Song of the Day: Joseph Shabason – Long Swim

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I sometimes listen to random things. Take this one for example. Start with something that is immediately soothing but quickly runs repetitious to the point of being cold and suffocatingly mechanical. “Long Swim” directly reflects its name when it begins. However, as it evolves it becomes more of a city-scape.

Wake up in any major city at 3:00 in the morning and you will hear some monotonous, droning noise. And you just crave some human interaction. Please, anything but that garbage lift’s 3 notes of torture! When that sax chimes at full blast, you are almost grateful. Finally! Some organic voice! Even if it’s just to talk about the weather. But very soon your mind adjusts to the new equilibrium, and you find that shameful thought peeking through your mind – the annoyance at this voice, even if it’s another human being, one that you wished for just minutes ago. Stop talking about the weather all the time!

And then it does, it does. And you’re sound asleep again, perfectly comfortable in the knowledge that it was a waking dream and your demented mind had no part in its making, you were certain. This is ambient music, I suppose. It’s conducive to auto-dialogue. And it’s ambiance with a twist.

Song of the Day: Flotation Toy Warning – A Season Underground

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Back in 2004, when we were all much less depressed and resigned about that certain planetary and socioeconomical hellhole towards which the world is inexorably slumping, there was a London band called Flotation Toy Warning – even the name alone conjures a completely different world view.

Highly experimental and melodically gloomy yet filled with just enough irreverent glee, fantasy, and theremin, Bluffer’s Guide to the Flight Deck was a brilliant first album. Unfortunately, like the rest of us, they were hit by some tumultuous shitstorms during the next decade (of a personal nature it seems), and never again put forth the kind of crazed near-death clarity they once did. Until now.

“A Season Underground,” which in fact came out in 2011, is now collected together with other new works in a second album called The Machine that Made Us. Now perfectly aged, it is completely at home even with this strange new season of depravity. Honestly, ladies and gentlemen, please, I will thank you for quality over quantity. There’s little stink to be raised with waiting another 13 years for the next album.

Concert Review: Nazareth, August 4, Danforth Music Hall

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Nazareth’s most recent release, 2014’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Telephone, marked the last time that the band’s original lead vocalist Dan McCafferty would work with the band and left bassist Pete Agnew as the only remaining original member. Despite having only one founding member left, the band still puts on a credible, hard rocking show and current singer Carl Sentance definitely knows how to work a crowd. And while Sentance doesn’t quite capture McCafferty’s signature rasp, he comes pretty close while also adding a hint of Bruce Dickinson in his delivery.

Though the band is technically touring in support of that 2014 release, they didn’t play anything off of it, sticking instead to the older songs from their back catalogue, which is a pretty realistic move – nobody really wants to hear the new stuff from a classic rock band anyways. At best, they politely tolerate it.

Towards the end of the show, Agnew made an announcement from onstage about a couple who were celebrating their 32nd anniversary that night and who met at a Nazareth show all those years ago (or at least danced to a Nazareth song when they met … I’m not 100% clear on this). The band then played probably their best known song, “Love Hurts,” though I’m not sure that a song with lyrics such as “Love is just a lie made to make you blue” is really the best song to dedicate to a couple on their anniversary. But hey they’ve stuck with it this long so maybe it’s their mutual love of Nazareth that’s kept them together through the years.

While “Love Hurts” was the big highlight of the set, curiously it came in as the second last song before the encore. Most bands save at least one big song for the encore, so I’m not sure what the deal was here. Perhaps they are giving some of the fans a chance to leave early and get home at a reasonable hour. If so, that’s pretty considerate of them, because not only does love hurt, but so do your feet or your back if you’ve been standing awhile.

Song Of The Day: Girl Ray – Stupid Things

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It seems fitting that Girl Ray singer Poppy Hankin’s first name is Poppy because together with her bandmates, she makes sweet sweet pop music. The band’s just released debut album, the cleverly named Earl Grey, offers up a selection of catchy, twee indie pop tunes.

“Stupid Things” is an ode to the, well, stupid things that people will do “just to feel close” to someone. The video for the song also doubles as a mini movie of sorts – “Nettles Of The Parish,” which bills itself as “Part I of the most romantic story ever told.” Check it out: