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Tag: orchestrated rock

Every Day Is Halloween Now: Singles For Pre-Election Week

Halloween is over but the mood persists. Today’s page is about half an hour of snarky memes left over like extra candy corn, plus a couple of short, powerful videos, plus some good tunes. As usual, click on artist or author names for the webpages, click on titles for audio, video or just a laugh at some authoritarian’s expense.

The big news today is that the New York Police Department has joined Ring Neighbors, the citizen surveillance network built around Amazon’s Ring spycams. Add facial recognition technology to that and we are in trouble. Hoodies and shades aren’t just for celebs now.

In terms of sheer craft, Mark Oshinskie is one of the best writers on the web. He has a novelist’s eye for detail and a Kafkaesque sense of irony. He’s also a painter. Here’s what could be the best Halloween lawn decoration of the year.

Check out the Paul Pelosi and Justin Bieber Halloween costume memes via 2SG on Substack, too funny

Doug Brignole was a bodybuilder. He told people to take the Covid shot. He challenged everyone who was saying that it was dangerous to prove him wrong. If it killed him, we’d be right.

Well, it killed him. Here’s Texas Lindsay‘s 3 minute 59 second video with Dr. Peter McCullough. If there’s a sudden unexplained death, we have to assume that it’s the shot, “Until proven otherwise.”

Next, in two minutes, here’s Dr. Sucharit Bhakdi on how all vaccines are being pivoted to a deadly mRNA genetic engineering platform. The takeaway: the focus has been on the spike protein in the Covid shot, but the mechanism of how mRNA shots reengineer your DNA is far more deadly.

Emerald Robinson asks, with some ridiculously funny memes, “Will America rid itself of the Biden regime before the Biden regime rids the world of America?

Liz Truss’ reign as UK PM may be destined for Trivial Pursuit footnote-dom, but we have PTE Geopolitics’ pricelessly funny rap pastiche as a memory.

Democrat Minnesota Rep. Angie Craig tells the camera that “I will never stop standing up for Big Pharma and standing against my constituents!” Thanks to Jeff Childers of C&C News for this.

Now some tunes:

Death Valley Girls have a new album due out in about a month and a new single, What Are the Odds. “We are living in a simulation world and we are simulated girls:” Blondie X the Cramps X early Madonna.

Alexandra John‘s Lock Me Down is basically the Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony with a woman on the mic. And it gives you pause: could this be a propaganda piece, or just satire? “Maybe it’s time you locked me down…better watch out for the smoking gun.”

Caitlin Rose‘s Getting It Right, with Courtney Marie Andrews on bvox is front-porch folk reinvented as hazy backbeat quasi-Americana.

Mary Middlefield‘s Band Aid takes the pensive drifting atmosphere into more spare terrain.

We get quieter with Fiona Brice‘s Henryk Gorecki-esque art-rockscape, Nocturnal 

Let’s close out the evening with Follow the Cyborg, by Miss Grit, a hypnotic motorik theme with an intriguingly dystopic video

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A.A. Williams’ Grey-Sky Symphonic Rock Perfectly Captures the Emotional State of the World, 2022

A.A. Williams‘ new album As the Moon Rests – streaming at Bandcamp – perfectly captures the zeitgeist of the past thirty months. It might be an overstatement to call this the personal as political – a concept that’s been weaponized to the most evil ends – but she really nails the relentless gloom so many of us have felt since March of 2020. This is where she vaults herself into the realm of the world’s elite tunesmiths: it’s one of the best records of 2022.

Although the tempos are slow, this is her loudest, most epic and finest album to date, with her signature resigned, nuanced vocals over layers of distorted guitar, spare keyboards and a lushly symphonic bed of strings, elegantly anchored by her husband Thomas’ bass and Geoff Holroyde’s drums. This album is best appreciated as a cohesive whole. Pretty much all the songs are in the six- or seven-minute range. Whatever you’ve suffered, Williams feels your pain – at length.

“I must love myself above anyone else,” she admonishes herself in the opening track, Hollow Heart, a burning, immersive dirge that rises to a towering, symphonic peak. “It does not bring me any comfort anymore.” It’s hard to see beyond your own pain threshold.

Williams’ spare piano raindrops filter through the dense wall of distorted guitar in the second track, Evaporate. Is this an escape anthem or a death wish? Both? You be the judge. It ends cold.

