I try to leave my personal life out of the blog, but:

1)Valentine’s Day is coming up
2)My girlfriend and I recently broke up

Obviously, the whole Valentine’s Day thing is something I can’t really bring myself to care about this year, so here are some songs about love gone wrong. NOTE: None of these are meant to apply to my own situation, so don’t read too much into this.

Pulp – “Like a Friend”

Pulp is one of my favorite bands, and “Like a Friend” is one of my favorite songs. This is a great song about repeating the same mistakes over and over, which I would say is a theme in my life, but really, it’s probably a theme in everyone’s life.

Murder By Death – “Big Dark Love”

The flip side of the destructive power of love. Here’s Murder By Death playing their new “Big Dark Love” at the Stanley Hotel (where The Shining was filmed). It’s about the fine line between love and obsession, a line that the narrator at least acknowledges.

The Static – “My Relationship”

This is from one of Glenn Branca’s projects. Having relationship problems? Crank this. It’s the perfect soundtrack to your Valentine’s Day Banishing Ritual.

The Mountain Goats – “Woke Up New”

Of course, once the dust settles in the ruins of your life post-break up, you have to pick yourself up and move on, and that’s what the narrator of “Woke Up New” is doing here. This song is the perfect balance of sadness and hope, and is probably the best song to end this post.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Try not to take it too seriously.

-jason

PS: What songs would you have included? Leave them in the comments!

Hey all…jason here. I’m in the process of relocating To Eleven South, so I don’t have reliable internet access/time to post. The dust should be settling late next week, and then I’ll resume normal rocking out and the discussion related to said rocking out.

-jason

Back in the early days of this site, I ran a feature every Thursday called “Any Asshole with a Guitar and a Camera,” the point of which was that because of the internet, you didn’t need a recording contract to get your music heard by millions of people. Well, today just happens to be a Thursday, and I’m trying not to get stuck in the rut of just writing review after review after review, so here we are.

This first one is a cover of one of my favorite Nico (or favorite Jackson Browne, if you prefer) songs, “Fairest of the Seaons” performed by Laurena, AKA lullation13. It’s a beautiful arrangement of the song that manages to not sound like a by-the-numbers cover, which is what makes a great cover, in my opinion. This one’s marred by some pretty bad editing problems/computer glitches, but the performance itself if fantastic, so I’m running with it anyway.

Hey guys! Remember that song that played all year last year that you couldn’t get away from and you wanted to chock anyone who started singing it or playing it on the radio because it was just so damn ubiquitous? Well, screw you. Here’s Sarah Stone doing a pretty rad cover of Lorde’s “Royals,” using only her voice, a cup, and a table. Get over yourself and enjoy this.

Of course, there are a lot of great original songs out there by youtubers. Here’s to eleven favorite Lauren O’Connell with her entry into the NPR Tiny Desk Concert contest, with her original song “The Daylight Here.” Seriously, check out her albums and her other videos…she’s pretty damn brilliant.

And because I have no shame, he’s a cover from a few years ago of some asshole playing The Mountain Goats – “The Alphonse Mambo.” I’m actually not too ashamed of this one, though I sing the “Yeah yeah yeah” too early.

And that’s it for these assholes. I don’t think this is going to be a regular feature of the site, but it’s fun to revisit the idea from time to time. We now resume our regularly scheduled programming.

-jason

By My Friend in Exile - Creator You Destroy Me
By My Friend in Exile – Creator, You Destroy Me. Already Dead Tapes & Records, 2015.

Last time I reviewed a Be My Friend in Exile release, I was just getting in to ambient music and had no idea how to talk about it. Now, I’m 1 1/2 years in or so, and I’m still not so sure I know how to talk about it, but I know that Be My Friend in Exile’e newest album, Creator, You Destroy Me is pretty much exactly what I needed to be listening to right now.

Again, right from the opening track, “Archon of the Demiurge,” this thing is ominous as hell. There’s a low, bassy drone punctuated by chaotic, atonal guitars. It’s desolate, it’s distant, and it’s perfectly captures the starry greyness of this winter we’re having in Ohio. This droning does’t let up, though it brightens a bit on the next track, “Ultima Linea Rerum,” before settling back into complete darkness in “Fever Dream.” That’s one thing I love about Be My Friend in Exile: many of these songs have the same elements, the same minimalist guitars, the same droning bass, but the mood of each piece is different. “Control Heartbeat Delete” somehow manages to convey a sense of urgency that the previous tracks don’t, while “Memories of Childhood, Feelings for the Future” sounds just a little like a cross between Caspian and Godspeed You! Black Emperor without completely jumping head-first into post-rock territory.

Like my review of The Silence, The Darkness, I have to say that what Be My Friend in Exile have done here is less an album of songs and more a single piece with multiple movements. While you could certainly enjoy any one track from the album, especially one of the longer tracks, such as “Floating Weightless Back to the Surface, I Imagine Becoming Someone Else,” Creator, You Destroy Me is best listened to in its entirety. It’s the perfect soundtrack to brooding over this bleak winter.

Creator, You Destroy Me is available on extremely-limited edition cassette from Already Dead Tapes and Records, and will soon be available for download from Be My Friend in Exile’s bandcamp page.

4/5 stars

-jason

The Star Pillow - All Is Quiet
The Star Pillow – All is Quiet. Paradigms Recordings, 2014.

The Star Pillow is Italian Ambient-Drone artist Paolo Monti, and I really can’t tell you much more about the band because the press release is in Italian. That’s OK, though, because in a way, I like the idea of listening to their latest release, All is Quiet, without any sort of context.

So, what is The Star Pillow? Well, when track 1, “no more beige sundays” began, I though, “Oh, this is just your standard, minimalist post-rock.” There’s a calming, high-register guitar riff repeating through the track’s 3 minutes, and not much else, but it’s pleasant, and it’s the kind of thing I listen to lately. Then, the second track, trap for freaks” begins.

From this point in the album, the post-rock guitar pulls back, and that droning feedback/bow/whatever-else Monti is using to create that bassy hum joins in. The rest of the album’s nearly 50 minutes sound like that: sparse post-rock-style guitars in the background playing bright, hopeful tones while the drone becomes more and more ominous. The dichotomy is striking, and while it does paint the usual musical soundscapes that I normally describe when talking about post-rock, it definitely makes me feel some kind of way, and I am totally down with it.

By track 4, “equestrian,” the hum has completely taken over. There’s a sort of melody, a sort of pattern to the hum, but it feels so wide, so open, with no real sonic landmarks, or even percussion, to denote movement through the song. Instead of moving forward, I felt like I was floating though the song, letting the sonic tides rock me gently back and forth.

The final two tracks, “we were all going to die” and “still together against the great darkness” are the most ominous, as the low, bassy drone slowly gets louder and higher before coming to a climactic wall of sound.

The Star Pillow’s All is Quiet is moody, atmospheric, and dream-like, and manages to pull of a sense of foreboding without getting loud or confrontational.

All is Quiet is available from Taverna Records’ bandcamp page, or on limited-edition vinyl though Paradigm Recordings.

3/5 stars

-jason