“Ysbeidiau Heulog” – Super Furry Animals
I don’t know about you, but me, after last week, I think I really need to listen to some rock’n’roll sung in Welsh. Good thing those wacky neo-psychsters Super Furry Animals are up to the task. “Ysbeidiau Heulog” (which translates as “Sunny Intervals”) was the lone single off the band’s all-Welsh Mwng, a CD released in 2000 on Placid Casual Records. As the band itself notes, “this one went right over the heads of the chart organisation.” I find the whole thing sort of endearing–the goofy ELO-meets-Moby-at-the-cartoons vibe, the earnest cheerfulness of the incomprehensible lyrics, and, to top it all off, the translation (“I must say that we had some/Sunny Intervals, Sunny Intervals/But on the whole it was rather cloudy…”). Super Furry Animals were formed in Cardiff in 1993, and it should be noted that Mwng was not the band’s first all-Welsh effort; their debut EP–Lianfairpwllgywgyllgoger Chwymdrobwlltysiliogoygoyocynygofod (In Space)–was also sung entirely in Welsh, as was their second EP, the somewhat easier to pronounce Moog Droog.
The “Ysbeidiau Heulog” MP3 can be found on an adjunct site to the band’s main web site.
Last week also prompts a deep desire to listen to music from, oh, let’s say, the mid-’90s–back when men were men, women were women, and presidents felt our pain rather than created it. And this song really puts you through the paces, which feels necessary this week, from its mournful, viola-driven introduction through its cathartic burst of rage later on. Singer Carla Bozulich is almost scarily unrestrained, her depth-laced voice alternating between a duskier version of Tanya Donelly and full-throttled Patti Smith-ish-ness (she more or less out-Pattis Patti before this one is done). The Geraldine Fibbers played their singular brand of country-folk-punk, or some such thing, through three ’90s CDs. “Lily Belle” was the lead track on the band’s 1995 debut, Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and My Home. I know the feeling. The MP3 can be found on Carla Bozluich’s web site, along with a nice assortment of others from both the Geraldine Fibbers and other Bozulich projects. Thanks to the good folks at 3hive for the head’s up on this one.
“The Music Box” – Thebrotherkite
And now this muscular sort of power pop with a side order of noise is just the thing to nudge me back to life as we know it. Bristling with spirit and know-how, “The Music Box” rises far above typical indie-rock offerings through Thebrotherkite’s songwriting wherewithal. After an introduction featuring a driving beat and ringing guitar theme, the song veers to the left as both the key and the time signature shift; the effect is at once unexpected and completely satisfying. The song holds its center around the tension between 6/4 and 4/4 measures, linked by a resonant melody (okay, so it’s “Evergreen”) and the recurrence of the opening guitar theme at crucial moments. Thebrotherkite is a five-piece band from Providence; what little press they’ve received so far relentlessly places them in the so-called “shoegaze” genre (one of the less wonderful coinages of recent decades, I’d say), but the band members have eclectic tastes and display an admirable sense of pre-’90s musical tradition. (For the record, I really don’t think as many bands are influenced by My Bloody Valentine as internet music writers seem to believe.) “The Music Box” comes from Thebrotherkite’s self-titled debut CD, released this summer on the Sacramento-based Clairecords.
The MP3 is available on the band’s web site.