Williams intones about regaining “some control from you” in Murmurs, adding layers of feathery but fanged tremolo-picking mingled within the smoky battlefield resonance. She reaches for hope against hope in Pristine, following a steady, doomed trajectory up from spare electric fingerpicking to a vast, ominous panorama.

Williams reaches for a vengeful understatement in Shallow Water, a gorgeously textured, intricately balanced and unexpectedly hopeful theme that rises with a grim wave motion. She opens For Nothing with a lingering, suspenseful Pink Floyd-style intro, rising and falling until she finally brings the heavy artillery in. With its long trail of distantly menacing chromatics, it’s the best song on the album.

Golden is even more allusive, with a late 80s Psychedelic Furs blend of digital drizzle and swirl. The clouds break and the stars gleam, a little at least, in The Echo. Then Williams returns to the spare/jangly verse vs. explosive, cumulo-nimbus chorus dichotomy in Alone in the Deep. It’s the closest thing to metal here.

“All I can see is my only chance to get away,” Williams intones gently over a spare web of acoustic guitar in Ruin (Let Go), the album’s most unexpectedly delicate moment. She closes the record with the title track, an expansive mashup of Nick Cave and Siouxsie at her early/mid 80s peak.

One of the Best New York Concerts of 2004 Finally Available As a Live Album

What’s more Halloweenish than a dusty archive haunted by ghosts and alcohol fumes?

Today’s installment in the ongoing, monthlong Halloween celebration here concerns a performance in the wee hours of September 3, 2004 at CB’s Gallery, where New York band Ninth House were the centerpiece of a night of gothic rock.

The venue is long gone. Frontman Mark Sinnis left New York for good in 2009 and has since built a career as one of the most formidable songwriters in Nashville gothic and dark country music. But at the peak of their career, Ninth House were a force of nature – and in recent months, Sinnis has been releasing a series of pristine live recordings.

Rather than reviewing the latest one, CB’s Lounge Drop Dead Party, streaming at youtube, here’s an account from this blog’s archive of previously unpublished concert reviews, which go as far back as the 1980s. Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

“Maybe the best show of the year. [Redacted] wanted me to show up at 9 and run interference in case his now-ex, [redacted], showed up (she did, looking all slutty in leather pants and halter top). This was a goth festival put together by some out-of-town folks and it had that flavor. [Redacted] and I hung at the bar through two awful Cure ripoff bands, far from home and sounding that way. The sound was horrible, all trebly and weak.

A good crowd had assembled by midnight for Ninth House. Then the organizers asked Sinnis if a punk band could do an unannounced mini-set (and also borrow his bass amp), and he acquiesced [no memory of this – 3+ hours drinking before a show will do that to you].

So by the time Ninth House hit the stage, it was 1 AM. The opener, Burn, an older song, has been reinvented as a sleek, slinky art-rock tune (it’s about cremation as closure). It has the hooky major-key catchiness of Your Past May Come Back to Haunt Me and The Company You Keep, both of which they also played. This was one of their best sets, all the darkest material. The addition of Jennifer on keyboards (looking good in a short skirt) improves the band vastly, with Francis Xavier back behind the drumkit. She played mostly string synth and has adjusted her settings to give this edition of the band the Tschaikovskian orchestral grandeur they deserve.

The sound issues that had plagued the earlier part of the night had persisted, but when guitarist Bernard SanJuan turned up, his icy reverb roar cut through and that helped immensely. The set included the vast, panoramic Death Song, an inferno take of Murder, a chillingly High Romantic version of I Warned You, a hauntingly lush Put a Stake Right Through It and a roaring punk rock blast through their cover of Real Life’s new wave hit Send Me an Angel.

[This review conflicts with the playlist, stating that the encore was a cover of the Psychedelic Furs’ The Ghost in You. The live album ends with a so-so Cure cover; that dissonance makes sense in context, unless the review is accurate and Sinnis simply left the Furs cover off the record].

We hung at the bar until almost closing time while [redacted] alternated between chatting with [ex-girlfriend] and [then-current squeeze] behind the bar, who hooked us up with many more drinks than we needed.”

The e-zine publisher and future daily New York music blog proprietor who wrote this ends the chronicle of the evening there. Somewhere in the New York Music Daily archive, there’s an analog audience recording of all but the last couple of songs in the set, effectively perpetuating the mystery. Happily, this album mix of what was obviously a good soundboard recording is excellent and free of any of the problems with the front-of-house sound

Ninth House went through a long succession of lineup changes but never officially disbanded: once in awhile the most recent incarnation will pull a reunion show together. And Sinnis, who during his time here was one of the most interesting and melodic bassists in town, has finally made the switch to lead guitar. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself…or bring your old band back from the dead.

