That’s Rembrandt’s “The Raising of Lazarus” if you aren’t familiar with it and if you’re wondering why it’s on my website (other than the fact that I’m clearly fascinated by religion and music that plays with religious themes), then you might not know that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have released a new record called Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! If you want to find out what people think of it there are plenty of reviews all over the internet, but I think it’s one of his better records from the last couple of years; on the whole it seems more focused and thematically developed than Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus. Add to that Cave’s decision to vary his song-writing process and the result is a record with a distinct originality and character not found anywhere else in Cave’s discography. If the music isn’t enough for you, there’s a pretty funny video for “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” available on Youtube. If you take the time to look around, you might also find some fairly bizarre advertisements for the new record on Youtube featuring the Bad Seeds and a phony medium played by Nick Cave.
Beach House is a relatively new band getting plenty of attention. Pitchfork gave Devotion a very favorable review, though I’m uncertain as to why it received an 8.5 as opposed to an 8.9 or even a 9.1. Dusted Magazine also gave it a favorable, though qualified, review. I agree basically with the Dusted review. Devotion is a nice blend of pop music with other, more unusual styles tastefully thrown into the mix. I find it refreshing that this band clearly focuses on quality song-writing more than anything. Studio trickery and the inventive use of noise can make for some interesting results, but too many bands are depending on flashy presentation to fill in the gaps that their poor song-writing skills and imaginations leave behind. Beach House are cool enough to have some free music and video available on their official website. Take advantage of their generosity.
Jason Molina’s Magnolia Electric Co. is one of the best touring bands around and they happen to be responsible for a number of the best albums I’ve heard over the last several years. I played something from their now hard-to-find Sojourner box-set today. A few callers were somewhat displeased to learn that the music might be hard to find, but don’t despair. The band’s official website has a live archive and media section full of free music, some of it available in FLAC format. If you search through that live archive you’ll almost certainly find a number of shows (with high quality sound) that feature songs available on the Sojourner box-set. There are hours upon hours of free music available from this band (and from Molina’s now dormant Songs:Ohia project) all over that site. Let me suggest that you begin by downloading the April 23rd, 2005 performance in Denver, Colorado. The version of “No Moon on the Water” on that bootleg is phenomenal (as is the version of “I’ve Been Riding with the Ghost”).
If you were at all interested in the Current 93 song played, today, then take a look at this Wikipedia entry on Savitri Devi. Just to make sure everyone understands, I do not support, endorse, look fondly upon, enjoy, practice, or engage in Nazism nor in any form of Aryan new-age mysticism. Confusion always seems to rear its head when topics like this come up; a lone caller wanted to know why I’d play a song that’d equate Hitler with a god. Go read the lyrics (use Google to find them) and try to think for yourself instead of getting wrapped up in the thoughtless hysteria so often associated with bands that employ rather volatile material on their records. Tibet’s symbolism and inversion of the Aryan-Hindu conflation is quite beautiful and poetically represents the Blake-ian maxim that appears near the end of the liner notes for Thunder Perfect Mind, on which “Hitler as Kalki (SDM)” appears:
The Learned, who strive to ascend into Heaven by means of learning, appear to Children like dead horses, when repelled by the celestial spheres.
It’s worth noting that this song is dedicated to Tibet’s father, who fought as an English soldier in World War II and that much of Thunder Perfect Mind is devoted to Christian themes, mystic or otherwise, that are clearly antithetical to any Nazi agenda. In any case, even if you dislike 90% of the music from this rather rock-oriented show, downloading the second half is worth it just to hear “Hitler as Kalki (SDM).”
To wrap it up, I just want to point you in the direction of this Youtube video. On the air I often talk about bicyclists in Boston (considering how many of them there are) and the way they go ignored by motorists. With warm weather on the way more and more bicyclists will be pedaling their way to work or school or wherever and I thought this public service announcement was a particularly funny and good one.
There may be a treat or two popping up here before then, but that all depends on how much free time I can make for myself between now and next Monday. Thanks again for listening – talk to you all next week.
01. Neu! “Negativland” from Neu! (1972) on Brain Records
02. Brian Eno “The Fat Lady of Limbourg” from Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (1974) on EG Records
03. Einstürzende Neubauten “Sabrina” from Silence is Sexy (2000) on Mute
04. Joy Division “Shadowplay” from Unknown Pleasures, Collector’s Edition (2007) on Rhino — originally released 1979
05. Bedhead “Crushing” from What Fun Life Was (1994) on Trance Syndicate
06. The Olivia Tremor Control “The Sylven Screen” from Black Foliage Volume One (1999) on Flydaddy
07. The Castanets “The Night Is When You Can Not See” from In the Vines (2007) on Asthmatic Kitty
08. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” from Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! (2008) on Anti
09. Cat Power “Moonshiner” from Moon Pix (1998) on Matador
10. Magnolia Electric Co. “Will-O-The-Wisp” from Black Ram (Sojourner) (2007) on Secretly Canadian
11. Red House Painters “Midnight on the Bay” from Shanti Project Collection (1999) on Badman — original by Stephen Stills and Neil Young
12. Palace Songs “Werner’s Last Blues to Blockbuster” from Hope (1994) on Drag City
13. Thalia Zedek “Body Memory” from Liars and Prayers (2008) on Thrill Jockey
14. Neko Case “Look For Me (I’ll Be Around)” from Blacklisted (2002) on Bloodshot
15. Beach House “Gila” from Devotion (2008) on Carpark
16. Belle & Sebastian “Simple Things” from The Boy with the Arab Strap (1998) on Matador
17. The Red Krayola “101st” from S/T (1994) on Drag City
18. Suishou No Fune “In the Moonlight (Excerpt)” from Writhing Underground Flowers (2007) on The Lotus Sound
19. Current 93 “Hitler as Kalki (SDM)” from Thunder Perfect Mind (1992) on Durtro — (Savitri Devi Mukherji)