08 November 2006

music is my radar

blip blip blip:

the new pornographers.
because i listened, although actually not until this morning, to my election mix from two years ago - the famously titled get out the fuck - which still makes for a thrilling, adrenaline-pumping listen (b/c that was the original point.) to these ears anyway, "rapture rapes" and especially the bleeding[-heart] masterpiece "rebellion (lies)", though no longer the hott new jamzz they were back then, regain a lot of their slightly time-faded brilliance in this context. and "the laws have changed" sounds defiantly triumphant kicking it off. (not sure if i registered at the time the appropriateness of "pharoah on the microphone" given pharoah monche song later in the mix.) anyway, took the mass romantic for my discman ride on the r3 today, and what a blooming onion. best rock pop of the 00s? (took some time realize it, but especially the opening half-to-third.)

funny, what should i see when i get to swatmo but posters advertising the nps appearance on campus (large-scale event, baybee - does that sound right to you?) this friday. (using, i might add, the cover image from electric version to a much more satisfying graphic effect than the actual cover.) whoo. w/ the brakes - whozzat? anyway. that happens to be the night the sun destroyers (that's my flatmate's band) are playing at tritone. so any other day but today this would not have created a conflict of interest, especially considering that i've seen the nps now (count 'em) six times. (and i doubt neko will be there, and my <3<3 for katherine "niece of newman" caldwell notwithstanding.) and i'll go see/support gabe, of course. but it would be sweet to see the new pornographers again, and in lpac. oh well.

(the album.) obv. "me&u" (that's the way it's spelled on the cd, so i'm going with it) is a modern classic, or will be soon. but i like follow-up single/track "long way 2 go" just as much if not more. it has an equally contagious similarly skeletal synth figure, a funkier 1,2 step beat, and a more elaborated melody (which isn't saying much.) and the lyric is fun (especially the q+a back-and-forths) and better suited to cassie's deadpan delivery. it has something of an oxymoronic m.o. for the album in the brilliantly slant-rhymed couplet: "if you really want to know me first of all/you should never try to get too personal."

but the rest of the album sounds pretty sweet too. "ditto", a whole song built on simple looped four-chord descending progression (which would typically be the resolution of a more extended progression), is way catchier than it deserves to be with such a transparent device. fun keyb sounds too, funky clipped swing, and a preposterously simple-minded lyrical conceit that plays perfectly with her dispassionate persona. ("he said he had fallen so in love with me/and i said ditto") "just one nite" has a sweet harp figure and pretty funny response rap from ryan leslie (who produced the whole record.) "kiss me," with some very nice vocal flourishes, is a likable slow jam on an album where the average bpm is already markedly low.

i have an idea about this album, that it is reminiscent of minimal electro(nica) not just in its icy affect and bleepy bloopy sound palette (and, er, minimality) but also in the formal structure of its compositions. which is to say that the songs are less significantly song-like in framework (even though they do mostly have verses and choruses) than they are groove-based pieces built around interchangeable, recurring elements. have to listen and think about that more, since i just got this. will be happy to do that though.

m2m/the beatles
listened to the big room and sgt. pepper's lonely hearts club band alternating-song style (i feel like that should be called "song/reverse song"), the former because i just got it the other day, and the latter because i just had a strange desire to hear it (i am on a minor beatles kick lately.) sgt. pepper's definitely did sound great today, which is not to say m2m made it that way or it made them sound bad. actually, both albums seemed to benefit from the juxtaposition, though i'm not really sure why that would be. i'd think the contrast in production style would make sgt. p's sound flat and dull. but instead it seemed unusually vibrant for an album i often think of as sort of fussy and clinical - especially the title track which i sometimes think of as a throwaway. that's what revisiting something familiar after a while will do, maybe. (and digital mastering? i only got it on cd pretty recently.) not much to say about the m2m album yet - some nice things stood out. in general, it sounds pretty similar to shades of purple, not quite as sweet, but probably just as many clunky lyrics. i like the bigger and more varied sound (kinda countryish in places) - hints of the future direction of the 2 ms, i guess (is that the standard take?)

