Last week, I dropped by my brother's flat. He and his roommate were getting ready while I waited with a mix of impatience and excitement for an afternoon of Dungeons & Dragons in Zurich.
Suddenly, an unbelievable noise escaped the mate's room. A burst of rapid blasts, shattering mountains and piercing the earth's core. I was stunned, yet the sound felt incredibly familiar.
It turned out to be Strange Days (1999) by the US noise-rock outfit HEALTH. This revelation slightly aggravated me. In 2019, I curated another song off their record Vol. 4 Slaves of Fear called Feel Nothing. However, I never kept track after that.
It's not been the first time that I missed great artists because of my own negligence. But that story is for another time.
There's just one important lesson: I should also regularly follow up on the artists and see what they have been up to since I've curated one of their tracks.
But now, let's turn our attention towards today's selection. It's hard to find a common thing among the five songs. At a glance, they're simply too different: Dragging goth, euphoric pop, glooming electronic, sweet soul, psychedelic rock. Yet, below the surface, the tracks all feature a smoothness.
Blue eyeshade, a frayed mullet, those are the dead giveaways that Angel Olsen travels back in time. The US artist's latest EP, Aisles, features five covers of iconic 80s hits. One of them: Man Without Hats' Safety Dance. You know, the song with that ultra-weird music video.
Olson states: "I felt that it could be reinterpreted to be about this time of quarantine and the fear of being around anyone or having too much fun."
Angel Olson replaces the song's upbeat nature with a downwards spiralling feeling of helplessness. Her interpretation of Safety Dance is a dark, almost goth-like mass that drags itself in slow motion through the velvet curtain of patchouli and dry ice.