Week 2 of FAWM had me floating in a gelatinous cube of creative ecstasy. Even as the troubles of the real world kept demanding my attention I found myself “fawmpulsively” checking the site for new songs from both favorite artists and new discoveries alike. Of the latter, I found many more this second week—too many, in fact, to list in a single post, and so many that I had trouble keeping track of them all. I even had to cut some out from this article due to length.
To music lovers yet unbitten by the FAWM bug: as someone who has spent the past few years specializing in blogging and social media, FAWM is without exaggeration the single greatest place on the Internet I have yet experienced. And whereas I normally find social media incredibly draining, here it is actually invigorating. People being almost universally supportive to each other—just what is going on here?! Even my sick, spirochete-riddled brain, usually half-dead to the world, has been coming alive with new creative ideas due to all the positive stimulation—hence, the reason I keep logging on, listening and commenting despite being busy, stressed and exhausted. Because here is a virtual corner of the earth where the majority of people seem equally interested in sharing and giving as they are in taking. And that is worth celebrating.
Note: Most songs here were posted by the respective artists during Week 2. I cheated by including a few from Week 1 but figured it was okay since I discovered them in Week 2. My apologies to artists I have not yet discovered. I have listened to and commented on 100+ songs now but have still only scratched the surface. If I had the time, I’d listen to and comment on every song.
Turned this one on loudly when playing it for the first time as I went to go make myself a cup of tea and I could’ve sworn it was early Depeche Mode drifting out from my room. Deliciously gray and overcast synth pop. Here comes the rain, little darling, and I’m only happy when it rains.
@bijoubasil, “Save Me”
Ethereal. There’s a bit of Sigur Rós being channeled here in the keys and in the falsetto, but as with so many of these fabulous FAWM artists, homage is just one tiny part of what Bijou Basil can do. Do listen to her other songs, especially “Jenna” and her shoegaze collaboration with @zecoop.
@cactusjoe, “punk rock unicorn”
I can’t for the life of me remember how I landed upon this delirious, profanity-encrusted gem (I think I just accidentally clicked the “play random song” button while juggling browser tabs) but I’m glad I did because it’s gold. The songwriter claims he just “farted out the lyrics” on this one. If that’s the case then I want him to fart in my face so I can inhale some of that fairy dust.
@caterwauler, “The Cave (The Light of Vaeros)”
In general I am just a sucker for atmospheric medieval or fantasy-influenced instrumental music. So within the first ten seconds of hearing this piece by Joanne Gabriel I whispered a loud, “Yes!” and silently thanked the gods. Light some incense and let this take you on a journey as it did me.
@caterwauler, “The Word”
If I had a lot of money, I would hire and commission Joanne to write a musical score for the private myth of my inner journey. As it is, these pieces will have to do.
@clioem, “Gravity Wing”
I love conceptual sci-fi music. I had some of my best trips—er, I mean, listening experiences—on them. With them. *Cough* anyway… this song reminded me by turns of the narcotic eeriness of Portishead, the angsty grandeur of OK Computer, the retro cool of Air and the disorienting mindf**k that is The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Took me a number of listens before it started to make sense, but it was worth the effort. Now, then… where in the world did I leave that bong…
@clioem, “Milo and Celestine”
A sweet dalliance between the guitalele and the cello that also happens to whisper the secret of the universe, life and happiness—no, I’m serious. The transition midway in is just magical and sublime.
If feminist-cum-revisionist fairy tale author Angela Carter had been a soul singer, she might have sounded something like this. This is wickedly smart songwriting in which bitter irony and a certain world-weariness does not get obscured by the playfulness. And just like the old tales it is lyrically inspired by, it packs a lot of meaning into a deceptively simple appearance. As a fairy tale and mythology buff I could probably write an entire dissertation on this. Hmm…
@debs, “The Devil’s Highway”
Sin, thy name is Cheesecake. See if you can spot in this song where Debs quite cleverly “commits” all seven cardinal sins. Or rather, forget the seven cardinal sins: there is only one sin (besides cheesecake) and it’s to not listen to this song. And lest you start analyzing: sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes cheesecake is just cheesecake.
