That is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway. It is the world’s largest seed storage facility and was built to withstand nearly any type of global disaster. It contains duplicates of all the world’s seeds in case food production needs to be restarted if the supply is in peril. It is in a state of permafrost so even if all the power goes down, the seeds stay fresh. Crates of seeds are sent to Svalbard from all over the world to be stowed safely and securely in cold, dry vaults. Right, I am inexplicably fascinated with this place, both the building and the premise behind it. I have actually fantasized about what it would be like to work there which is incredibly weird and frankly I don’t understand either. And yes, I have used pictures of this thing as wallpaper. No sunsets or mountains for me, nope, give me a Norwegian seed storage facility built for doomsday scenarios any day. And so yeah, you can research after you read this and join my one person SGSV fan club where all we do is read about and look at pictures of it, as well as watch video tours, for reasons we can’t quite pinpoint.
Hey! It’s time for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs we’ve heard over recent days. They are beautiful starlit anthems to the last and all are currently tied for #1 on the PuR top of the pop chart. You can hear ’em below on Soundcloud or Spotify. I also attached a link for the new Julien Baker album Little Oblivions, which is equal parts intense, rockin’ and tuneful and just plain good.
That’s late, heroic, sacrificial, stray Soviet space dog Laika (1954-1957) as depicted in an extraordinarily weird and in retrospect somewhat disturbing drawing I did about 10 years ago. I’d become completely obsessed with her story for a bit, reading books, watching docs and ultimately applying a sticker with her picture onto my computer ( like you do) where she still lives today. This drawing actually gives me the creeps but I genuinely meant for it to be a “tribute”.
But HEY, welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring finest songs that have crossed our path over recent days. They are lush and sweet, tuneful and otherworldly and are all surely tied for the #1 spot in the charts over on Earth 2. You can hear ’em on Soundcloud or Spotify below fellow space dogs. Rock on…
NYC has been hit with a lot of snow lately. Coincidentally I’d already been toiling away on a drawing of a snowman when the weather took this turn. He’s just part of the nerdy Genesis Illustrated Lyrics book I’ve been making for “fun” (representing the song “Snowbound”) but his appearance was oddly well-timed. NYC is the absolute worst place to land if you are an actual snowflake (you are gonna get dirty and be disrespected the moment you make land). I can also confirm there are currently a lot of half finished, headless and abandoned snow-people in Central Park. I was going to include a picture but thought it might be too sad and disturbing, so yeah please enjoy this ice crystal-ed ballpoint snowguy making a snow angel instead…Know what else ? It’s time for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST, featuring the absolute finest songs we’ve heard over recent days. Not sure what was in the water, but this week’s playlist is generally pretty rockin’, offering up a lot of power-introspection, a little crying on the stairs, a mad nod to history as well as several mentions of California. It’s all awesome and you can listen below on Soundcloud or Spotify. Rock on…
New month, new deranged ballpoint drawing. More importantly welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the most lustrous and brilliant songs that have crossed our path in recent days. You can listen on Soundcloud or Spotify below and I swear I’m not being hyperbolic here, they are all really good.
In regards to the blog, since my mega-housecleaning of its environs last week I’ve been writing all kinds of demented, self-indulgent tributes to pop music people and things so look out for some goofy new stuff this coming week.
One last quick thing! In addition to the members of the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS, I want to give a shout out to the new album by The Staves, Good Woman because it is damn good. While I have included tracks from it within the aforementioned WONDERS playlist, I strongly encourage you to listen to the whole album…in fact, know what, I’ll attach the links to it below to make it easier. Rock on friends…
I did a bit of blog house cleaning this week (understatement). I added more descriptive Topics, deleted vague/redundant ones and then moved posts under their correct umbrellas. I fixed and/or deleted broken links and tried make things look more consistent. I desperately attempted to correct the avalanche of incorrect punctuation and grammar that I’ve allowed to run wild on the site (uh, that’s an ongoing project). In a couple of cases I edited some poorly expressed emotions. Basically I just tried to make it easier and more intuitive to navigate PuR in all its unbridled insanity/hyperbole. It is by no means perfect…but I hope it’s at least a few centimeters better.
