Thursday, December 6, 2007

SO, SO ESSENTIAL

Les Savy Fav
Sometimes it takes a little of the old to shake up the new. LSV can safely be tagged old these days (been at it since the decade that came before this one), especially in the ‘love you today, hate you tomorrow’ industry of cool. LSV are known as an off the cuff collaborative, whose albums have sounds that smear any established genre, creating a brilliant template for ‘more successful’ bands to steal from. Often is the case when you make radiant music that doesn’t click with the popular trends or pigeonhole you in a suitably designed arena for review and peers to stack up against. Let’s Stay Friends is a screaming reminder of the days when music was more concerned with message and innovativeness than trends and being hip. Has your skin grown thick from bands that make you sick? Pots and Pans, the album opener, explodes off the stove and flings hot, messy sauce all over the walls and ceiling, streaking across the floor. It ruins every other bands dinner and makes no apologies for doing so. LSV make a case for being such a superior band the easy way; they just remind you that most everything you hear is just crap and what you should listen to is a band with heart. Over the course of the album the message is loud (real loud), we don’t give a fuck how popular you are, we were here first, we helped invent this and we are back to show you how it is supposed to be done. When you give this album its due listen you find yourself constantly saying, I know that riff, these lyrics, and these song structures, shit this whole sound, why do I know it all so well? How do they sound like British pop, New York indie, west coast punk and a Pacific Northwest grunge band all at the same time? I’ll tell ya why. It’s their sound, the paved the way. Sorry to sound like such a putz, but this is the most fun I’ve had with an album all year. Glad to have you back and glad you still kick ass.
This is where it stops And this is where it ends Let's tear this whole place down and build it up again This band's a beating heart and it's nowhere near its end

Deer Tick
He’s a sonofabitch really. He drags you through every damn sad story you’ve ever heard. He makes you ponder your life, your relationships and your place in the world you know. That guitar twangs along, plucking at you, finding weak points and then plucking deeper ‘til it just hurts to hear it. His voice don’t do much in way of soothing ya neither. So just what the hell is it that makes this little piece such a melodically challenged beaut? It hits you just as much in the heart and the head as it does the eardrums, and man does it hit hard. Each song has its on story, which is how this whole thing got started; so it’s nice to hear someone make it sound so simple once again. The voice draws an image of a faceless man treading the empty roads by the light of an old kerosene lantern. It’s not lost so to say; it’s just not sure where it needs to be going. Stuck in the past, trudging in the knee-deep mistakes it’s made, it wants to apologize but either can’t find the right words to do so or it’s misplaced the will to admit its done wrong to begin with. The songs are scratchy in the sincerest of ways, keeping you attuned to what’s being unfolded without ever really sounding in tune at all. It’s a bit of a back alley, nickel shop sounding record, cheaply recorded without what seems to be a true drawing focus to what the intent was. In the same argument you might find one saying it’s downright made like it oughtta be heard. Variation in song volumes, mixed amps on instruments on various tracks and the drop note, kill close to Ashamed, really does sound of something earnest and all of its own right. If I had to call it, I’d say it’s the bar band nature of this Warring beast that gives it a backbone. It sure ain’t the prettiest of sounding things you’ll bend your ears to, but it goes down easy and sets up just right.

White Stripes
Icky, choppy and all kinds of riffy, King White makes his mark on guitar legendry once again. Jack dumped the piano off at the neighbors and uncovers bizarre goodies from the yard sale whilst prepping to unleash this heavily Euro influenced ditty. Bold aspirations have always been the ace up the sleeve for the Detroit Duo, but when over zealousness cast a shadow on Get Behind Me Satan, the former lovers needed to regroup. Regrouping apparently means digging deep down in that bottomless rhinestone studded leather bag of good timing tricks Jack keeps at his hip, for the guitar returns and it brings a few nasty accomplices to come play along. When the title track screeches into high gear ain’t nobody foolin’ nobody bout who’s brought the heavy and twisted this go around. Far from the sounds of their humble orgins, the Stripes are veteran and sneakily playing with a creative fever that teeters on a dirty disease. 300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues is the most aptly tagged track this vinyl owns; it’s downright filthy the way them kids fling themselves back and forth from blues to rock to metal to blues to some stuff you wouldn’t never tell your mother ‘bout, least you be sent to your room without supper. Now how the mates in question thunk up a rendition of Conquest like this’n, then smash their whole soundsystem with Little Cream Soda and flipped the whole mess so’s it gushed out to all corners of the studio just so’s they’s can dance in the slop belting out Catch Hell Blues…it’s elICKYtric! A little Southern Sass to light up that ass. Southern UK that is. The wizard on the mountain is Rag and Bone, the supreme parody driven/satirical song I’ve ever heard (sorry Ween). The red and white have reclaimed the Thump, and that’s music to my ears.

