MCMXCVII #badglowup

For Jim Adams’ blog bounce, for Sunday, January 10, 2021, Jim has requested MA, meaning a tune with a title that begins with either the letter M or the letter A. MA must refer to Master of Arts, one of which, I don’t mind admitting, I do not have. No, in fact by MA Jim means “Mature Audience”

https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2021/01/09/mature-audience/

I thought of a song with an unusual title, that begins with A.

“And Then (The Hexx)” was done by Pavement songwriter Stephen Malkmus, as a b-side to “Spit on a Stranger” in May 1999, I read somewhere. It sort of provides a conclusion to the 1997 Pavement album, Brighten the Corners. Quietly now, that’s the Pavement record where the entire quintet is present and performing at once–it’s sometimes known as “dream pop.”

A second version of the song “And Then (The Hexx)” is again (!) the conclusion, as though an encore, after the band has heard their patrons’ cheers, to the next, and last, Pavement album, Terror Twilight. Strictly speaking, to the best of my understanding, the song is “And Then (The Hexx)” for the Brighten the Corners b-side, and simply “The Hexx” for Terror Twilight.

Pavement is chiefly the work of rock musician Steve Malkmus, who around the year 1990 put together ideas for what became a classic all-American rock record, Slanted & Enchanted, while the young man was in high school in Stockton, California. Nice work if you can get it.

“And Then (The Hexx)” came eight years after their debut on indie label Drag City, Steve Malkmus playing with bandmates Gary Young, Scott Kannberg, Steve West, Mark Ibold, and Bob Nastanovich. “And Then (The Hexx)” is eerie, and it has happiness to it as well.

Malkmus hasn’t ever stopped playing, having reinvented himself twice, since Pavement folded. First he played as Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, and more recently, since 2018, if I am doing the gentleman justice, just Stephen Malkmus, solo as it comes. I’ve seen video of Malkmus performing his old songs by himself for the groove denied tour.

Terror Twilight producer Nigel Godrich was keeping active on Twitter in the month of December 2020, when he tweeted on the thirteenth of December, 2020, that,despite what Godrich called “the dark” of December, Godrich proferred the advice,”get your SAD lamp out and party!” SAD indicates seasonal affective disorder, mild depression brought about by a lack of sunlight, in a cold climate.

Just updated my @stationrotatio1 December Vibes…… dark and beautiful month… I’m looking forward to the new year and new times with salivation. Stare at a wall and enjoy…. or get your SAD lamp out and party! #stationrotation https://t.co/nslwbKGr5v https://t.co/gcbQXFs5el— nigel godrich ?? (@nigelgod) December 13, 2020

The feeling echoes what Steve Malkmus says in 2002 in the documentary Slow Century. Godrich’s observation is certainly deliberate. Indie humour.

“Get your handkerchiefs out,” Malkmus says, “and party.”

A Chicago-based online magazine highlighting music, motion pictures, and TV, consequence of sound’s DAN CAFFREY says, “‘Spit on a Stranger’ looks back on a relationship that’s gone kaput — maybe a relationship with a band.”

“Spit on a Stranger” was, I’d say, the first single for Terror Twilight. I have the impression that, of the five band members comprising the band in 1999, that other than Steve Malkmus, they wanted to hang it up.

Of them, perhaps only Malkmus didn’t feel like a loser. When touring the Terror Twilight record, Malkmus often hung a pair of handcuffs on stage, from his mic stand, to illustrate how he felt making a living in a rock band. Unfair.

Dissected: Pavement
BY DAN CAFFREY
ON AUGUST 11, 2015, 3:00PM

“Terror Twilight,” Caffrey writes, “has a reputation of being Pavement’s tamest album, and that’s true, musically speaking — the tempos are sturdier and there’s much less yowling, despite a ripping harmonica solo (?!) from Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood.” Wikipedia says Jonny Greenwood, from Radiohead, played harmonica both for “Platform Blues,” and for “Billie,” both of which are Terror Twilight songs, the song Billie penned about Billy Graham.

Whether the various elements of Terror Twilight, Caffrey says for consequence of sound, scare the shit out of you or not, the lyrics prove that, even when they had run out of momentum and had to be practically forced by producer Nigel Godrich to come up with new material (the band reportedly was more concerned with playing Scrabble than recording) — even when music didn’t sound quite like itself, Pavement was still Pavement.

Not sure that’s true. What I read in the day was the opposite sentiment.

I saw in a more recent interview, it is somewhat eluding me where I heard this (I think it was organized by Vanity Fair for Seattle radio not too long ago), when Malkmus was talking about getting ready to play shows with Pavement, Malkmus said that to this day he likes the game of Scrabble, playing these days more frequently online instead of in a rock tour.

