Sunday, January 20, 2008

Odd Nosdam: a short tour

I have listened to Odd Nosdam for four years. I have listened to every one of his albums, I think. They are all perfect to me.

He has over 5 solo albums.

He's collaborated with a lot of people.

I think he became popular when the first cloudDEAD album was released. cloudDEAD has two albums, one collaborative album, and one live album (that I know of). I'm pretty sure he produced all of them.

I used to listen his album, 'le mix tape' repeatedly. I think, at one point, I listened to nothing but that album for around two months.

It was when I was in Holland. I went to school in Holland for a year. I downloaded the album there.

I went on a three week 'tour' of Europe.

I remember listening to the album at like 3 in the morning, on a train in the middle of some black and snowy plain, or going over a bridge that, when I looked down, I'd see a black river like 60 feet underneath the tracks and light blue snow everywhere, everything feeling bleak and silent and like death. Like infinite loss or something.

We had a compartment on the train. Two German kids were sleeping together, holding each other. A strange man in the corner of the compartment sat upright with a hat over his face, and I sat at the window, looking outside. I felt frightened and horrible. I felt like an earthworm. Or a violent praying mantis. I don't know what it was. But it was good.

We stopped at some desolate station in the middle of Austria or Switzerland or something and it was freezing. The train shut down and the heaters turned off. No one moved, they were all asleep. I felt like I was the only one awake. It was really dark outside. The old train station was just a concrete platform with an old sign that I couldn't read. This happened a couple times. I was listening to Odd Nosdam the whole time. I think I never took my headphones off. Here is a song from that album that reminds me of this experience.

Odd Nosdam - Centipede White

'le mix tape' is different from his other albums, though. The rest are less 'mellow'.

Odd Nosdam does strange things. In a couple of his albums, he has songs that are just long tones, with recordings of gang violence or fights or domestic disputes. I don't know how he got these. But the recordings sound like they come from someone's tape recorder. Like the person with the recorder was sitting on a couch and just watching the fight. You can hear women screaming or someone going insane. Like real loss of control. Humans losing control around each other.

In the song I'm going to post below, at the end, you hear a black guy going totally crazy, saying 'NIGGA WHAT. I GOT SHIT TO DO, NIGGA WHAT. I GOT SHIT TO DO, NIGGA WHAT' and one time, when listening to that part, I became very afraid, and I realized the guy wasn't really saying anything, he was just blaring dominance.

That what he was saying translated, in some animalistic sense, to 'I AM STRONG AND WILL KILL YOU AND YOU ARE WEAK AND I OWN YOU' or something like that.

Something clicked when I had that thought, something about violence and humans and language. Something. Here's the song. It's on the album 'Burner'.

Odd Nosdam - Untitled Two

His most recent album, 'Level Live Wires', has none of that stuff. It's more 'musical' or something. I like it. I don't have much to say about it. I think, through all of his albums, the place where he's retained a certain 'style' is in his drums. I can usually recognize an Odd Nosdam song immediately when I hear the drums.

I can't post a song from this album because I only have .wma files from the album.

Instead, here is a funny video with a song by Odd Nosdam.

Odd Nosdam is on anticon.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Arthur Russell - You Can Make Me Feel Bad

I like this song by Arthur Russell a lot. Arthur Russell sings and plays the cello on this song. I like how it is slow and sad-sounding, but also calm and detached. I like how he kind of 'blurs' the words when he sings, too. I typed the lyrics out of the booklet. It says that the song was made some time between 1986 and 1990.

You Can Make Me Feel Bad

You can make me feel bad if you want to / I don't need those things you said I was / I can live on my own / There's a place for us in the real world / You can make me feel bad if you want to / You can make me feel bad / I don't need those things you said I want / I can live in my own / There's a place for us in the real world / You can make me feel bad if you want to

Here is a picture of Arthur Russell:

You can read more about him here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Blacktop Cadence

I have listened to Blacktop Cadence more hours than any other band maybe.

They have one CD that came out in 1997 I think. They also have one song on this compilation. And one song on a No Idea Records compilation I can't find right now. These are all the songs they have released that I know of.

There is one song online by them, it is "Last Night... After I Bought the Wine."

They have a website, last updated in 1999. The band is not "together" anymore.

I feel satisfied with the number of songs they released, with listening to these a lot of times instead of something new.