An Ornate, Magically Orchestrated, Fresh New Album From Art-Rockers GADADU

Hannah Selin, frontwoman and violist of art-rock band GADADU explains that her songs are “equally inspired by the natural and the supernatural.” The title of the art-rock band’s new album The Weatherman Is Wrong – streaming at Bandcamp – reflects both the unpredictability of Selin’s through-composed melodies as well as the world around us. It’s definitely an album for our time, even if the overall atmosphere is breathtakingly verdant and optimistic: the arrangements are nothing short of sumptuous. It’s as if Selin is saying, “Bring it on, we can handle it!”

The strings rises with a swirl and then echoes around in the album’s evocative opening track, Cicadas. Keyboardist Nicki Adams adds blippy loops as the horns – trumpeter Patrick Adams and tenor saxophonist Ayumi Ishito – enter regally over the sway of bassist Dan Stein and drummer Arthur Vint. “In our little house, the walls are slowly crumbling down,” Selin asserts brightly: the band take it out with an enigmatic wash that dissolves into reflecting-pool piano. Does this fit the zeitgeist, or what?

The second song, Bear is a catchy, tantalizingly brief anthem, bursting out of a delicate thicket of pizzicato: the gist of it is facing down one’s inner demons.

The elegant web of pulsing string, keyboard and horn textures in Dreamhouse are deliciously layered: the cyborg vocals and woozy synths in contrast to the organic, sun-drenched crescendos bring to mind the NYChillharmonic in a reflective moment.

Likewise, the harmonies between the electric piano and horns in the next cut, At Play: there’s reverie but also danger in the stabbing accents and enigmatic depths. Bright, tersely incisive piano stands out against a balmy backdrop in Makeup, descending to a more organic take on Radiohead minimalism before a sweeping, tidal return.

Vint plots out a circling Afrobeat groove as Selin’s voice soars upward with the horns in Ocean’s Children, then the harmonies pulse in and out over a series of rhythmic shifts, up to a dizzying chorale of sorts. There are echoes of slow, broodingly orchestrated Portishead in Tides, Selin floating an aptly vast, dynamically shifting expanse, the horns bursting over organ and electric piano that resist complete serenity.

The Xanthoria Quartet – violinists Abby Swidler, Kate Goddard and cellist Alexandra Jones – bolster the towering grandeur of Prove to You, a soul ballad at heart beneath the flurries and uneasy maze of concentric riffage. The album’s final cut is City of Lights: just when it seems this is going to be a warmly swaying soul tune, Nicki Adams pierces the veil with his alternately biting and sagely blues-infused piano. This is the band’s best album, one of the most beguiling releases of 2022 and reason to hope this allstar cast – all of whom have their own careers in new classical music, jazz and latin sounds – continue to weave fresh spells like these.

A Gorgeous New Album and a Williamsburg Gig by Purist Tunesmith Alice Cohen

Alice Cohen plays purist, often gorgeously melodic, artsy rock anthems and sings with an unpretentious delivery that’s sometimes cheery and sometimes borders on conspiratorial. On her new album Moonrising – streaming at Bandcamp – she plays most of the instruments herself, building a lush bed of acoustic and electric guitars and vintage synths over an unobtrusive drum-machine beat. Multi-reedman David Lackner and multi-percussionist Adrian Knight flesh out Cohen’s elegant arrangements. She’s playing Union Pool on August 24 at 9 PM. Since the venue has fallen under the spell of surveillance-state digital ticketing, the cover charge there lately has been measured in dollars and cents. It stands to reason that the door girl will round it up to sixteen bucks for those of us who are ahead of the curve and have gone to #cashalways.

Cohen opens the record with Wild Wolf, a swaying, twangy, Lynchian trip-hop ballad: this “eight-track Cadillac cruising through the milky way” seems to be on its way back from the Black Lodge. Then she looks back to the bittersweet starriness of 80s janglerock in Bodies in Motion. It could be a track from the Church’s Seance album, with a woman out front.

Cohen picks up the pace with Life in a Bag, an insistent, 90s-flavored downstroke anthem spiced with neoromantic piano flourishes. After the starry keyboard instrumental Inner Galaxies, she goes back to a pensive, richly textured sway with Under Chandeliers, her watery guitars and glimmering keys mingling with Knight’s vibraphone and Lackner’s echoing, spiraling soprano sax.