I presume that’s Pavement fandom knowledge. Malkmus has said publicly he got really quite good. In a round of Scrabble, you make words on the game board utilizing letters, which add to the score.

Anyway, some fans consider “And Then (The Hexx)” to be a Brighten the Corners song, because of the 2009 rerelease of Brighten the Corners with the second CD with “And Then (The Hexx).” It is also the conclusion to Terror Twilight, which when discussed is usually just called “The Hexx.”

I still like to think of “The Hexx” as “And Then (The Hexx),” and that’s why it fits into Jim’s MA prompt challenge. However, the true release date of “And Then (The Hexx)” should be 1997, not 1999.

I’ve decided not to show these verses. The video’s here, however.

Pavement
And Then (the Hexx)
Composed by
Stephen Malkmus

Release Year
1997

The Hexx

MCMXC

This blog gets me crossing paths with individuals who have something to add about the world as they understand it.  Like the Discover feature on TikTok, imagination is an alluring quality.  

Jim Adams is a writer with a fascination for music, who concocts prompts for a blog.  He thinks of words for participants to find in song titles, or lyrics, in a blog format.

Participants discuss the songs with a common element, the writing prompt, as it appears in the lyrics, or in the song title.  I am very late to the challenge this week, but I have seen Jim’s observe about his prompts, “better late than never.”

Photo by Matt Jones from StockSnap

Today’s a Thursday–another favourite blog of mine, Beauty Beyond Bones, goes live Thursday evenings.  In fact I am posting opposite hers tonight.

Although, this fall, her focus has often been on the election, BBB being an American, I can still with a clear conscience recommend her blog.  She is a kind Catholic girl who writes about the inspiration Jesus has for her when her eating disorder challenges her.  She has been in recovery something like thirteen years now.

https://beautybeyondbones.com/

I am new to Jim’s challenge.  I have read some of his participants’ blog discussions and I have followed along some of what is new with Jim–he has organized the challenge right through to 2021.  He publishes the prompts carefully, only a few at a time, to let his followers know what is coming.

For November 8, Jim prompted “days of the week,” and the song I thought of is Monday Morning, by the band The Church.  It has taken me a good deal longer than I anticipated to get this post ready and finished, but I thought the finished post might be good enough that I should go ahead and post it, whether or not I’m so late for Sunday’s challenge.

The Church is a rock band with a dark flavour for their music, rarely undemanding, weird at times, and atmospheric.  It’s not from my part of the world, but I like it.

The Church

The Church in the year 1990 wrote Monday Morning, singer Steve Kilbey, drummer Richard Ploog, guitarist Marty Wilson-Piper, and, guitarist Peter Koppes, for the record Gold Afternoon Fix.  The name of the album is an expression from the stock market, made here into an album title with a bit of a sense of humour.

At the time, The Church excused the completed collection as an innovative disappointment.   The percussion on the melodies didn’t turn out.

One of the songs for Gold Afternoon Fix is entitled Disappointment.  “Late for an appointment, clothes everywhere/I cannot find my memory anywhere/Ah disappointment just doesn’t care,” Kilbey sings.

I think Monday Morning is a song that initially appeared only on the CD release of the album, not the LP.  For me, The Church is a charming band, and I believe founding songwriter Steve Kilbey has since allowed that his original opinion about the album needn’t have been so critical.

The Church began in 1980 as a new wave band, a music genre emerging after the punk rock scene.  The Church was pretty noisy, good, though.  By 1983 they were making more experimental music.

By creative failure, I only mean music that lacks integrity, bad music.  That’s not The Church.  They are a band I quite like.

The chief problem with Gold Afternoon Fix is really that the personnel couldn’t come to an agreement about the percussion.  The melodies are very acceptable at any rate.  For example, I like the tune Monday Morning.

Perhaps the song is about a weekend fling, the freedom of time spent away, as from office life, when a free heart gets heavy again, when Monday morning arrives, and the weekend has dispersed.

The Church was in L.A. and the culture of the day must have touched on the lyrics Kilbey wrote for the record.  The air was full of energy.  “Oh Monday morning, the cracks become quite clear,” Kilbey sings.

As far as the discography by The Church, Gold Afternoon Fix followed their record Starfish, their 1988 album, which was a major achievement for them, and which contains the exemplary melody Under the Milky Way.  The record Priest = Aura followed two years after the fact, in 1992, which Kilbey further views as the band’s show-stopper.  Steve Kilbey recalls fondly the 1990s in Sydney, Australia, he’s said on Twitter–I imagine that is the place where he withdrew.

Starfish

Gold Afternoon Fix is an album I like, and albums by The Church are often pretty good.  The band did have trouble getting the percussion for Gold Afternoon Fix correct, and drummer Richard Ploog only plays drums on four of the songs on the album.  The other songs have the beat of a drum machine.

