Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Glass Graves (SCQ's Year-End Questionnaire Part III)

If bands like Arcade Fire were the stars of independent music in 2010, Gaby Graves was at least one of its faraway glimmers, hard to ignore and promising great things. Much of that potential can be heard on Glass Graves’ debut Architecture, of which Gaby outlines some history here.

SCQ: Every list-lover's favourite question: what are your top albums of 2010? Feel free to include any older yet worthy records you discovered this year.

GG: This year has brought many aural delights. The new Grinderman record and every gorgeous remix of its contents that the internet has delivered to me; Soviet League's debut LP; U.S. Girls' Go Grey. Just generally, I've loved so much on Sacred Bones and Siltbreeze this year. As for older records newly unearthed, I spent a lot of time in 2010 with the first few Chameleons UK records. In a magical synergy, I saw Mark Burgess play at a little club in San Francisco at the height of my obsession. It was lovely to hear him play the songs that I've grown so close to -- but even moreso, it was wonderful to see him having so much fun playing those songs.

SCQ: What were you listening to a lot of while recording your excellent album Architecture?

GG: I tend to cycle into specific albums and listen to them continuously for months. During the time I recorded Architecture, I was listening to Barry Adamson's As Above So Below (especially the song "Can't Get Loose" on terminal repeat); Curve's Gift; GZA's Liquid Swords; Bark Psychosis' Codename:Dustsucker; Afghan Whigs' Gentlemen; and Throwing Muses' University.

SCQ: Effect and Cause: Following our Cure-inspired conversation, I lay down with Architecture between my headphones expecting a sound loosely attached to the band's seminal Faith. Any fragility I expected in songs like 'Parachutes' and 'Corrine' was countered with a trembling alarm that evoked The Cure's Pornography more than anything. Okay, your turn: confess a true tale that inspired one of the songs from Architecture.

GG: I spent some time in Prague a few summers ago. I wrote The Twin in the bathtub at my hotel. I couldn't speak Czech and I was broke, so spent a lot of time at the Jewish cemetery, which was scattered with yellow wildflowers between the broken, stacked graves. I did read Kafka's journals when I was 19, as the song suggests -- I was obsessed with diaries then -- it started with Anais Nin and went straight through Plath, Camus, Kafka. When I got to Prague, the city felt heavy with Kafka's presence - I felt him with me on those cobbled stone streets, a hobbled Golem beside me. I felt marked there - I've never felt more Jewish, not even in Israel or the dusty upstate NY backroads near Canada where I grew up. The song carries that tension, and intention.

SCQ: If all the reasonable and implausible ideas in your head came to fruition in 2011, what would they be?

GG: You're not implying that it's unreasonable to hope Nick Cave will call me for an opening spot on the Grinderman tour, right? Other plans for 2011 include releasing a covers EP in the spring and starting to play lots of shows ... I'm also hoping to finish rewatching the entirety of the X-Files. The truth is out there...!

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