hilary duff - "getaway"
i listened to most wanted the other day, and it clicked for me in a way it never really had before. (s/rs'd it with this year's model for a while too, which was fun.) can't quite say why, but it was much more exciting and engaging than i'd found it on earlier listens. "come clean" and "mr. james dean" (which i always liked anyway, though i think it's pretty silly that she's singing about him), but in particular this song stuck out for me. (the latter half of the disc is definitely not as strong.) but "getaway" - seems like this is hil's version of the "soarus" meme (q.v. "subg"/"4eva" et. al.), unless there's something else i'm missing. and the rest of the melody is just as strong. i wish the arrangements on the verses were more forceful, even though the contrast is nice. and the spoken bit is kind of cheap - she could just as easily have sung those lines, and it would have been less distracting. but that chorus! and the bridge too! (with that crucial revelatory lyric twist.) really the most striking thing though (and probably the song's only truly remarkable feature) is the lyric. not only does it deploy its extended metaphor in a marvelously deft and understated fashion (compare it with the way "chemicals react" incorporates its science terminology in an essentially fortuitous and meaningless way), it navigates several levels of potential meaning, allowing for both partly-literal and wholly-metaphorical readings (is she really in a car stopped at a light, as the first verse suggests, or are we meant to take all of the 'driving' references as coded language for the relationship?) won't go too much further with that, but it is a very neat little bit of writing. [sidenote: cddb has the genre for this cd listed as "children's music." pah!]

gay dad - "my son mystic"
randomly. had a fragment of this song stuck in my head today (the chorus - "tell me about my life/just the basic details/we could talk all night" bit) and i don't think i would have been able to figure out what it was (not for a long time anyway) without the internet. i had myself convinced it was by this band the control group who were friends with my uncle i think, and when i got home i looked through my refuse cd stacks to try to find their album. then i realized it was on the shelf with my "proper" cd collection, filed right properly in the contempo rock area (in between clinic and the dandy warhols, which is atypically alphabetical, if nothing else.) the fact that i didn't think it was there strongly suggests that maybe it doesn't deserve to be there, but that's an issue for next time i reorganize (which sort of needs to happen.) anyway, the song isn't by them, it's by gay dad. who i'd forgotten had more than one song i liked. i quite like this song, especially the chorus (obviously.) mostly i just like how song fragments can pop up in your head years after the fact, and even if you've never consciously thought about the song itself (which i probably never had - i certainly couldn't tell you anything else about the songs on the album beyond track one or two.)

and that's one of the joys of having a huge record library. (even better than the p2p-sphere of the 'web in this regard.) because i listened to leisure noise this evening for the first time in well over a year. also a good reason why i keep so many cds around rather than getting rid of the ones i rarely listen to. it's also the reason why i ought to buy the longpigs album that i once borrowed from aijung for quite a while, hideos artwork notwithstanding. i like the title though, it's one of those vaguely aphoristic and benignly banal complete-sentence titles which are sort of dumb as titles but fun as phrases. and one of the better ones: the sun is often out. the week never starts around here. one day i'll be on time. it was hot we stayed in the water. everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. everything will never be ok. everyone else is doing it so why can't we? millions now living will never die. those who tell the truth will die, those who tell the truth will live forever. there is nothing wrong with love. there is nothing left to lose. etc. (what else?)


Dave said...

I remember your election mix! I forget whether or not I actually compiled it at the time (don't think I did), but imagining it was nice, too.

"Big Room" is generally much richer production-wise, but there's something about "Purple" that has me returning to it much more...it's actually somewhat similar to Ashlee's two albums (so far), establishing the "personality" (or relationship) on the first one and then getting un/comfortable in its skin ("in its skin" being the operative part) on the second one.

I want to start investigating "clunkers" in a lot of teenpop music, particularly after this last wave of Aly/AJ talk re: Not This Year...in their case, the clunkers seem to be an essential part of the fabric of the song, because it makes you LOOK HARDER for what's really going on. That's absolutely true of M2M (on both albums, really), too. M2M2.

Ross said...

mondays are like tuesdays and tuesdays are like wednesdays.