Thursday, August 27, 2009

Some Things Sound Better in the Dark

My clock radio is tuned to Album 88, the college station at Georgia State. Last fall, I often heard the Lambchop song "Slipped, Dissolved and Loosed" when I awoke. As my consciousness reassembled itself in the early morning darkness, the music usually led me along the same train of thought. The blackbird in the chorus of the Lambchop song would remind me of "Blackbird" by the Beatles. Then I would recall that Paul McCartney wrote "Blackbird" in support of the civil rights movement, and that would inevitably lead me to wonder if Barack Obama was truly to become our next president. ("Blackbird" also made me think about Tenacious D's "Rocket Sauce", but that's another story.)

Sometime this spring, the Lambchop song gave way on Album 88 to "Young Master Sunshine" by Venice Is Sinking. Like the above-mentioned songs, "Young Master Sunshine" is gentle in its acoustic rhythms, and quietly hopeful in its mood. The instrumentation (particularly the trumpet and the expressive drumming) reminds me of the Atlanta band Smoke. On other songs (such as "Wetlands Dancehall"), Venice Is Sinking recalls the retro-futuristic music that Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise made for the Twin Peaks soundtrack: the tremeloed guitar, tremulous harmonies, and whispers of synth. I recommend listening to Azar as an album, start to finish. The opening instrumental, "Azar One", introduces a melody that is recalled at the end of the climactic "Charm City". It's an impressive record, with a broad palette of lush and lovely sounds that my clock radio could only hint at.

Venice Is Sinking recorded a session for
WOXY that you can listen to and download to get a taste of the band's talents. Venice Is Sinking also did a session for Daytrotter that should appear next month. And they are about halfway toward their goal of raising money through Kickstarter to press their third album on vinyl. Donate $20 or more by September 13 and you get the new LP, a brand new EP, and mp3s of the LP and EP songs. Plus your donation supports the rebuilding of the Georgia Theater in Athens. It's easy to donate (especially if you already have an Amazon account -- presto, you're a record mogul!) Or you can buy Azar for ten dollars from the label.

Slipped, Dissolved and Loosed
Venice Is Sinking:
Young Master Sunshine

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Misanthropology or Misogynecology

I've been listening to KVLR a lot lately. It's not a radio station (or a building material, like Tyvek). KVLR is a band (like Tyvek). Here's my favorite song from KVLR's 2004 self-titled album. The song predicts "a generation of a$&#%s and w&*%s". A bit dark, I'll grant you, but it's quite catchy.

The song title "Birthcam" seems an appropriate metaphor for a generation that thinks it has something novel to say (and worthy of posting to the internet) about experiences that have been common throughout human history. On the other hand, I still find it exciting to discover bands that can do something novel with the guitar/bass/drums format. So there's that.

KVLR is RIYL Fugazi, Chavez, and Swervedriver. (Me? Yes, yes, and hell yes.) Buy
KVLR (the album) brand new from the label for $3.00! I call that a bargain, the best you'll ever have.

KVLR: Birthcam

Friday, August 07, 2009

Bleuets et Fraises

Another month gone with nary a blog post. The home PC crashed and was replaced. I cancelled my eMusic subscription, after four years and almost 700 artists downloaded (some of which I lost in the crash).

Two of my favorite music blogs, Little Hits and Shake Your Fist, have recently folded. My good friend Paula seems to be ready to shut down her blog,
Intellectual House of Pancakes. IHOP isn't strictly about music, but it is (or was) invariably amusing and thought-provoking.

On a more positive note, Miriam Linna recently started blogging. Kicksville 66 is her story of coming of age in Cleveland in the mid-70's, and then moving to NYC to join the nascent Cramps. Her first-person perspective connects the dots between CLE and NYC at the birth of punk (a story familiar to readers of Please Kill Me). Miriam recommends that you read Kicksville 66 chronologically, and you can start
here. Miriam Linna is a talented musician and writer, and a passionate fan.

Speaking of Ohio's invaluable contributions to punk culture, here is an outstanding Devo cover (from a great new Austin TX band). I found it on the blog The Finest Kiss.

The Hex Dispensers: Gates of Steel
Buy the Hex Dispensers' new album,
Winchester Mystery House.