I like receiving presents. Who doesn’t? To celebrate my 60th birthday, I thought I would ask my Facebook clan to nominate a favourite song from 2021 – 60 to commemorate the fact I now qualify for a free bus pass to be used anywhere within West Sussex (and possibly further abroad, although this hypothesis has yet to be tested). Enough folk came forward for this to make a reasonable idea for a blog series. One proviso: I am not going to be discussing or sharing music that does not connect with me on some level.
First up, we have a recommendation from Christopher Bartley: ‘Dark Days’ by Yard Act.
Clearly, I am out of practice with this music criticism/music curation stuff – I forgot to ask everyone to supply a sentence or two detailing the reasons for their choice, which I could then have lifted and used here, to riff off and make myself seem far more in tune than I am. Oh well.
My extensive research throws up one fact: Yard Act are a band from Leeds. Nice. I like bands from Leeds, indeed I used to be in a band myself with the singer from one such notable act (The Mekons). Feels like Yard Act may have been influenced by the success of recent groups such as Fontaines DC, Idles, Sleaford Mods – also, of course, hip-hop, grime and so forth. I have long contended that spoken word – shouted, with a wash of noise in the background – is the most direct way to communicate: obliterates the need for fluency or musical literacy, for one. Not that I’m saying Yard Act aren’t literate (they clearly are). Anyway, it feels like we’re off to a great start with this Sixty for 60 series, because I love the acerbic, spiteful, politically charged No Wave chug of Yard Act. A real sense of The Velvet Underground, too. Can totally picture myself yelling this in my sleep as I inexorably head towards Prince Phillip territory. Anyone else notice how he looked like the inside of Rupert Murdoch in those final photographs before his death?
Catchy as all fuck.
Here are some sample lyrics.
But if looks could kill,
My vacant gaze wouldn’t even pierce the skin
I’m not lazy, ambition is just something I have no interest in
At least when I meet my maker, I’ll embrace my mistakes
As I descend to the bowels of hell with a shit eating grin on my face