One of the most beautiful things about music is that it can surprise you in many ways. I heard The Sixth Golden Ticket for the first time years ago and was stunned by its beauty and its desperation – but mostly, stunned by the fact I could quickly become that obsessed with a track which was miles away from what I would have considered my ‘ideal song’. As Andy from the Saddest Landscape and me emailed each other, we chatted about the difficulty of picking a favorite record. In-between lines, he revealed to me that he, too, is a Bright Eyes fan – at least when it comes to an intricate album like Fevers & Mirrors. I was genuinely surprised until I remembered that very first moment, the quiet before the storm, being introduced to the Saddest Landscape‘s music - and realised that just as easily as I can mix and match genres which tickle my fancy, so can some of my favorite artists, no matter what type of music they themselves make. This month’s feature spans across a variety of genres picked by three very different people. Wait and see.
Andy Maddox (of the Saddest Landscape)
“Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them” by Murder by Death
Some records just get inside of you, stay there, and claim a little piece of your soul then before you know it they ruin you for all records you will hear after it. For me that record is Murder By Death’s “Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them”.
Before we go any further let us just accept the fact that Murder By Death are exceptional at what they do (because if you say differently you are wrong) and just move on to the record itself (and also remind ourselves this is not a record review).
From the very beginning I just knew that this one was going to be epic, any record that opens with the Devil taking two in the back and the mood only seems to get darker is ok by me. Who Will Survive… is a journey, one that brings forth a cluster fuck of emotions on every listen. When I place the needle down and hear that piano trickle forth I remember growing up in my parents house feeling like the walls could collapse at any second, later I think about when we first started playing music and it felt like we had to fight for any success we had. Then before I flip the final side over (we are talking a double 10” here) I have thought about those desperate nights where I convince myself that grand gestures are the only way to go, it all needs to be put on the line if you ever want to win her heart. The songs give me this feeling that I must never give up, things will get bad (possibly involving zombie children), but fighting for what you love is a noble act worth fighting for.
Sometimes I find it strange how personal I make this record, I have never shared a drink with the devil, tossed a lamp filled with kerosene, or rarely drink whiskey instead of water, yet somehow I find myself relating to everyone of these songs in a very intimate way. I now hear these songs in a manner that is akin to the way most people feel when they hear the voices of friends they haven’t seen in years. It is something that is comforting and warm and you wonder why you aren’t still closer.
Truly great records are a rarity, and they are not something that can be explained accurately now matter how thorough the research, they need to be listened to and felt. There is no science about the whole thing, you just know it when you hear it, and I am grateful that I did with this one.
So raise a toast to MBD, say another hail Mary and never let their necks crook towards the ground.
“Amethyst Rock Star” by Saul Williams
I like words. People who are good at using them – and I don’t mean using as many complicated words as possible in one sentence in order to make everybody feel stupid – tend to be people I want to be friends with. I like rhymes and silly puns and metaphors. If you can’t laugh about puns, I might find you highly suspicious.
Of all the music I have listened to since I was a kid, the music that is dominated by words is still the kind that makes me gasp for air out of excitement. Of course there are all the melodies and harmonies, etc.. etc.., and I love them dearly, but words…they do weird things to my heart.
I am not sure when I started listening to this album. I don’t really know why I got it, either. I had known about Saul Williams, I had seen and heard some of his stuff on the internet, but sometimes music needs time until your life is ready to get punched in the face by it.
I got punched by these words sitting at home working on drawings. I got punched while riding my bike, while riding trains and while walking streets of towns I didn’t want to be in. It made me feel like I would be more than just alright when I was heartbroken and it kicked me in the ass when I was lazy, forcing me to write all night and it made me dance in the streets in the dark when I was drunk and on my own in cities I wanted to be in.
This is my focusing album, it puts my feet back on the floor, pats me on the head, kicks me in the ass and makes me remember what’s important.
„So baptise me in the stars / and wrap me in nighttime / moon blue / pupil my sight with orange balls of light / and echo my plight / through the corridors of metaphor / what else are we living for / if not to create fiction and rhyme? / my purpose is to make my soul / rhyme with my / mind…“
Klaus Molterer (of Deckchair Orange)
“Einzelhaft” by Falco
Einzelhaft is Falco‘s first record, and there’s never been a greater record about Vienna in all its Filth and Glory after this one. His German rapping and the cheesy 80′s sounds might be a bit disturbing at first, but when I listened to the record a couple of years ago, I was struck at how great his lyrics about narcotics agents, Viennese in-discotheques and girls not quite the age he expected, actually are. The crease in his pants as well as his hair were always just as sharp as his lyrics, turning him into some kind of Austrian Lou Reed for me. Later on he actually turned out to become the only ever German-speaking artist to be number 1 in American Billboard charts, before vanishing and somehow mysteriously dying in a car accident in the Dominican Republic.