Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The Ballet Mattachine. Being from New York must be an impediment for bands. Being as being from New York likely would make you think you are more interesting, more central, more profound than you actually are. But are there any bands that are truly from New York? I think this band lives in New York, but are they from New York? This is very nice, a Magneitc Fields meets the Baskervilles kind of vibe happening. Two archetypal would be from New York City if they could have designed it bands. His voice is a bit Ladybug Transistor. A New York band might think their interests set them apart from the world at large. If I was in a band and not from New York, instead I hailed from Aames, Iowa I might try harder to be worldly, learned, catholic. These guys are gay. I am not sure if it matters. But it seems requisite to mention it in mentions of the band and thus to compare them to other gay bands like the Hidden Cameras and the Magnetic Fields. Guilty. What if Skip Gates had been gay? I really like this first song. I've only skimmed this album once. I am not sure if it is good or merely great. Second song, more strings, toy sounding strings, bohemian strings, strings from the back of a Forced Exposure catalog. His voice, nasal and pinched, his scope shrunken and the words about life in a snowglobe. I really enjoy this song as well. This would have qualified as indiepop in the 1990s. Now it is far too macho. It is too adult. It has personality. DQ. Another band who risk dating themselves rather quickly by mentioning instant messaging. Instant messaging has had a remarkable shelflife for the era though, they might be safe. Before this week's end a non-New York band come to our fair city on the edge of the Rockies. Trash Can Sinatras. Yay! I've seen them once before. Long ago. In Detroit. It was frightfully cold, I remember listening to Francis conduct an interview with a subsuming cold with the local alternateen station as I was driving to the show. It was at St Andrews, the boys must have felt at home. It was a marvelous show. I even remember Thirsty Forest Animals as the opening act, some proto-quavering emo shoegaze band from Detroit. Do they still exist? Could they be opening this Thursday? Not probably. We'll get someone horrible like Mr Pac-Man. Its alright I'll wear ear plugs and dream of the Summer air pressing down on the clouds outside. This song is very Magnetic Fields. Back before the Magnetic Fields starting releasing really uninteresting albums. No mention of the Magnetic Fields in 500 Days of Summer. I did see it. I enjoyed it. You may revoke my credentials for being credible. But really there are two sorts of people in this world, those who think There Is A Light That Never Goes Out is the saddest, most romantic song in the world ever and those who don't. Well, there has been speculation in the relevant literature that there is in fact a third variant on the species the I Love Music sort that hates everything that they might believe would not be approved by the greater consciousness of Asperger nation. But they are sad and pitiable and I don't want to think about them. They've got their 3 x 5 cards in their back pocket with their ready to be updated at a second's notice list of the top 10 albums, singles and reissues of the year. They use abbreviations like Dero and "the Dean" and can quote Simon Reynolds vital statistics at you as it is him they picture while they spend quality time alone in a bathroom stall with a copy of Smash Hits circa 1983. I am too cruel. I was once a music "critic". I wrote for an esteemd publication-"Tweekitten". I washed out, I couldn't handle the pace; I went crazy with the women, the drugs, the rock and roll lifestyle. Now I am here. Fifth song already, the last two were great, by the way. This is very Charm of the Highway Strip, surely the Magnetic Fields are their favorite band and they must know that they are a complete ripoff of the Magnetic Fields. Vitesse knew this as well. Did they not? Is it an homage? I wasn't aware that Leon Trotsky had signed the surrealist manifesto. It is part of the reason the Christopher Hitchens apparently has thoughts of Lev while spending quality time in a bathroom with a copy of the battleplan for Operation iraqi Freedom. But sad old men like me have a dark dream that corresponds more or less exactly to the scene in the elevator in 500 Days of Summer, perhaps the song is different, some may chose Joy Division or the Teardrop Explodes, I might have plumped for the Chills Satin Doll but only to seem more obscure. Are there really Karaoke machines with the Pixies on them? I've never done Karaoke. I wouldn't know. Sixth song, hand claps and drum machines. Does The Ballet have a facebook entry? Do these things seem like a requirement for the bands of today? Part of the CV to make them more appealing to tastemakers like Skatterbrain and Shelflife? I hope not. I would hope they would be excited ot do their bit to enhance the fabric of the false universes of Facebook. Sometimes when I am bored I will search these sites for people I work with or when given suggestion to by someone I work with will find some of their entries somewhat surprising. Some resemble JC Penney catalog photo shoots, some reveal