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Desert Island Disc Day 3L: North of the 37th Parallel

Day 3L: North of the 37th Parallel, Round Two

Day 3L Start

How we got here:
Day 2K, East/Midwest Subdivisions
Day 2K, West/South Subdivisions

And the final day of the First 688 is upon us… at the end of this round, we will be under one hundred songs. Kind of amazing. The East subdivision kicks things off with…

#8 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “We Call Upon the Author”
#6 Dead World, “Kill”

“Down in my bolt-hole I see they’ve published another volume of unreconstructed rubbish
‘The waves, the waves were soldiers moving.’ Well thank you, thank you, thank you
And again I call upon the author to explain.”


“He’s just a face in the crowd
A nondescript man
A dim-witted mouthful of lies
Football on the TV
Beer in hand
The extent of his rational depth
He’s a god-fearing man
A wife-beating fuck
A vacuous flag-waving fool
Rip out his heart
Feed him his dick
Gut him like a hamstrung deer
Kill that man.”

I mentioned when talking about NON a couple of brackets ago that there was another statement-of-belief song coming up in this bracket that was just going to push aside whatever it encountered and head into the hopper. That song is “Kill”, Jonathan Canady’s exhortation to revolutionary violence that stands as one of the best ever created. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds put out an astonishing piece of work in “We Call Upon the Author”, but “Kill” reaches a whole different level of my brain. There was no way it was going down here, and into the hopper it goes.

#5 Alcest, “Solar Song”
#2 Agalloch, “Kneel to the Cross”

photo credit:

“Next time on MTV Unplugged… black metal!”

[at least one song is an instrumental, so no lyric-to-lyric matchup possible.]

Taking the wimpy way out here—“Kneel to the Cross” is a cover, and I probably should have knocked it out in the first round, but at least it allows me an easy promotion of Alcest into the hopper. (Oddly, every lyrics site I check says “Solar Song” is an instrumental. I do not believe this to be the case, but I have no evidence to the contrary at present.)

In the Midwest subdivision…

#8 Pearl Jam, “Indifference”
#6 Robert Turman, “’al-Qaida”

[at least one song is an instrumental, so no lyric-to-lyric matchup possible.]

“Indifference” is one of Pearl Jam’s strongest pieces of music; there are maybe a half-dozen songs from their entire catalog that are this good. (All come from their first three albums; I have yet to hear anything past that worth listening to twice from them that isn’t a cover.) Maybe. Which means absolutely nothing when put up against the wonder that is “’al-Qaida”, in which Robert Turman’s penchant for playing with loops takes what may be the most mournful turn in Turman’s entire catalog (at least, that which I’ve heard, which is a shockingly small amount; this is something I need to fix). I’d call “’al-Qaida” one of the ten best songs both of 1990, when it was originally released, and 2010, when the CD re-release came out on Actual. (2010 was a much stronger year for music, which makes Beyond Painting‘s Album of the Year status for 2010 more impressive, at least to me.) There was no way this song was going down this early, and into the hopper it goes.

#5 Tearoom Trade, “Bathhouse”
#2 Chris Connelly, “July”

“I’m not gay
I’m just confused
A little experiment
I beg for a taste
Of your milky white come
Splash it on my face
Again and again
My wife knows nothing
Of what we do here”


“I left him looking on the past in hiding to the street
You were cold and gray again, you couldn’t even speak
I pulled out the singe from the mouth of disease and I begged for the truth
I was cursed by way of comparison, it broke me in two
I spat upon my unmarked grave in the heat of the spite
I screamed my insect litanies in the middle of the night
Bury the martyr to his neck and feed him to the worms
Replace his blood with toxins, look at him burn”

As is usually the case with Chris Connelly (viz. Pigface’s “Tonight’s the Night” above), the lyrics to “July” are of the “what were you drinking?” variety, which I love. But they wilt a bit in the face of Tearoom Trade’s focused, angry tirade; Tearoom Trade have a relatively easy time of it getting to the hopper.

In the West subdivision, the following matchups rear their ugly heads…

#1 Rapoon, “Breathing Gold”
#3 Woods of Ypres, “I Was Buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery”

[at least one song is an instrumental, so no lyric-to-lyric matchup possible.]

