Thursday, August 21, 2008

The real

Image: Shelby Nycole

Let's Talk About It - White Denim

White Denim's (first? new?) album is a package bus tour of 70s rock, breezing through psychedelia, glam, hard rock, prog, soul, post-punk -- even waving at disco. Ya know, if it's Tuesday it must be Bowie. At several points their enthusiasm seems kinda feigned and mocking, and at other stops they're palpably enthused. "Let's Talk About It" is White Denim's spiked, angular Buzzcocks/Wire/Minutemen nod. But instead of attempting some inevitably flawed forgery, they expose the influence/creation process for its fakery. The singer seems to forget when to come in and then sorta slips out, the guitars break down, the drums pursue their own alien muse, the lyrics dryly meta comment: "Let's talk about it/ let's react to it." Then there's the puppet-string pulling post-production slicey/dicey that's as common these days as bands with "white" in their name. Somehow that doesn't screw up the song.

From Workout Holiday (Amazon), Myspace

Disaster - Nerve City

Dogs - Nerve City

I guess it's my unhealthy attachment to the thoroughly delegitimized concept of artistic authenticity and related false consciousnesses, but I never seem to tire of this type of crusty, lower-than lo-fi, "hey, you'll never believe what I found buried in a box in the basement!" material. Allow me to amend: I never tire of it when the songs are actually good, i.e. melodic, hooky, concise, wrapped in mystery, wonder, secret and surprise. These are that, but "Living Wage" an undownloadable on the one-man (the multi-monikered, multi-residenced Brendan Sullivan) garage band's Myspace is even neater. Pretend The Animals secretly recorded an epilogue to "House of the Rising Sun" and tucked it away for a more forgiving age.


Oh My God
- Ida Maria

Just rocks.

From Fortress Around My Heart (Amazon), Myspace

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Saturn rising

Image: Jayme McGowan

Perception Stick - Talbot Tagora

Hyacinth Grrls - Abe Vigoda

"Perception Stick" is what screenplay pitchers refer to as high concept. Just sort of beats you into entertained submission with a, um, stick: point blank metaphor, rigor mortis beats (think Meg White), massive low end and narcotized coed vocals sticky with swamp (think a less-sophisticated Black Mountain). It's pretty great. Talbot Tagora's part of Los Angeles' Smell scene, which I'm loving against my better judgment. I ignored the initial buzz on neighbors Abe Vigoda, but looked the band up after their messy, convoluted (and loud so loud) strawberry jam with No Age at Pitchfest on a Sonic Youth cover. Yeah, they do sound a bit like No Age crossed with Animal Collective informed by Sonic Youth. And I suppose "Hyacinth Grrls" is a ref to The Wasteland, which I guess makes them a little literary too. God bless L.A. and may its music ever prosper!

Talbot Tagora: Buy some of their stuff, Myspace
Abe Vigoda: Skeleton (Amazon, eMusic) Myspace

Shape of My Heart - Noah and the Whale

So no, this isn't the car commercial song. But the first dozen times I saw that ad I thought good for the Magnetic Fields! The similarities were pretty superficial anyway. NatW, for example,
isn't soaked in bleak irony; Noah (presumably) just has a funny-miserable voice. Also: British. Also: seems to have picked up the ever-popular eastern European brass thread. In fact, the band is of a piece with a dozen folk-pop outfits and has simply made the looser, less-calculated (better) LP Bishop Allen should have.

From Peaceful the World Lays Me Down (Amazon), MySpace