listening w/loot i ain't got (pt 1)
So, as you probably know, yesterday was a big record release day. And yes, I went on down to the Electric Fetus & dropped a wad of cash that I really shouldn't be spending. Ugh. You think I'd feel better about picking up new music. Well, at least the clerk commented that I had good taste, which is the best compliment I've ever received (kidding). What did I buy, you ask?
A few long-awaited (and much previewed) discs demanded my attention, namely the Decemberists' Picaresque, Bloc Party's Silent Alarm, and at long last M.I.A.'s Arular. Thank god Largehearted Boy gave me the heads up on the new East Infection EP from NYC gypsy punks Gogol Bordello, or else I would have missed it entirely. Then, of course, I couldn't pass up on the new Out Hud LP Let Us Never Speak Of It Again, nor could I resist the Kaiser Chiefs' economically-priced Employment for just eight bucks. And what's this? New Caribou, in the form of the Yeti EP? And hey, what about that Scissor Sisters live dvd that I keep meaning to check out? Or that new Keren Ann album Nolita that Brooklyn Vegan has been raving about? If they had had Prefuse 73's new disc Surrounded By Silence in stock, or if I could have located the Bunky record Born To Be A Motorcycle that Clap Clap & Brooklyn Vegan have been talking up, I would have overspent even more than I did. Yes, I know that I have a problem. Multitudes, actually.
Dan Snaith, the laptop artist formerly known as Manitoba & currently known as Caribou, will be dropping his next album The Milk of Human Kindness on April 19, and this is its lead-off track. Other blogs, such as 20 Jazz Funk Greats, Music For Robots & Moebius Rex have already posted tracks from Snaith's follow-up to 2003's acclaimed Up In Flames LP (lucky dogs, with their advance copies), so I'll add to the chorus looking forward to its release. This dense bit of bedroom electro-pop strides along with a confident groove at first, before exploding into a mish-mash of thunderous drums & random instrumentation. Sensory overload, I dig it.
ETA (4/5/05): Here's an animated video for "Yeti" (via): MOV WMV RAM
Brooklyn Vegan profiled two of this week's most notable releases, the new Decemberists & the M.I.A. debut, both garnering best new music status from Pitchfork (personally, I think Scott Plagenhoef lowballed Maya with a 8.6). I'm not sure I agree with Stephen M. Deusner's assertion that Picaresque is less theatrical than Colin Meloy & company's previous efforts, as his claim that "the Decemberists are no longer the indie rock version of the Max Fischer Players" is slighty undercut by the Rushmore-aping video for "16 Military Wives" (downloadable via torrent, more info at the forum). I do agree, however, with Deusner's appreciation for this track:
Perhaps the best song he's written, "On the Bus Mall" is Meloy's own private Idaho full of boy gigolos amok in the city, and he evocatively contrasts their innocent affection ("Here in our hovel we fused like a family") with the grittiness of their lives: "You learned quick to make a fast buck/ In bathrooms and barrooms, on dumpsters and heirlooms/ We bit our tongues/ Sucked our lips into our lungs 'til we were falling/ Such was our calling."
How many other songwriters could pen such a lovely, imaginitive & touching song about gay hustlers struggling to get by? And with such georgeous & heartfelt instrumentation? Colin Meloy has once again proven himself a masterful storyteller, able to craft utter beauty out of bizarre & tragic tales with remarkable grace. The Decemberists make my heart heavy.
ETA: Snippets from Meloy's Jukebox Jury w/Seattle Weekly (via):
MP3 Bright Eyes - "Lua" (lo-fi)
Meloy: Who is this?
SW: Bright Eyes.
Meloy: I have one record by him that I would have traded in years ago, but I started a new thing before I bought it that I wouldn't sell any more records back. So, I bought one of his records, Fevers & Mirrors. I listened to half of two songs and put it away immediately and haven't listened to it since. His voice and his writing are just so irritating.
SW: Why do you think he's so popular?
Meloy: Because he's really hot. I mean, I think there's definitely something in this that you can relate to, but it is so easy to swallow it and imagine yourself in poor Conor Oberst's shoes. You know, everybody wants to be in that bedroom. But it does seem a little shallow and emotionally and creatively corrupt.
SW: When he played in Portland last month, he came out in a 10-year-old's raincoat, and when he got excited, he clapped like a hand puppet.
Meloy: They call it indie autism, and he's the poster child for it. Seriously, can we stop this?
Neutral Milk Hotel: "King of Carrot Flowers Pt. One"
Meloy: Get out of my house [laughs].
I second Frank Chromewaves' call for "a pox on whoever stole The Decemberists' gear," fwiw. I actually debated whether or not to post this song, seeing as there's already plenty of Decemeberists to go around at the moment. Turquoise Days & Each Note Secure both checked in with posts yesterday, and You Ain't No Picasso pointed me to a fantastic interview (post-robbery) & in-studio performance from Seattle's KEXP last week.
bonus MP3 Bloc Party - "Pioneers (M83 remix)"
For those of you who might prefer staring at your shoes rather than moving your feet, here's a somber remix of Bloc Party's "Pioneers" by Anthony Gonzalez, aka French electro-shoegazer outfit M83. Gone are the danceable beats, replaced by a slow orchestral build-up of sound & plenty of echoing effects to compliment frontman Kele Okerere's plaintive vocals. I am the zen master. This is a bonus track on the Japanese version of Silent Alarm.
To be continued...