Monday, March 13, 2006

No Hits 3.13.06

All Things Lucid

Chicago - All Things Lucid

A Crooked Line - The Interiors

Lullaby (Sleeping, Dreaming) - Ostrich Eggs

When spring finally arrives, a girl's thoughts turn to ... praising the city she spent the entire winter bitching about. Yes, time to celebrate Chicago:

"Chicago" from All Things Lucid is a rootsy, acoustic ode to urban aimlessness. Recalling the voices of a thousand troubadours before him, Miles Benjamin sings "Put on your Chicago face and smoke another cigarette/Sold my soul to a retail store so I could pay the rent/And oh mom I got drunk again/But don't worry mom cause it's just a city trend." Sure, it's a familiar, even prosaic refrain. But it nails the contradiction of young big city life: You have to feign sophistication when you're just a frightened, confused, lost kid. And that realization can seem awfully profound at the time.

"A Crooked Line," on the other hand, is rather unfamiliar. In a sea of samey indie rock songs, it has a refreshingly distinct sound--tight, throbbing bass and sharp, clacking beats. Though obvious predecessors might be some of Fugazi's spartan compositions, the key to this track lies, I think, in The Interiors' professed interest in African rhythms. The Chicago band's no one-trick pony, either. If you go to their MySpace, you can stream "Rush Street 1970," a loose and bluesy, yet driving, song where singer Chase Duncan unleashes rock star-ready howls.

Ostrich Eggs, I can pretty confidently state, will never be rock stars. But they could find a place in that niche of music history shared by other naive oddities like The Shaggs and Jad Fair. I know nothing about them other than what I can conjecture from the photo on their PureVolume page of a nice-looking young couple sitting at what appears to be their dining room table. You can imagine them as former city-dwelling hipsters who migrated to Skokie to buy a house and have a baby. Setting "Lullaby" aside and listening to their other tracks, the Hedstroms can't really play or sing. But reinsert this odd and strangely moving number into the equation and you begin to imagine why they might fashion themselves as musicians.


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