Saturday, November 5, 2022

The Return Of The "Stuff I've Been Listening To Lately" Feature

I took yesterday off posting and I was very tempted to do the same today but after a pleasant walk with Beryl and Mrs. Bhagpuss and a nice cup of tea, I find myself in the mood for some music. I have been stashing a few new tunes for just such a purpose so I think it might be time for another in what I hope might become a regular feature - Stuff I've Been Listening To Lately.

Title's a work in progress...

Since the last time I did one of these, nearly six weeks ago, I've added about forty songs to my music folder but I've already used quite a few in other posts.  That still leaves me with waaaay more than I need for this one, giving me the unpleasant task of culling the rest to a manageable number. I don't want a repetition of the bad old days, when I somehow managed to cram links to more than a hundred songs into a single post. No-one wants that again. Do they?

The question is, do I go for a broadly representative spectrum or cherry-pick the best, even if it means someone gets more bites of that cherry? I guess if you're better you deserve more. That's fair, right? 

Sometimes, though, a song I think is one of the strongest doesn't have a video. I really don't like embedding "videos" that, when clicked on, turn out to be nothing more than a still of the artist or the album cover. It's harsh but there you are. I don't make the rules. Oh, wait...

In the end, I generally find the best way is just to start and see where I end up. It's like making a mixtape in the 90s; one thing should lead organically to another. Well, we can hope...

Pop Star - Coco & Clair Clair - I was reading an interview on Stereogum with these two yesterday and they seemed like smart, interesting, articulate people so I clicked through the embedded videos and those were smart, interesting and articulate, too. Plus they have great tunes. Gotta have those tunes.

As I was watching the Pop Star video I was thinking "This looks really familiar..." It should. I downloaded it about six weeks ago. Once I'd worked that out, I was sure I'd posted it before. I checked. I hadn't. Tell me what that says about my memory. Better yet, don't.

Love Me - Coco & Clair Clair - I probably shouldn't have picked the same videos for this post that Stereogum used for the interview but Love Me and Pop Star are both just so good. But then, so is everything I've heard by Coco & Clair Clair.I  could happily fill the whole post with them but I suppose I ought to move on...

Boyfriend of the Year - Bellah Mae - Now that's how you do a lyric video! And a lyric. I do like a diss track, especially when the digs are subtle.  Bellah Mae could teach Alanis Morissette something about irony, that's for sure. She could teach her what it is, for a start.

Follow The Cyborg - Miss Grit - Another banger. It's cool how she's called Miss Grit and the synth line is the grittiest thing... I mean, it's only there for a moment, but it's there and not by accident, I'll wager.

I came upon Follow The Cyborg somewhat synchronistically, when I read a report about Holly Herndon's AI cover of Dolly Parton's Jolene.  (I was going to say "ironically" but after raising my eyebrow at Alanis, that wouldn't have been the best of choices.) Holly's Holly+ project deserves a post of its own. It led me down a fascinating rabbit-hole, one that lead to spawning.aiNever Before Heard Sounds and the AI music underground, all of which deserve further investigation. Maybe later.

The problem with Holly's AI cover, though, and the reason I've only linked it in text, not embedded the video, is that it's literally indistinguishable from any number of human versions of the far-too-frequently covered country classic. Someone would have to tell you it's by an AI before you knew, which to me seems to be missing the point. I think it's more AI-assisted, anyway, but as I said, that's for another post...

Fast Cars - Danz CM - Sounding considerably more machine-like than the actual AI is Danz CM, the current persona in use by Danielle "Danz" Johnson, a singer, songwriter, composer, music producer, DJ, archivist and record-label owner. She used to go by the name of Computer Magic. Seriously, I'm this close to linking that New Yorker cartoon from the '90s. On the internet, no-one knows if your consciously aware.

I Stole Your Jumper - Eaves Wilder - Oh, look! Another diss track! Told you I liked them. Like the jumper in question, this might be a bit baggy in places but you really can't fault a chorus like "I could make your world turn black / but I just stole your jumper and you'll never get it back." 

That's genius, that is.

Somebody Else - Pynch - I have to say (Well, I don't have to but I'm going to anyway...) most of the tracks in this post could have been written and recorded ten, twenty, thirty, forty years ago. This one sounds a lot like some of the stuff I was listening to in the early eighties.

It is also, as it happens, the oldest song in the post so far. It goes back a whole two years. I think all the rest are current releases, except for Pop Star, which dates back to 2021.

All The Time - Police Car Collective - I'm going to finish with a brace of tunes by Police Car Collective, the core of which is a trans-national duo working out of Liverpool, U.K. They're one of those irritatingly unclassifiable acts that sound different on pretty much every outing. This seven-minute epic gives me Rex Orange County vibes at least until the fuzz-guitar solo kicks in around the five-minute mark. Another good lyric video, too.

Millionaire - Police Car Collective - This one, however, sounds, as someone in the YT comments so succinctly put it, "like Hip Hop from the 90s". I'm not sure re-inventing yourself for every release, as they say they'd like to do, is the best plan for a successful career but as they also say, it worked for David Bowie. Well, it did eventually...

And finally... Yes, I know I said I was finishing with the last two. I lied.

Cherub - Coco & Clair Clair - Them again. I couldn't resist. It's only short. We've got room.

Let's all meet back here in... I don't know... shall we say a month? Should have enough new stuff by then. Maybe I'll even have a sassy title. I need one, if this really is going to become a regular feature.

I'm not taking bets on that. The title or the feature.


  1. I know you don't get a lot of commentary on your music posts, Bhagpuss, but I just wanted to say thanks for expanding my musical horizons with all of these posts. Your posts very rarely feature music and bands that I listen to, but I continue to find inspiration and new bands to delve into.

  2. My feelings echo Redbeard's precisely. Your music posts are always worth checking out, even if I rarely have anything intelligent to say about them. (Also, I passed on Confidence Man to a friend who briefly but passionately fell in love with them, so thanks for that.)


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