Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #6 - Various, "Late Night Tales: MGMT"

Crack open the compilations!

I'm assuming in my flatulent, stumbling way that mixtapes like this are meant to give us a peek into what made the band or artist what they are today; their influences and their aspirations, ja? And how cool they are. Course, aye. Nearly forgot that. But I've my ear cocked for juicy little gems, little earworms to crawl into my brain to die happy. I am Walter Koenig to their Ricardo Montalban.

It starts with a bit of MGMT that I don't know, but that could just be inattentiveness on my part. I liked "Congratulations" (and "Oracular Spectacular" to a lesser extent) but don't know them all that well. Then a bit of Suicide, at the beginning and at the end: I could've seen that coming if I'd screwed my eyes up just tightly enough. And then there's a beautiful piece of The Durutti Column called "For Belgian Friends", which is doubly, perhaps trebly, ace because I also really like Belgium. That's how shallow I am.

Most of the tunes or the performers I know little to nothing about; but even the ones I know a little carry some surprise grape juice in their secret glove compartments. For example, I never realised that TV Personalities had done a David Bowie/Velvet Underground homage; but BAM! "Stop & Smell The Roses", there we are.

And some of the tunes sound a bit like "Congratulations" - especially "Hearts Are Like Flowers" by Jacobites, a band started by Nikki Sudden after Swell Maps. More information, see? A ropey looking pair of coves judging by the album cover; but then who doesn't look a bit ropey judging them by their album covers? Some heartfelt jangle, some breast-beating la-la-la's, some of that Echo-like magic that plucks at something.

And best of all, the Stockport Stephen Daedalus, Paul Morley, reads from his own book on Arthur Rimbaud. Well, I say best of all: I'd have been happier if he'd read from his book "Lost in Music", especially that bit about Captain Beefheart making music as though people had descended from birds and not apes. That was a good quote. I once casually persuaded an attractive woman that it wasn't a pretentious idea, just an attempt to describe the bizarreness of Beefheart. That in turn was a moment in my life I recorded for occasions like this. Occasions when I'm laying out my own life and my posturings as a mixtape to impress others.

Well, I say best of all: but the words just wash over me a bit. And it's the new tunes that stick sweetest in my soft brain tissue.

So a couple of fantastic new wrinkles to roll around in. Good times.

Rating: Strange Shapes out of The Corner of My Ears

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