Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Smattering of Summer Songs

I thought I would cannibalize a post I made on a message board and turn it into my first post in quite some time, on here. I had Norton problems, and laziness problems, and the it's too hot to sit indoors and type problems. But, anyways, on with the show.

What I've be listening to lately:
The Most Serene Republic-Content Was Always My Favourite Colour: It's two songs in one! The first is like a much fuzzier Postal Service song, in fact the singer sounds a great deal like Ben Gibbard, but there are more scratchy guitars and jutting keyboards. Then it fades out almost completely into just handclaps and repeated lyrics before going into part two which is built around some fervent acoustic guitar strumming, faster vocals, and a good solid drumbeat. I was going to buy this the other day and am not sure why I didn't. I will surely pick it up tomorrow.

SIANspheric - The Stars Above: It's SIANspheric, so it's spacey, dreamy. Echoey, haunting vocals over a dreamy, lilting guitar. Best at night in the car, or by day near rivers,lakes, streams.

Boys Night Out-I Got Punched In the Nose For Sticking My Face In Other People's Business: The next big thing in Canada. Boys Night Out are one of those fashionable screamo/emo/hardcore/something else groups getting lots of media. They have a new album out and there are mp3s off it at, but I prefer this song from the older album, mainly because of the bomb-ass title. I heard their old songs were about serial killers and the like, but I can barely ever understand the lyrics, anyways.

Amusement Parks On Fire, Smokescreen {LINK}:I've been hearing quite a bit about them and hadn't been blown away until I caught this one. A really good shoegazerish song. Big, fuzzy, layered guitars and echoey vocals. I heard all the members were still ridiculously young, too.

Portastic - I Wanna Know Girls: Since, sadly, Superchunk are a near non-entity now (and just as they were getting fascinating, too!), Portastic is going to have do for now. There is a new album out, I hear, it doesn't matter to me, because I have never, ever turned up a single Portastic album, execpt for one ep that inexplicably ended up in bargain bin at a long since bankrupted punk rock store (the EP is all covers of Brazillian songs, very tasty!). And, really, it's not a bad thing that Superchunk is gone, b/c Portastic is really good. "I Wanna Know Girls" sounds like exactly where Superchunk was headed anyways, fun, jangly pop songs with great lines like "My love weighs a ton."

I'm Spent

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Eric's Trip Love Tara Appreciation Day

Love Tara was a pretty seminal album in my musically developing years, a friend turned me onto it after, I think, he saw them live. Anyways, I love the story behind this album, one of my favourites. Eric's Trip had been around a few years, fronted by its dating members Rick White and Julie Doiron. At some point before Love Tara was released, Rick broke up with Julie, but they kept the band going. Love Tara was the next album, and the entire album is about the slow, disintegration of their relationship, replete with anger, betrayal, drunken answering machine messages. So, first off, you have Julie and Rick listening to each other detail where the other went wrong. Not only that, but Rick had a new girlfriend, whom he would often sing about. So, you have Julie listening, and singing lyrics about the new girl in her ex's life. Now, here's the kicker, Rick's new girfriend is named Tara S'Appart (sp?), so the ENTIRE ALBUM is named after this new girl who is the love of his life, and Julie Doiron is stuck playing songs about her ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend. Surprisingly, they stuck it out for quite a few years after this.
Eric's Trip got signed to Sub Pop when everyone was trying to find the new Seattle, and sights were briefly set on the Canadian Maritimes. To me, Eric's Trip sounds exactly what the label "grunge" connotates. The guitars range from loud to quiet, the vocals are hard to hear, sometimes buried beneath layers of fuzz. The background is full of sounds, voices, conversations heard in passing.

Eric's Trip - Follow {xx}

"Follow" starts off with a big bang: fuzzy guitars colliding with each other, before settling into a mid-tempo mid-90s alternative rocker. It makes perfect use of Julie Doiron's little girl vocals, echoing Rick White's on the main choruses in some perfect harmonies. This is the noisy Eric's Trip.

Eric's Trip - Frame {xx}

But, amidst the drama of Rick and Julie's personal lives, Eric's Trip had two other members, drummer Mark Gaudet who was pretty content to sit in the background, and other guitarist Chris Thompson, who delieverd his greatest song ever right here with "Frame" a catchy rocker with a great hook that never fails to get stuck in my head. Since Eric's Trip broke up (reformed briefly to do some shows), Rick and Bob paired up to make Elevator, who sound like a much more freaky, guitary, psych-out Eric's Trip, a natural evolution of their sound. Julie Doiron went on to release quiet, sad, pretty quiet albums under her own name and the moniker Broken Girl. But, Chris pretty much disappeared, which is too bad, I liked a lot of his stuff.

I couldn't settle on one song, much less two, so here's a 3rd, all from the same album.

Eric's Trip - Blinded {XX}

This one is pure rage. It seems like someone told Julie to make a song about how she felt having to play on an album about her ex's new girlfriend, and this is what came out. It's a total shocker if all you've ever heard is Doiron's folky, mellow solo output. The guitars are angry, snarling, and the vocals are just...pained. The screaming, the screaching... It kind of sums up the anger that seems to broil just beneath the melancholic surface of everything Eric's Trip put out.

That's all I got for now...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Supermachiner "I Am Legend"

The irrepresible (is that even right? Ah well, no time to check) DevinIntervention (I'll add a link here if he ever gets a blog/website or some such thing going) was discussing some Lost Gems, albums he'd forgotten about, and I got in on the action, and I seriously doubt that more than 25 people downloaded my pick, so I thought I'd share the link here, no sense in it going to waste.

Supermachiner, "I Am Legend" xxx {Copy, Paste, remove the x's)

{The following is shamelessly reposted from elsewhere}
I think it was 2nd, 3rd, year of college, my best friend moved away to go to school. When he came back, things were different, we were different, and we've never really been close since. When he first got back, though, I made the effort. I told him to make me a Mix Tape of what he'd been listening to, as an attempt to re-connect. The tape assured me of one sure thing, and that is that we were driving in opposite directions of what we were into, he was firmly barreling down the road of hardcore/metal, where I was pretty happily discovering Built To Spill, The Flaming Lips, and Quasi. But, two bands on the tape he made me really stood out, in talent as much as in the difference between them and the rest of the music. The first band is Godspeed You Black Emperor! whom everybody knows (but I didn't, at least, back then) and the other was Supermachiner.

So, I was completely blown away by Supermachiner, sounding like a huger, more vicious Mogwai in the quiet-to-loud style of atmospheric rock. I thought I was pretty smart in ordering it for myself, thinking "I'm just not into that whole hardcore/metal scene" this is the kind of music that I like. So, while waiting the absoultely ridiculous 8 months it took to order it in, I learned something about Supermachiner, that they were, in fact, Kurt Ballou and Jason Bannon, the two main guys from hardcore/metal legends Converge. It helped to teach me that you can never really write off any genre, that there's goodness in everything, you can't make blanket statements like "Metal sucks, Rap sucks, Country sucks". There's always something good, there, if you just look.{End of reposting}

The album, on the whole is pretty stellar. It's really atmospheric, lots of instrumentals, crickets, background voices, but it separates from the rest of the atmospheric, instrumental kind of stuff (Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed You Black Emperor!) with its absoultely crushing power. The guitars will come in, like on this song, almost out of nowhere, and just punish your ears. Metal may not really be my bag as a genre, right now, but I can appreciate something like this, organized chaos to punctuate the whispers. This is meant to be listened to late at night on headphones, or in the car.