There was a point while I was considering this battle where I entertained the idea that Woods of Ypres were going to get by Rapoon here, but then I remembered cranking Rapoon up to 16, which I did for the last round. Everything Robin Storey is doing with the subsonics in “Breathing Gold” is the kind of stuff I try to do with XTerminal. I don’t know if that’s a conscious influence, since I didn’t actually know all that stuff was going on in this song until last month, but it’s certainly a subconscious one; Fallen Gods was in my collection, and very often played, for five years before I started XTerminal. (It’s also one of those early-nineties albums that inspired a poem cycle, as did Fire * Ice’s Gilded by the Sun—a piece of which just pulled a major upset on Day 3J to go into the hopper). Rapoon advance, as expected, and Woods of Ypres head for Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

Official video.

#5 The Cure, “Wailing Wall”
#2 Big Black, “Kerosene”

“I push through crowds, though seas of prayer
Through twisting hands and choking air
A vulture at the wailing wall,
I circle, waiting.”


“I was born in this town
Lived here my whole life
Probably come to die in this town
Lived here my whole life
There’s never anything to do in this town
Lived here my whole life
Probably learn to die in this town
Lived here my whole life”

Another brutal one. I know that Albini’s lyrics in “Kerosene” are repetitive consciously; he’s using the repetition to depict the main character’s boredom, and it’s an extremely effective technique here. But when put up against Robert Smith’s startling, sensual lyrics in “Wailing Wall”, it still pales just the tiniest bit, and the tiniest bit is all The Cure need to slip past Big Black and head into the hopper. No matter which way this one went, it would have felt like an upset.

And finally, in the south subdivision…

#1 Anthrax, “Black Lodge”
#6 Radiosonde, “Pilot (Belly-Up Mix)”

[at least one song is an instrumental, so no lyric-to-lyric matchup possible.]

photo credit: Classic Rock Magazine

John Bush: the Bruce Willis of metal.

Here’s another case, like Woods vs. Rapoon above, where there was a brief “you know, Anthrax has a chance here” moment. Anthrax had a better chance; “Black Lodge” is a fantastic piece of work, Anthrax’s best by a country mile, and “Pilot” was perhaps a questionable choice; I picked it, ultimately, because I figured it being shorter than Radiosonde pieces I slightly prefer (“Zombi”, “unstab.personalit.”) would give it an edge here. But still, the chance that Anthrax was going to get past “Pilot” was pretty minuscule; the thought may have been in my head longer, but we’re still measuring in seconds. Radiosonde goes through easily.

#4 MC 900 Foot Jesus, “The City Sleeps”
#2 Pray for Teeth, “Puritan Eyes”

“The match makes a graceful arc to the floor
Time stands still as I turn for the door
Which explodes in a fireball and throws me to the street
I hit the ground running with the flames at my feet
Reaching for the night which recoils form the fire
The raindrops hiss like a devilish choir
Dying in the flames with a terrible sound
Calling all the names of the sleepers all around
But dead in the arms of the night they lay
Their dreams sprout wings and fly away
Out of the houses in a gathering flock
Swarming overhead as I hurry down the block”


[Yeah, I tried. I failed.]

Here’s another where the outcome was pre-ordained; “Puritan Eyes” was the single best track of 2012, and there was maybe one piece of music in the entire bracket (Robert Turman’s) that might have caused it a little friction on its way to the Final Ninety-Six. MC900J’s track is a thing of beauty indeed, but “Puritan Eyes” just rolls over it, like most everything else it encounters, with a tank on its way to the hopper.

And the final eight songs are headed into the hopper for the big redraw…
Alcest, “Solar Song”
The Cure, “Wailing Wall”
Dead World, “Kill”
Pray for Teeth, “Puritan Eyes”
Radiosonde, “Pilot (Belly-Up Mix)”
Rapoon, “Breathing Gold”
Tearoom Trade, “Bathhouse”
Robert Turman, “’al-Qaida”

And thus, we are down to our final ninety-six songs. Not sure I thought we would ever get here.