And sometimes a cock is… well, a cock. Gets the prize for being the most brazenly NSFW song I’ve encountered yet on FAWM. This is pure creative energy delighting in its own sheer, unbridled expression. Almost makes me want to s**k a c**k to see what the fuss is about.
@errol, “Bounce Where I Shouldn’t”
I was a little worried that my fellow lactose intolerant Asian, Errol, burdened with the arduous duty of having to play Nancy Drew with his daughters, wouldn’t be able to make it to FAWM this year. But leave it to him to always find a way to bounce back into things. And how fitting this song is about bouncing because that’s exactly what it’ll make you do around the house: Bounce, bounce! / the Mac Errol will make ya bounce bounce! / the Errol Mac will make ya bounce bounce!
@errol, “Productive Day”
Errol has said that he wishes he could live in a musical. Well, in that musical this would be his opening number as he bounces around the stage/set Gene Kelly style. Don’t listen to this before you’ve had your morning coffee (or in my case three morning coffees) as the chipperness will annoy the hell out of you, but it really is delightful. Dig the quintessential Errol moment at 01:31. Oh, and Errol, random idea for you: if there’s a way to embed a clickable mp3 link into it I think you could make the first musical comic book and it might—just might—work! And speaking of comics, check out a sample of Errol’s neato idea for commenting on FAWM: by using comic strips!
@juravial, “One Foot in Front of the Other”
I like ambitious and complex songs; I also like simple songs content to be what they are. Here’s a sweet country-esque ditty about being grounded and content with little. Besides, the title is pretty much the motto by which I live so for that alone this gets a shout-out. I was curious if the opening lines were parodying country clichés so I messaged the songwriter and he wrote back that yes, indeed, he was poking a bit of good-natured fun at those clichés but that his car and microwave really did break!
@leslie, “Just Be”
This song is the second time this month already that a FAWM song has triggered an allergy attack (stop it, FAWM, stop it). I want to impose a lot of personal commentary on this but will refrain from doing so. Instead let’s just listen and be swept along by Leslie Hudson’s cascading keys and luminescent voice. “Just be” indeed. “Just gorgeous” is more like it.
@leslie, ”Let it Steep”
I think that if I had to choose a theme song for where I have arrived in life at the moment it might be this. A shimmering paean to the simplest yet highest wisdom ever attained by the human race: that giving and loving and steeping in the joy they create are all that matter. The rest is death.
@meriamber, “Block Breaker”
Quite possibly the catchiest bit of pop perfection I’ve heard not just on FAWM but anywhere this year. This artist has an uncanny knack for grafting nerdy pop culture metaphors onto personal lyrics. Listen to it. Now. You won’t be disappointed.
@meriamber, “What We Were”
Meri Amber’s mean. First she’ll get you dancing and bobbing your head (or bouncing, if you’re @errol), and then she’ll leave your heart shredded in tatters with this break-up song. The raw pain in her voice at 02:24 will have you convinced this break-up occurred only a week ago.
@meriamber, “Our First Date”
Still picking up the pieces of your heart? Leave that s**t there on the floor. It’s time to dance and laugh again ‘cause only Meri Amber can mix awkward comedy with tenderness the way she does here: “[you said] you knew Judo and how to flip pancakes over / I begged you to show me a move / And you gave me a bleeding nose / I held a tissue to my face / And when our eyes met then time froze.”
This song’s actually from Week 1 but I discovered it in Week 2 so whatever. Just love how all these elements work so well together: the synth, singing, rap, the clever lyrics and humor, even the title.
If moms wrote angry punk songs (well, this one does!) this would be the result: “Dirty laundry on the stair / Smell of garbage in the air / Too much s**t is everywhere / I’m sick of it!” Will put a big smile on your face, guaranteed. Also check out Moonmyst’s gentler pagan-influenced folk songs.
@oddaustin, “Hansen’s Hoedown”
This cracked and hilariously irreverent song about a hoedown for lepers makes even my broken, diseased ass want to get up and bust a square dance move. And as someone who does in fact have respiratory issues, I can appreciate lines like: “Get down to the music as your legs start to melt / Get as down as your upper respiratory health.” Oh, how this song makes me happy. I hereby summon my sick brethren to come join me as I dance this medically hazardous night away. Yeeeeehaaaa—*gasp!* *wheeze!* *CLOMP*
@owl, “The Kick Galvanic”
Achingly sweet and lovely. I can feel the narrator’s earnestness here so deeply that I want to reach my hand into the clockworks of the cosmos and stop time just for her, so that she can bask there with her lover and I can witness their love and marvel at the miracle of it.
