If you’re in pitch blackness, all you can do is sit tight until your eyes get used to the dark.

I thought I’d end the week in generous mood, so here’s mp3s of a couple of things I’ve been listening to this week. Although, at the moment I can’t tell you what they sound like because I’m a little distracted by Oscar Cash’s Casio-demonstration-button styled cover of the Klaxons’ Golden Skans courtesy of Dalston Oxfam Shop‘s Durrr podcast. Very odd. Coming up in a mo, Foals, who I’m now more inclined to be kind towards given Yannis Whatsisface’s respectable turn on Never Mind The Buzzcocks last night. It takes some doing, so I’ll be kind. I may even have a review by the end of this post.

Dropkick Murphys – For Boston

Low – (That’s How You Sing) Amazing Grace

What I was going to talk about was finishing Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood last night. I like all I’ve read of his, which is admittedly quite little, but this is generally recognised as his most accessible, most successful novel. This is true. It’s a linear and realistic story, set in late ’60’s Japan but which could exist in any place, at any time, a story of humanity and to me, a far more accurate retelling of being a late-teenage male than Catcher In The Rye will ever be.

The thing which put me off, to some extent, at the beginning was the word ‘elegiac’ on the blurb. Now, I know I’m prone to using this word, but it’s one of those which is far overused in the media world. Like ‘ethereal’ for anything musical which is vaguely shimmery, ‘elegiac’ is supposed to commute some sense of the supernatural or divine akin to listening to, say a Tavener requiem or a Gesualdo motet. It should stand for an emotionally-dense, inextricable beauty, a harmony of things which add up to greater than their worth. It represents the grief and the eulogy of a requiem, and all the setting that that invokes.

It’s usually used these days to describe post-rock, which is sadly limiting. I’ve been guilty, but I’ll certainly try and cut out its use except in the most deserving of circumstances, same with ‘ethereal’, ‘awesome’ and the like. These are words whose meanings are not changing so much as being diluted. Some would say it echoes the homogenisation and dilution of true beauty and culture into shock art and lowest-common-denominator imitation. Me, I’m not so fancy.

Sadly for my argument, Norwegian Wood actually meets pretty much all the prerequisites, which is why I ended up spending half the night finishing it off. But this is rare example – press, I’m watching you.

I’m now on Altered Images on the podcast – I can gratefully report that Foals was ok, but not all that. A spiky, angular, etc. etc. take on the standard Talking Heads, minimal ethic. Not moved to buy.


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