Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vampire Weekend Contra. I meant to write about Northern Portrait. I have come to understand that I have unsatisfied disdain for the Northern Portrait record. I have it in spades. But it is such an enervating record that it is difficult to maintain enough energy to disabuse possessors of the notion of its greatness rather effectively. But I do love this album. Don't you? It is so much fun. Look at my short sentences. I read a piece on Aldaily.com which discussed the finer points of writing well. I didn't subscribe to any of them. I shall. I shall start now. One of the tenets he proudly beamed over was short sentences. I suppose his greatest ambition is to write copy for the AP. My own ambition is not so lofty. I think I have finished my book. Really. I could fold it in half, glue it between two flat pieces of drywall and put it on display at the Smithsonian and you might be unimpressed. I read 91 books this year. Reading more has allowed me to steal more convincingly. I am somewhat certain that Flannery O'Conor is my new favorite author. I've never had a Horchata. Sheltered, I didn't know what it was until just a few moments ago. It seems to be a very Vampire Weekend concoction, good for their regime and their skin, they would drink it but that act is apparently demed criminal by reaction from those in the know sorts we think very little about. I will not drink almond flavored drinks until I have a prescription. Next song. This one is very Paul Simon. It is very Graceland. I was never one to buy into the theory that that was a great record. Of course we loved the You Can Call Me Al video but that's only because Chevy Chase was tall and Paul Simon was short and therein lies the drama of high comedy. As a song it's a song, sure, but this one is marvelous, moreso. Even the squealie bits delight, like those occurring just now. Vampire Weekend is a physical band, spasmodic involuntary motions accompany a listening, but it all sounds effortless. Animal Collective is similarly bodily propulsive but you can imagine them, spent, frantic, dripping with perspiration. I don't think Vampire Weekend know the meaning of hard work. It is all seemingly effortless. This one sneaks in a similarity to the Discovery record. We loved that record as well. We is me. I offer myself more credibility, a sense of authority, by adopting the "we". Would you not agree? You should. On my ceramic tile kitchen floor my stockings glide soundlessly while my head fills with the girly yelps of a girly young man. Bravo to girly young men who don't subscribe to misogyny and cartoon theatrics. There is an understated ambition to this. Is that a backhanded compliment? To whom do I offer my rhetorical questions? I am not sure. I have neglected this site for some time. I missed my window for ubiquity. I fear. Next song. Holiday. One that might make you remember the first album. There isn't a great deal of guitar on this album, some scrapes in the background, a glamourous line in the pre-chorus, now the wordy middle 8, nice, pretentious, charming. Would it be better should the world be filled with Noel Gallaghers? No. Hint, it is, already. Noel Gallagher has given us Nickelback. Commerce is the greatest aspiration of pop music. Vampire Weekend sell a considerable number of records in spite of their high mindedness. Bravo. Next song. Short songs. Mostly. My feet are warm now, frictionless stockings drift across the ceramic tile. 24 x 24. "She'd never seen the word bombs blown up to 96pt futura." I rather like that. But that was the last song. California English, skatting, the vocals could annoy the average listener, but you, my one reader, are not average. Indeed. The other reader, he is unmentionable. More guitar on this, it is subtly shading the plot from the background, it's percussion, heartbeat percussion, this is the connection to Animal Collective. Viscerally they are entirely different, head music versus heart music, the beat of the blood versus the wrinkles of a furrowed brow. I really love this album. Just one week before I was enmeshed in a musical funk and then this week, one semi-glorious passing of seven days, by divine intervention, an unsecured network appeared and I discover this, a beautiful Magnetic Fields record, Lucky Soul, oh dear. Yes, goodness is about. Now the race to the finish. I have experience with disconnected light switches, well disconnected disposal switches, I can find common cause with my betters. Over. Slowness. They didn't do slowies much on the debut record and here there are many. Each is lovely, they should do slowies more often. Again very minimally produced, twinkles on the piano tinkles, sharp arrangements. I should read back to the beginning of this entry and remember if I have already discussed how all of the second album ambition went into the arrangements. The arrangements are dazzling. Really. A less confident band would have shown off their chops, broadcast loudly the fact that they can play scales on the guitar now after having played all of the old familiar favorites to hedonistic young college boarders dozens of nights in a row on some cold February journey through academia. But