Earworms 2 June 2014

The sacred and the profane for you today – accompanied by Dionysus, who was the only hilarious god I could find. Do keep those .mp3 worms flowing to earworm@tincanland.com, with a couple of lines to say why you’re sending them. Thanks to all.

Laibach – The Whistleblowers – beltway: A track from the new Laibach album! I know that they divide opinion, but you can’t deny how firmly this song plants itself in your mind – many of the usual Laibach elements are here – a martial beat, words that fit as easily as totalitarian rhetoric as pop lyrics (perhaps subverting both), but this is the most poppy thing they’ve done – it’s been on a loop for most of the last couple of weeks for me.

Maria McKee – You Gotta Sin To Get Saved – DsD: Someone (Bish?) recently pondered on the subject of “favourite Maria McKee song”. This would probably be mine. Ideally, heard played live’n’loud, in a small club, where I’m in the middle, swaying, arms round each other, of a happily-drunk-but-still-enthusiastically-singing-along crowd comprising you lot. Oh and someone keep hold of Chris, before he decides the camaraderie is all too much for him, and tries to sneak out the back! Yoo-ur all my besh mates, yunno?

Doo Wap (That Thing) – Quantic y Anita Tijoux – albahooky: Here’s one from the talented Mr. Holland joined by Anita Tijoux – who, if I remember correctly, was recommended on the ‘Spill a few summers ago. A cheeky wee 45 that puts a Cumbia spin on a Lauren Hill tune. Muy bueno!

Al Wilson – The Poor Side of Town – tincanman: Despite valiant efforts by the Eels and Walkabouts, no one has yet gotten everything out of this superbly written song. This is the best version, marginally; the door is wide open music world.

Regina Spektor – Laughing With – treefrogdemon: I saw Regina Spektor in concert a couple of years ago and I was a bit disappointed, to be honest, because though I liked the first couple of songs she did, the rest of them seemed very much of the same thing. She should have done this one. It’s a thinker, all right.

Alpha Blondy – Jerusalem – goneforeign: Blondy is probably the most popular reggae artist in Africa, he’s from the Ivory Coast. He’s a very political artist and sings in many languages, his native language is Dioula. In1986, he recorded “Jerusalem” at the Tuff Gong studios in Jamaica with The Wailers, he attempts to promote unity between the religions of Islam, Judaism and Christianity in that conflict torn region.

21 thoughts on “Earworms 2 June 2014

  1. Interesting list this week. My fave was definitely Maria McKee, but both Al Wilson and Quantic y Anita Tijoux ran her close. Excellent stuff. Alpha Blondy had a nice roots feel to it.

    Not sure ablout Regina Spektor, though and I can’t ever listen to Laibach without thinking about neo-fascism in the Balkans. I am sure that they are perfectly nice chaps (possibly), but I just hear jackboots.

  2. I enjoyed BB’s introduction far more than I did ‘The Whistleblowers’, “totalitarian rhetoric” however ironic, doesn’t mesh with this romantic soul. Regina Spektor, I Iiked a lot, very Dawkinsesque. Maria McKee and Al Wilson I liked not too much, neither had much by way of light or shade, and both tended to grind on in rather uninteresting ways. One virtue of the Wilson track was that he showed he had the voice to have done a lot better particularly in relation to the execrable ‘The Snake’. My favourites were ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Doo Wap (That Thing)’, the former gentle, insistent, and soothing, very much to be swayed to, the latter with horns strident enough to compel the toes.

  3. Why does my name keep coming into this? I feel obliged to comment now…..

    If there’s a scathing Gerald Scarfe cartoon to go with the Laibach, I might find it interesting but as an aural experience it kinda sucks. Whistling, thumping and growling ain’t my bag, man.
    Maria McKee’s fun, and the sentiment is cool with me, although I’m not sure it would promote actual physical contact….. (despite DsD being quite a nice chap).
    I love the Quantic y Anita Tijoux. Ace! Was it on a Breaking Bad episode? (btw, this is a fine example of an acceptable regular snarebash, i.e. when it’s accompanied by plenty of cross-rhythms).
    The Al Wilson track tried to put me off with its opening shoobies and eau de schmooze. It didn’t quite succeed but it was darned close!
    I love Regina Spektor’s playful delivery and the overall arrangement. To my mind, there is some evidence to suggest that God laughs both in hospitals and in wars as He plays his mysterious moving game (Eeny, meeny, miny, mo….).
    More quality cosmic reggae from Alpha Blondy. Groovy (and a really fun noodle!).

