After I published the latest apoplectic.me post in August, Paul commented that
the new music in 2020 hasn’t caught my ear yet. Nothing like last years Jaime by Brittany Howard, which I loved. I also fear we are about to get some not very good quarantine inspired music coming our way.Comments to Under Cover Under Wraps
Amid the huge static roar of distraction that was 2020, perhaps it’s unsurprising that there’s something out of time about my Eight Tracks of the year.
Join me, won’t you, on a journey to a place that isn’t here in a time that isn’t now. It’s gotta be better than this, right? Or, just hit up the Spotify playlist.
Gotta start with a track from the album that came closest to soundtracking my year – RTJ4.
Look at this! People dancing! Being happy! Touching each other! In New York City!
As Killer Mike and El-P say, in a different context – On the day we are finally free, let’s throw a MF party!
Right. Next. Man is the theme from the Netflix documentary series UNABOMBER: In His Own Words. The Worst is Adam Litovitz, who suffered from depression, was last seen on June 15, 2019, and reportedly died the next day. According to Toronto Police, his body was found on June 18, 2019. Man is great, obviously.
Are we feeling a bit more on-brand yet?
OK, that’s better. Bey swinging a bat? You know it. Yes, of course, the entry should really be Cardi B’s WAP feat. Megan – DAMN, that bass – but I wrote one of The Scotman’s Scottish Books of 2019, for goodness’ sake. You’ll have to click through to get WAP.
2020 kind of has to give up in the face of WAP, so the next three tracks kind of take some of the best bits of the best year in popular music – 1991, you may recall – and distill it into three kinds of awesome.
Allmusic describes the Orielles’ first album as the sound of
a group of British teens making the best album of the ’90s a couple of decades too lateAllmusic review of Disco Volador (the second album)
and goes on to say that Disco Volador meets that bar. Lap it up, kids, and remember what it was like to happily mopey.
Dark Ecstasy by Toner is up next. Before going on to be nice about Toner, Jeremy Winslow writes
it’s easy to write Toner off as just another lo-fi, slacker rock band aping off the revived shoegaze soundToner – “Silk Road” | Album Review – Post-Trash
Lo-fi? Slacker?? Shoegaze??? HOUSE!!!!
That’s the spirit, Jeanines. Like Post-Trash, Allmusic inadvertently heaps the greatest praise on the Jeanines
OK. Maybe you’re not the fan of shambolic indie stumblebums that I am.
But if the highpoint of Scottish popular music is Primal Scream’s Screamadelica (IF?!?!), then its midwife was produced and DJ extraordinaire Andrew Weatherall.
Of course, 2020 took Weatherall from us. His Two Lone Swordsmen project somehow projects into a lot of my short fiction in ways I can’t really explain, and I’m really glad I had the chance to see him DJ.
Daniel Avery’s Lone Swordsman is a fitting tribute, melancholic and hands-in-the-air at the same time. Oh. Maybe that explains it.
Finally, brilliantly and sadly, Riz Ahmed’s Toba Tek Singh is the sound of 2020 Britain. It’s inspired by the story of the same name by Saadat Hasan Manto, and it’s the best track of 2020.
Now, I’m going to look forward to exploring 2021 with you. I’ve got some new stories and poetry in the offing, and something of some of these tracks somehow bleeds into that work. If you don’t like
I mean, not WAP, obviously.