You may not realize it, but for most of the last year you’ve been given a true treat, bi-weekly, in the form of the Mindless Diversions Wednesday music and Friday Night Videos posts. The author of those posts, our very own Glyph, used his vast store of musical knowledge, and his impressive writing talents, to bring us interesting, informative, and at times deeply personal takes on a wide variety of moody music from or inspired by the 80s (I’m kidding, his taste isn’t so limited: it also includes some moody 90s electronic music*). Many of those posts attracted some excellent comments from similarly knowledgeable music-lovers, making the conversations they inspired as fun as the posts themselves. I’ve said this several times, but it bears repeating: I’ve looked forward to Wednesdays because I knew I was going to get to hear some interesting music, read some interesting musical commentary, and have some fun discussing all of it in comments.
At the risk of coming off overly fawning, let me again say that his posts have been a treat for me. He’s a genuinely good music writer, and at times has simply blown me away. Take his post on depression, which, as someone who’s suffered from it for most of my adult life, really hit home. Then there was the brilliant album art post that wasn’t actually about music, but was. I remember he and someone else (Jaybird? dhex? someone) talking about the idea of such a post, and thinking it would be painful to read, but then he nailed it. And the first Friday Night Videos, which was about Miami Vice music. Miami Vice music!
Unfortunately for me, and even more so for you, Glyph’s decided to take a break from regular Wednesday and Friday music posts (though I’m hoping he’ll throw one up now and then), and because absolutely no one else on the planet was available, he asked me to take them over for now. More on the bit about me taking them over in a bit, but before that, I thought it only fitting that, as a Glyph fan, my first Wednesday music post (actually, it’s my second) should be a tribute to the dude who made Hump Days at OT exciting, and who made me watch a 30 minute video on recording drums. And the best way to do that, I think, is with music he gave us. So without further ado, here are some songs by artists that I discovered, or re-discovered, through his posts. Feel free to add your own Wednesday music discoveries in the comments, or just let Glyph know how much you enjoyed hearing about how awesome The Smiths and The Cure are.
I’ll start off with a recent one. In the second installment of his recent series on electronic music, he included a track by a pair of techno producers collaborating under the name Motor, and after listening to it I immediately bought their album, because damn it’s good, that’s why. It’s a collection of 12 tracks that are so in your face that they’ll keep you awake even after a Benadryl overdose. For example:
Makes me want to get up and dance. However, I’m typing this with my window open, and neighbors regularly walking by, so that might be a bit awkward. Ah, what the hell…
Moving on (now that I’ve caught my breath), one of my favorite Wednesday music posts was the one all about “girl groups,” which was simply awesome from top to bottom. My favorite discovery there, of the many (it was filled with artists I didn’t really know), was the Dum Dum Girls, whom I’d affectionately describe as dirty 90s mellow pop. Consider:
I’ve apparently missed them at SXSW a couple times in recent years. I won’t make that mistake again.
Transitioning again, let me just say that I like Laika. Thing is, in the years between the late 90s and this Wednesday music post, I hadn’t merely forgotten that I liked Laika, I’d forgotten that Laika ever existed.
If Motor is the music you listen to while trying to stay awake after 10 hours of staring at data on a computer screen, this is the music you listen to in a recliner with your eyes closed while trying to reconnect with yourself after 10 hours of staring at data on a computer screen.
And finally, my favorite discovery, Chromatics. I’d heard of them before, but after this post, I became a serious fan. We’ve done in your face, we’ve done mellow, and we’ve done chill, but this is something else entirely:
It’s transcendence. And while I’ve tried to avoid songs that Glyph used in his posts, I can’t resist this, because it’s almost perfect:
Wait, did I say finally? Silly me, you can’t have a tribute to Glyph without My Bloody Valentine:
I’m not a huge fan, but after he talked them up so much I had to give them another listen, and I’m glad I did.
And finally (for real this time), Guided By Voices. If you want to know why I will miss his Wednesday posts, just read his fan essay on GBV.
I think I’m cheating and using the same GBV song that I used in my first Wednesday music post, but whatever, that song rocks. And with it, so long Glyph, we hardly knew ye. I mean, I know you’ll still be around, and commenting, and posting sometimes, but still…
I promised more on me taking over, so let me say a bit about that. I’m not a great music writer. I’m not a good music writer. Whereas some of you are connoisseurs, I am merely a fan. I’ve got some posts in the can, and I’ll probably throw in some with a Cog Sci spin (I’ve got a post on the evolution of music that I really need to finish). My musical taste is also a bit different from Glyphs, so you’ll probably get posts with a more pop feel, along with a bit more hip hop, and maybe even some crazy stuff like reggaeton. I hope you’ll like them, but I know some of you are dying to share some music with us, and now’s your chance. Just write something up and send it to me. There are only a few rules (as passed from Jaybird to Glyph, and from Glyph to me):
2. Build something up, don’t tear something down.
3. Include a link to or embed of some sort of media, so people can see or hear what you are talking about.
Well, the Wednesday thing is loose, because there are also Friday Night Videos, but those are shorter and at least nominally about the videos (but whatever — they’re about music!). I’d add one more rule: if you send me something, I’d appreciate it if you’d do it by the Friday before the Wednesday that you’d like it published. Otherwise, I’m going to spend the weekend writing something, and then I’m going to be angry that I did work that I didn’t have to do, and I’ll probably call you all sorts of names under my breath.
*I’m joking, of course. He’s actually covered wide swaths of contemporary music.