|Mashina (crossposted from Tumblr)
||[Jan. 19th, 2013|12:34 am]
"Gobs of hickeys with Duran Duran"
Mashina - “Send Me An Angel”
“משינה - “שלח לי מלאך
The more things change, you know? It’s past midnight. Friday night. I’m lying in bed and listening to Mashina (משינה in Hebrew). And I just had this… well, let me explain. So Mashina is one of the best known Israeli rock bands. They’ve been around since the early 80s. Back then they sounded like Madness. Seriously, it’s straight up Madness worship. It’s amazing. Later albums were more Pixies-like. And after that it kind of goes downhill. Still, from 1984 to 1993, from the self-titled album to Si Ha-Regesh (שיא הרגש), they were golden. Or at least my adolescent self thought so.
I was five years old in 1984 and a couple years after that I started getting interested in music. The first two Mashina albums are some of the initial stuff I remember obsessing over. I don’t know where I got the tapes or even if they were dubbed or originals. I’m basically an only child - three half-siblings who are far older - and so I suspect that I might have dubbed the tapes from my friend’s sister’s collection. I would listen to those two albums over and over again. I was eight or nine at that point.
The only other album I remember being mine and not something I borrowed from my parents’ collection was some compilation of Disney-themed songs. You know, the kind where Donald Duck sings about going to the big dance and the Chipmunks are on some kind of vacation. I played that a bunch at the going away/birthday party my mom threw for me when we moved from Jerusalem to Zichron Ya’acov when I was 10. That’s a different story.
What I loved about Mashina and what I still very much appreciate about the band was just how clever they were. Sure, a large chunk of the tracks are the standards: heartbreak, friendship, loss, that sort of thing. But at the same time, they had songs about some really absurd and weird stuff. The video I posted, “Send Me An Angel”, is a plea not for a woman or whatever but for someone or something who can take him away from all this and bring him to a place that doesn’t suck as much. Everything is delivered with a heavy dose of Israeli sarcasm: the narrator knows that nothing is going to change but he figures there’s no harm in asking. And that video is ridiculous and fun.
Also: saxophone, accordion, keyboards, and lots of silliness. They had songs about zebras, people shrinking into nothingness, a secret agent who murdered the devil, and a thinly veiled and rather nifty punk cover of Bob Dylan’s “The Hurricane”. At the same time, they also addressed the Occupation and just how fucked the Israeli identity is with enough sincerity to appeal to my budding left wing politics. It was catchy and clever as hell and I loved it. Hell, I still do. That’s what started this post off, the memories of lying in bed late at night with headphones on and listening to Mashina. That started when I was nine or so and probably continued until I was 18. By that point my mom and I were living in the States. My father was still in Israel, where he would remain until he died about eight years ago. He’d send me music sometimes, basically whatever was popular with the mainstream youth at that moment. Even when I started getting into goth and industrial - I really didn’t listen to punk until I was 18 - I still had a soft spot for Israeli rock music. And the fact that I’m 33 now and still listening to this stuff is pretty emblematic of the fact that it never went away.