Who Needs Who

by angeliska on September 30, 2012

You could read every word I wrote
Follow the trail back to when I was young
You could read every word I wrote
In some attempt to understand what has begun, but it’s beyond me

– It’s a Secret
I listened to Dark Dark Dark’s new album for the first time on the subway in New York, last month. Well, actually – that’s a lie. Last summer, a friend let me have a secret listen on headphones to some of the unrecorded tracks. I sat on my bed and played them over and over. I didn’t yet know exactly how, but I knew those songs would be important to me – I knew somehow that I would need them, later. It was painful handing them over, knowing I wouldn’t get to hear them again for at least another year. I had been hooked on their second album Wild Go all that year, and listened to it and the Bright Bright Bright EP constantly. I pre-ordered Who Needs Who as soon as I got the notification from Supply and Demand, and waited patiently for the day I’d get to sit with those songs again. It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, really. Certain albums have a way of doing that sometimes – becoming constant companions through hardships, heartbreaks, or happier times. I sat on the train that afternoon, my shoulders rocking against the strangers jammed in next to me, and let the music unfurl into my ears. I knew immediately that these ten songs would be a succor, a balm to my brokenness, a thumb to suck in the dark. Every lyric, every note fit in, felt like poignant illustrators of exactly where my heart has been. Though I know that these songs were written from their own place of loss and love, it’s easy to feel like they could be written for mine. But that’s the magic of good songwriting, of a perfect break-up album, really – and as far as break-up albums go, this one is as honest and kind as it gets. There’s not a lot of bitterness or recrimination here – no real anger at what went down, but instead, a wistfulness, some regret, and a lot of longing. It’s not really a sad album, though – it’s just true, and the simple beauty of it makes my breath catch in my chest at times. It’s raw and forlorn and solemn and then it does a little dance despite it all. It’s this that I am most grateful for – to hear songs that speak to my sore and battered heart, but that don’t pander to its bruises, don’t let it be a victim. Better to have loved and lost, and even better to do so, and still find a way to dance – even if it’s just a waltz with a rag mop or a slow tap dance in an empty room. I sat on the train and listened to those songs, tears streaming down my face, lost in the music. Walter’s trumpet soars over the piano keys, over these aching lyrics, transcendent. Marshall’s banjo thrums in my belly, his clarinet curls around my wrist like smoke, tugging at me. The swaying of the train shakes my body in time with the drumbeat. Gruff old men seemed more tender somehow, harried mothers with strollers shoving past, their children’s faces suffused with wonder or petulance – all the sweaty, frustrated commuters, underground in the city in late August – they all seemed to be floating underwater, suddenly serene, all unknowingly part of my secret heartbreak world.
This song is my heart stripped bare, naked and shivering in a room that we used to share:

Tell Me
I want to live in the time when you cherished me
Oh to go back to the place when your hands moved over me

Nona’s voice is one of my favorite voices. It is pure and real, strong and unaffected. There is so much honesty there – and a willingness to be vulnerable that I admire and respect. I cry nearly every time I listen to Who Needs Who – which is all the time, lately. If I have a song playing in my head at any time for the last few weeks, it can usually be guaranteed that it’s one of these ten. Even more special is knowing that this music was made by people I care enormously about, some dear friends. It’s always amazing to watch a band’s evolution over the years, but even more so when you know them, when you get to see them consistently here and there. They are still as scrappy and lovable as when you might expect to see them busking on a street corner or playing by the light of a burning trash barrel in an abandoned warehouse, but now they get to tour Europe, and caress and destroy people’s hearts all over the place. I love that so much.

Who Needs Who
All I have: the memory of trust
I try to keep it close
And all I have: the memory of trust
I swallow it whole
And from the mouth of you
A constant coo:
Who needs who?

