Best tunes of 2012: #29 Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra “Want it back”

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Amanda Palmer (or Amanda F*cking Palmer as she sometimes calls herself) is a divisive individual. But an individual she certainly is.

She formed The Dresden Dolls with drummer Brian Viglione in 2000 and the duo gained a rabid cult following with their “Brechtian punk cabaret” music, to which I have never ever listened to this day, but I imagine to be equal parts musicianship and performance art. They went on hiatus in 2008 (though they have reunited several times since then) and Palmer formed another short-lived duo with Jason Webley, called Evelyn Evelyn, before embarking on an even more successful solo career.

In the spring of 2012, Amanda Palmer launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the self-release of a forthcoming album she was working on with her new band, The Grand Theft Orchestra. Her goal of $100,000 was easily surpassed in a matter of hours, eventually reaching the lofty and record-breaking mark of nearly $1.2 million. It raised a lot of eyebrows and started to change the ideas of what it meant to be a musician and a fan/customer/art patron and the relationship betwixt the two in the digital age. Palmer definitely has her fans but she also has her detractors. And she didn’t do herself any favours in that regard when she asked for the whole helping arm and put the call out for volunteer musicians on each stop on her tour after raising so much coin on Kickstarter. She eventually backtracked on that when the internet was outraged but there it is.

I actually listened to most of the resulting album, “Theatre is evil”, without any of this context, well before reading about her in the news and becoming somewhat put off by some of her opinions and outspokenness and almost unreal persona. Truly, though, the album is quite a fantastic piece of work with a great many highlights. “Want it back” is track five out of fifteen and the second single to be released from it. Synth washes start the proceedings. Then come the driving piano staccatos and snappy drums and plucky guitars. Palmer’s vocals are breathlessly running from one line to the next, seamlessly snarling and yelling and barking and yelping and angelically crooning. It can be an exhausting listen but also a compelling one.

“Once when you’re gone, and I wanna do it backwards
Just like the song, we’re addicted to the L word
Up past your head, down your back
Around your ankles, ready for attack
You’re upstaged
And then you’re strangled”

The video is pretty neat too. Filmed like stop motion animation, the lyrics appear as she sings them, written all over the place, black ink from an ink well – splish, splash, splosh. The version below is the clean one. There’s an NSFW version out there for you to find as well. Because, of course there is.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2012 list, click here.

Playlist: New tunes from 2019, part three

Now that we’re just about halfway through December and nearing the top three albums of my favourites of the year, I thought I’d share part three of my series of playlists of tunes that got me through 2019. If you missed them, you can browse, and perhaps even enjoy, parts one and two here and here.

The last time I posted one of these, I was bemoaning the length of time it took for my city to shake the dregs of winter from its cockles and here we are, almost winter again. In fact, we’ve already had snow here and though it has melted away now, have had plenty of the icky white stuff on and off since the beginning of November.

I had planned on doing one of these lists for each quarter of the year, at twenty-five songs a-piece, to have a total of 100 songs across the playlists. However, I was only successful at staying on target for half of the year and lost my the thread somewhere this summer. I upped the ante and managed to fit forty tracks in this particular playlist, bringing the total up to 90 songs for the year, a number with which I have to be contented.

Still, the size of the playlist is not meant to deter you, there has been some amazing music released in the last half of the year, particularly in September and October. And I can almost guarantee you’ll find something to like within.

Highlights include:

    • “Shine a little light”, the opening track off the first new album in five years by Akron, Ohio’s The Black Keys
    • “All my happiness is gone”, a song that along with the rest of the eponymously-named album, may have foreshadowed the suicide of Purple Mountains’ frontman David Berman
    • A bright spot (for me, anyways) off Lana Del Rey’s latest album was “Mariners apartment complex”, an album I found a tad long to be worthy of all the universal acclaim
    • “Lord Randall’s bastard son”, the lead off track off the self-titled debut by The Walker Roaders, a new project led by James Fearnley (accordionist of The Pogues), Ted Hutt (founding member of Flogging Molly), and Marc Orrell (founding member of Dropkick Murphys) – you pretty much know what you’re getting here
    • “Sunshine” by Blushing, one of the many standouts off the self-titled debut by this shoegaze revivalist group, whose sound owes quite a bit of debt to Lush
    • “Heavenly” is Cigarettes After Sex doing what they are doing on their excellent, late night, slow-burning sophomore album, “Cry”
    • Leonard Cohen’s son Adam finished off a bunch of songs started during the sessions for “You want it darker” and released a posthumous album last month, of which “Happens to the heart” is just one of the great tracks

