CocoRosie: Lemonade - From their forthcoming album Grey Oceans (it’s got some rather disturbing, somewhat surrealist cover art). I really like this track. It starts off all crackly Joanna-Newsom-before-Joanna-Newsom-started-singing-more-conventionally, and then transforms into some kind of weird alcoholic R ‘n’ B performed by a beautifully singing robot. Or something. I don’t know. I can’t describe it. I’m not a music journalist, and I never claimed to be. So there.
To the Editor, Rag Mag, Gloucester College of Education, 1968
You say your mag is in aid of mental health! Dear Lad, there’s no such thing, if there was anybody in a position of power with any semblance of mental health do you think the world would be in this bloody mess? Young minds at risk is different. Anyone with a young mind is taking a risk - young means fresh - unsullied, ready to be gobbled up in an adult world bringing the young into the visionless world of adults, like all our leaders. Their world is dead - dead - dead, and my God, that’s why it stinks! They look at youth in horror - and say ‘They are having a revolution’, but what do they want? I say they don’t know what they want, but they know what they don’t want, and that is, the repetition of past mistakes, towards which the adult old order is still heading. War - armistice - building up to pre-war standards - capitalism - labour - crisis - war and so on. I digress.
Mental Health. I have had five nervous breakdowns - and all the medics gave me was medicine - tablets - but no love or any attempt at involvement, in this respect I might well have been a fish in a bowl. The mentally ill need LOVE, UNDERSTANDING - TOLERANCE, as yet unobtainable on the N.H.S. or the private world of psychiatry, but tablets, yes, and a bill for £5 5. 0. a visit - if they know who you are it’s £10 10. 0. - the increased fee has an immediate depressing effect - so you come out worse than you went in.
As yet, I have not been cured, patched up via chemicals, yes. Letter unfinished, but I’ve run out of time - sorry!
The National: Bloodbuzz Ohio - Yes, they’ve had it in their set-list for a few months now, so many people will already have heard it. Yes, it’s being offered as an official free download from the site that’s gone online to preview the forthcoming album, High Violet (due in May), so even more people will get to hear it. And yes, the very fact that the band has got a separate site to promote the album means that this release is unquestionably being viewed as a Big Deal that is going to take them into the Big Time, meaning that all activities surrounding it should be loathed as shrewd, calculated commercial manoeuvring.
But. Having said all that. This is a new song by The National. It’s sublime. It’s brilliant. It’s got that voice, those guitars, that drumming. So I listened to it twenty-seven times in a row (approximately), and wet myself a little (possibly).
The Becketts: Ride - From the 1990 mini-album Lust (which, if legend is to be believed, featured a vastly magnified picture of Madonna’s genitalia on its cover), this track is put here more for old time’s sake than anything else, since the band made little or no lasting impression on the music scene and are now long forgotten (which is why the page linked from their band name is hosted on the Forgotten Band Planet, no less). But they’re from my tiny hometown, and not many things of note came from there, seeing as it had a population of only 4,000 people. Plus, I do genuinely love this song - nearly eight minutes of noisy guitars, pounding drums, some screams and half-spoken ad-libs, and a definite Pixies influence. [A video of this song exists too - but it’s dreadful, really dreadful, in the way that a performance recorded for local TV in the early ’90s could only ever look shockingly bad. You have been warned.]
Big Star: Kangaroo (1974) - In truth, I don’t know much about the late Alex Chilton, but this and the previous song are two that I’ve loved and found especially haunting ever since I first heard them back in … whenever.
No doubt this article will make many literary and academia snobs seethe - it certainly has done amongst the Guardian-reading masses in the comments - but what the hell, I think it’s funny and that the writer does have a point. And for the record, I’ve never read Finnegan’s Wake either.