Every week I post the WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST on Soundcloud and Spotify so you have a choice. But since I’m in clean up mode, there are a couple of factoids regarding each service I just wanted to make you aware of:
All the WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLISTS in the history of PuR (!!!), dating back to 2017, are available on my Soundcloud page if you ever want trawl through the pop history ( I 100% approve of such crazy behavior). Just click on the new playlist below to get to the page.
And just a note that the old WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLISTS are not archived on Spotify, only on the aforementioned Soundcloud. Things can get cluttered on Spotify so it’s easier to just keep reusing the same template each week.
If you want to read additional hyperbolic scribbles from me, I also write stuff for Cover Me, the home for everything in the cover version universe. There you will find news, features and a bunch of awesomely talented writers who make me sound even more amateurish than I do here on PuR. I attached a link on the homepage under “blogroll” or you can use the link here)! If you’ve ever wondered why I f-ing curse so f-ing much here on f-ing PuR it’s because I’m not allowed to do that kind of thing on Cover Me which is definitely for the best.
Hey, HEY wake up we’re finally here!
Welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST starring the finest new songs we’ve heard over recent days. They are all as lustrous and beautiful as a sky full of both stars and fireflies. Listen below with love…
The odds of seeing not one but 2 discarded pink bears in less than 24 hours in 2 NYC locations miles apart has to be akin to those of winning Powerball. While there is some sadness here, I like to think that now that these bears have done their karmic earthly penance, they are ready to move on to a better place. And Bear # 2 is so dirty it’s clear he’s seen some shiz & has earned his freedom. Of course as a lame human I am wondering if there is some cryptic message they are trying to send & am pretending it’s a mystically good one that will show itself over the next day or so. Speaking of good, welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the absolute finest songs we have heard in recent days. They are all exquisite, embraceable heart barnacles.You can listen on Soundcloud or Spotify below. Dreaming of the pink bears…
There is an awesome interview with the wondrous and brilliant Marianne Faithfull in the The Guardian this week which I highly recommend (read it here). In it she ruminates about being a muse to the grandest Rolling Stones songs (“A muse ? That’s a shit thing to be”), smoking (“Oh man, I wish I’d never picked up a cigarette in my life”)…and how close she came to dying during her recent bout with covid-19 (she was so ill that at one point it was recommended she be treated with “palliative care only”). While Marianne’s 1979 album Broken English album is rightfully regarded as her masterpiece I have to admit my absolute favorite song of hers comes from from one of her (far) less popular albums, 1983’s A Child’s Adventure. It’s called “Morning Come” (listen here) and is a million miles from the usual gritty graceful power hymns Marianne usually serves up. It is delicate and extremely melodic and while it does mention “riding on a hummingbird’s wings”, it isn’t happy. It’s more on the darkly hopeful side, a sweet and swoon-worthy heartbreaker.
When will the morning come? I wait in darkness so long Will the sun ever rise again? Hours flowing over me I wait in vain for some change Will light ever pierce this pain?