no, it is understated, charming, smart. Smart is key. Dumb is the thing for most, smart is the thing for least. I finished AS Byatt's The Children's Book over the holidays and it is plotless but not pointless. But she is so smart. I love that she has a husband that is something of an expert on WWI and so when she is writing of the grindhouse of the trenches, the brutal and heartless extinguishing of so many points of light that she needed only lean across the double desk they share, it is pressboard, each facing the other, a lamp in the shape of an Anatolian appendage on the floor and ask him if indeed this is how all of England's bright young things met their end. Truly. Next song, Run. Run has horns. It has a soaring bit of instrumental chorus-try and it is absolutely marvelous. I read a review of this album and they complained about this song. Madness. Is that a horn? I think it is a horn. Oh, my ears. Have they cataracts? The middle section with hoots and hollers and softness parading as bravado. Nickelback will pummel these boys one day behind a rock club, in the alley, with bricks and canadian sabres and hair products. My feet can't stop mimicking my typing, I am typing in time to the beat, it is much more preferable to do this rather than to have to occasionally use the defibrillator on myself while listening to that Northern Portrait suburban library music. Perhaps I am not cut from Scandinavian stock, perhaps my own French heritage is signaled from deeper south, near to the Mediterranean than in the chillier, more static climes of Cherbourg or Le Havre. Everyone else just loves the Northern Portrait album. They are all correct. I am wrong. Next song. Speedy. The single. The transition from first to second album is made easier by familiarity. We know what Martin Phillipps wrote about "familiarity". I don't agree with Martin Phillipps about much of anything except for the Osmonds and West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. Thanks to Martin and Kahoutek magazine I was hip to the West Coast Pop Art Experimental band before you were but I never actually heard them until he covered them as Pop Art Toasters long after. Anyhow. Cousins is over. It's short. It's snappy. Next song. I just snapped my fingers in an involuntary reaction to my typing. If only I could type out future scenarios and make them come true by similar involuntary reactions. Type "incapacitate Ben Gibbard", type "write novel that isn't awful", type "buy chick magnet car", type "marry Rebecca Hall". Her voice, sigh, is it real, was it a construct of hollywood imagineering? Probably. I fell asleep by the end. Giving Up the Gun is spectacular. Really it is, there all sorts of things happening but it still does not overwhelm the senses, you sense the comfort of their diving back into the song at any point they like for this could be the extended jam where Paul Simon and Edie Brickell jump on stage to join them, a medley of this song, What I Am and The Boxer. I read Paul Simon's book on Paul Simon's finger picking, it did not take. I didn't read it this year. I could be more receptive now that my reading muscles are extremely well defined from use. The same muscles extend to the center of my back. I pulled out mulch and rock and am going to soon replace the mulch and rock with mulch and rock. Woo. i could stand on the 16th Street mall and flex my reading muscles and everyone would swoon dreamily. How difficult is it to build a pergola? I could install wireless speakers at the posts of a four posted pergola and have surround sound of afrobeat songs about Joe Strummer. Is that not the working theory on Diplomat's Son It is about Joe Strummer. Right? There was that history of rock music thing done by Dick Clark or Quincy Jones or Don Cornelius or whomever and Joe Strummer was in it and he seemed like fanboy with a heart of gold and love for Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. De didn't have expatiate on pretentious theories about how Vampire Weekend's excessive upper class appeal could led to a rebellion against Goldman Sachs and Conrad Black and the color of unpainted china. He was just on and on about making cool music without nonsense like underlying meaning and psychology. I Love Music is filled with guilty overprivileged wrongly overeducated children without a firm grasp of economics except as distorted by Hardt and Negri. I mean to write my own economic treatise with the working thesis that it was the Cadillac Cimarron that saved 80s American culture and gave birth to the aspirational agenda that dominates the boardrooms across America. I loved the bug guard across the front bumper of a glued up Cavalier. If this be a memorial to Joe Strummer it is a lovely one. Tender, cheerful, romantically idyllic. Not sure if any of those same adjectives would apply to Joe but he would approve. Err...I can imagine his proxy might. For these purposes, in my universe, I serve as proxy for reality and fantasy, so I approve in his stead. Last song. Slow pretty closer. Quavering voice. This is a wonderful record, really. UNlike say Lucky Soul it is not unexpected but the depth and emotion and artistry is something to applaud. Strings. Lovely.