Music on Repeat - a broken record with a loop of arrows

February Dispatch
Music on Repeat vol. 2

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I’m back with a new (gar)batch of music but this time, I’ve decided to leave the team out because they’ve been mostly either pulling sickies or going on holidays. I can’t blame them.

It’s strange how we think the music we listen to doesn’t resonate with anyone and then we stand corrected. I wrote the November Dispatch: Music on Repeat on a whim because I felt like sharing what the office sounded like and we received positive feedback which didn’t surprise us at all, of course.

Buckle up, you lot Mama Mia, here we go again, this time on a more personal music journey than you’re used to.

Candi Carpenter – ‘Exorcist’

If you want to feel depressed for a while, welcome to ‘Exorcist’. A song that could be about anything from a funny breakup story, new love, or a long boring drive home. And it’s not.

Writing and singing about religious and sexual traumas is not what the mainstream wants to trouble you with or listen to. They’re depressing topics and the mainstream wants to be fun. A sad breakup is a fine and ultimate line. Fortunately for us, there’s indie music.

You may remember Candi Carpenter from Church of Roswell but even solo she does great music. Music the world needs more of. We need more people raising these topics and never letting them fade out. After all, even if you’re not directly involved, you live in this world so the topics are very much yours as they’re Candi’s.

This is one of the best and most powerful songs we’ve reviewed in 2023 so far. Terrifying, depressing, and sad. But needed, very, very much. You can feel the pain when her voice sort of breaks a few times and doesn’t sound like a professional singer.

Watch Candi Carpenter – ‘Exorcist’.

The Killer Barbies – ‘Love Killer’

I’m pretty sure it was more than twenty years ago when a cousin put a CD in my hand and said “go listen to this, punk.”

I did and you know what? I still occasionally listen to the Spaniards. They’re a punk band and if you don’t speak the language, don’t panic. The lyrics are mighty, fun, brilliant, and in English.

‘Love Killer’, which you can find on the band’s 2000 album Bad Taste, is a playful one giving the seemingly raw, but in reality gentle, entertaining, and energetic touch on love songs. Watch the clip as well. The song is great, and the combo of music and video is epic.

You can find their music on Apple Music, it wasn’t there a few months ago. You’re welcome.

Watch The Killer Barbies – ‘Love Killer’.

Metallica – ‘Master of Puppets’

It feels like ages since we watched Eddie’s amazing performance in the face of Vecna. Metallica has been on my list ever since again. It’s strange how one song can reignite old passions and drag you back to when you were much younger, rap didn’t exist (around you), techno was a joke, and bands like Erotic and Dr Alban were heavily featured on TV.

Metallica has some cool albums and songs but The Black Album is the favourite – with powerful lyrics and spectacular guitar riffs, the album is one of the best heavy metal ones of all time.

Oh, and Load and Reload followed and I do not have anything against the two either. Less metal, more hard rock, hallelujah!

And the song? You can go and read my ‘Master of Puppets’ in Stranger Things review if you’d like to.

Watch Metallica – ‘Master of Puppets’.

Since I’ve mentioned it, here’s a bonus song.

Watch Lordi – ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’.

Regina Spektor – ‘Samson’

Regina Spektor has two kinds of fans. Fans who love her and fans who haven’t heard about her yet.

Listening to her music is like going on an emotional hike that turns into a mountaineering experience only to leave you thinking you just went on a very sad walk. Spektor thrives when it’s just her voice and the piano because all of a sudden, her songs become uncontrollably intimate. The kind of intimacy that makes you want to tell your story to the nearest person despite meeting them for the first time but feeling like you’ve known them for ages.

Regina’s songs are about everything: life, love, trauma, and death. Why I can’t get enough of the music is simple – it covers all the emotional aspects of a lifetime in under four minutes.

I’ve been in love with Regina’s music ever since I watched her performance at the Czech music festival Colours of Ostrava. 

Only she can find so many ways to use music in the ways she does.

Watch Regina Spektor – ‘Samson’.

Feeder – ‘Piece by Piece’

I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t surprised at all when the Apple Music app informed me that I was in the top 100 listeners of Feeder. “Oooops”, I thought, “maybe I should find new music to listen to”. But the music is definitely great so there’s no shame in keeping one album on repeat. And promoting it. Not only does good music deserves to be promoted, but it also deserves to be heavily promoted.

I can still remember how I discovered these guys – with Fenton, the Phonotonal’s Editor in Chief, we were sitting at an engagement party, sipping pints, chatting about music when I asked him to share some of the music he listens to. He dropped a few names, I took notes. When I pressed play on Feeder’s Echo Park a day later, I don’t think I ever listened to anything else he recommended that night.

