Sixty for 60: 2. Black Ends

To celebrate my 60th birthday, I asked my Facebook friends to nominate a favourite song from 2021 – 60 to commemorate the fact I am now 10 years older than Joey Ramone when he died. Enough folk came forward for this to be a realistic basis for a blog series. One disclaimer: I am not going to include music that does not connect with me.

For our second entry, we have a suggestion (one of two) from 5-Track (Zinnia Su) – ‘Low’, from the Stay Evil EP by Black Ends. Some gunk pop from Seattle, WA. Now lissen up and lissen good: I fucking near singlehandedly invented the entity known as “Seattle” – well, me and a couple of other rancid souls – so I feel like I have some kinda fucken stake in tellin’ you what is good and what is not when it comes to music emanating from that fair bloated city and I gotta tell you right now in bold neon capital letters THIS IS THE GOOD SHIT!

You can imagine the neon.

And the bold.

This is so fucking good, in a delirious, woozy, too-much-downers-and-amphetamine-causing-stuffed-noses way that it makes me want to start ANOTHER FUCKEN MAGAZINE just so I can slap this bunch on the front and make a bunch of puns about Cocteau Twins and sunsets and Sesame Street and the abuse of (electrical) power. God damn, this is good. The singer has a lilt in their voice that sounds like they’re laughing half the time; and the other half? Sugar hiccup. It’s always a delight to hear music sung so freely, with such abandon. Me? I need to pull the shutters down and pretend suburbia doesn’t exist if I’m gonna let loose on the piano.

Damn, it makes me so happy to be living in a world where music like this exists. Plasticine monsters and hippie hairdos and long graffitied walls. Delirium and repetition and disorientation and long drawn-out hysterical laughter. Yet there is a sombre undertow, a tingling, a worrying worry behind the abandonment… maybe there always is? Sure, I can hear a little Kristin Hersh in some of this, the way it backs and forth, the restless spirit…. but I can hear a little Kristin Hersh in most all music. This particular song, this particular performance is Mitski good.

As Mariana Timony explains on BandCamp: “It takes several listens to truly appreciate exactly how deep the rabbit hole goes as [Nicolle] Swims’ songs don’t feel written so much as sourced straight from the void, emerging from the ether still covered in gunk and with one eye suspiciously fixed on the real (and real disappointing) world.”

Put it on again! Put it on again! Life really does begin at fucking 60.

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