Category: music – mp3s

Hear Hums – Change (MP3 review)

April 30th, 2010

     Hear Hums is a three-piece band out of West Palm Beach, making terrific, underwater, melon-nectar pulse. I first found them on MySpace (here), and was smitten quick with “Collocational Time Systems” & its opening animal croaks, delicate sound details, chiptune hints and languorous groove. I loved the quirk, the haze, the loping rhythms.  (Read More . . .)

[posted by: C Way at 12:29 PM]

[file under: Music ||| music - mp3s]

‘Manes Tsergiach’ by Andonios ‘Dalgas’ Dhiamandidhis

February 11th, 2009

I just got into the Greek music known as Rebetika. I first read it about it in Eugenides’ Middlesex, and not long after, my friend Anthony by good chance happened to get a Rough Guide Rebetika compilation. I devoured it, loved all of it.

But one song consistently on that record consistently leaves me breathless. I don’t understand what’s being sung and I don’t need to:

Andonios ‘Dalgas’ Dhiamandidhis: ‘Manes Tsergiach’

The gasping, arcing vocal, the shivery vibrato, the fits of melisma. The sighs at 2:47 and onward, death sighs, lust-sighs, grief-sighs. The recessed commentary right after. What is this? Where do you go from this? I think Pavement came on right after on my Itunes and the disconnect was so profound I had to stop the track cold.

This music, this haunted and alien music so anxious to be known, like old Dust Bowl pictures and the families in them squinting into the camera.

I hear it and I know the heart can — almost perversely — suckle pain and dread like freshly bitten strawberries.
C. Way/ © 2009

[posted by: C Way at 11:13 PM]

[file under: Music ||| music - mp3s]

Writing About Random Songs N. 94: The Knife – ‘The Captain’

June 20th, 2008

Another installation of this game I play where I open iTunes, enable Shuffle, listen to the first song that comes up, and write whatever comes to mind about it.

This time I was served up a song from The Knife, off their record “Silent Shout”, called “The Captain”. I love this song — it always settles & unsettles me with its cold vistas & brittle expanse.

First, the song:

The Knife – ‘The Captain’

And here, a poem I wrote for it:

Spray of marbles skipping 
along vast mesa of chrome.

Slow fanning wingspan of
hungry metal owls
sweeping over stone.

A long thunder, away.

Measured avalanche of 
straw, sand & aluminum 
upon meadows of 
magenta blossom.

Old indigo geysers, 
dusted with crimson flakes.

Gray coral spiking up from pink ponds.

The distant throaty lowing of beasts.

C. Way/ © 2008
Buy Records from The Knife at

[posted by: C Way at 10:00 PM]

[file under: Ekphrasis ||| Music ||| music - mp3s]

I’m Going to Write About a Random Song No. 93: Los Panchos – ‘Si Tu Me Dices Ven’

June 18th, 2008

Los Panchos – ‘Si Tu Me Dices Ven’

My mom got me into Los Panchos when I was a teenager. She used to play the famous trio’s records all the time, and before I knew it their harmonies & romanticism had me hooked. It wouldn’t be until my late 20s though that I’d really start to fall under their spell.

This song in particular is a good example of what they do well. I love the rich panning, the spacious production, the hand drums on the left, the maracas on the right, that opening & decisive guitar solo so characteristic of this style of mexican ballad (known as the bolero).

I love too the lyrical themes, again so typical of the form, saturated with longing, ruefulness, graceful tragedy. This song’s title loosely translates to “If You Say to Me: Come”. Other lyrics, simple and trenchant: “If you say to me: come, I’ll leave it all behind”; “my secrets, which are few, belong to you as well”.

Then there’s the guitar solo at 1:44, always my favorite moment of Los Panchos songs: cascading, nimble, fleet & yet heavy with feeling.

The whole song makes me feel like I’m on a sturdy raft, making my way down a misted river at night, with soft, warm, puddling rain falling on embankments nearby.

Click here to buy Los Panchos records from
C. Way/ © 2008

[posted by: C Way at 4:47 PM]

[file under: Music ||| music - mp3s]

Beautiful Mental Jukebox: Sonic Youth’s ‘Hey Joni’ (from the album Daydream Nation, 1988)

June 7th, 2008

Sonic Youth Nurse

Sonic Youth – ‘Hey Joni’ (zipped)

“Hey Joni” is one of my favorite tracks from Sonic Youth’s “Daydream Nation”. It’s a record of bone-sculpted terror, and this song is among those sawed sharpest.

It’s not just the cut’s sound — lacerating sheets of guitars — that gives it such depth and impact, it’s also the lyrics. The weight & power of the text is typical of Ranaldo: violence, startling imagery, criscrossing emotions, overlapping themes (think “Skip Tracer”, “Pipeline/ Kill Time”). The song’s words settle and expand, layers of color & flavor revealing themselves over the song’s duration, shades of emotion ripening, popping out, furtive then brash then hiding again.

To begin with, there’s that urgent, liberating refrain: “Hey Joni, Put it all behind you.” There’s the current of nostalgia throughout, weaving the song together with silver cord: “I remember our youth, our high ideals / I remember you were so uptight”. Then there’s the contradictory plea to ignore the past and simply focus on the Now: “tune out the past, and just say yes” ; “Now it’s all behind you.” There’s the narrator’s desperate search for meaning: “tell me Joni, am I the one to see you through? / In this broken town can you still jack in and know what to do?” There’s the murky promise of mysterious violence: “that time in the trees, we broke that vice”, “shots ring out from the center of an empty field / Joni’s in the tall grass”. Finally, there’s that troubled rural backdrop of an “empty field”, of “tall grass”, of Joni “jumping off that truck,” blighted and creepy like something out of Dorothy Allison. So much packed in each line, Ranaldo’s poetry dense & blossoming with each noise-saturated measure of music.

And then there’s Joni — who is she? What does she want? She emerges from the
song as some kind of blithe dreamchild, unconcerned with time or memory while the speaker pushes, pries, tries to figure her out:

“She’s not thinking about the future
She’s not spinning her wheels
she doesn’t think at all about the past
she thinking long and hard
about that high wild sound
and wondering will it last?”

Joni is just Joni, she’s just life & blood and bone, living in the wild violent now, dancing in empty fields while gunshots shatter stillness, careless of past or future, dervishing with blank & unreadable expression. The speaker takes his confusion to her, throwing her his urgent “Hey Joni, when will all these dreams come true?”, his questioning at times feeling hungry and justified, almost indignant, at other times nonsensical & pathetic when compared to Joni’s carefree immediacy, her pure pulsing being.

Joni is sound and breath and blood, all impact and abrasion, all beautiful undoing, a “snap of electric whipcrack”, a “sailboat explosion,” embodying the rasp of sound the song wraps the words in.

And what about that sound? Well it’s much easier to talk about words than music. Sound, like wine or food, has a way of making even the most earnest attempts to corral it in words sound like pure, vulgar charlatanry.

So I’ll just focus on a moment instead: Ranaldo’s “kick it” at 2:56, rousing and raw, the guitar taloning and scraping up great seas of stone, Ranaldo having to shout above it, Steve Shelley’s drums attacking right after, battering every beat in 2/2 time all through 3:22, manic and scraping, & sweet Joni’s spirit shooting through it all like a comet.
Sonic Youth – “Daydream Nation”
(Click to buy from

C. Way/ © 2008

[posted by: C Way at 7:01 PM]

[file under: Music ||| music - mp3s]