Archive for the ‘Moldy Peaches’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: HELIUM-The Dirt of Luck (1995).

Mary Timony fronted Helium for a few years.  In that time she was recognized as something of a guitar wizard–not in her speed and flash, but in the weird sounds she conjured from the instrument.

She also had very peculiar musical sensibilities (these songs are quite odd) and a cool feminist attitude.  This album features the amazing song “Superball” (one of the best songs of the mid 90s–check out the video and watch the guitarist playing the strings with a screwdriver!  Man I miss the 90s) as well as a number of unpolished gems like “Medusa” and “Pat’s Trick” (the dual vocals are very cool and the dispassionate “oh oh oh” is very interesting, plus I love the lyric about “long-ass curly hair”).

Her singing style is often quite slacker-y, like in the opening of “Medusa”–she’s not always audible, and she often seems like a kind of buzzy sound more than a voice.   She sounds like she’s singing from very far away–seemingly powerful and yet quiet at the same time.

But combine that with the cool scratchy/noisy guitar sounds she gets and she’s pulling off a very cool combination (think Dino Jr without the hooks and killer solos).

Like “Baby’s Going Underground” features some crazy shoegazer guitar washes for most of its 6 minutes which really changes the pacing of the record.  There’s also the great “Skeleton,” a riff so cool that Sonic Youth used it for “Sunday.”

She also has a way with haunting melodies as on the piano  instrumental “Comet #9” and on “All the X’s Have Wings” which sounds very medieval. I think of Timony as a guitarist and yet there is there are lots of keyboards on the album too–mystical keyboards that are fascinating and seem out of character with the guitars, but actually work quite well.   But the prettiest song is “Honeycomb.’  It’s a sweet song with a wonderful melody.  It is followed by the ender “Flower of the Apocalypse” a guitar-based instrumental that is mostly feedback but is also surprisingly melodic.

Helium had mild accolades back in the 90s.  They released a couple of albums and then Mary Timony went solo.  It’s nice to have her playing now with Wild Flag.

[READ: November 11, 2011] Five Dials Number 21

This is the first issue of Five Dials that I was ready to read when it was sent to me (I’ve been all caught up for a while now).  So that’s pretty exciting!

I was tempted to say that i enjoyed this issue more than other issues, but I have enjoyed most Five Dials issues equally.  But this one is definitely a favorite.

CRAIG TAYLOR–A Letter from the Editor: On Turning 21 and Thinking About Rock Stars and Greece.
The magazine introduction jokes about them now being legal to drink in the U.S. and also about now being old enough to run for M.P. in England.  He also tells us about their “new” section Our Town, which has vastly expanded in this issue.  He also explains that there are many rock stars on hand to give the magazine tutelage (authors that the rock stars enjoy) and three short stories.  He ends with a notice that they have gone to Greece where they are gathering material for Issue 22. (more…)

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ny2916SOUNDTRACK: JUNO Soundtrack (2007).

junoLate on the bandwagon with this soundtrack.  But then, I only really watch movies on TV these days, so I’m often late to the bandwagon.

Anyhow, this soundtrack was a darling in the alternative universe, and with good reason.  It’s a charming collection of mellow rockers, and it suits the film quite well.

The main artist here is Kimya Dawson, formerly of the Moldy Peaches.  She contributes six solo tracks and one song with the Moldy Peaches.  Kimya’s solo work is very lo-fi, it sounds like she’s singing in her bedroom.  Her voice has a tone that she doesn’t care if she’s in tune, and yet she always is.  There’s usually some kind of multi-tracking on each song (backing vocals or some such) that belie the lo-fi-ness of the songs, and yet they all sound like they were done in her bedroom.  Her lyrics are either overtly political or broken hearted/relationshippy.  Since those were pretty much the only songs i didn’t already know, I was a little unsure about them at first, but I have grown to like them.

The rest of the disc comprised a great line-up of previously released songs: The Kinks: “A Well Respected Man” (this also sets the tone for the record); 2 Belle and Sebastian songs; Mott the Hoople: “All the Young Dudes” (probably my favorite song by a band that I don’t think I’ve ever heard another of their songs);  The Velvet Underground: “I’m sticking with You” (the least representative song of a band ever…it’s charming and cute).  And, what you would think would blow the tone of the album: a song by Sonic Youth.  And yet that song is a cover of the Carpenters’ “Superstar.” It’s one of their mellowest songs and one of my favorite cover tracks ever.  The effects they wrangle out of their instruments are great, the tone is amazing, and it even got me to investigate the Carpenters further.

Chances are if you like any of this music, you own most of these songs, but it’s still a great collection of, dare I say it, twee folk rock songs.

[READ: March 4, 2009] “The Invasion from Outer Space”

This was a very short (one and a half pages) story.  It begins with everyone watching the skies in anticipation of an imminent invasion from outer space.  The anticipation builds as they see lights in the sky.  And then a fine yellow powder is dropped all over the earth.

The yellow powder  is the extent of the invasion and the townspeople feel somewhat disappointed that the invasion wasn’t more dramatic.  That gives away a bit of the story, but really it’s the details that make it rewarding.  I rather enjoyed this one.

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