Leanover” (Any Other City, 2001)

One of my best friends Sai posted about this band the other day and I can’t believe I’d never heard them before. I haven’t heard this album yet, just this song, and it’s rare that I’ve looked forward this much to listening to a band for the first time. I listen to so much new music that it’s rare that I properly anticipate new stuff even though I wouldn’t do it so much, of course, if I didn’t enjoy it so much… But this song feels so new and raw to me. So I’m waiting for a time when I know I’ll get super into it. :)

I’m especially drawn in by the vocals, the likes of which I’ve never heard before. It reminds me of listening to people for whom English is a second language, who incorporate English phrases into their native tongue. It’s a patchwork of stray phrases of overheard conversations, scatted syllables, and quotations - at least one from other songs; I hear Robert Wyatt’s “Sea Song” ("I like you mostly late at night"). But the main thing is, there’s no way of describing this song which is going to rationalise what Sue Tompkins does with her voice, and it’s best that way. This is the only Life Without Buildings song I’ve heard but I can already tell that I’m going to end up really liking them because they’re the sort of band who revel in the unguessable ambiguities of music.

Thought you might enjoy this Stephen…in fact I was absolutely certain you would love it. They’re my favourite band at the moment. The record the song is off took me a while to get into because this particularly track really does stand alone on the album. I feel like there’s a lot to work through with this band, a lot to re-listen a thousand times on a thousand summer evenings.

I was going to write something about them soon, actually…particularly some of the lyrics, because they’re hard to make sense of..

‘The Leanover’ by Life Without BuildingsSo many playful, unexpected vocal turns in this song and meandering lyrics, i don&#8217;t know why more people don&#8217;t absolutely love Life Without Buildings.

‘The Leanover’ by Life Without Buildings
So many playful, unexpected vocal turns in this song and meandering lyrics, i don’t know why more people don’t absolutely love Life Without Buildings.

(Source: mathiasmattu)

oldpunkflyers:

Anti-Cimex  Varukers  Agoni  Heresy  Napalm Death
07.07.1986 Nottingham UK

oldpunkflyers:

Anti-Cimex  Varukers  Agoni  Heresy  Napalm Death

07.07.1986 Nottingham UK

(Source: degenerik)

Polvo- A Link In The Chain

This is such a beautiful track to play in the morning when you’re not really sure how the day is going to pan out for better or worse. The distortion of the guitars and delay of the first 5 minutes of the track are as woozy as the narrator’s feelings of longing, separation, and togetherness. They seem torn between wanting and not wanting someone.

In a dream I saw you taking control

Treading lightly upon my soul

It’s the pain that makes me want to call your name

When I wake up to another day

I know you’re just a drop in the sea

Airplanes keep flying over me

Everyday I wonder when you’ll come and goIt’s nothing that I need to know

There’s no confusion and there is no eye

For nowhere to look for me to goI’ll change the words

The chariot to carry me home

I’ll welcome you to look inside

A link in the chain

A thousand waves

A link in the chain


The reception in a comfortable place


Just a ripple in empty space

The fatigue on trying to close another door

That’s a feeling that I had before

There’s no confusion and there is no eye

For nowhere to look for me to go

I’ll change the words

The chariot to carry me home

I‘ll welcome you to look inside

A link in the chain

A thousand waves

A link in the chain


The reception in a comfortable place

Just a ripple in empty space

The fatigue on trying to close another door

That’s a feeling that I had before

I know you’re just a drop in the sea

Airplanes keep flying over me

Everyday I wonder when you’ll come and go

It’s nothing that I need to know

pwelverumandsun:

the Glow pt. 2" by the Microphones (2013 P.W. Elverum & Sun reissue) is available to order now. It’s also featured today on Pitchfork Advance. Get a deluxe LP mailed to you very easily from P.W. Elverum & Sun, direct suppliers.