A supposedly fun thing I did again

Ex-Easter Island Head / Tindersticks / False Tracks / The Cat's Miaow / Xylitol / Iris Ipsum / Moonilena / Louis Carnell and Leila / Corker Conboy and Purelink / Blood / Midwife and Amulets / Gnod

A supposedly fun thing I did again
“Norther,” Ex-Easter Island Head [Bandcamp]

This week’s playlist: Spotify / Apple Music

I was away on vacation last week and was so certain I was going to post this playlist while I was traveling, and then I didn’t. Instead, I listened to it, road-tested it, pool-tested it, scenic-view-tested it—and finally dropped in some newer tracks when I returned. And now, here’s this (and last) week’s new music.

“Norther,” Ex-Easter Island Head

It’s a small thing, but small things are more clearly heard in steady, mesmerizing songs like this—and here that small thing is the way the bassist’s fingertips slide across the fretboard. Just as record needle static and the crackle of tube amplifiers once did—before they became settings to switch on or off—it’s the literal human touches that still imply reality. (For now, anyway.)

Norther, by Ex-Easter Island Head
from the album Norther

“Falling, the Light,” Tindersticks

While I can recall no better way to hear Tindersticks than at a rainy Summerstage concert in Central Park, where the band kept swooning away even as the rain poured down and the crowd dispersed in search of shelter—this song certainly comes close.

Falling, the Light, by tindersticks
from the album Soft Tissue

“Suspended Animation,” False Tracks

What a barnbuner of a song, between the pummeling rhythm section, the call-and-response lead/background vocals and that brilliant surfgaze guitar—that’s some expert-timed tremolo bar—it’s all so unstoppable.

Suspended Animation, by False Tracks
from the album Hymn for Terror

“Make a Wish,” The Cat’s Miaow

First released in 1993 on the cassette-only How Did Everything Get So Fucked Up, this melancholy jangle-pop gem has thankfully survived to the present day via the band’s new Skipping Stones retrospective. Such a perfectly crafted song.

Make A Wish, by The Cat’s Miaow
from the album Skipping Stones: The Cassette Years ’92-’93

“Moebius,” Xylitol

I prefer the increased sense of unpredictability in today’s drum and bass, compared to the genre’s mid/late-’90s heyday. Back then, what always separated the best from the rest were those artists who employed the rhythm patterns to their fullest potential, and that usually came with an anything-goes mentality—like what’s in this particularly stunning track. I’ve listened to it again and again this week, and still can’t make heads or tails of it, and that’s why it’s wonderful.

Moebius, by Xylitol
from the album Anemones

“Subspace,” Iris Ipsum

Exhibit B in how drum and bass at its most random is when it’s at its best. This here is a spacey, buzzy one.

Subspace, by Iris Ipsum
from the album Xtilde EP [SERA021]

“Förlåt,” Moonilena

I love the exploratory vibe here, the sense of a transmission coming from somewhere, the dramatic nature of it all building throughout into something more foreboding. Altogether, it’s cinematic in a way that—rather than going down the old “soundtrack to an imaginary film” trope—feels like there’s a narrative underneath, the auditory opposite of a silent film.

Förlåt, by Moonilena
from the album Minnet

“thirteen,” Louis Carnell, Leila

Here’s the latest in Louis Carnell’s outstanding collaborative 111 album, which has been building, a song at a time, every three weeks since last fall. From Lee Ranaldo to KMRU to Green-House, the whole thing has been quite a ride—and next time it’ll be Nailah Hunter. The cheat code here is to just buy the album; then again, that would be the opposite of cheating.

thirteen, by Louis Carnell & Leila
from the album 111

Mellow and daze-inducing, this is the sensation of ambient summer washing in, wave after wave after wave.

In Light of that Learnt Later (Purelink remix), by Corker Conboy
from the album Corker Conboy x Purelink

“One Dimensional Man,” Blood

I’m not sure post-punk should have this many time signatures, but I support it entirely. And I love how, across its three minutes, this song manages to never stop exploring new ideas; even though it’s based around a pretty simple melody and structure, every new twist and turn feels fresh and new. Exceptional in multiple ways.

One Dimensional Man, by Blood
from the album Loving You Backwards

“Do You Know How to Waltz,” Midwife, Amulets

What a fitting homage—a devastating cover of a devastating Low song. Attempting a song like this is brave, but this version certainly does it justice. RIP, Mimi Parker.

Do You Know How to Waltz, by Midwife, Amulets
from the album Your Voice Is Not Enough: A Tribute to Low

“Pilgrim’s Progress,” Gnod

For all I know, this song goes on forever, which is fine by me. From the moment it settles into that two-note groove, which it finally does, it wanders about, never really growing old or stale, and just keeps on going and going. Even as it sort of decays toward the end, I could absolutely imagine it roaring right back, and that wouldn’t feel out of place at all.

Pilgrim’s Progress, by Gnod
from the album Spot Land