March 19, 2014

Wild Nothing >> The past was folded up and in the twinkle of an eye everything had been changed

Wild Nothing - "Paradise" (feat. Michelle Williams)
(Captured Tracks, 2012)

Yes, this is the "video version" of Wild Nothing's shoulda-been-a-megahit, featuring ultramegafamous actress Michelle Williams(!).  M.W. recites from Iris Murdoch's 1975 novel A Word Child in the middle of the song, which is just a spacey instrumental passage in the album version.  This Michelle-fortified version is not available anywhere, and believe me, I looked high and low for it, so this is certainly a Blowtorch Baby exclusive.  The place I ripped it from rhymes with MooCube.

Counting days

The opening synth wash sure reminds me of the melody in Slowdive's best-known song, "Alison".  I first heard this song in my car while parked in a thrift store parking lot in Terrytown in summer of 2012.  Its amazing bassline and breezy overall feel prompted me to immediately text my sister to tell her to check it out.  I wasn't yet obsessed with WN, but it happened fairly quickly.  It ended up being a no-brainer to name Nocturne my favorite album of the year, and I think most followers of this blog would agree with me on that.

Last October, I finally got to see Wild Nothing live, opening for Local Natives at Tipitina's, and thankfully they played "Paradise."  Yes, the bassline is just as huge & badass live as it is on record.  Still amazed / saddened that they weren't headlining.  And next month the headliners are opening for Kings Of Leon at the N.O. Arena(!).

Mon. Mar. 10: Went to the Circle Bar to see Weekend + Nothing + AAN (pronounced "On").  AAN's singer has a beautiful voice, not unlike Wayne Coyne's, and the band cranked out multifaceted, Yo La Tengo-esque indie rock. The guitarist with the white Jazzmaster was almost a dead ringer for Damon Albarn, so I expect a strong female fanbase with this band.  Ashley had to leave to get to sleep.  I wanted her to see Nothing, who sound like a recreation of Slowdive / MBV on record.  Much to my surprise, they sounded more like Slayer live, so I was actually kind of glad she missed them.  They played five songs from the new album, and one from their 6-song EP.  Weekend were as streamlined and muscular as I had anticipated they'd be.  After the disappointment of no "Spiral" from Wye Oak the previous night, I had to deal with Weekend not playing the song I wanted to see, "Mirror."  Their singer seemed a bit drunk and angry, swinging his bass into the crowd at one point.  He got rather forcefully pushed back by them.  And each band only played for about 30 mins.  But overall it was a good night, and the highlight was Weekend's "Just Drive," which I got a full video of.  Nothing's bassist (also in Whirr and Death Of Lovers) was really engaging and we recommended shoegaze bands to each other.  Drove down Bourbon St. blasting "It's Alright" on Weekend's album Jinx, as I had just bought the CD at the gig.
Fun Fact: I sat next to local jazz drumming icon Johnny Vidacovich during Nothing.  Not sure why he was at this show...  Also met a guy who flew to L.A. just to see a recent reunion of the band Failure, so we talked about our love of Failure for quite a bit.

Tue. Mar. 11: Went back to the Spanish Moon to catch Weekend and Nothing again.  Right before this show, I stopped at F.Y.E. and got the latest CDs by Chairlift, CHVRCHES, and Danny Brown.  Seeing these bands on a stage in a much larger venue with a better sound system made quite a difference.  (Not dissing the Circle Bar at all, by the way.)  The crowd was only about two dozen souls.  No flyers for this show were spotted around the area.  You do the math...  Nothing played the same basic set again; one of their singers told me the previous night that they do the same 35-minute set each night on this tour.  And yes, just like the previous night, they sounded more like Slayer than Slowdive.  Traded more shoegaze recommendations with Nothing's bassist and merch guy.  Weekend's set, on the other hand, was quite different from the previous night.  They started with "Just Drive" (said the drummer, though I thought it was "July"), ended with "Coma Summer," and did a killer "Mirror" in between.  (The singer introduced that song by saying it was about his mom... then, after a short pause, said it was about his dad.)  Overall, they did more krautrock-y, jam-friendly songs than the previous night.  Afterwards I shot some pool upstairs by myself, then talked with Weekend's awesome drummer.  Some of the bands we touched on included CAN, Moonshake, Heat Dust, Belong, and Glish.  I didn't buy a drink at any of these three shows... Sorry, bartenders!  Had to spend a lot on gas and merch, and booze is very low on my priorities list.
Some of the excellent music heard on the club's PA on this night included lots of weird hip hop, The Cure's "One Hundred Years" (seguing into Nothing's first song), some Prefab Sprout, Flipper's "Ha Ha Ha," and the Chameleons' "Don't Fall."  I got a particular kick out of the Chameleons song, because I had just posted "Swamp Thing" on my Tumblr a few hours earlier, and I leaned over the second-floor balcony (this venue used to be a fire station) during the aforementioned game of pool while singing the phrase "donnnn't fall."  Kinda rad.

Sat. Mar. 15: Bought some plants at the annual Parkway plant sale @ DIllard University.  At Bed Bath & Beyond that night, I walked right by the first person I ever got a New Year's kiss from and she didn't recognize me.  In the twinkle of an eye everything had been changed indeed...

Planets with similar climates: Catherine Wheel - "Flower To Hide" (1992), Slowdive - "40 Days" & "Alison" (1993), The Smiths - "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" (1985).

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