NAILED Songs of the Week #39

Editor Staff, Music, December 4th, 2015

"There's space enough to breathe inside the un-rock universe..."

NAILED songs of the week
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Guest Editor: Brian S. Ellis, Poet and Author (most recently of Often Go Awry, 2015)

“Blackstar” – David Bowie

Why is David Bowie making music? We haven’t caught up to Low yet. How far in the future does someone need to be? I’m not convinced that this is music. If it’s not music, then I’m not sure what this is. Religion, maybe. Or a movie. Both. Whatever it is, it frightens me. It frightens me with its beauty and its ugliness. It frightens me with its shivering, its dust, its visions of poverty and madness, its blues, its lasers, its ghosts pretending to saxophones and its saxophones pretending to ghosts. It’s not fair is what it is. It’s not fair that David Bowie can draw this great wave over me. It’s not fair how desperate the world is. I need this song. I can’t believe it’s never existed before.

Maybe it’s a Flannery O’ Connor short story.

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Carrie Seitzinger, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of NAILED:

“Be Still My Heart” – NOLA

I feel lucky that Naiv Recordings, based in Sweden, found NAILED and sent me this debut single. Particularly because I don’t know how long it would’ve taken me to find it on my own. Instantly hypnotized by her voice, I began trying to find out anything about NOLA. She’s been working on an album for the last four years, and this is our first taste. Other than that, I can’t even tell you her given name! Which is fairly fitting: a beautiful, authentic woman breathes her voice into your ears and ribcage, overwhelms you to alliance and understanding, and leaves you wanting more. I’m sure there will be more very soon.

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Guest Editor: Joe Blair, Writer and NAILED Contributor:

“Downtown” – Majical Cloudz

In 2013 when surrealistic duo Majical Cloudz came on the scene with “Impersonator,” the first thing I noticed was their name. Now, I admit that I can be hyper judgmental when it comes to any musical groups, popular or underground, but watching so many absurd and inane trends gaining traction can frankly be infuriating. However, despite my distaste for artists that intentionally misspell words within their band names (and I do understand the reasons why they do it), “Impersonator” made my top 10 list of albums for 2013.

This was quite a surprise even to myself. But when reflecting on why I didn’t run their music through my bitterness filter, I realized I couldn’t ignore Devon Walsh’s voice-driven project with a message, albeit sometimes obscure, and the atmosphere and production that Matthew Otto provides. And now Cloudz is back, and making me feel things once again.

The standout track for the new album might be one of their most stand-out tracks yet recorded. “Downtown” is a simple song. A song about love. A song about being with someone for the sake of being with them. A song about wonder. A song with an underlying hint of fear that something perfect might end. A song that isn’t ashamed.

Throughout the track there are only a handful of sounds, but at one moment when Walsh addresses death, some of the busier sounds wash away and we’re left with a personal and sincere moment that feels somewhat voyeuristic. The subtle masteries of “Downtown” beg to be noticed. This song is truthful and relevant, and after a few listens, I gave it to my wife as a stolen love letter because I couldn’t say it any better.

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Shenyah Webb, Arts Editor of NAILED:

“Divers” – Joanna Newsom

Joanna Newsom’s newest release, “Divers,” is a fantastical journey of love, both marvelous and tragic. Each unfolding narrative artfully explores the abstract, fear of loss. When we find true love, we become aware of a sort of system of reckoning, reminded of time and mortality, summoning this fear of loss.

The ornate arrangements keep us engaged while we get to know Newsom’s cast of characters through her dynamic range and diversity of singing styles. She successfully marries the juxtapositions of purity and darkness, contentment and worry, innocence and knowledge.

Tell me, why is the pain of birth
lighter borne than the pain of death?

I’ll hunt the pearl of death to the bottom of my life,
and ever hold my breath…

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Matty Byloos, Publisher and Contributing Editor of NAILED:

“In the Night” – Gary Wilson

“I don’t make music, I un-rock.” That’s what my older twin brother Kevin often tells me. And he’s referring to the simple act of putting on his Sony Walkman headphones and listening to Gary Wilson. There’s space enough to breathe inside the un-rock universe. It’s a musty, basement kind of smell that gets trapped inside your nostrils, but there’s ocean air in there too. We homage to night, us costumed warriors. We freak out to you or only live to us. The darkness is a sound we call home. There’s faith in every gesture, what it takes just to be alive. Don’t fault we night creatures. There’s space enough for all of us in this un-rock castle. And there’s candy for all the senses, too.

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Check out Songs of the Week #38 for even more great music from the editors and contributors behind NAILED.

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Staff

More than one editor and/or contributor was responsible for the completion of this piece on NAILED.