Baby’s Fine is a surreal mashup of early 80s new wave pop with hip-hop lyrics: it’s hard to figure out where the sax stops and what could be an old Juno synth kicks in. Vanilla Tea is a glistening backbeat stadium rock nocturne without the bombast – an oxymoron, sure, but just try to imagine.

The driftiest, most opaque song on the album is Telepathic Postcards. Cohen follows that with Queen Anne’s Lace, a breezy, jazz-inflected ballad in a Stylistics vein that she takes ten years forward in time – or forty years forward, depending on how neo-retro it seems to you. She closes the record with Fragile Flowers, following a serpentine series of chord changes with Lackner’s sax floating above. It’s been a slow year for rock records, at least compared to what we were used to before March of 2020, but this is one of the best of 2022 so far.

A Lusciously Layered, Anthemic New Art-Rock Record From Charlie Nieland

The 2020 totalitarian takeover didn’t stop Lusterlit mastermind Charlie Nieland from making another album: he pretty much did it himself, with a little help from outside. His latest release, Divisions – streaming at Bandcamp – is much more lush and majestically textured than you would expect, considering the circumstances. Predictably, it’s more guitar-centric than Lusterlit, although the songs are just as darkly luminous, with echoes of 80s goth and 90s Britrock. And they’re catchy as hell.

His trebly guitar through a cheap amp explodes into a majestic roar in the slow, swaying opening anthem, Always on Fire. Kleptocrats in basic black populate this grim, arson-infested gentrification-era Brooklyn tableau. Nieland is a one-man band, blending all the guitars, bass and keys, with a rotating drum chair shared by Brian Geltner, Billy Loose and Lusterlit’s Susan Hwang.

Nieland’s icy chorus-box chords and keening slide lines linger over hypnotic, suspensefully droning bass in the album’s title track: if Wire played long songs with an American accent, this might qualify as such.

Exploding is a catchy, bulked-up, artfully layered powerpop ballad. Violinist Heather Cole and cellist Patricia Santos build a lushly orchestrated coda in The Falling Man, which could be the Jayhawks taking a stab at a mid-90s Blur song. Then Nieland strips down the sound for I Refuse, a buzzy fuzz bass-driven new wave tune that wouldn’t be out of place in the Dada Paradox catalog.

He builds an insistent, minimalist menace before bringing the echoey guitars into The Land of Accidents, a broodingly rhythmic existentialist exploration. Meta Incognita, a metaphorically loaded explorer’s tale, has a tricky 15/4 beat and lush synth orchestration over insistent guitars.

Another Night on Earth is slower and starrier: the Eels meet Stereolab. Tightrope is not the ELO classic but an original, and it’s the album’s catchiest anthem, Hwang a one-woman choir wafting overhead.

Then Santos becomes the orchestra in Skin, a dreamy ballad, the Smiths without the pout. Nieland turns up the chilly guitars in So Few Have So Much, a swaying, syncopated dreampop song.

The allusively ominous Some Things You Keep to Yourself and the album’s closing cut, Pawns, could be late-80s Siouxsie with a guy out front – and superior production.

A Subtle, Soaring New Art-Rock Gem From Carol Lipnik

Singer Carol Lipnik‘s career was derailed by the lockdown in more ways than one. By March of 2020, she was already putting the icing on the sonic confections on her album Goddess of Imperfection, She ended up in limbo until March of this year, when she finally released that long-awaited follow-up to her 2015 art-rock masterpiece Almost Back to Normal in  But there’s more. She had two other albums in the can! She wrote the second of the three, Blue Forest – streaming at her music page – in an 1893 stone tower at the Yaddo artist retreat, where she’d been invited. It was worth the wait.

Lipnik may be a streetwise Coney Island-bred New Yorker, but her songs are galactic. Where Goddess of Imperfection is lavish and orchestral, Blue Forest is more intimately ethereal. Lipnik’s practically five-octave range mingles within a sometimes swirling, sometimes cascading mix of Kyle Sanna’s guitar alongside her longtime pianist Matt Kanelos, with Mathias Künzli on percussion.

The loosely connecting thread between the songs is the imperiled state of our natural world, a persistent theme throughout Lipnik’s music. She opens with the title track, a gorgeous, ELO-tinged mini-anthem with a towering, glistening coda from Kanelos.

“While our world was coming apart, we dreamed,” she intones soberly in the second song, All the Colors of the Sky, Kanelos’ stately, rippling, baroque-tinged piano behind Sanna’s spare fingerpicking. “Will we miss it when it’s gone?” she asks, on the way to one of her signature, breathtakingly operatic crescendos.

