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"Calamity Song"
The Decemberists

This, from the new album "The King is Dead", is a REM-like jangly tune appropriate now that REM seem to have split, with a science-fictional premise ("The war of the end times") and some evocative lyrics. What makes this a standout for me though is the video, which is based on the 'Eschaton' sequence from David Foster Wallace's near-future dystopia "Infinite Jest." and well done at that (even the Enfield TA shirts are as I imagined them from reading the book; although no head-in-a-VDU at the end!) The song has a reference to "The Year of the Chewable Ambien Tab" which provides a link, but I sort of wish I hadn't known what the video was based on before I watched it. Imagine the dawning sense of oh-yes-this that would have provoked.
The Decemberists, after all, never write just any old ordinary song and whether it's Belfast street gangs ("The Shankhill Butchers") or future war you are always in for something new.
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Mosquito by Little Hands Clapping

LHC comprises Tom Ardill (guitar), Dave Williams (guitar), and David Christie (drums). They’ve been together since 2002 and play largely instrumental music. “Mosquito” is their new single offering.

Mosquito is the drums and then bright fast intricate guitar playing, sounding from time to time like “Apache” before taking off in its own direction. There are no lyrics (though I think there were on earlier versions).

You can find it on the LHC website at
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Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Troxy, London, 13 December 2010

This is an event. Godspeed You! Black Emperor haven’t toured since 2003 and now they are back.
Yes, this is the Canadian postrock band whose music was (“East Hastings”) used in the film ‘28 Days Later’. And the Troxy has a flat floor and anyone not that tall won’t be able to see.
GY!BE are as known for their background film loops as their music and the set - after the intriguingly named Dead Rat Orchestra had been on - began with “Hope Drone”, behind which the word ‘HOPE’ flickers in black on white - ironic, or stating that hope is difficult? And if you can get used to several minutes of droning (unless you are at a Party Conference, you understand) then you have your admission ticket to the not necessarily sunlit uplands that constitutes GY!BE. Later on ‘Sleep’ goes to a background of a wintry Coney Island amusement park. Are we amusing ourselves to death, is that the message? ‘Albanian’ sounds a bit, well, Albanian, which comes as a surprise after the stern drones of Hope. And ‘Storm’ opens as rhythmic-poised and regretful as anything by Philip Glass and becomes a meditative and plangent journey before getting pretty close to rocking out. ‘Moya’ is like something Gustav Holst might have written if he’d been living at this hour - darkly spiritual, a few points of light in the fog. The music isn’t about something, the music is something. These people are political: you may sit in a pub and complain about the Coalition taking your job, but Godspeed! were once arrested as terrorists.
At one point during this gig my friend turned round and said,
Arise ye starvelings. Raise yer skinny fists like antennas to heaven.


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