This title track has been one of the songs that simultaneously soothes and taunts me – a question that I can’t answer. When I try, the answer seems to change daily, to reverse itself, always transforming. It reminds me of something someone said to me recently – I turn it over and over like a smooth stone under my tongue. I’ve been reconsidering the idea of need, the thought the we truly need anything or anyone. The pressure that word puts on us. Needs, wants, desires. Also: before I read the lyric sheet, I had interpreted “and from the mouth of you – a constant coo” as “a constant coup”, – an unexpected blow or strike. Imagine my surprise at the far gentler revelation. Or is it, really?
“Who needs you? With no one sayin’ I do, I do…”

– Without You
Oh all all of the words you said
They flutter around me like leaves in the wind
And oh all all of the words we shared
Are fireflies lighting the night for me
And oh all all of the times we had
I keep them with all my best memories

“Tell Me” is the first single from “Who Needs Who”, the new album from Dark Dark Dark, released October 2nd in the US on Supply & Demand/Revolver, October 1st in the UK/EU on Melodic.
For more info and to order, go to: http://brightbrightbright.com
If you’re not convinced yet, you can stream Who Needs Who over at Stereogum
Track by Track: Nona Marie Invie talks about the stories and inspiration behind each of the tracks on Who Needs Who.
Also in constant rotation for me lately, a side project of Nona’s: Anonymous Choir Sings Leonard Cohen

Photograph by Tod Seelie
Who Needs Who is officially released on October 2nd in the US on Supply & Demand/Revolver, October 1st in the UK/EU on Melodic. The US tour begins the day after – please go see them play, wherever you are. I’ll be at the show on the 19th in Houston, because I’ve got a wedding there on the 20th. Don’t miss them when they play your town! They are marvelous live, and also total sweethearts that you will fall in love with.
Wednesday, October 3rd – Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center
Saturday, October 6th – Chicago, IL – Schubas
Monday, October 8th – Hudson, NY – Helsinki Hudson
Tuesday, October 9th – Boston, MA – Great Scott
Wednesday, October 10th – Providence, RI – The Met
Thursday, October 11th – Northampton, MA – Iron Horse
Friday, October 12th – Brooklyn, NY – The Knitting Factory
Saturday, October 13th – New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge
Sunday, October 14th – Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery
Monday, October 15th – Washington, DC – DC9
Tuesday, October 16th – Durham, NC – The Pinhook
Wednesday, October 17th – Atlanta, GA – The 529
Thursday, October 18th – New Orleans, LA – Cafe Istanbul
Friday, October 19th – Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s
Saturday, October 20th – Austin, TX – Holy Mountain
Sunday, October 21st – Denton, TX – Dan’s Silverleaf
Wednesday, October 24th – Santa Fe, NM – Sol Santa Fe
Friday, October 26th – Denver, CO – Hi-Dive
Saturday, October 27th – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
Sunday, October 28th – Boise, ID – Visual Arts Collective
Monday, October 29th – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile Cafe
Tuesday, October 30th – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
Thursday, November 1st – Santa Rosa, CA – Arlene Francis Center
Friday, November 2nd – Oakland, CA – The New Parish
Saturday, November 3rd – San Francisco, CA – Bottom Of The Hill
Monday, November 5th – Los Angeles, CA – The Echoplex
Tuesday, November 6th – San Diego, CA – Luce Loft
More bits about Dark Dark Dark from Gazette posts of yore:


Just listened to “who needs who”–it is gorgeous. Actually probably the most played song on my soundtrack this summer was their “Bright Bright Bright”–I assume you’ve heard it?..

by Nica on September 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm. Reply #

Dear Nica,
Oh yes indeed! That whole album, for sure… Been thinking of you, pretty one. How are you?

by Angeliska on September 30, 2012 at 1:43 pm. Reply #

up and down and stormy and calm. I think of you often! So sad I missed you in NY again. you are not going to be in SF in November by chance, are you?
Also do you know this song? I thought you might like it.

by Nica on September 30, 2012 at 1:48 pm. Reply #

so good.

by elly on October 1, 2012 at 2:21 am. Reply #

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