Posts Tagged 'mp3s'

The Underground Wires DNA Test: Villagers


Playing the Jeremy Kyle to children with disputable dynastic claims, the Underground Wires DNA Test is an examination of the consanguinity of some of our favourite upcoming artists. We want to know if they gleam their lyrical leanings from a third cousin, or which grandad thought them how to play piano. Asking artists to embrace their heritage rather than hide it (after all, everybody has a dodgy uncle they’d rather their mates didn’t know about) we aim not to reduce a contemporary artist’s work to mere influence, but rejoice in their confraternity like Gary Barlow told us all to in ‘Never Forget’. The Test Results are downloadable in Mediafire mixtape form for closer inspection.

Our inaugural DNA Test comes courtesy of the much-heralded Villagers. Conor J. O’ Brien kindly let the UW nurse swab some cells from his cheek and commented with passion on the findings. Quite honestly, I’ll feel a bit of a heavy-breathing fanboy hype-machine if I write any more gushing words on the guy, so read those I’ve already written for a background into the band, its motivations, and a charming childhood memory of his, um, rampant egoism.


1. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billie – ‘Cursed Sleep’

The first thing I liked about this song was the raw electric guitar which contrasts with the lush string arrangement.. then the lyrics got me.. “I cried and felt my legs fail”… Something sinister has invaded the sweet scene of the first verse. It’s a beautiful song, but it’s evil. I like how he doesn’t put ‘love’ on a pedestal. It needs to be dressed down!

2. David Axelrod – ‘Song of Innocence’

On the rare occasion that I’m wallowing in domestic bliss, David Axelrod is there with me, helping me make my tea. Although all of his songs do it, this one in particular seems to change the colours of the walls. Sometimes it even makes them bend. I’m really glad there’s no singing on it.

3. Elliott Smith – ‘Between the Bars’

A very beautiful song. The chords and the melody are amazing, and it’s so intimate that it feels like he’s singing it directly to you, into your ear. The imagery is very potent – it’s as if the singer wants to control somebody, but at the same time he’s projecting his own self-image onto this person. So, in effect, he’s using the song to embody an imagined saviour of some sort. Or sumting LOL

4. Philip Glass – ‘Metamorphosis’ (1-5)

This is the first five tracks of a 7-track album called ‘Glass: Solo Piano’. To listen to all tracks in sequence is quite an experience, especially if it’s late at night. It does things to the inside of my body. I think, on occasion, it may even squeeze its way through the heavily fortified walls of my soul!

5. Scott Walker – ‘On Your Own Again’

I think ‘evocative’ is the word for this one. It’s only one minute and forty-eight seconds, but by the end of it I feel like I’ve been through a lengthy divorce settlement on the roof of a tall building, wondering why the sun never seems to set. No, I can’t find a way to describe how much I love this song. Sorry.

6. Tom Waits – ‘Martha’

I finally got into Tom Waits this year. I never really liked him before, but something clicked and he’s all I listen to at the moment. He seems to be able to write something completely theatrical, and place it beside something much more directly emotional, then play with these bounderies until they no longer exist. The way children do.

7. Irving King & Harry M. Woods – ‘Try a Little Tenderness’

Whilst this song was a goodie to begin with, it was Otis Redding who really woke it up. Type ‘Otis Redding Try a Little Tenderness’ into YouTube, and watch the first video that comes up. My god.

8. The Walkmen – ‘Donde Esta La Playa’

I think The Walkmen are weird. Myself and Tommy (who engineered the Villagers EP) used this song as a reference for guitar and drum sounds while we were recording (which is why I’ve added it to this list). I think this whole album (‘You & Me’) sounds amazing, but it’s nowhere near ‘Bows & Arrows’. I wish they spent more time on the songwriting these days..

9. Bright Eyes – ‘Bowl of Oranges’

I found it hard to choose a song from this album (‘Lifted’). I suppose this is a sort of standout track, but the whole album is amazing. A wise friend of mine once told me how he came across the inlay booklet and read the lyrics of the album from start to finish, like a book, only to be astounded that it was accompanied by music and singing.