“There’s radiant energy, fire in the sky, darkness is coming to open our eyes,” she sings in the stately, similarly baroque Birds of a Feather. You want prophetic or what?

Sanna’s chiming guitar and drifting synth provide a starry backdrop for I Don’t Work Hard, an elegantly soaring cabaret number. The album’s only cover is Thrice Toss These Oaken Ashes, a rare gem by Elizabethan composer and poet Thomas Campion, Lipnik channeling both grit and poignancy over Sanna’s elegant lute-like ukulele work.

She goes back toward a sly, knowing cabaret ambience as Sanna and Kanelos supply bouncy cheer in Tick Bite: “The flame that burns within you is the same flame that burns you,” Lipnik observes. The final cut is A Pure Dose of Mercy, a spacious, minutely nuanced meditation on the pros and cons of staying on the sunny side of the street…including when it gets dangerous. It’s a characteristic blend of deceptively simple, straightforward songcraft and vocal pyrotechnics. and an apt way to close the record. Even better, there’s another one on the way!

The Irrepressible NYChillharmonic Bring Their Epic Art-Rock to Queens Tonight

The NYChillharmonic are one of this city’s most enjoyably explosive bands. Much of the time they sound like symphonic Radiohead, the big obvious influence in frontwoman/composer Sara McDonald’s mighty anthems. Her lush, dynamically rising and falling arrangements can be just as thorny and packed with unexpected twists and turns. She and the band are back in action onstage tonight, July 8 at 7:30 PM outdoors at Culture Lab in Long Island City.

They’ve also been recording lately, all the more impressive considering how hard it became to find studio space for a 22-piece jazz band during the mass psychosis in the wake of the 2020 lockdown. Their most recent material is all up at Bandcamp, including their latest single, I Don’t Even Want It, which sounds like My Brightest Diamond at their bubbliest and most blustery, with a whoomp-whoomp dancefloor thud.

Their previous single, Mean, has an allusive, Middle Eastern-tinged chromatic feel: it’s the crunchiest, heaviest guitar tune they’ve put out yet, which makes sense considering that it’s a lot easier to mix a simple, straightforward rocker that’s been recorded over the web in a couple dozen different sonic environments.

Their first full-length album, simple titled 1, came out in 2019. McDonald sings and also plays keys on this one alongside the lush, often fiery textures of the brass, reeds, strings and rhythm section. The first track is Surface Tension, a catchy, pulsing, cheerily orchestrated new wave tune with warmly hazy dips and lulls.

The weird effects on the vocals disappear serendipitously in Aubergine, a cleverly syncopated mashup of newschool disco, ba-bump cabaret and 21st century classical string composition. Surrealism is big in McDonald’s songs, especially with the wry contrast between a brassy march and drifting, enveloping psychedelia in Wax Garden.

The Radiohead influence is most apparent in Blumen, from McDonald’s warpy, keening synth, to the spacy electronic effects and the trickily circling rhythm beneath her puffy, elegantly textured syncopation. The best song on the album is Observer Effect, McDonald pushing the limits of her vocals over a tightly rapidfire groove with the band rising from lush to stormy.

The strings punch through the mist in Patterned, the album’s most epic anthem, playful individual voicings rising to lavish waves. The last track on the record is Sun, an aptly titled, comfortably enveloping coda with an inventive choral arrangement.

A Lushly Ambitious New Album and a Return to a Favorite LES Haunt From Becca Stevens

Becca Stevens has made a career out of defying all attempts to fit her songwriting into any particular category. It’s probably overly reductionistic to call her an artsy rock tunesmith who has engaged various configurations of jazz musicians – and most lately, Balkan and classical ensembles – to play her acerbically complex material. Her latest album may be her most ambitious yet, a collaboration with her husband, violist Nathan Schram’s group the Attacca Quartet, streaming at Soundcloud.

The music itself is closer to Elvis Costello’s Juliet Letters album, or Tift Merritt’s work with Simone Dinnerstein, than, say, Rasputina or My Brightest Diamond.

The tracks are a mix of material from throughout Stevens’ career. The original of the opening number, Be Still was a more energetic take on what a certain songwriter who quit Spotify in a huff over something Joe Rogan did was doing back in the 70s. This version is more lush, as you would expect, but also more hypnotic, although Stevens’ vocals are impassioned bordering on breathless.