For those who don’t use Spotify or if the embedded playlist below doesn’t work for you, here is the entire playlist:

    1. “Shine a little light” The Black Keys (from the album “Let’s rock”)
    2. “Bulletproof” The Soft Calvary (from the album The Soft Calvary)
    3. “Hard to kill” Bleached (from the album Don’t you think you’ve had enough?)
    4. “All my happiness is gone” Purple Mountains (from the album Purple Mountains)
    5. “Alewife” Clairo (from the album Immunity)
    6. “Leona” Strange Ranger (from the album Remembering the rockets)
    7. “the one” Marika Hackman (from the album Any human friend)
    8. “Sister Rosetta” Frank Turner (from the album No man’s land)
    9. “Don’t cling to life” The Murder Capital (from the album When I have fears)
    10. “A golden year” Lillie Mae (from the album Other girls)
    11. “Clouds of Saint Marie” Ride (from the album This is not a safe place)
    12. “Entitlement crew” The Hold Steady (from the album Thrashing thru the passion)
    13. “Mariners apartment complex” Lana Del Rey (from the album Norman Fucking Rockwell)
    14. “At the party” Black Belt Eagle Scout (from the album At the party with my brown friends)
    15. “Desert man” Bat For Lashes (from the album Lost girls)
    16. “Highwomen” The Highwomen (from the album The Highwomen)
    17. “This is my fate” Pixies (from the album Beneath the eyrie)
    18. “Dream reader” Frankiie (from the album Forget your head)
    19. “The mother road” Chelsea Wolfe (from the album Birth of violence)
    20. “Most of all” Vivian Girls (from the album Memory)
    21. “Work of fiction” The High Dials (from the EP Primitive feelings, part 2)
    22. “Lord Randall’s bastard son” The Walker Roaders (from the album The Walker Roaders)
    23. “Terms of surrender” Hiss Golden Messenger (from the album Terms of surrender)
    24. “Shockwave” Liam Gallagher (from the album Why me? Why not.)
    25. “Stars are the light” Moon Duo (from the album Stars are the light)
    26. “Sunshine” Blushing (from the album Blushing)
    27. “Colossus of Rhodes” The New Pornographers (from the album In the morse code of brake lights)
    28. “The sound of silence” Chromatics (from the album Closer to grey)
    29. “Devoted to” Lightning Dust (from the album Spectre)
    30. “Skin game” DIIV (from the album Deceiver)
    31. “All mirrors” Angel Olsen (from the album All mirrors)
    32. “Never understand” The Building (from the album PETRA)
    33. “Dexter & Sinister” Elbow (from the album Giants of all sizes)
    34. “Hollywood ending” Starcrawler (from the album Devour you)
    35. “Forgotten eyes” Big Thief (from the album Two hands)
    36. “Digger” Great Grandpa (from the album Four of arrows)
    37. “Shelter” Mikal Cronin (from the album Seeker)
    38. “Heavenly” Cigarettes After Sex (from the album Cry)
    39. “In the air tonight” Lucy Dacus (from the EP 2019)
    40. “Happens to the heart” Leonard Cohen (from the album Thanks for the dance)

Cheers.

Finally, if you’re interested in checking out any of the other playlists I’ve created and shared on these pages, you can peruse them here.

Vinyl love: The Tallest Man on Earth “I love you. It’s a fever dream.”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: The Tallest Man on Earth
Album Title: I love you. It’s a fever dream.
Year released: 2019
Details: Limited edition, Green translucent, Gatefold

The skinny: Much like Piroshka’s “Brickbat”, an album I posted for this series just over a week ago, The Tallest Man on Earth’s latest didn’t quite make my top ten favourite albums when I finalized my list but it bore mentioning nonetheless and I snuck it in the banner photo at the top of that introductory post. Funny thing about this record, though, is that its purchase was almost by accident. Indeed, I was at one of my local record shops just before this year’s Bluesfest, looking for the latest album by Colter Wall, so that I could properly prepare for his set at the festival, and I saw this copy of “I love you. It’s a fever dream.” sitting on the shelf. I had almost forgotten that the Swedish indie folk singer/songwriter was releasing his fifth album this year but when I saw it, I remembered his own set at Bluesfest from a few years before and knew I had to buy it. It’s plenty more excellently written tunes, sown from much the same plot as his previous two albums, but the sound just never seems to get old. And just check out that colour! It reminds of the old glow-in-the-dark frisbees, so much cool that I had to post an extra photo of it.

Standout track: “What I’ve been kicking around”