You paint the night time blue
Image: Morris Louis
Somebody Changed - The Clientele
The Clientele can be so sleepy and soft even my narcoleptic jell-bellied cat (who sits next to me while I write most blog posts and listens to everything I listen to) rolls her green eyes in scorn when a Clientele song comes on. Which I guess is why, despite the fact that Strange Geometry was one of my favorite albums of 2005, I hadn't marked the arrival of their new one on my calendar. It takes a delicate mood, you know? Fortunately, the band has shaken that mood for a spell (even calling one of their new songs "These Days Nothing But Sunshine"). If the guitar lines are inky as ever, they're no longer how I'd mentally pictured them and The Clientele's pensive words in the past -- as small Japanese brush paintings, a tension of crisp strokes and fuzzed scribble. Instead, songs like "Somebody Changed," with its vivacious little piano line, make me think of Morris Louis' color veils: soft and liquid, boldly chromatic, materials creeping deep into their canvas.
From God Save the Clientele (Amazon, eMusic).
The Clientele's Myspace
The Great Divide - Aerospace
At first when the singer claims it's okay and everything's all right so wan and diffident, you're not so sure it is. In fact, you doubt it very much. But you want to believe him. You do. So as the song's loose jangle and noncommittal jaunt gains momentum and assurance -- cresting at 2:25 in a emphatic dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum -- it's sort of a relief. You're reminded of the vibrant force of a little pop song and how it can put a good face on a bad day.
From Labrador 100: A Complete History of Popular Music (Amazon, eMusic)
Lydia - Dog Day
"Lydia" is no less sweet than the above two songs. No really. That horror film bit at the beginning: a joke, a playact, a plastic Frankenstein mask hiding a crooked grin. Really, this song is about kids setting up a band in the basement, a coed quartet named Seth, Casey, Crystal and Nancy (a basement in Halifax, Nova Scotia) -- discovering the joy of punk rock, galloping their guitars and racing their drums, learning the infinite expressive power of la-la-la. One of the girls keeps filling the gaps in the song with gleeful shouts of Li-dee-a, teasing her bandmate, the guitarist, who has a crush on this girl at school by that name. Lydia, in fact, hinted that she might stop by later, watch them practice and like, hang out for a while. So the guitarist keeps casting sly glances at the door, hoping she'll come, but not, please not while they're playing this song.
From Night Group (Amazon, eMusic).
Dog Day's Myspace
Last Thursday I saw Tao Lin read some of his strange, wonderful, utterly disarming poems and stories at a Bookslut event. Many are online (see on his blog sidebar item "Tao Lin literature") and highly recommended.