Eight Tracks III

I’ve been seeing folks doing calls for – and offering up – playlists to offer some kind of respite from The Lockdown that’s gone into effect here in the nations of Britain and Northern Ireland. So, what better time to belatedly offer up some of my favourite tracks from the happy days of 2019?

Didn’t this jump the shark with your 2018 edition, Stroke Bloke?

As it happens, the apoplectic.me post of my favourite choons of 2018 began by noting that it was the death of David Bowie that had heralded planet Earth’s one-way trip to hell in a hand basket.

So, join me, won’t you, on a trip down memory lane to when things hadn’t yet gotten entirely out of hand? Or if you don’t like wurdz, just hit up the Spotify playlist.

[The Apoplexy Tiny Letter is coming out of hiatus, too. With a bonus track, no doubt.]

OK, then. No messing. All killer, no filler.

Mrs Stroke Bloke has been glued to the updates coming out of New York from the Governor, Andrew Cuomo (Help, I Think My Wife’s In Love With Andrew Cuomo???). Of course, I’ve been thinking a lot about out old home in Brooklyn recently.

Aw, man. There’s one of those dancing guys on my train.

Cid Rim’s Control doesn’t sound like anything on Earth, which is nice right now. Also, the video is shot on our old New York Subway line and hits up some of our neighbourhood stations.

I love that track so much, we could stop there. But, while we’re on a Brooklyn nostalgia trip…

There’s nothing more 2020 than nostalgia for something you don’t remember

I missed Brooklyn’s Gang Starr the first time round, but their very posthumous album One Of The Best Yet has me primed to go back and check out the origins of their legend. I love the way Family and Loyalty sounds like some glitchy 1990s Warp Records electronica with some smooth flow laid over the top.

Right. Gear change.

Check out that landscape. Can’t imagine the Coronavirus getting out there, right? I suppose New Zealand has a decent chance of emerging from this better than many. From this distance, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern seems pretty awesome.

The awesome woman above is Aldous Harding. She’s been compare to Scott Walker and Kate Bush and Nico, she works with PJ Harvey associate John Parrish, and her latest album is called Designer, for goodness sake. Nuff said.

Perhaps in my mind, a character so untouched by the pain of heartbreak would also have huge mounds of luxurious hair? – Róisín Murphy

I get too caught up in the groove to intellectualise Incapable, so I’ll leave it to the folks at Pitchfork:

A hypnotic deep-house groove with slinky hints of disco – like the best dance music, it’s an invitation to get lost

OK. SNAP OUT OF IT!!!

Hi, Mom!

While Trump is suggesting we consign your family to death for the sake of The Economy, Idles’ Mercedes Marxist is music to headbutt yourself to death by, with a video like a bleaker version of Office Space.

I’m sorry, that’s the sort of thing I liked in the good times, too. NEXT!

House: music

Back into the groove. Baba Ali can cover this better than me.

In the house I was living at the time, there was a TV, the news was pretty much always on. It was a moment when there was this sense of that things were unravelling and the facades of society and order weren’t holding up anymore.

Oh, last year’s Baba Ali, you have no idea. But you’re right about your tune bring funky and urgent, with a hardened edge.

Right. Let’s finish with the big guns. Fontaines DC’s Dogrel was 6Music’s album of 2019, and Boys In The Better Land. To just about bring things full circle, here’s five lads from Dublin who bonded over a love of poetry sizing up the entire Tonight show audience for a square-go.

I think I’m in love…

And finally, to play us out (for now…?) here’s a track from a band that took their name from a BBC Radiophonic Workshop piece of the same name. This is The Comet Is Coming and Summon The Fire. Figures, really.

Be well, stay safe.

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11 thoughts on “Eight Tracks III

  1. Your brilliance continues, as usual! My best wishes to you, your wife, and anyone else you love across this vast pond, for the sorry state the world is experiencing, sorrier yet if the Idiot in Charge releases the restrictions by Easter.

  2. Your brilliance shines on, as usual. Best wishes to you and those you love across this vast pond, and if the Idiot in Charge lifts the restrictions by Easter, God, save us all.

      1. Not at all! It’s lovely to be back among friends on the blog and good to hear from you, Joyce. As the post might suggest, we’re keeping a close eye on developments back in the US, and hoping for the best for all of our friends.

        The Brits and the Americans, still trying to outdo each other in the race to the finish. Take a few month off and, plus ça change…

  3. Welcome back Mr. Brown.

    The Happy Pessimist in me hears the following songs rattling around inside his skull during these Darke Times:

    Bob Dylan – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
    CCR – Bad Moon Rising
    Leonard Cohen – The Future
    Richard and Linda Thompson – The Calvary Cross
    The Clash – Clampdown
    The Police – When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around
    The The – Armageddon Days (Are Here Again)
    Van Morrison – Precious Time

    I’m sure others will come to mind, over time…

    1. It’s a pleasure to be back and resume these little interludes, my friend. What a lovely collection of favourites. And what tremendous fun to visit the Wiki entry for Clampdown.

      I do kind of want to make an alternative quarantine mixtape adopting Margaret Atwood’s attitude during her recent cameo on BBCR4’s World at One:

      Some day, some day, some day…

      1. P.S. I meant to ask this of you as well as Paul – every so often, something clicks and I recognise what Fontaines DC are quoting in the solo on Boys In The Better Land. Then it disappears again. Help ?!

  4. The blog is back!

    I could of course recommend a bajillion songs. The last live show I saw in Brooklyn for instance was Scary Pockets, the youtube cover band founded by the CEO of Patreon (it was the other way around tho). And they were great fun. Check them out on youtube.

    But in recent days I’ve been turning to much more subdued music both in my writing (hey, now I can plug MY tiny letter on apoplectic.me also) but in my listening too.

    So let me recommend Spaces by Nils Frahm (https://open.spotify.com/album/6TeaIEi4NnnCJyZrpGRt7d?si=AERoepx1Sq-2b0Y0eodKLw), and After Vacation by Normal Westerberg (https://open.spotify.com/album/4fNToNjl3T2wMgLiSi5sgC?si=y-WpFEeAReS1meo_qf6HdQ) as two very different sounding things to put in your ears.

    1. Shady’s back. Tell a friend

      Are you entirely sure that Scary Pockets aren’t a band that we invented and do all the songs for? That’s the vibe I’m getting from what I’m reading. Mrs Stroke Bloke will like that Jack Conte also formed a band called Pomplamoose. I think that she’ll just love the sound of that word.

      After too many (fun!) creative deadlines in a different creative field to usual, I’m very much looking forward to catching up with your tiny letter and your recommendations. Will be perfect for my current mindset, I think. Very happy to commend it to anyone who stumbles across apoplectic.me.

      And, before I go – and this is one for Marcelo, too – every so often, something clicks and I recognise what Fontaines DC are quoting in the solo on Boys In The Better Land. Then it disappears again. Help ?!

      1. That song sounds so much like the modern lovers record that I can’t hear anything else. I mean it might as well be roadrunner redux.

      2. Hmmm… I’m not hearing anything familiar in that Fontaines left-channel guitar solo. Though the whole song benefits from some serious rhythm guitar attitude, similar to the 1969 Live version of What Goes On (as namechecked by the Bassist’s t-shirt). Definitely my favorite Velvets album.

        Also, how could I forget these songs for my apocalyptic playlist?!? Obvious, perhaps, but still fun and true.

        Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand
        Tom Waits – God’s Away on Business
        R.E.M. – It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

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