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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

44.1 kHz Archive

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The Strokes
Room On Fire

A relationship ends and there comes a point when you're able to see through to the person behind the scrim of care and concession you erected. Love snuck over you and away and now you can hear her boring, you can feel your bones' creaking anxiety in her company, or choke on how simultaneously smug and aggressively humble she can be, and recoil in hurt as she drinks herself drunk then looks all dopey, hunched, horrific, the opposite of beauty, fiddling with her "guilty" cigarette, as if her lips are scared of it, the most inelegant of smokers. A mind turns in agony from thoughts it shouldn't think. Stories once hidden behind "our" back now creep out from behind hers, friends' unknown viciousness ribbons out from somewhere behind the dark. And each time you see her in her rehearsed robotism, in her cold Kohl eyes, her cold SHARK eyes, you can only scream a vocabulary of arson "I love you still but FUCK you, you FUCKING fuck!"

(Hold tight, this is the long way round to The Strokes and I might never get there.) This "piercing the veil" socioemotional aspect of the death of love is extraordinary — like when magic fails. (Hold tighter.) Magic in practical reality so essentially about distraction magicians develop "stage pseudo-personalities of temporally local effectiveness only... [which] date very quickly" (Mark Sinker). So magicians' pseuds become boring and their magic dies defanged, tedious. There's a useful analogy here somewhere. The lies lovers tell themselves burn something fierce if they're broken down — if they're acknowledged like the magician's con as "dated." Will you deny this and believe in and hold out for the kinetic possibilities of magic and love? Or will you walk with me in reducing all of love down to a soup of social interactions and stories we read in ways that salve and soothe? There's nothing swift or lithe about this "magic" or "love," it's a laborious game, a manipulation, a fire managed and stoked so not a fire at all. Haha, I hate that I've come to think like this.

The stray voltage of The Strokes is a problem then maybe... Well, only nings would think it was a "problem." When is love a "problem"? No not me no sir not really I'm no meff yet oh OK yes I think it's a problem but all right uh-huh I'm a meff ning idiot boy well done point made. If I don't believe in love then how can I love? Simple, because love's felt and not argued ("...a fire managed and stoked so not a fire at all")? Do you see?

I really should set a lighter to the threads I've been weaving together and try to cauterize this rope's end into some resolutive meaning. I should explain how it upsets me when other writers attack my relationship with The Strokes because they can see through the magic, because The Strokes are parts summed and not the whole I've fallen for, boring. I should maybe explain how if you never really fall heart over head in love with a band it's likely you'll be more critically perceptive, or articulate even. Or how falling in love with a band is similar to falling in love with a person and more critical forgiveness of weakness or annoyance is then afforded. And I should maybe even go on to explain how one day I'll fall out of love with The Strokes and beat myself to death with MY OWN HEAD because I'll be able to see they're "nothing special" — just another of the girls from the first paragraph. [Note-to-self: end drawing stunning parallels between The Strokes and Tron, The Strokes and the Smoking Popes, The Strokes and the New Year. Parallels that the band haven't already made themselves (i.e. beyond the obvious "ooh wee look at their video and say what it means wow!"). Then make fun of other critics, obviously!]

by David Howie

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