When we come back for Day Four, we will be redrawing the following songs into three brackets of thirty-two…
Alcest, “Solar Song”
Allerseelen, “Santa Sangre”
Amaran, “As We Fly”
The Angels of Light, “Song for My Father”
Aube, “20001031”
Axone, “Casus Belli”
Russ Ballard, “Rene Didn’t Do It”
Better than Ezra, “A Lifetime”
Black Bloc, “By Any Means”
Black Flag, “Wasted”
Michelle Branch, “Washing Machine”
Burning Star Core/Prurient, “Quiet at the Bottom”
Caustic Christ, “Bloodsucking Fiends”
Cellar of Rats, “Where the Dead Might Lie”
Bruce Cockburn, “Sahara Gold”
Jonathan Coulton, “Re: Your Brains”
The Cure, “Wailing Wall”
Current93, “Hooves”
Dead World, “Kill”
Death in June, “Come Before Christ and Murder Love”
DNA, “Egomaniac’s Kiss”
Dog Lady, “Children of the Torn Snare”
Doomwatch, “The Short, Happy Life Of…”
The Dream Academy, “The Love Parade”
The Dresden Dolls, “Sing”
8BallRack, “Charlie”
Elhaz, “Glory”
Enter the Haggis, “One Last Drink”
The Evolution Control Committee, “Rocked by Rape”
Faith No More, “Kindergarten”
Fire * Ice, “Corpus Christi”
Rie Fu, “Tsuki Akari”
Charlotte Gainsbourg, “Greenwich Mean Time”
Garmarna, “Den Bortsålda”
Paul Giovanni and Magnet, “Willow’s Song”
Hedningarna, “Räven”
John Lee Hooker, “Madman’s Blues”
Horse, “Red Haired Girl”
Indian Jewelry, “Warm Boxcutter”
Inerds, “Shut It”
Insect Warfare, “Reanimated Horde”
Jaded Era, “Invisible”
Jesus Lizard, “Boilermaker”
The Judy’s, “Her Wave”
Edward Ka-Spel, “Tanith and the Lion Tree”
Leslie Keffer, “Taste Tongue to Warm Tummy”
Kitchen Cynics, “Me Forgetting You Forgetting Me”
Kishida Kyoudan and the Akeboshi Rockets, “Highschool of the Dead”
The Legendary Pink Dots, “Ghost”
Luna, “Tiger Lily”
Machines of Loving Grace, “The Soft Collision”
Megaptera, “Someone’s at the Door”
Merzbow, “Asagaya Field Recording”
Motörhead, “Killed by Death”
Murderous Vision, “A Whisper Becomes a Shiver”
Natasha’s Ghost, “Falling Up”
Nine Inch Nails, “Last”
NON, “A World on Fire”
Miwako Okuda, “Kanashimi ni Oborete”
The Orphan, the Poet, “Black and White Photography”
Oysterband, “Our Lady of the Bottles”
PainKiller, “TrailMarker”
Vanessa Paradis, “Tandem”
Pigface, “Tonight’s the Night”
Plague Mother, “Obsessions Part 1”
Pray for Teeth, “Puritan Eyes”
Racermason, “Liar’s Life”
Radiosonde, “Pilot (Belly-Up Mix)”
Rapoon, “Breathing Gold”
The Replacements, “Here Comes a Regular”
Retch, “B”
Shiro Sagisu, “On the Precipice of Defeat”
Saltfishforty, “The Bride’s Lament”
Satanic Threat, “Guilty of Hating Christ”
Shora, “The Never-Ending Exhale”
Short Dark Strangers, “Flowers of April”
Sieben, “Factory Floor”
Silly Wizard, “A. B. Corsie (The Lad from Orkney)”
Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Cities in Dust”
Skin Graft, “Regret”
Skinny Puppy, “Killing Game”
Jack Smiley, “Arabesque”
Steel Hook Prostheses, “Burning Out Their Eyes”
Brian Straw, “Veins”
Submachine, “Last Night”
The Tear Garden, “Dèjá Vu”
Tearoom Trade, “Bathhouse”
Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, “Red Alert”
Tex and the Horseheads, “Oh Mother”
Toad the Wet Sprocket, “Pale Blue”
John Trubee, “A Blind Man’s Penis”
Robert Turman, “’al-Qaida”
S. J. Tucker, “The Pixie Can’t Sleep”
Venom, “Possessed”
Waterglass, “Sleep (Song of Oberon)”
Wolf Eyes, “Burn Your House Down”

Previous: Day 3K
Next: Day 4 intro

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Desert Island Disc Day 3K: Somewhere in Europe | Popcorn for Breakfast

  2. Pingback: Desert Island Desic Day 4 Introduction: The Redraw | Popcorn for Breakfast

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