Monthly Archives: September 2012

#401 Dear Eloise – 她从来不 (She Never)

I finally caught the Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal exhibition at the Art/Science Museum last weekend. Presented in a strictly chronological and unapologetically didatic approach, the exhibition served as a well-charted primer to Warhol’s work through the years. There was something magical about viewing his early commercial work, his rudimentary but precisely transferred blotted lines anticipating his impending factory-produced pop art statements. But I found his later works somewhat devoid of that cutting edge, as if he ironically ended up mass producing and reproducing his established aesthetic, almost labouriously. I did, however, find myself mesmerised at the middle of the exhibition by the seemingly never-ending video of the Velvet Underground at rehearsal with not just Nico but also her young son, doing his bit to add to the incessant waves of noise.

That’s perhaps a somewhat contrived, literal, if not roundabout, way of introducing what I’ve happened to be listening to a lot to these days – the clearly Velvets-inspired Dear Eloise and their second album 美丽陌生人 (they’ve written it as Beauty in Strangers in the liner notes, although I feel – despite the unwarranted Madonna comparison – it should be more accurately Beautiful Stranger). The protagonist makes her existentially-challenged appearance in “她从来不” (She Never), defined by the shadow of her absence, a mysteriously powerful force that absorbs the sun and the wind into that nothingness as well. It’s a perfectly ethereal and partly naive storyline that endears to as much as it loses itself in the very consuming noise it invokes. – Dan.

mp3: Dear Eloise – 她从来不 (She Never)

美丽陌生人 (Beauty in Strangers) is out now on Maybe Mars and distributed through tenzenmen.


#400 Divine Fits – Shivers

Divine Fits, the new project fronted by Spoon’s Britt Daniel and Dan Boeckner (former member of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs, both bands now defunct), is an amalgam of the two’s shared musical ethos, all tightly-wound pop hooks and raw energy. Their perfectly executed cover of “Shivers”, a song originally performed by The Boys Next Door (the teenaged incarnation of The Birthday Party featuring Nick Cave, Mick Harvey and Rowland S Howard), operates on a propulsive pulse that draws inevitable comparisons to Britt’s main band that we long admired. So yes, as much as it sounds unscripted, the song’s very familiarly Spoon, still. Yet “Shivers” pulls us into a wistful mood — every time we find ourselves unwittingly identifying with the rock singer, as he steadies himself to disown every shred of romantic longing he feels. – Keith.

mp3: Divine Fits – Shivers

A Thing Called Divine Fits is awesome and available on Merge Records.

Music Alliance Pact – September 2012 Issue

SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
A mysterious force has been brewing in Singapore, bubbling beneath the shiny veneer of saturated city lights. The glitchy imperfections of static haunt the corridors of abandoned buildings, a sign of life from androids realising self-awareness. FAUXE leads a charge into this unknown realm, stirring up quite the storm with his debut EP Ubuntu and letting his music trickle down your window panes on a rain-sodden day. – Brian.

To download all 38 songs in one file click here. MAP is published on the 15th of every month, featuring a showcase of music handpicked by bloggers from all over the world.

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#399 Jim O’Rourke – Therefore, I Am

Me? I’m getting better everyday. I was revisiting one of my favourite Jim O’Rourke albums this week, and was surprised at how well, albeit quietly, the popping and rocking Insignificance has aged through the years. In “Therefore, I am”, the driving opening riffs sound like they’ve never stopped since they were first recorded more than a decade ago, while the pop harmonies that gave the song its richness sound even brighter than before.

That’s what I said, don’t believe what you heard. But I never know whether to take O’Rourke for what he says – is this the work of an artist at odds with himself (and his listeners), or a gifted songwriter capable of crafting a perfect pop song around confessional antagonism? There is a deliberate ambiguity in this work that contrasts with the straightforward song structure that encases those unlikeable thoughts: Is that really him speaking? To me?

It’s not like I want to be king; but I can’t help myself, it’s just that I am. Or is this pure arrogance? I really can’t tell. While this is usually regarded as among his most accessible work, I think it grows in complexity with each listen. Perhaps more accurately it reveals more about the man than his other recordings and collaborations, the conflicts borne within, but also the simplicity with which things can be expressed. I don’t think I’ll tire of revisiting this. – Dan.

mp3: Jim O’Rourke – Therefore, I Am

Insignificance is still, after all these years, out on Drag City.