  4. Downloaded to listen later, will pop back with my thoughts tomorrow.

    Note to self do send in some worms 😉

  5. I liked Regina Spektor best, followed by Quantic y Anita Tijoux and Alpha Blondy. The Al Wilson is good, though not so much my thing. I like Maria McKee but not this track, particularly, and I’m afraid the Laibach doesn’t work for me! Sorry beltway.

  6. Apologies (particularly to Carol) for my short reply earlier, am on a family holiday in Germany with v limited connection (hence I won’t get to these worms properly till Thursday) but I feel duty bound to address the clear discomfort some people feel with Laibach.

    Their unwillingness to answer straight questions about their political orientation has always been a problem for many. To me though, it is abundantly clear that if you look at what they do and listen carefully (and think about the regimes that they grew up under), they clearly oppose totalitarianism in all it’s guises, right, left or otherwise and seek to satirize and belittle it by fully adopting and subverting its most monstrous forms.

    I would however say that their newest album is as close to a declaration of a lefty / humanitarian / libertarion leaning that they are ever likely to make, openly declaring that this track is a tribute to the heroism of the “digital Promethians” of Snowdon, Manning and Asange. Other tracks on the album have been stated to ve clear critiques of the macho posturing of war mongering states.

    Whatever you think of the music, that’s fine, and if the political overtones also put you off, that’s also fine, but do try and see that this should not be written off to easily…like many things, it can make you uncomfortable but think at the same time….

    • Thanks for the explanation. It isn’t so much that I dislike political music, far from it. My concern was that Laibach were actually supportive of a far-right/nationalistic message.

      I still don’t much like how they sound, though.

    • Hello Beltway, these comments come with the big caveat that I too struggled to determine the lyric clearly when I first came to it yesterday, and again now as I gave the song another listen. As far as I can determine there’s a kind of martinet sloganeering going on, underpinned satirically by music that might have been lifted from a Red Army propaganda movie.I think that the song, as I’ve interpreted it, captures some sense of the monolithic, bureaucratised (and therefore introverted), implacable, power not only of totalitarian states but, as with the State Department and intelligence agencies in the US perhaps, within democracies. But I wonder how enlightening or politically meaningful this kind of work is or whether parody of this kind can produce music that is either interesting, pleasurable or very thought provoking? I wouldn’t write it off, but nor would I attach too much weight to it in terms of its perception or its political efficacy if only because it lacks clear focus as well as finesse and subtlety in common with the objects of its lampoon.Your choice of song and advocacy raise all kinds of interesting issues about how we hear, experience and respond to music, very thought provoking.

  7. Beltway: As I listened to Laibach I was annoyed that I couldn’t clearly hear the lyrics so I googled ’em, nothing doing, none posted. But after the initial intro I started to become intrigued and was able to decipher enough to get the message. Wiki gave me some background, I’m totally comfortable with the message and was delighted to see that Oliver Stone has picked up the rights to the Snowden story, no one’s better equipped that he to tell it properly. Thanks for Laibach, I’ll check the rest of the album.

  8. All new to me (except mine, obv) this week.

    I have the same issue as Carole with the likes of Laibach. I find it hard to convince myself that the jackboots are intended to be satirically kicking their own arse.

    The Q&AT is excellent outdoor summertime music. Put it on a compilation for playing at a big social BBQ, and just watch how many hips start subconsciously swaying!

    Re Al Wilson … er, Eels for me, I’m afraid. Al’s really not my musical thang. But no version I’ve heard has really grabbed me, so maybe tinny‘s central point is the winner.

    I blow hot & cold with Regina Spektor‘s voice, but I’m ‘hot’ on it this morning: enjoyed that a lot.

    Alpha Blondy can go on that BBQ compilation CD-R. I know it’s lazy, and wilfully ignorant of me (not to mention the obvious double-standard after my Laibach comment), but I’m not listening for the political message in tunes as musically hypnotic as this.

  9. Dissenter in the ranks, I loved the Laibach tune, stirring stuff, false interest in the political intent and that’s not meant to be a trite statement but when it first came on I really warmed to it and tried not to read too much in to the lyrics, naive perhaps but hey music is provoking!

    The only Mariah McKee tunes I know are Show Me Heaven and Drinkin’ In My Sunday Dress, happy to add this one to the list.

    Doo Wap didn’t do it for me.

    Al Wilson was “late night lounge music” pretty harmless, and a decent counter point to the Laibach.