@pallidust, “Dark City”
As diverse as FAWM is I hadn’t been able to find any rap songs early on. So I posted a question about it in the forums and sure enough there were helpful responses thanks to which I discovered this superb nerdcore song about an underrated sci-fi film that’s one of my personal all-time favorites, Dark City. And as I wrote in my original comments to the songwriter, the “I’m the best” swagger of much of mainstream hip-hop tends to annoy me but when slipped into the context of a favorite mythical hero it becomes cathartic and meaningfully defiant.
@rickamorphis, “Schitt’s Weak Dog”
A week ago there was an incident in which a troll by the username of @xxxstepdaddy1 left the following very constructive comment on @jamesstaubes profile page:
And though I managed to miss most of it, apparently FAWM made it clear to @xxxstepdaddy1 that such trollish behavior wasn’t welcome here. And this being the kind of place that takes something bad and turns it into something good, there followed a string of songs tagged #swd paying tongue-in-cheek tribute to this day in FAWM history which will live in infamy. Some of these were quite good, and a few very funny, but for my list I chose to go with this amusing Oasis/Beatles-esque number.
@sapient, “The Furious Engines of Heaven”
Proud black metal for proud gods. Also gets my vote for the best song title on FAWM so far. And there needs to be a steampunk novel with this title—in a just world, there would be.
@sapient, “Choreography of Resistance”
I don’t care if you don’t like black metal. You have to listen to this all the way through, if only for the delightful surprise halfway in that somehow feels so natural, so unforced. Oh, @sapient, thou art the cartographer of my soul!
@sherrycanary, “That’s How I Know This is Love”
FAWM is, for the most part, a drama free place and that’s what I love about it. But these songwriters are human beings living in the human world, and the human world has drama. Apparently, this musician wrote this song for the person she thought was the love of her life. But just after she had finished it, and before getting a chance to present it, she found out that he had been cheating on her (she shared this publicly so I’m not spilling any new beans here). She posted the song anyway, and I think that is a testament to her bravery. The song becomes hard to listen to if you follow along with the lyrics, for obvious reasons. But if it’s hard for us to listen to imagine how hard it was for her to post it. Let’s honor her courage by listening. (Also check out “My Friends Will Lift Me Up” as a companion piece.)
@susyblue, “We Love Our Monsters”
This woman sounds like she stepped right out of my grandparents’ vintage gramophone—her voice so rich, so sumptuous. And as obsessed as I am with monsters both literal and figurative, I never stood a chance at resisting this one. If Susy Blue said, “I’m a monster, let me eat you,” I would say, “Yes, please? So long as you sing while you’re eating so I can hear your voice as I’m traveling through your esophagus.”
@susyblue, “Be Lovely, Be Loved”
I seriously cannot believe how much treasure is on FAWM. I mean, listen to this song! Listen to this voice! The rest of the world was watching and tweeting about the Grammys and I simply couldn’t be bothered to be pulled away from FAWM. My genuine feeling at the time was, to paraphrase Public Enemy: “Who gives a f**k about the goddamn Grammys?!”
@susyblue, “Hello Human”
If it drives you crazy when people can’t pry themselves away from their phones while being with you, this is the song for you. Did I mention Susy Blue’s amazing voice?
These collaborations on FAWM intrigue me and make me truly envious of musicians. This one has a very nice traditional feel, almost to the point where I feel like I’ve heard it many times before, only I know I haven’t. Listen and be instantly transported to a smoky saloon somewhere in the mythical Old West.
Funny R-rated version of the kind of Sesame Street records I used to listen to while growing up. It’s also like a comical rendition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” only the tormentor here isn’t the bird but an insidious bowl of alphabet soup. Yet it’s the same “spirit of perverseness” of Poe that compels the narrator to keep eating his words. Literally. Oh, the horror!