The lyrics cut deep but are true. Breakups are not fun and this is one of the best break-up songs. If you ignore ‘Apart’ or ‘Pictures of You’ by The Cure, ‘How Can You Be Sure?’ by Radiohead, ‘Maps’ by Yeah Yeah Yeahs (I knew they would somehow get into this Dispatch!), or Pearl Jam’s ‘Black’. There’s so much good music covering breakups if you sit and have the time to listen to it all.

Watch Feeder – ‘Piece by Piece’.

Holly Humberstone – ‘Scarlett’

I said it all in my review of the song and I still stand by my words. Holly Humberstone was a very pleasant surprise discovery last year!

The song is what it should be and covers what it should. Strong and relatable lyrics and great story-telling make ‘Scarlett’ a song I’ve been playing a lot.

Watch Holly Humberstone – ‘Scarlett’.

Bushbaby – ‘Lipstick’

I’ve known Bushbaby for as long as I’ve known Kev Bonett. Not long.

I remember a new front-end developer starting in my previous company and my boss said that the person was Kev Bonett. I had no clue but sharing ‘Lipstick’ fixed it quickly.

When I asked Kev for more of their music, I wasn’t disappointed. On the contrary. It became very quickly obvious why my then boss, now the Editor in Chief (so effectively my boss again!), talked about Kev with so much respect: the band was fantastic and could easily break through and become huge.

Sadly, they didn’t.

There are not that many people who are a pleasure to talk to about music but Kev definitely is one of them. Especially with a pint in your hand.

Anyway, why I’m mentioning the band here is simple. Kev has made the effort and uploaded what he could from Bushbaby’s music to a new YouTube channel

I’m thinking that maybe an interview with Kev would be great, we could celebrate the new channel, talk about the band and what it was like to be a musician back then, and maybe have a pint.

Watch Bushbaby – ‘Lipstick’.

Manchester Orchestra – ‘Angel of Death’

I can’t think of any time I’m not playing Manchester Orchestra. The band is well-rounded, going to their gig gives you nothing but pleasure, and every new album is better than the previous one. I’m still baffled why they’re not topping music charts all over the world. And I’m glad.

I remember the Irish band, the Frames, led by Glen Hansard, exploding after winning the Oscar for the best tune – anyone remember the film Once?

Before that, going to a Glen’s or The Frames concert was a delight, after that nothing but an expensive pain. I’m hoping Andy and the rest of the MancO team can keep it great but also never become the next quickly forgettable thing. But I digressed. A lot.

In the ‘Angel of Death’ review, Fenton says “Manchester Orchestra are one of those bands that need a second or third glance.” I agree and if you made it to their London show at O2 Forum, you agree as well.

Watch Manchester Orchestra – ‘Angel of Death’.

Bruce Springsteen – ‘Born in the USA’

Ever since I learned that some tickets to the Boss’s gigs were selling for as high as $5,000, I had to play ‘Born in the USA’ to get the feel of what it’s like to live in the USA again. Obviously mega rad.

Imagine going to the Springsteen-Swift combo of concerts. How rich you’d have to be I don’t know.

Sarcasm aside, both cases prove how messed up the current music industry is. Algorithms decide on ticket prices, feeding the beast, and slowly killing music.  Can we go back to tickets having a set price for each sector? If not, we here at Phonotonal will start looking for new bands to listen to even harder and ditch the behemoths altogether.

I didn’t pay even £30 to see Manchester Orchestra and got everything I was after. Do I have to see Springsteen again? I’d love to but not for the money. I just wonder how Bob Dylan can keep ticket prices affordable.

/rant over

The song is still one of my favourite ones because it portrays the struggles of war veterans who are as human as you are. Heroes? Maybe. Human? 100%. One of the two reasons why I love Springsteen is his natural talent for naming things for what they are and never lying to his audience. The other one is always relating to and being there for his audience. You don’t play a three-hour gig for no reason. You do it because you love it. Especially when your birth certificate says “23rd September 1949”. I’m hoping to be in that shape when I’m 64 74.

Watch Bruce Springsteen – ‘Born in the USA’.

Wrap up

When I started writing this piece, I didn’t expect it to be so gloomy. I didn’t expect to take anyone on a trip covering bits of my music & past. These articles are really interesting to write – it’s often surprising to dig into and evaluate the music you listen to.

Let’s see what the next three months bring, maybe something new, maybe something from the past again. You never know but we’ll be definitely back again.

Until then!

Written by Vinklarek on

Petr 'Pete' Vinklárek writes mainly about music. Prior to entering the digital industry, he taught Translation Studies & British and American Cinema at a university. In his spare time, he hikes, listens to podcasts, watches films, and writes poetry. Petr studied the English Language and Literature at The University of Ostrava; his master’s thesis covered some aspects of Warren Zevon's work.

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