Chins up, people. This is a tough week for everyone, whether you’re raging against the Hallmark/Hershey’s mega-corp machine fiscally bent on perpetuating the puritanical monogamist paradigm or simply lonely and/or bored of getting naked with whoever you will be romantically obligated to get naked with come Thursday night. Compounding the situation, you’re rose pollen and intimacy allergies have flared, being single/working-on-yourself-for-awhile suddenly isn’t en vogue anymore, and, yep, it looks like you’re going to wake up Friday morning with a new step-dad who played college baseball or something creepy like that. Valentine’s Day Week blows. For everyone. It’s a calendar eclipse; a prolonged darkness under the cover of which you can spill your second bottle of red wine on that pair of favorite sweatpants while listening to “Heart Shaped Box” on loop and not give much of a fuck because, let’s be honest, it’s your second bottle of wine. It’s the scratch in the throat that becomes the influenza that is Valentine’s Day. And so on the one day a year when the rest of the world loves each other—when the republicans and democrats cross-breed bi-partisan babies and Billy Corgan makes a friend (well, OK, it’s a pet turtle)—where do we turn for comfort? To the warm embrace of new music, of course. To the nuzzle of it into your neck, whispering “It’s OK to be cynical, masochistic, anhedonic, and apoplectic; a psychiatrists wet dream and a significant other’s worst nightmare. We are going to be playing for you all the same.”
Thus, beginning this week in fittingly macabre, heartsick fashion pulled straight from the Book of Morrissey’s psalm 87:4, are London indie-outfit Veronica Falls, who release their sophomore, Slumberland-backed, Waiting for Something to Happen, today. Giving Pains of Being Pure at Heart a run for their crown of cotton candy thorns, standout tracks like “Buried Alive” show that frontwoman Roxanne Clifford has her controls set for the heart of some iced-over sun where even the most romantically decrepit might find something worth sacrificing themselves for.
Nothing balances out a little too much pop sugar like a cold Yuengling bottle to the skull, however, and Pissed Jeans’ new crust-punk opera, Honeys, is not only capable, but happy to oblige. We have been following this one for a weeks so its breech-birth into the paid-for content marketplace today has filled me with, if not parental pride, then at least that of the ER’s top janitor. If you missed it last week, check out Spin’s full-stream, which—as a word of warning to the weak stomached—comes served like a Pittsburgh steak; charred on the outside, bloody on the in. Enjoy.
And as long we are shotgunning PBRs, cutting off our sleeves, and sneering at the soccer mom-booking of the Grammys’ brass, make sure to check out Danish punk overlords, Iceage, who are currently razing Pitchfork Advance’s shiny new architecture with a full stream of their new album You’re Nothing. More on this story as it develops. Meanwhile, Portland trio The Thermals have the minute something lead-off from their upcoming LP Desperate Ground kicking in bicuspids over at Spin HQ. Punk has always been short-form storytelling—check out Wire’s 28-second touchstone “Field Day for the Sundays” if you don’t believe me—so it’s nice to see a contemporary band exercise concision in a plus-the-kitchen-sink digital media world.
Circling back to this week’s heartsickness, I am still casually embittered about the whole Kurt Vile/War On Drugs breakup (even if the stellar 2011 catharses Smoke Rings For My Halo and Slave Ambient proved the pair may actually be better off apart). That hasn’t spoiled my excitement for the former’s upcoming album Walking on a Pretty Daze, however; the title-ish track to which, “Walking on a Pretty Day”, is up all over internet, its 9-minute sprawl conjuring something that, Nemo be damned, feels almost like spring.
Of course, if you’re not looking for a “creative differences” separation come V-Day (Not the World War II one) but can’t decide what to stuff his/her card with besides cash (yeah, don’t do that), then tickets to Youth Lagoon’s just announced Bowery Ballroom show is actually an awesome idea. While you attempt to windtalk Ticketmaster’s spambot codes, make sure to give “Mute”, the second track off the Idahoan’s upcoming Wondrous Bughouse, a listen.
Finally—because the reason we all put up with the e-cards and office flowers; the salad-fork dinners and glucose-shock; is that we know once the lights go off on February 14th things are probably gonna get weird—Trending 2/12 concludes with two equally bizarre offerings. First up is Lisa Germano’s 10th full-length, No Elephants; a collection of gothic, lo-fi bedtime minuets (see: “Apathy and the Devil” ) that whisper like wind through the unsealed windows of a haunted Dutch-country farmhouse. Following that, and batting clean-up on this whole damn freak show, is the Hal Willner-curated Son Of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys, which features 36 songs of high seas-surfing, gallows pole-swinging pirate folksongs performed by the likes Keith Richards, Courtney Love, and Tom born-to-fucking-do-this Waits. The whole thing is streaming at NPR and is best enjoyed WITHOUT a rusty razor and bottle of rum (I know you’re excited, but nobody needs to lose a jugular over this).
Thanks for listening.