Other than Steve Kilbey writing occasional new material with a drum machine, the band had never considered using that kind of percussion on an album.  They’d become known for being a great beat.  Richard Ploog, the drummer, couldn’t finish recording the drums for Gold Afternoon Fix, however.

Mr. Ploog’s interest in music had stopped meeting the vision the other members of the band had, for the songs.  Ploog’s energy was turning into contention, with the interest in music the other three artists had.

Ironically, one of the first songs The Church did is called Too Fast for You.  “Oh, and I hope I’m not going too fast for you/And don’t believe it when they say it’s over,” Kilbey sings.

Wikipedia says drummer Nick Ward played on their first collection; through the 1980s the band’s steady drummer, for a very long time, 1982-1990, was Richard, who left the band after Gold Afternoon Fix.  It doesn’t look to me like Wikipedia is altogether exact; I can see focuses that I don’t accept are right.  Mr. Ploog withdrew from The Church around 1990, to invest more energy with his better half.

In Marty Wilson-Piper’s blog, an entry Wilson-Piper wrote in October 2011, Wilson-Piper explains that Monday Morning is one of the four songs that Mr. Ploog is playing on.  Marty Wilson-Piper is one of the founding members of the band, along with Kilbey and Koppes.  He calls attention to Peter Koppes’ mandolin, on the melody, and that is somewhat enough to appreciate the tune.

Mandolin

Monday Morning is one of the last songs Mr. Ploog played on while The Church was a big commercial act.  They’ve remained to make records for years, but after 1990 they weren’t the same band, however good Priest = Aura turned out to be (a good album, too).

Artificial Photography

In my first year of school, 1996, I read a gathering about The Church.  There were some jokes about The Church’s concert film for Gold Afternoon Fix turning up in retail discount bins.  It was a joke about Gold Afternoon Fix not being their best album.

All things considered, fans’ excitement for The Church was unmistakable, and Richard Ploog got a ton of regard from audience members.  Gold Afternoon Fix also sold very well, commercially successful.  Ironically, the commercial rock was hard to combine with artistic integrity, Mr. Wilson-Piper’s comments reflect in his blog.

The difference between Gold Afternoon Fix and some of the earlier collections of music by The Church, like Remote Luxury and Persia, in 1984 and 1985, that the band’s vision for their music came across loud and clear on releases like the aforementioned, and was much more subdued, so to speak, by 1990.  To tell the truth, I don’t know that the meaning of a song like Shadow Cabinet is at all clear to me; however, Shadow Cabinet was the name of their fan webpage.  Though years ago, I am sure it would have seemed to be quite a simple page compared to how it might have been today; pictures and blocks of text, I recall.

I sat in one of the rooms of the home of one of my uncles looking for The Church on AOL.  The Church was one of my very first Internet searches ever, and certainly the first band that I researched on the Internet.

The meaning of the lyrics for Monday Morning are clearer for me than words like “Queueing in the ruins in the wake of the gale it’s/Harmony I say” in Shadow Cabinet.  I like the soul of what Steve Kilbey is singing there.

These days Steve Kilbey is a very small YouTuber, and both Koppes and Wilson-Piper have moved on from The Church.  Koppes continues to write and record music, as does Kilbey; both had new albums in September of this year.  I’m not completely sure what Wilson-Piper has been doing.

Fans of The Church are sometimes referred to as their Army.

Thank you to Jim for his prompt, “days of the week.”  You should take a look at Jim’s blog.

https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2020/11/07/a-week-is-a-unit-of-time/

As well, you’re welcome to like, follow and/or comment here.

https://www.facebook.com/findingenvirons

https://www.quora.com/profile/Patrick-Coholan

https://about.me/patrickcoholan

Monday Morning

Beyond the city, and evening dust

Dreams and thunder rattle the rust

You had an idea that you won’t have again

She’s forgotten your name and hopes you’ll do the same

Start of the ash, and the end of the flames

Burning you turning you

There was a lifetime spent in the sun

Hundreds of chances, blew every one

Dice rolled, double six, double six, double six

Owner of trouble, flesh blood and bricks

You had an idea that you won’t have again

She’s forgotten your name and hopes you’ll do the same

The start of the ash and the end of the flames

Turning you burning you

Oh Monday morning, the cracks become quite clear

Oh Monday morning, take me back, leave me hare

Beyond the city, and evening dust

Dreams and thunder rattle the rust

You had an idea that you won’t have again

She’s forgotten your name and hopes you’ll do the same

Start of the ash, and the end of the flames

Burning you turning you around

//genius.com/songs/1178162/embed.js

Monday Morning