The No Idea site says that CD was recorded in three days. The entire band to me sounds like a sad machine. The drums especially sound to me like a robot in a way that I like. If anyone wants more songs by them email me and I will email you another.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I like the album 'My Red Scare' by Frankie Sparo


I am listening to Frankie Sparo, to the album ‘My Red Scare’. It is maybe the 200th or 300th time I’ve listened to it. Maybe more. I have no idea. I’ve listened to it a lot of times, anyway, is what I’m saying. I was talking to a friend of mine (it was the same friend, actually, that suggested I listened to BARR on Christmas Eve – see BARR post below) and I’d given her this album as a Christmas present, I think, a couple of years ago, and I asked her if she liked it, if she listened to it much ...

She said something like, ‘Well, you know. I like it, but there’s only some times when I would feel like listening to it.’

I don’t feel that way about Frankie Sparo. I think she was implying that it was music to listen to maybe if you felt depressed. I think I could listen to Frankie Sparo in any ‘emotional state’ and feel that it corresponded with how I was feeling. Maybe because I just like it so much, it already feels ‘part of me’ and so won’t change how I feel about anything.


I was working in a Virgin Megastore in Vancouver, Canada. I lent a person there some ‘English CDs’ (I can’t remember what I lent her; something by Hefner, maybe). She lent me some ‘Canadian CDs’ in return (a Destroyer album, something else, I think, and ‘My Red Scare’ by Frankie Sparo). It was a 'cultural exchange'.


Frankie Sparo sent a demo tape to Constellation Records. They liked it. They signed him to their label. He recorded an album for them (‘My Red Scare’).


The first time I heard this album, I thought: ‘If I could make music well, and somehow write good lyrics and put melodies and music to them, I would like to sound exactly like this’.

I only get that feeling sometimes, listening to music. I get it the most listening to Frankie Sparo. I feel like he is doing exactly what I would like to be doing. It makes me feel excited and at the same time calm and ‘in agreement’.

I find his lyrics funny; they are sad and often absurd. I think he writes good lyrics.

Sometimes they are very ‘dark’:

Photographs of motorcrashes
starring me—I pulled them from
an incision in your throat
while you were fast asleep.

(from ‘Bastard Heart’)

Sometimes I just think they're funny:

Careful of the company you keep,
the chemist tells me you've made friends.
I X-rayed myself and called the police.

(from ‘Here Comes the Future’)

Frankie Sparo sounds like he is ‘troubled’ by almost everything. He sounds worried, and sometimes weary, and he drags out his words very slowly over the songs. He is not hurrying. He sounds like he is tired of hurrying.

He sings a lot about staying inside; feeling tired of groups of people:

The out-of-doors was worrisome:
I got in accidents,
and panicked in my scarlet suit,
hearing sinister voices, but no voice came
the night that we stayed in.

While you were a drowned policeman,
I romanced automatons.
It's not for you, shaking like a nervous wreck
in a frenzy at the discotheque.

So, what could you want
with no-eyebrow debutantes and
vacuous boys in rooms filled with noise?

Oh, throw your hands in the air,
and wave 'em you just don't care.
We did not mingle with the vapid mob, dear,
the night that we stayed in.

(from ‘The Night That We Stayed In’)

My favourite Frankie Sparo song is called ‘Diminish Me NYC’. This one is sarcastic-sounding. I like the terrifying drum noise at the end, especially.

Here are the lyrics to it:

They were thinking of evolving;
they were feeling glamourous.
And itching from above, [calm an ocean],
la la la la, magnificent New York.

All the pretty lights excited you,
and the rush, it could not frighten you.
But it's hard to feel tall when everything is tall,
and everything is tall in magnificent in New York.

I am the occupant, occupying a souvenir-stand life.
I heard the haven of the Champion taxicab and I dilated.
Discard the cheap old life, the [job on] the bad time:
I can see France from here. I made a motion.
We want to go where they hit the action, la la la la.
Magnificent New York. Magnificent New York.


I like Frankie Sparo a lot. Whenever I meet someone new, and if we talk about music, I get excited and tell them about Frankie Sparo. I make them a CD, and then wait, and when they don't say anything about it I ask them if they listened to it, and they maybe say, 'Yeah, it was alright,' or they say, 'It wasn't really my thing,' so I'm writing this on here in the hope that someone who hasn't heard Frankie Sparo before will now listen to him and like him and feel as excited about him as I do.


Frankie Sparo myspace page (he only has 3 friends)

Frankie Sparo wikipedia page (not much on here)

Frankie Sparo Constellation Records page (there are good photos of him in the 'images' bit)

Frankie Sparo interview

Frankie Sparo lyrics page

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

i found out about BARR recently

i was in a pub on christmas eve and my friend told me i would like this band. now i like this band.

they just put out this single:

this is the b-side:

i feel excited listening to them.

you can hear more of their songs and read a blog by going here.