The quartet – which also includes violinists Amy Schroeder and Domenic Salerni and cellist Andrew Yee – dig in with a similarly rhythmic attack in the second track, Reminder, an anxious entreaty to try to smile, more or less.

There’s a welcome storminess in Canyon Dust, downplaying the spiky circularity of Stevens’ earlier version. A new number, For You the Night Is Still coalesces into an energetic lullaby out of Stevens’ signature, tricky syncopation. She and the ensemble elevate No More – from her 2011 Weightless album – from a catchy, swaying ukulele pop tune to a striking, dynamically shifting, metaphorically loaded seaside tableau.

Venus is even punchier and more anthemic than the original, tightly tethered by a stern undercurrent from Schram and Yee. Schram’s new chart gives welcome, pulsing gravitas to I Am No Artist, the closest thing to a straight-up pop song here.

She and the quartet play Radiohead’s 2 + 2 = 5 with a crescendoing, flamenco-esque, rhythmic drive, Stevens rising to a practically feral intensity on the mic. It blows the original away – and that was a good song. 45 Bucks, one of Stevens’ big rockers, gets a slightly stripped-down, starkly pulsing attack: it makes a good segue.

She sticks with the world of numbers, in a brooding, alternately stark and sweeping version of 105, from her 2015 Perfect Animal album. The quartet have fun with a plucky take of Little Dragon’s Klapp Klapp, raising it far above the level of the original’s second-rate Goldfrapp goofiness.

There’s an icy glisten to the acoustic guitar mingling within the steady gusts from the quartet in We Knew Love: it’s one of the most evocative numbers here. Stevens’ signature anthem Tillery has a determined sway with a lull before the end. She and the quartet close the record with the balletsque bounce of Traveler’s Blessings.

Her album with brilliant Balkan group the Secret Trio made the best albums of 2021 page here and this one ought to do the same when the best of 2022 page is up here in December – if there is an internet in December, anyway. Stevens’ next gig is with the Secret Trio on July 7 at 7 PM at the big room at the Rockwood. Cover is $20.

Some Fireworks But No Marching Bands on Today’s Fourth of July Playlist

Today Americans celebrate a nation born in a spirit of defiance and freedom. Wherever we are in the world, the time has come to reclaim our sovereignty. As this blog’s favorite intuitive, Adrienne Elise says at her youtube channel today, “It’s time to stop living everybody else’s lie.”

So here’s a playlist to give us a jumpstart: about half an hour of good tunes and a few snarky visuals, since we don’t want to lose our ability to laugh at the New Abnormal, right? If you know this blog, you know the drill: click on artist names for their webpages, click on titles for video or audio.

The most telling clip of this entire playlist is ten seconds of a baby girl responding to a muzzled adult. Sometimes a video really is worth a thousand words. Thanks to Substack author Mathew Aldred for passing this along.

On the sweet vengeful visual tip, Alex Schaefer paints the LA Federal Reserve in flames, with a gallows in the foreground. Thanks to the mysterious polymath New Yorker who calls himself the 2nd Smartest Man in the World – whose Substack is a must-read – for spotting this.

First song on this list is Pretending, Van Morrison’s gorgeous, bittersweet portrait of lockdown-era atomization. “Pretending I’m not depressed…pretending that it’s not real…pretending I’m someone else, pretending that I’m in the present tense, I’m really miles away in a trance.”

This rare solo acoustic clip of New York noir legend LJ Murphy playing his big mid-zeros audience hit Sleeping Mind makes a great segue.

Milwaukee legend Peggy James delivers a somber parable of both Kristallnacht and the Putin invasion of Ukraine in her dark Americana ballad Isn’t Anybody Coming. One of the most gorgeous songs of the year so far.

There were a million Siouxsie wannabes kicking around in the 80s. Ava Vox‘s Silent Tear is better than most of them were. Is this about a lockdown suicide? A satanic ritual? Both?

Lydia Ainsworth‘s hypnotically drifting orchestral rock miniature Cosmic Dust makes a good setup for Maria BC’s Carol Lipnik-lite Betelgeuse. Then we crash back down to earth with Love’s Sudden Death, by Darkher.

Thereminist Nebula and the Velvet Queen‘s Can U Teach A Robot How 2 Love? is pretty self-explanatory: “Will it cry or will it pretend to cry?”

Let’s bring this full circle with a cruelly amusing meme: here’s Jake Shields’ idea of a hot new toy, the Pfizer Doll. An unbeatable Halloween present! Thanks to El Gato Malo for passing this along.