Josh Ritter
With a title like that a listener may just make the mistake of believing they are about to hear a greatest hits album or a collection of classic tracks redone…they would mistaken, foolishly mistaken. Irony of course being the foresight of the title. It refers not to a yesterday, it echoes onward to a time when we can look back and see where the Conquest of Ritter was defined, today. It’s not that this is the first time Ritter has written stunning songs or even assembled a triumphant album; it’s just that this time he knew this was going change his musical namesake while he was making it. This is a profound collection, expounding and expanding what has been dabbled with before, just never fully delved into. Nothing is held back here. Be it a slow waltz of a song or a galloping barn burner, all the preconceived notions of what an outfit like this is capable of are swept under rug. I love the way it moves, I love the way it grooves. I dig the meaning and feel the attitude. Can see the accomplishment and lift it’s might. Burning as the sunset that welcomes the night. It does so much and it does it right. It’s brilliant. It’s rocking, loose but with care. Did I mention how I love you in your underwear? Love songs, yeah you’ve heard ‘em for sure. But have you ever heard the bleeding heart of the Next to the Last Romantic before? Doubt you’ve felt the rhythm of Still Beating, Empty Hearts; leaving the others To the Dogs or Whoever from the start. You think you know Ritter, just Rumors. When the time comes you won’t refer to ‘knowing’ or ‘having heard’ you’ll tell ‘em all when you were laid waste by the Conquest.

Band of Horses
Condensation peaks, assembles, bubbles and runs down the slope of the cool glass against the heat of the day. In the south we like it sweet. Real sweet. Maybe we take it that way to agitate the Yankees, maybe we just know better. Any way you slice it, tea is always better served sweat and iced with a wedge of lemon. It’s almost a perfect drink. Simple, smooth, with a little pick-me-up. If you like, you can sneak a little more of that pick-me-up in there. Personally, I take to the sweat tea of beer, High Life, of course. It’s more than a beer; it’s a statement, a way of doing things. Simple, and just enough of everything you’re looking for. I kinda think Band of Horses had that mentality when they set out to record their breathtaking yet smooth and simple sophomore album, Cease to Begin. Even the title begets ease. A notion or pause just before act. So often bands are quick to enter the high moments, cluttering songs. Patience is a wise man’s virtue. Let the songs build, let the reverb fill the air, allow the voice to bellow and open the guitars when the moment strikes. Steeped in the country tendencies of a South Carolina upbringing, the Pacific Northwest’s folk heroes return home, just in time to catch the Dawgs on the tube. The album has many facets, yet at no time is there a feel that the band has lost touch or turned a poor direction. It’s the kind of album you listen to with a Lab, a bucket of beer and some true pals. Band of Horses has defined a role as the new leading southern rock band, and despite a few temptations, they seem prepared to stay sincere to their roots and keep the Carolina vibe alive. Drink this one up, it’s as refreshing as they come and yeah there’s plenty pick-me-up in there to boot.

LCD Soundsystem
You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan,and the next five years trying to be with your friends again.
It’s a cliché latenight in a swanky town, sipping top shelf with the kind of friends that’ll let you down. It’s bored with you before it had a clue you couldn’t keep up. It talks through you as if you were in the way. It builds and builds, just to keep you in your place. And when it’s over, it just wrecks the whole space. Keyboards stammer, drumkits clack, hit all the high notes and ignore the flat. Remember when what you loved, well that was cool? If it you aren’t with the masses, get left behind and dig the old skool.
To think I used to pity you. To think I used to pity you, it’s true.
Now you seem confused. Are we not who we am? Oh, sorry that’s right, we never even shook hands. We picked up your beats and made them our own. When we sing out loud, sounds like we talk on the phone. Moving in time and feeling upbeat, but you’re still at that last club, yeah the one down the street. When you think you’ve caught up, that’s when we throw you in spin. Oh I don’t know, I don’t know, oh, where to begin? There are so many voices, sound all the same. That repetitive beating, if it weren’t so catchy, it’d drive you insane! So where is it headed and from where did it come. It sounds so greasy, covered like that North American Scum. You try and shine up a bit, with your champagne and spit. Cleans up real nice, new buzzes come out. Heavy on the twist, plum out of the shout. So crank it up, crank it, this is just the beginning. If silence is golden, noise must be silvern.

AND SOON YOU WILL KNOW... #6 - #1

2 comments:

m. jejune said...

List looks good so far, although someone is going to have to explain the appeal of the Avett Brothers to me.

Not sure if it was bcp or Jay, but whoever made the recommendation for the Tulsa EP was right on. I got it yesterday and it is the heat.

Jay said...

Let's have 6-1 already. Tulsa is the heat.