The 10-minute review – 22: Totally Mild

PLAY THIS VIDEO FIRST

I feel light-headed. Not in a good way. Any sort of movement and I might topple onto the floor, hard. Faint. Pass out.

GO BACK AND PLAY THE VIDEO

I have wanted to write about the sumptuous delightful new album from Melbourne’s Totally Mild for months now. Impotent, useless. The one trick I unceasingly tell my students to avoid without fail is the “this music is beyond description” trick – surrogate awe and hyperbole that serves nothing except to highlight the failings of the music critic. Talk about feeling faint, a plane ride you took through tropical monsoon weather in Boston where your plane got hit by lightning and dropped thousands of feet out the sky, the solitude of the late night pianist, priests, the way only bird song can be heard of a weekend in deepest Haywards Heath, quote old reviews and whistle gently down the wind but do not DO NOT ever admit defeat.

The other trick I tell them is “write anyway”.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GO BACK AND PLAY THE VIDEO

Another few weeks pass. Talk about your chess games, your fondness for Moulin Rouge, the way you once ran down Brunswick St in Melbourne like Jimmy Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life, music in its variegated depths and eddies and swells of emotion. Talk about predictability, fashion, desire. Do not DO NOT ever admit defeat.

PLEASE. PLAY THE VIDEO

I want to write about the new Totally Mild. It was a killer two-knight attack on a near-defenceless queen hampered by her own pawns. I want to write about the new Totally Mild album. It was late night, lairy, the music we heard was spectral, magical but still didn’t stop the small fists pummelling on my rib cage. Purple lipstick on her collar. Purple nail varnish for the road. Both that one song from Rainy Day and most of Opal were superior to Mazzy Star but we do not keep score. What matters is personal. Strictly ballroom. How often does music surprise you: the same band, the same album, over and over? How often can you say that about music? DO NOT admit defeat.

GO BACK AND PLAY THE VIDEO

If someone pulls the King’s Pawn Gambit on you, go for the jugular, the King’s Pawn itself. Do not admit defeat. During the 1908s I listened to Nancy Sinatra and Rainy Day. During the 1990s I drenched myself in alcohol and ennui and thought I understood the meaning of the word melancholy. During 2018 the only reason I do not confine myself to my bedroom is because there is a garden outside, and a sofa; no companions. HOW OFTEN CAN YOU SAY THIS? Do not admit defeat. This music is almost pornographic in the way it intoxicates. (Does pornography intoxicate? Of course not.) Play the video.

If stumped, quote yourself:

When Down Time was released in April it was, despite a flurry of favourable write-ups, mostly ignored. A crying shame really because this music – engorged, engaged, empowered bedroom sulk music, saturated with ennui and hope, and a love for the 1960s visions of Shadow Morton and the 2000s gush of Camera Obscura and the Concretes – is really as good as this music gets, which is plenty good.

Do not give up. NEVER give up.

Easy listening music that is the precise opposite of easy listening music.

PLAY THE VIDEO

I have no maps to paint you, just a straightforward finger point to the presence. The Presence.

GO BACK AND PLAY THE VIDEO

Please accept this. Beauty is found in the most mundane of places. Your smile, your eyes. This is like Nick Cave fully realised, his songs performed the way he always intended them to be. This (incidentally) is absolutely nothing like Nick Cave. However futile these words may be. The important thing here is document and eyewitness.

PLAY THE VIDEO

Spellbound once more.

 

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