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I did get hold of the new Tom Waits live CD, Glitter and Doom. If you're someone like me who just can't stand knowing there are Tom Waits recordings out there you haven't heard, go get it. Much as I love the guy, I don't think live performance is his strong suit. However: there is a performance of Dirt in the Ground that stands out. I grew up on the studio version from Bone Machine, but here he's turned it into this strange, mournful kind of sermon. It's weird magic, and I love it.

A quill from a buzzard
in blood writes the word.
And I want to know,
am I the sky or the bird?

Hell's boiling over.
Heaven is full.
We're chained to the world,
and we've all gotta pull.
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I posted some lyrics last week from that PJ Harvey & John Parish disc, A Woman a Man Walked By.  To anyone taking notes: the opening track, Black-Hearted Love, is *exactly* the kind of song I like. The recording has that kind of warm-but-noisy feel that makes me think of Thurston Moore's best stuff, and the writing is a bullseye - It's personal, it's inventive, it changes its momentum effortlessly, and it knows exactly which secrets to keep. It's stayed stuck in my head, this week, no matter how many times I listen to it.

I'm not sure who I can recommend the rest of the album to, though. Don't get me wrong, it's brilliant, this just isn't an album that much wants to be admired. I keep comparing it to Patti Smith's Horses; there's amazing poetry set to great music, but the vocal performances put up a wall that you won't get over unless you're trying. (The title track is screamed more than sung, and Pig Will Not features Harvey literally barking.) There's art in the inaccessibility itself, really, and it's damned good art. Just not the kind you'd mistake for entertainment.

Meanwhile, though, I still haven't taken it out of the stereo. If you catch me rocking out to some growly babbling with good noise-rock guitar behind it, just smile and nod, okay?

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April,
how could
I not have
seen

April,
you
coming

April,
how could
I have worn
inappropriate
clothing?

April,
all that
careful stepping,
rounding of my soul
and now
your rain.

April, I feel you leaving.

I don't know what silence means.
It could mean anything.

April,
won't you
answer me?

These days
just seem
to crush me.

Hatching,
collapsing,
tumbling down.

April!
What if
I drown?

I don't know what silence means.
It could mean anything.
Won't you answer me?

I dreamed,
April,
that I'm walking,
that I'm watching
your rain.
It overcomes me.

--PJ Harvey, "April"
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Not a Top 10, and in no special order:

Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral
Tom Waits - Bone Machine
The Breeders - Last Splash
PJ Harvey - Rid of Me
The Cure - Pornography
Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Armed Forces
Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See
Nirvana - Nevermind
Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar

(Yeah, yeah, I hate these LJ things, too. So sue me.)

Edited to add: For the love of god, DON'T click the 'view other answers' link. My faith in humanity is hanging by a thread, at this point. Do I have to say somebody put 'Anywhere I lay my head' on their top 10? Do I have to wake up tomorrow and still know that about this world? Bah. From now on, nobody gets ears unless I say so.

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Charlie

February 2012

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