Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vol. 10 - Late-Night Listening

Because some songs just fit those weird moods you feel yourself getting into.

Quinn: Whiskeytown - San Antonio

Late night listening is pretty much a pastime for me. Generally, most people go to sleep and I foolishly stay up for no good reason. In my defense, I'll say that there is a good reason and that's to listen to music -- not just to listen to it but to experience it. I'd say that the best time for really experiencing music is many hours after the moon has come to work. You can close your eyes if you want, but I prefer the lights out. Turning out all the lights and laying somewhere with a great record on is one of the best things life has to offer. Personally, an all-time favorite late night track for me is this b-side/unreleased cut from Whiskeytown. It was supposed to come out on the Stranger's Almanac deluxe reissue but it didn't. Huh. Anyways, happy listening.

Hasan: Celtic Frost - Nocturnal Fear

My love for Celtic Frost should come as no surprise to any of you, so I'm going to keep this short. This is my favorite song to jam out to in the evening. It perfectly tops off a great night. At home or in the car, the song's just perfect. It also perfectly exemplifies Celtic Frost's greatness --crushing riffs and solos, quirky time signatures, wackyness (interlude at the 2:00 mark), and of course the grunts! Can you count all the "ugggghs," kids? Now if you'll excuse me, I have some thrashing to do while in my boxers. Enjoy!

Jason: Thought Industry - Worms Listen

I have had many life-changing musical experiences on a Greyhound Bus. When I was in my twenties, I moved a lot, and I usually did it via Greyhound. In western Montana, on my way to Minneapolis, MN, I fell in love with Thought Industry. I was listening to a tape that John Haughm gave me with Thought Industry on it, and I was blown away. A lifelong love affair commenced from that point forward.

This song is appropriate for more than the title. When I was first listening to this song, it was about 3 AM, with no lights visible except for what the headlights of the Greyhound illuminated. Enjoy one of my favorite bands, ever.

Jess: Dissection - The Somberlain

Insomnia has the best of me lately. As the night sky darkens, my psyche awakens. So it’s suitable that this week’s theme is late night listening, because that’s all I’ve been fucking doing. Never underestimate the intoxicating effect of lethargy and black metal. While one pulls your soul down, the other lights your ass on fire. And that’s exactly what happens when I listen to Dissection’s “The Somberlain” at three in the morning. Harmonious guitars don’t both me only because they’re accompanied by unforgiving rhythm. Plus, I just can't argue against 1993 Dissection when I've had too little sleep. I am the Somberlain, indeed.

Adam: Talk Talk - John Cope

Talk Talk’s late period, made up of sister albums
Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, is my favorite music ever recorded. I would say that these albums are all you need for late-night listening music, but since we only get one song each, I’ve gone with a b-side from that era.

“John Cope” seems to have been recorded somewhere in between the sophisti-pop of
The Colour of Spring and the ethereal and introspective Spirit of Eden. Naturally, “John Cope” ends up being the best of both worlds and stands as one of Talk Talk’s finest moments, combining both the delicate feel of Spirit with a more pop song structure than that album. It’s simply breathtaking.

Aesop: Moëvöt - Untitled 4

There is absolutely no better late night listen than the ghostly cantos of Les Legions Noire entity Moëvöt. Every druggy, cobwebbed, spectral groan is the perfect accompaniment to a late night of consummate anguish or just general Parisian ennui. Like a séance of sound. Nocturnal as fuck.

Bitsy: Cat Power - Nude As The News

After the usual functioning hours, sitting in a poorly-lit basement seems to be the only appropriate place for me to have a good listen to Cat Power’s “Nude as the News.” Sunshine and daylight would do this song no justice. It’s one of those tracks I first experienced in the small hours before sunrise, when the rest of sleepy civilization seemed to be falling two steps behind. So I choose to keep it there—in the dark hours of the morning when I need some extra time to get ahead. With her powerful vocals and cleverly eerie lyrics, I’d like to think Chan Marshall wrote this one with us late night basement-dwellers in mind.

Tyler: Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill – Turn Your Lights Down Low

This song was beyond on smash in 1999. I remember hearing it for the first time at about two in the morning on a weeknight, writing and thinking about girls. My main hope for life at that point was that I would find someone who looked or possibly sung like Lauryn Hill and sit with her on a bench or hammock or something as this song played and shyly make eye contact. Night would become a big deal during my teens, and I would tape this song off the radio shortly after and listen to it with my eyes closed during the summers following, with visions of whoever my current Lauryn was accompanying.

Chris: Bohren & Der Club of Gore - Midnight Black Earth

To me, late night is all about the dark, atmospheric music. One of the better groups for this sort of music is Bohren & Der Club of Gore, who style themselves "doom jazz". Listening to this song makes me want to sit at a dingy bar way after dark, after having had way too much to drink. Enjoy!

Asa: Nick Drake - Road

If you've known me for more than a minute or two, one thing will become unquestionably clear: I adore Nick Drake. Every weekend, as I begin to carefully wind down, I begin what I call the "Drake ritual." Even if Chris wants to have a chuckle at me for it, this little nighttime habit is more than simply passing out to Pink Moon in its entirety. I carefully adjust the volume of my speakers just so, making sure the twangs and pops of Drake's playing don't keep me any more awake. As the record begins and I lie down to relax, I visualize one of two things. First, a ghostly Drake-- who would now be past sixty-- and still looking boyish through the wrinkles and the gray, carefully plucking his Guild m20 acoustic in the corner of my pitch-black room. Then, I imagine him seated on a green hill, illuminated by moonlight under a clear and starry sky. "You can say the sun is shining if you really want to," he croons, "I can see the moon and it seems so clear." Indeed.

Download the Late-Night Listening mixtape HERE.


  1. I'm so glad someone said Bohren for this. So many memories of so many late nights and early mornings set to just about every Bohren release. Bohren und der Club of Gore = that really incredible feeling only the night can deliver.