surprisingly stunning significant others and some reveal levels of physical fitness not easily confirmed by visual inspection. I don't participate. It would be a lonely facebook entry without any friends. There is someone that has claimed the URL for my full name. I won't reveal it but my first name is Keith and I am not Sarah McLachlan's brother though I could be mistaken for it. I was Canadian after all. My name sharer is a bit of a ponce. He's got all sorts of advice for getting rich though it doesn't appear that he's all that wealthy. And then there is the poetry! It's marvelous! There is another person that shares my name that writes books on Africa and the Middle East. I don't imagine he's wealthy either. Our name could be an anchor in the financial stakes. I like the current song. It sounds less Magnetic Fields-ish. This is decidedly indiepop. Remember when bands were not ashamed to be considered indiepop. Back when there was fire and fury in an indiepop song, possibly. There isn't that possibility today. Perhaps the assault on wealth by the Joebama administration is in part a response to his disappointment at what the unprecedented generational wealth has contributed to the parlous state of indiepop music. Maybe Joebama hypes himself up for staff meetings with a 30 minute session with London Weekend and laments quietly to his 13 year old chief of staff about how the new Bats record is great but god he's sick of bands like the Pocketbooks and Smittens being so safe, dreary and middleclass. Let's raise taxes on their parents, let's shake up the world! Another nice song. This sounds Canadian. I have Candar. Are there Canadians in this band? The Manhattan Love Suicides have called it quits. How sad. Not really. They looked as if they wanted to pretend that they were dangerous but dear god, the music. I am surprised they weren't on Slumberland. Apparently Slumberland is going to release a new Bats EP soon. Woo! Hopefully it wasn't infected by that dismal Clean record that Merge is fighting tooth and nail to keep anyone from hearing because it is so crap. The Bats could play with Trash Can Sinatras, two of my comfort bands, warmth and consistency and nostalgia all wrapped in wrinkled, grey packages. Song number 9, Corduroy back with the Magnetic Fields pastiche. I Don't mind. Originality is overrated, I am unoriginal besides no one sounds like Our Brother the Native and this doesn't stop them from being horrible. Summer has finally arrived. It was the year without a Summer until now. But Summer will be short, only 30 days. Who will write the breezy sounds of summer when it has been overcast and unseasonably cool for almost the entire duration? Will Mr Pac-Man have it within them to write a Double Summer? Ha. Maybe Brian Cox will step away from his duties as populist physicist to the teen set, his poster on the walls of millions next to Joe Jonas, and move back into his role as guitarist for Shed Seven and write a brilliant paen to the summer that wasn't. It could be a lament. Is he really an eminent physicist or has he just grabbed his high profile status because he has an angular haircut and probably listens to Her Space Holiday? He looks like Johnny Greenwood. Do they hang out and discuss the foibles surrounding the LHC and what a wanker Thom Yorke is? I don't know. He's boring. I'm boring. You're boring. This record is wearing out its welcome with it's uniformity. I think they think they are more complicated than they are. Is this a political statement? I Hate the War, ha, I am dense, but it is so apathetic and automatic sounding, yeah I voted for Joebama, I'm meant to hate the war even though it hasn't really affected me at all except to have forced me to attend a demonstration every other weekend for credit in my Gender Studies class. It's a bit dreary, like the war is a war on the proper use of a half-stop and you're surrounded by a group of education majors. Two songs left. I am running out of steam. I am on vacation this week. There should be loads of entires then, but there probably won't be. I am looking for a house, I saw 4 yesterday. It is astonishing how universal bad taste is, dark paneling, purple carpeting, copper wall hangings, ugh!!! My childhood home had all of these things save the purple carpeting, ours was evergreen and we had a plastic eagle hanging over the fireplace. If I had been in a band I might have been interesting because I grew up in such mundane circumstances, the highlight being the breathless newscasts from a helicopter searching for the Liger that had been rumored to be stalking the grounds near Freedom Hill. The might Strut used to play at Freedom Hill. Whatever happened to Strut? Maybe they merged with Thirsty Forest Animals, times are tough in Detroit. This song sounds resigned, more silly talk of revolution. The imagination of would be dissidents in a free country like this is funny. The imaginary struggle, throwing verbal punches to the air, the aggrieved child driven home to his palatial estate in a 2004 Volvo is stirring. Now the last song. Chants and chants, blah blah blah. Will there be a political record of consequence now that there is going to be a reversion back to the poverty of the 1960s and 1970s I hope so. It won't be written by the Ballet. They're from New York.