10. Low – ‘Cue the Strings’

This song sounds like the end of the world – it seems to be both mournful and celebratory at the same time, and the vocals sound so close-up whilst maintaining an incredibly epic quality. I like it a lot.

11. Roy Orbison – ‘Crying’

A completely faultless recording. I really can’t find the words to describe how incredible this song is.

12. Faith No More – ‘The Real Thing’

I spent my early adolescence listening to Faith No More constantly. I’d literally have headphones on while I was having my breakfast. They are an amazing band – this song exemplifies how they can maintain a high level of melodicism and sharp lyrics whilst completely rocking out. In this respect, if Villagers even comes close to Faith No More, then I will die a happy man. A smiling skeleton I will be.

13. Of Montreal – ‘Gronlandic Edit’

The first time I heard this song, I wanted to scream out the window of the car but my natural inhibitions wouldn’t let me. Actually, recently heard about a girl who had an accident, and subsequently lost the use of the part of her brain that controlled her inhibitions. Isn’t that incredible?

The test results in downloadable and listenable form.


Iran- Dissolver Review

While I’m waiting on the last bits and tits of Stop and Remember: 1995 to come together (we’re getting a Pastels review, folks) I’ll plaster up some more modern reviews from next month’s issue of TD. Doing so, I might as well tell you, is a cynical marketing ploy: I got hundreds of hits for the Animal Collective review thanks to the simple formula  ‘”Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavillion Leak” x search button= People who think I’ve hidden a Rapidshare link in the cover art’.

Underground Wires: slutting for bookmarks since ’08.

Continuing on my cynical buzz I unashamedly slated Iran’s new album, the first since 2002’s ‘The Moon Boys’, one of my favourite discoveries of this year (on which album he bore a remarkable vocal resemblance to our very own Treehouses). For the unitiated there are a couple of yummy cuts from that steaming noise rock bannoffee below (sorry if you wanted ice cream with that- use Shareminer like the rest of us), UW recommends avoiding Dissolver at all costs.

Narnack Records

Aaron Aites’ Iran’s early naughties noise rock precipitated a broader dark sonic movement in American indie that most recently came to the fore in TV on the Radio’s Dear Science. With TV guitarist Kyp Malone an original band member and producer Dave Sitek behind the knobs, we’re faced with the befuddling prospect of Iran becoming the “Next TV on the Radio”, despite TV on the Radio originally being the “Next Iran”. Our heads hurt.

Iranfans have been waiting 7 years for a new outing from Aites’ outfit. Despite the imminent release of Dissolver though, they’ll be left waiting- the band might as well Madagascar so far removed is it from the Iran of 2002’s exemplary The Moon Boys. Where previously the band lashed out like a New York City Xiu Xiu short on Xanax, thriving in angry post-punk minimalism and aural terrorism, Dissolver sees Iran take an almost MOR about-turn to rock-based songwriting, all mid-90s post-grunge slacker hooks and alternative radio-ready tracks. There are even moments when Aites’ sounds more like a less honey-dripped version of Okkervil River’s Will Sheff or a less eloquent replica of Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst in comparsion to the paranoid idiosyncrasy perfected on previous outings. Only on Digital Clock On Phone’s highly-textured noisescape does the Iran of old resurface, to be jerked away as the remainder of the album plays out as the TV on the Radio tribute disc it seems to be aiming for with shamless rehashes Can I Feel What? and Digital Summer.

An early biography of Iran boasted of the outfit’s “charmingly fractured obstinance”, and perhaps Dissolver is the high-water mark of Aites’ tenacity. He sings the line “You don’t know who I am” on 7-minute alt-rocking Airport ’99 with a measure of melancholy, but a greater degree of acceptance. Dissolver is akin to catching up with a one-time best friend at a class reunion- They’ve gotten fatter, stopped wearing eyeliner and started listening to Wilco, and you’re not quite sure you want to be friends anymore.

See also- Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion

Try these instead:

Iran- Wuthering Heights
Iran- Fading Out

[From ‘The Moon Boys’, an album worth spending at least €20 worth of time and energy on]

Hasn’t started listening to Wilco yet,


July 2018
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