Surrender as Both Idea and Backside Dignitary
by Dan
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Extra Golden - "Jakolando"

Two brothers are headed into town, the hot afternoon sun white on the gravel road. Onyango has the money, to get the bread and sugar, and Ganabe skips alongside. They walk the alleys of the market, saying hello to the few people they recognise. They are referred to as a unit by the people in town. "Jakolando," they say, "you'll get fat on this much sugar." "My father makes less than you, Bunte." "You are too sensitive, Jakolando, I'm only kidding." Onyango does not smile as he takes the bundle under his arm to leave. "I want to stay and talk with the women," says Ganabe, tugging at his brother's hand and pointing to the tavern where the music is coming from, softly. "We don't have time." The women make eyes at the little Ganabe. "Hi, Jakolando." Ganabe will be a man eventually, but Onyango will be a man first, and there's no telling what will happen between then and now. The boys head home as the sun sets coolly behind the bare trees. Ganabe makes them stop for water, and then again to urinate. [Buy]

Fiery Furnaces - "A Candymaker's Knife"

Part two in my continuing insistence that Rehearsing My Choir is fantastic. "A Candymaker's Knife" is really when the story of the album's main character gets underway. It's the third track on the album, and there's been a lot of hinting, setting up, thematic beginnings, but its most clear beginning is here. A young woman, taking a cooking class, is swept up in her hectic life. The song's opening spookiness foreshadows the main plot point: that on the night she is to meet her father-in-law for the first time, she gets drunk and embarrasses herself in front of her new family. A simple and tender plot, approached (no, attacked) from all sides at once by call-and-response double-character illustration by Eleanor and Olga, and the music waltzing, sometimes leading other times following, along. The lyrical and musical synchronicities hit like a full-page image in a comic, or a sentence in all caps, "I wore the scarf he sent to me..." becomes blue, floating, a standstill. And my favourite image "I reached for the arm of the armchair and missed..." gets me every time, because I immediately go back to the title, as she's falling, and I think, as I would, drunk, about the knife. [Buy]

Posted by Dan at November 1, 2007 4:24 AM

I'm totally with you on the "Rehearsing My Choir" being fantastic vibe. Perhaps people who criticized it got so carried away with the warbling voice of their grandmother that they missed the quality of the music.

Posted by omit at November 1, 2007 10:17 PM

I'm all for a defense of 'Rehearsing My Choir' -- I mean, I'm all for anything good anyone has ever said about the Fiery Furnaces -- but I still think it should be stipulated that it's almost certainly their worst album (except for the second Matt solo album, which is genuinely bad.) This is of course mainly due to how brilliant everything they've put out is, but "Widow City" is still so new!

Posted by Zack at November 2, 2007 5:56 PM

The FF's RMC is an amazing album, people just get bummed out because they can't tap their feet to it or whatever, when it first came out people got all hissy-fissy cuz it wasn't Blueberry Boat Pt. 2, but i for one instanly fell in love with it. oh, and in response to Zack, Holy Ghost School Language isn't just a great album but it is better than Winter Woman, perhaps self-indulgent at time but i don't care, great stuff. as for Extra Golden, how could you not like it, truly moving music, Thrill Jockey is the best.

Posted by EFK at November 4, 2007 11:22 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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