“Morning Come” was the first song that came to mind as I read the last paragraph of the interview. A Doctor had told her that her lungs would likely never recover from the virus. Marianne goes on to say “Where I finally ended up is: OK, maybe they won’t, but maybe, by a miracle, they will. I don’t know why I believe in miracles. I just do. Maybe I have to, the journey I’ve been on, the things that I’ve put myself through, that I’ve got through so far and I’m OK. Does that sound really corny?…we must be hopeful – it’s really important. And I am, yes. I’m bloody still here.” As if we need any more reason to go blast some bloody Marianne 🌹
Welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new music we’ve heard over the past week, one that was absolutely stuffed with wondrous, weird, in your face pop music (I’m tellin’ you we were absolutely blessed). You can listen below to the songs currently tied for Number # 1 over on earth 1 where they are hopefully having better days than those of us here on earth 2. On a hummingbird’s wings…
That’s Sandy Denny (1947-1978), the late, legendary British vocalist & songwriter. Her birthday is January 7th & so I was thinking a lot about her this week. She is rightfully recognized as one the greatest vocalists ever to come out of the UK but that’s underselling her. It’d be more accurate to say she’s one of the greatest voices that the universe itself has ever produced. And good lord, her songwriting, sigh. Folk songs but pop songs. Epic & still utterly accessible. Mystical, romantic & melodic. Cryptic & obscure yet completely relatable. All delivered with a voice of unspeakable warmth & power. She was a contemporary of Nick Drake, part of the same scene, on the same label, utilizing the same producer but has received nowhere near the accolades & attention he has over the years. Uh oh, yeah, get ready, I’m gonna say it; I think she was better than him (more genius songs & of course that voice). The best quote about Sandy came in 2010 from Rachel Unthanks, an otherworldly singer in her own right; “Don’t listen to her ! You’ll realize that the rest of us are wasting your time”. This week has been horrific but a little Sandy can go a long way to quelling nightmares & calming the soul. And so pop on some “Northstar Grassman”, “Next Time Around” or best of all her signature song “The Lady” & let yourself get transported to another century for a few minutes, it’s just the most insanely beautiful medicine & damned if we all couldn’t use some right now.
And with that I welcome you to the first WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST of 2021 featuring the finest new songs we’ve heard over recent days ! They are also beautiful to the core & I am genuinely glad they exist at this insane juncture of humanity. Hopefully they too transport you to a peaceful place. Rock on…
This past week legendary NPR Program Director/Host & full-on music champion Rita Houston passed away. Back in the early ’90s we worked together at HMV in NYC where she was the store DJ. She was the coolest & I had a lot of fun nerding out with her over bands & exchanging mix tapes ( “you’ve gotta hear this !”). I was obsessed with singer John Martyn at the time & was so desperate for someone to get him like I did that I gave her my special mix cassette that I used to play before I went to sleep every night. But my main memory of her has nothing to do with the nerd stuff.
Another Bad Creation were an R & B boy band discovered by Michael Bivins of New Edition. And they were literally boys, with average age of about 10. They had a couple of hits with truly infectious bubblegum new jack swing songs “Iesha” & “Playgound” which you should absolutely check out on YouTube. We did a little in-store one day & Rita had to actually interview them, these 5 little kids in the DJ booth. There were a gaggle of similarly aged girls screaming as Rita was asking them questions. And she was unbelievably cool with these kids, didn’t talk down to them, asked them funny questions & it was literally the sweetest thing ever. At one point they spontaneously started singing “Iesha” over Rita’s DJ booth mike which prompted a singalong with the girl fans joining in ( “Iesha so glad to meetcha”, I can still hear it now ). But the best part came last. After they emerged from the booth, Rita came out smiling & almost emotional. Because she’d been so cool to them, these little kids, they all literally raced to hug her when it was done & it had totally taken her by surprise. “They all hugged me !” she said. They’d been so enamored with her warmth & kindness that it literally turned them from posing boy idols into little kids wanting hugs from DJ Rita who’d been so nice to them. I know it seems like such a tiny thing in light of all she accomplished but it was the first thing that popped in my head upon hearing of Rita’s passing & I’m telling you it was as sweet as it sounds.She was just the coolest.
And now I welcome you to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest songs that have crossed our path this week. They are gorgeous & wonderful to the last. You can listen on Soundcloud or Spotify. Hope you find a song to fall in love with. Rock on.
As great as Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas album is, once December hits, I tend to crave a sound even more grim, ghostly, wintry & demented, specifically something by Kate Bush from 2011…which is to say we are now officially in 50 Words For Snow season. The album’s contents are eerie, epic, melodic & often weird as shit & it may well be a straight up masterpiece. It features the most erotic song ever written about a snowman in the history of recorded music (“Misty”) & its ballads offer the most empathetic embrace you’re gonna get this side of Mom. A big ole snowstorm is descending on NYC in a few days & I’m actually looking forward to watching it whirl around out the window to the strains of the blessed 50 Words. What a perfect freakin’ album.
And now, welcome to the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest new songs that have crossed our path this week ! They are all exceedingly beautiful & hopefully #1’s in a sweeter universe. You can listen on Soundcloud or Spotify below.