Category Archives: What I’m Listening to These Days

Cigarettes After Sex — “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” and Other Love Songs

The seventh episode of The Handmaid’s Tale ended with this song, “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby,” by an ambient pop group named Cigarettes After Sex. I’ve had them on heavy rotation for the last two weeks.

Cigarettes After Sex is, basically, a Brooklyn-by-way-of-Texas singer-songwriter named Greg Gonzalez and an evolving troop of collaborators. In 2012, Gonzalez recorded the first and so far only Cigarettes After Sex EP in a stairway at his alma mater, University of Texas at El Paso. He released a handful of singles over the following five years, and, somewhere along the way, attracted an online following. The audio-only YouTube version of “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” currently shows more than 62 million plays.

Cigarettes After Sex released a self-titled début album earlier this summer. The music reminds me of the Cowboy Junkies and Mazzy Star, but it’s even more lush and sensual than that of those 80s virtuosi. The band’s name certainly captures the mood of its music.

The cover photography, btw, is by Man Ray.


Here are some of the singles. Audio only.

“Affection” (2015)

“K.” (2016)

“Each Time You Fall in Love” (2017)

Frank Bango — “Candy Bar Killer”

Frank Bango’s 1999 Fugitive Girls has been my wake-up CD for the last week. With vocals and music by Bango, and lyrics by Richy Vesecky, this is one of those timeless power pop gems that stays forever fresh. After all these years, I still discover something new every time I listen to it.

“There was a yellow bottle
dropping white pills into pink lemonade…”

“Now they call her the Candy Bar Killer
for the wrapper she left by his side
‘It’s such fun to be beautiful and young,’
she cried.”


You can download the entire album, legally and at no cost, from the Free Music Archive.

David Bowie — “No Plan”

David Bowie died a year ago today. At least, that’s the theory. There’s been speculation online that he simply created a new planet, and that all the other famous “deaths” that followed in 2016 were just the result of his gathering up some talented, creative people to live there.

Maybe so. A couple of days ago, on what would have been Ziggy Stardust’s 70th birthday, somebody released this video for Bowie’s “No Plan”.

Here’s an audio-only video of Sophia Anne Caruso singing the same song, on the Lazarus cast album:

Patrick Watson — “Lighthouse” and “To Build A Home”

Over the holidays, I saw a British Ikea ad that used Patrick Watson’s  “Lighthouse” as its soundtrack. It reminded me of how much I like his music.

The above video is from a performance of “Lighthouse” at the Village Underground on West Third Street in New York.

The video for “To Build A Home” was recorded 10 years ago with the Cinematic Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in London. The Barbican Centre is the largest performing arts centre in Europe.