Week 163: “Strings of Complacency” by Twigs & Yarn


I walked past a yard sale the other day. Actually, it was more than a yard sale; it was one of those “street sales”, where a whole group of neighbours pick a Saturday, and agree that on that day they will simultaneously empty their basements onto their front lawns.

It’s a bizarre event when you think about it. Normally, if you were to put all your junk out on the front yard, people would cross the street to avoid you. But if you arrange everything in neat rows with price tags on them, you’ve gone from local crazy person to enterprising community builder.

I always liked yard sales, because it gives you the chance to snoop through someone’s belongings without breaking into their house. It’s like a giant, 3D scrapbook of that family’s life over the past 20 years. All the temporary hobbies their kids had, all the failed do-it-yourself projects, all the where-do-we-put-this gifts that accumulate over the years…they’re all right there on the lawn, eager to become part of someone else’s life.

My reason for rambling about yard sales is that listening to the Austin, Texas duo Twigs & Yarn is a bit like swimming in a pool filled with the leftovers of a thousand yard sales. Every dreamy song, while simple, is filled with ambient noise: found sounds, static, bells, music boxes…it’s got a layer of audio-dust that really seems to say “yard sale”.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The glockenspiel. Beginning at about 0:40, it’s a nice companion for the guitar.

2. The bass. Just after the 1-minute mark, it fades in and out with a repeating line that for some reason makes me think of a really big dog yawning.

3. The background noise. It’s not overwhelming by any means, but there’s a lot in there. A bit of singing, a bit of piano, some vinyl pops. Something new for every listen.

Recommended listening activity:

Opening old books and listening for the creaking sound.

Buy it here.