Words & Music by Julie Margat
Mastering by Ben Arnow (Village Sound Group)
HUMAN PROBLEMS AND HOW TO SOLVE THEM
Release Date : 06/2002
Format : CD
Label : Ponytail Records / Antimatière
4-track demos recorded & mixed by julie in various bedrooms between 1997 & 2000
01. Girls & Boys Make Songs
03. I Love My Recorder
04. Nobody Cares
05. Ice Cream Man
06. Electric Blanket
07. Juvenile Delinquent
08. Winona Forever (Tattoo Song)
09. Coffee Machine
10. Murder Song
11. Secret Special Plan
12. Space Rocket
13. Keep The Company Amused
It couldn’t be simpler. A friend slips a note, a tape, a CD into your hand; whispers a name in the dead of night. It couldn’t be simpler. You fall head over heels.
So it goes with Lispector. A name so whispered and who thus becomes the latest addition to my list of 21st Century obsessions. For today and for maybe this week at least. Probably longer, if truth be told, but let’s not leap ahead of ourselves here, right?
I mean, how can you not adore someone who has a song called ‘juvenile delinquent’ and who writes lyrics like “Girls make songs in their bedrooms, Girls want to sing like Debbie Harry”? How can you not fall completely in love with someone who has a song called ‘Chaos In The Studio’, in which it sounds like the singer might actually be singing about cows in the studio? Imagine that. Cows in the studio. They’d inevitably make a more appealing noise than most dolts who are given the keys to the music machine these days, but hmmm, let’s not get negative here, right? Because this is a celebration. This is L.O.V.E. love.
It’s a celebration of a great story that like all the best Pop stories couldn’t be made up. It’s a story of a silver four-track recorder delivered to a country house in the depths of France; a story of an artist making it up as she goes along; making a sense of technology and her life through songs that sparkle like mountain dew, or perhaps like Stephin Merritt messing around with Young Marble Giants (yes, it’s really that good). It’s a story of plucking a name from a magazine article about a glorious Ukrainian born Brazilian author simply because you liked the sound of the word, and then finding the books are sublime, so of course it all fits. It’s a story of home-modified keyboards with thumbtacks stuck into circuit boards and it’s a story of the artist having the good sense to record the very process of the process in a song called ‘I love my recorder’ that sounds like it believes in the heart and soul of electronics as a power for personal escape, deliverance, or maybe just plain old joy.
Like the joy of a song called ‘Winona Forever (Tattoo Song)’, and a line that goes “My head explodes once a week, that s pretty intense don’t you think?” Which reminds me of something I said last week to my Year 11 class; “If you’re not falling in love at least once a week when you’re 16 then you’re not really trying”. And in fact I figure you could apply that to any age. And maybe too it should be once a day.
Today I am in love with Lispector. It couldn’t be simpler.
Today I am in love with the most wonderfully odd cover of ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ you’re ever likely to hear. Even in your dreams. Today I am in love with the moment Julie (let’s not worry about second names because second names are an irrelevance, as Lawrence will attest) sings, in ‘Coffee Machine’, that “You could be my new and my secret Beat Happening”. I’m so in love I want to leap off the ceiling and yelp ‘right on’. Only using less syllables. And making less sense.
Today I am in love with the image of the Lispector army already growing and prowling the streets of downtown New York with their apple cheeks and leggings rouched to within an inch of their lives, wearing Tatty Devine headphones and clutching their hand-screened shopping bags with the simple legend ‘J’Aime Lispector’.
Today I am in love with this delicious album called human problems and how to solve them (Ponytail records, out of the USA, or Antimatiere out of France) and in particular with the outstanding raw power of the honest precision of a line that repeats ‘it’s a very personal thing’ so it sounds like the Ultimate Truth cascading from the heavens. Which of course, when it comes to Pop, it most assuredly is.
It couldn’t be simpler.
Alistair Fitchett, Careless Talks Costs Lives (2003)