These days live video is all the rage (well, that and nostalgia, repetitious festivals, and getting too excited about things that don’t deserve it because you want to be “first”). But yeah, from Take-Aways to Black Cabs to P4K.tv, we have a variety of ways to see the people we like (or couldn’t give two shits about) doing their thing(s) on screens of various sizes. It’s often not worth the cheap digital video (or VHS or Super 8) it’s recorded on, but from time to time it can offer new entryways into a well-worn composition. For instance, in a performance of Distortion standout “The Nun’s Litany” backstage at Town Hall from this past winter, we see Stephin Merritt’s handwritten lyrics for the “list song” — it offers an archival feeling, in turn making the song feel like some sort of personal manuscript/notation. Fittingly, the spare recording allows us to listen to those words more closely than on the original. Merritt also talks about his bouzouki, which is more the kind of thing you’d expect to happen backstage.
“The Nun’s Litany”
“This Little Ukulele”
“This Little Ukulele” is from his soundtrack for Eban And Charley. You can read more about the performance at Other Music’s site.