Songs that should be played in a bar during last call, by James and Maria Veda Rays.
This Mortal Coil — Late Night
So desolate and dark. It takes the psych dreaminess of Syd Barrett’s original and sets it in front of a staticy television set to low volume in a sunless room.
The World of Skin — A Parasite And Other Memories
When I was a kid I worked at a record store in South Florida. The manager and I became good friends. He was a British guy who was like a big brother to me. The first thing you’d see walking into his flat was a Christian Death poster of Jesus Christ shooting up. He turned me onto a lot of kool things like Nick Cave and Swans and World Of Skin. Sorry to say, a few years later he became a born-again. I inherited a lot of his record collection, at least. This record, along with the quintessential early Cave discography, were among the last ones he parted with.
The Doors — Love Street
For me, some Doors songs, along with some VU songs, live in a beautiful nightside world I often long to inhabit, especially later on in the evening after i’ve had a bit of gin or absinthe or something. In this world, the ’50’s girl group day-glo goodness has taken on an ever so perceptible iridescent glint beneath blacklight. The mystical soul of jazz & avant garde refract in prisms the light of the highest unified order of melodic purity.
Warpaint — Billie Holliday
I held off on listening to this band for a long time because I didn’t like “Warpaint” as a band name. It gives off the air of “generic hipster band” and shows little indication of the spooky west coast vibes found in their songs. Warpaint have a wondrous way of interpolating classic songs into their compositions and twisting them. The way Smokey Robison and Mary Wells’ “My Guy” is folded in here makes it sound like an ode to a cult leader.
The Legendary Pink Dots — Belladonna
Pure, spacey beauty. Like the heavens restoring you after a debased night.
Leonard Cohen — The Partisan
This one helps you remember what type of world you’re living in as you get yourself ready to hit the street and attempt to make your way home. But, honestly, Leonard could be singing his grocery list over this and I’d still love it just as much. I am a sucker for that straight walk-down bass note melody/ chord progression, here used to such great effect. His vocal delivery, the way the chords and melodies fall, the background singers…it all combines to call up such an emotionally complex atmosphere, so dense with spirit and longing.
Tindersticks — I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
After hearing Otis Redding’s rendition used in an episode Twin Peaks: The Return, I was compelled to revisit Tindersticks’ eerie version. One of the most sinisterly elegant builds ever, with a pay off that sends you stumbling, exalted, into the streets.
Hanoi Rocks — Fallen Star
I guess I get nostalgic for my misspent youth in the later hours of a good night at the pub. Jason Gates and I used to adore Hanoi Rocks. A lot of people equate them with the unfortunate cheese metal bands who cited them as influences, but, for us they were so much more. Their mostly rockin’ fare fueled a lot of nights of manic reverie, though, i’ve always gone in for the dramatic stuff. Having a song this classically maudlin is what really qualifies a band or artist for me.
Pale Saints — Shell
I’m not sure what rehash of shoegaze we’re on now, but surely it sounds nothing like the aggressive and diverse In Ribbons. Even for a lonely Brit-popper in a shoegaze world (yes, I still half-live in the ‘90s), Pale Saints feel harder and less passive than the more psych-leaning shoegaze that’s been rehashed repeatedly over the past few years. The band can do delicate and solemn too, and “Shell” is Pale Saints’ quieter (yet certainly not meek) side on perfect display.
Silver Jews — Pretty Eyes
This track evokes a visceral response for me when I tune into a certain quality of it. There is a feeling of rawness and muted psychic desolation…the slightly numbed out slow slide down a razor’s edge. You take the journey with it and the cut opens up; and the warm crimson floods into transcendental sublimity.
The Boys Next Door — Shivers
When I was first getting to know James, I told him this was my favorite song and I’m pretty sure he thought that was crazy, especially considering the many great songs Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, and Rowland S. Howard went on to compose. But did any of those songs have this much teenage melodrama? This song is so over the top yet so wry at the same time, and it seems like it would be perfect for anything from the first dance at a degenerate prom to the final, self-deprecating shot at night’s end.