    I don’t know anything about Regina Spector but it sounded like “Alanis meets Ellie” to my ears.

    Nice bit of lazy Sunday afternoon reggae to finish, pass me a can of Red Stripe please ‘Blondy’.

  10. Pingback: Maria McKee – One Song At A Time | The 'Spill

  11. I liked the bookends best i.e. Laibach and Alpha B

    I’m not normally a big fan of Laibach. My brother in law loves them so I do get to hear a few tracks now and then. And yes I do realise that the bombast and martial ambience is rather tongue in cheek and they’re not about to march over my front lawn shouting “lebensraum”. I just don’t usually enjoy that kind of sound.
    This was ace though. Musically and lyrically.

    A Blondy sounded great too. I’m afraid that aklthough I’ve listened to it 4 times now I haven’t taken the lyric on board at all.

    I like Regina Spektor but prefer her when she’s in over-the-top mode. Couldn’t agree that nobody in hospital ever laughs at god either. Still if I only enjoyed music where I agree with the words it would cut back my listening quite a lot. Would’ve saved me a fortune though.

    The others were ok.
    Maria Mckee was a rousing sing-along.Liked it but had nothing to compare ot to. QYAT – loved the music. I do find that, although I’m fine with singing in a language I don’t know, speech has to say something I can understand or I don’t get much from it. Al Wilson veered from enjoyably relaxing to just plain soporific. Good voice and all that. Kept reading the name as A.N. Wilson. I’m so glad it wasn’t.

    • I’m much the same with Laibach. I didn’t really pick up on the lyric but the whistling and the rhythm put me off – that said, it’s firmly stuck in my head, now, so it’s definitely an earworm.

  12. Laibach: I’m afraid I can’t be doing with whistling. And the production strikes me as a bit odd – vocals very high up in the mix. Also, it just sounds a bit… silly. Sorry.

    Maria McKee: Love her, love this (but prefer others of hers, as mentioned above/elsewhere).

    Quantic y Anita Tijoux: For some reason, I was never able quite to get a handle on the original. I felt like it should be something I loved but it never quite stuck. Maybe I needed to pay more attention. This suffers from a similar problem for me – it’s all too loose a groove to really worm its way in. Pleasant enough but a bit background-y for me.

    Al Wilson: Well, I love “The Snake”. And I love his (original) version of Jimmy Webb’s “Do What You Gotta Do”. And his take on “Dolphins”. But this doesn’t grab me so much. In fact, I appear to have it on an album of his but clearly haven’t listened enough because I don’t recollect it at all.

    Regina Spektor: She’s quite mannered, isn’t she? I’m not sure I like this one much. Or know what point she’s making. My favourite of hers is Better. Just so’s you know.

    Alpha Blondy: Definitely my favourite this week – though I lost interest a little when it settled into a standard reggae groove. Still great, mind. Lovely voice. Ends well too. Nice.

  13. Finally got to listen to the full selection, and as always, lots to enjoy!

    Have always had a bit of a blind spot for Maria McKee, this one was enjoyable enough as a rousing sing along and I suspect I would enjoy it more in a live setting,

    Think DsD nails Quantic y Anita Tijoux best, nice, easy grooved summery music with a real mish mash of world music influences running through it.

    Al Wilson was probably my pick of the week, new to me and a lushly orchestrated Soul classic, peerless vocals and a sweet arrangement – just a joy.

    Tfd is correct, the Regina does make you think (although it is really just an extension of the old military cliche that “there are no atheists in foxholes”) , the problem is that it sets my mind into a mode of thinking that is totally distracting from the rest of the music – I just find myself thinking about my own views on this sort of thing and hoping that if ever I find myself in any of the scenarios she outlines, that I have the courage of my own atheistic convictions to not even consider the place of God in it all. And if I was ever given positive proof of the existence of God, I really do think I would be laughing at him for throwing such a pile of shit at us in the first place. Anyway, by the time I’d come out of my train of thought, the song had finished! Second listen showed its interesting enough even if I am not a big fan of the voice.

    Alpha Blondy was just wonderful, another fantastic reggae pick from GF – I only skimread his intro to it, and I was expecting a reggae version of William Blakes / Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem! But this was great, I’ve always had a love of the dark, melodic tone in a lot of traditional Jewish songs, and to hear it rendered into Reggae was lovely, definitely a winning pick.

    Glad that Laibach appealed to a few people – really, it’s catchiness was what really prompted me to suggest it, but clearly they prompt a lot of debate which is healthy – if I get time, I may do a full Spill post on them….

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