Thursday, August 25, 2005

"My arms miss you/My hands miss you"

-The Long Winters, Ultimatum

Hey, I'm on Myspace now!

I'd like to offer up that my mouse is not working very well, and that is the reason for the absence of any frequent posts, but that would be a bald-faced lie. I haven't posted b/c
a) It's oh-so sunny out and I'm enjoying the summer
b) No music is interesting me too much right now
c) I'm lazy
(If you picked B, I'm afraid you lose).

The Long Winters "Ultimatum" {LINK}

The Long Winters are a pretty spectacular band that deserve to ride Death Cab For Cutie's certain to be succesful coattails to some semblance of mainstream success. If you doubt their greatness, go buy "When I Pretend To Fall", one of the very best releases of 2003 (and that was a very good year). This song is a neat little one, it starts with some gentle acoustic plucking, but then the chorus with the quoted above "My arms miss you/My hands miss you" then it quiets down some with sparse guitar, cymbal rolls, and strings, then the chorus comes back. And, thusly, it comes and goes. And then it ends with strings. And you can never go wrong ending it with strings. (from the forthcoming EP of the same name, according to barsuk it drops October 11).

CocoRosie "Noah's Ark" {LINK mp3's somewhere toward the bottom of the righthand side}

Last year, about this time (Well, actually, much earlier) Fluxblog hipped me to the existence of this band with the surpremely sublime "Butterscotch". The song made the best possible use of the trading off childlike voices, sounding all at once sweet, yet still sort of sexy. I was excited to track down the album, but not only did nothing live up to the early promise of "Butterscotch", it never even came close. The songs all ran together, by fourth or fifth track, I'm ashamed to say I was leaning pretty heavily on the skip button. But "Noah's Ark" is a big improvement, the sound changes up enough to keep you guessing, and to keep you from getting bored.

This song is good, arguably the best off the album of the same name (challenged only by the awesome "Bisonours" with its badass French rapping). "Noah's Ark" has a really good beat, a REALLY good beat. It's rare to find indie rock (is this indie? I guess...) with a beat that keeps me bopping my head (at least, anything outside of Spoon that is, I dare you to not bob and weave while listening to "I Turn My Camera On" on the stereo, turned loud, when no one is around). The voices sound sweeter than ever, and there is quite a bit going on in the background, weird voices, sounds, effects. It's a pretty darned dense little song. Definitely worth your time.

The New Pornographers "Use It" {LINK}

The first time I heard of the New Pornographers (to be referred to as NewPorn from this point on), was when Canadian music magazine Exclaim! was riding them pretty heavily in one of their year-end issues. I was never a big Carl Newman fan (A Zumpano song/video that I absoultely loathed prety much cemented this), and they were Canadian, so I didn't pay them much attention. See, here in Canada, we have this tendency to celebrate mediocrity, b/c of the mere fact that it is Canadian. Give a Canadian magazine/radio station/Muchmusic to bands that are equal in every way, shape or manner, and they will always praise the Canadian one and ignore the other. Elsewhere, this would be criticized as "narrow-minded", "Nationalistic" or "American", but b/c we're Candian, it's referred to as "CanCon". I can't begin to describe the sheer amount of crappy Canadian alternative bands that have been shoved down my throat for years (up until about a year ago when it became crappy Canadian "urban" acts(Keisha, I'm looking at you)). Anyways, the point is, I would've probably listened if the New Pornographers were from Sweden or Texas, but the fact that they were (are? for the most part?) Canadian, means that I really didn't give them a second glance. Fast-forward a couple of months, and a compilation of Vancouver bands, features The New Pornographers "Letter From An Occupant" (sorry, couldn't find an mp3) and the song was tremendous. Neko Case's voice all at once soared and sounded like a cartoon character. But, everything that has come after has been a disappointment. I know everyone gets excited about the newest NewPorn release, and I wish I could share in that excitement, but I just have never quite dug them.

But, then this song came along, and now I'm back on the fence. I love the way the second voice comes in to echo on the "Use it tonight-i-i-i-ite". I want to believe I can love again, NewPorn, but I've been burned before.

Oh yeah, and it's not officially out anywhere, yet, but you really need to get that Iron& Wine and Calexico EP. Iron & Wine already have my favourite song of 2005 in "The Trapeze Swinger" which appeared on the "In Good Company" soundtrack, but I gotta say "16, Maybe Less" is really close. Really really close. I mean, close.


Uri said...

So you like John Mayer, but are continually disappointed by the New Pornographers.


Very interesting.

Caley said...

I like John Mayer in so much as I won't turn off the radio when he's on (well, maybe "You're Body's A Wonderland" which I could probably even tolerate if he just cut the "Damn, baby" part of the song). I don't go out of my way to listen to him, except in the case of his awesome cover of "Kid A" by Radiohead.

Maybe I hold the New Pornographers up to a higher standard b/c they seem to be universally/critically loved whereas Mayer inspires unwarranted universal/critical hatred.

Maybe it's that I get a vibe of phony sincerity from the NP whereas I get the vibe of sincere sincerity from Mayer. As if the New Pornographers were trying hard to care and Mayer doesn't have to try. NP are a little more ironic, Mayer is exactly what he purports to be: overly sincere.

I don't know, but the point is, I have heard the new New Pornographers "Twin Cinema" and I did like it. There's a couple really good songs (and some filler),and they're a band that, at this point, I wouldn't kick out of bed. So, let's say that at this moment, I love 2 New Pornographers songs ("Use It" and "Letter From An Occupant" (the latter of which I heard on a Hogan Knows Best commercial this week which is unbelivably weird), and I love 2 John Mayer songs (the aforementioned "Kid A" cover, and that one about running through the halls of his high school and screaming at the top of his lungs), so I won't really put one above the other.

As a further aside, I find it fascinating the way that hip hop artists seem to be way into John Mayer. Whether it's ?uestlove of the Roots doing an interview and a Chapelle's Show sketch with Mayer, Common collaborating with him, or, my sister telling me about another hip hop artist (I'm forgetting who) who said he was a big fan of Mayer b/c when he plays live, his guitar solos remind him of a rapper freestyling.

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