Sunday, June 27, 2010
Electric Pop Group Seconds. Brighter were the very first Sarah band I ever heard. They are special. To me. I love Brighter. Electric Pop Group love Brighter. I love Electric Pop Group. Well this record. It is a corollary or something. It is a Brighter record, the same as when Pains of Being Pure at Heart make records they are Field Mice records EPG make records that are Brighter records. Is there shame in this? No. There was one Brighter album. And three Harper Lee albums sure, but this has that chiming, simple ache that warmed the heart so desperately and the world is in short supply of these things. Brighter had a purity about them; in each song a simple melody line, the basic drum machine patterns and even the drab colorless photos spoke to a life lived as lensed by some sepia tinged kinetoscope rather than a wide screen technicolour masterpiece. The White Sister vs. An American in Paris. Lillian Gish versus Leslie Caron. We love Leslie Caron but that confidence, that zest for living, we can't relate better the parched, worn lips of Lillian Gish on her "death bed". Brighter were not Leslie Caron. Sad, lonely children don't have that many teeth. Electric Pop Group have nice teeth, perhaps, but if they do then they do a convincing portrait scribbled across back molars of a desolate emotional landscape. All of these songs seemingly exist on the periphery. The notes chalked on borowed counter tops, on sheets of paper towel surreptitiously claimed and huddled with in bathrooms or balconies away from the heartbeat rhythms that drive everyone else to their instincitve behaviours and normality and terrify the meekest into expressing their aims in love songs or poetry or vivid illusions of Lillian Gish could play the lead fantasies or bliss and romance. Third song. I Know I Will. The circular guitar patterns continue. It isn't a million miles away from Math and Physics Club but as their asthmatic tnedencies take to the fore, here there is a more resonant dynamism, they are confident in their spinning little circle of friends and they are confident in their emotions and they are near the surface. And the brother psychic connection. I don't have any sort of connection to either of my brothers. My brother's factory was inundated by the Cumberland river, nearly consumed, buy some carbon offsets to help him. Math and Physics CLub are life as a Sinclair Lewis novel, this is meant to be more sincere, more automatic, more life giving. I could mention the lyrics but it is teenage troubadour english, cliche cliche cliche and it spans the very short gap of catholicity among non-native speakers. I love it. Yeah. But it is all very "teenager" in the age of 2 million "200 troubled teenagers" sharing one collective identity. A collective by nature stifles. Unable to disassociate even for a moment, broadcasting their cosmetic maladies for their friends from Bhutan to Pocatello, they merge into some sort of myopic oblivion. Are they wearing orange corduroy dresses? Unlikely. I've been listening to Sarah records records almost exclusively for the past week. I had a serious disillusionment with twee pop for some time. I may still have it. I won't be even "borrowing" the Math and Physics Club record. Probably. But I am dying to listen to my Harvest Ministers records for the third time today. Why? Has the music changed or have I changed? I have sometimes, in the past, blamed mass affluence, what can the Pocketbooks say to me? Not a whole heck of a lot. The Manhattan Suicides? Eh...yeah Heavenly were middle class, yeah probably many of the Sarah records kids were but they had a commitment to something purer even still. It was a positive reflection that came from their music. They longed for a(misguided really) utopian view based on individualism and spirit and DIY fierceness. Now everything is in terms of negative rights, live in thrall to the collective to insulate yourself from risk to assuage the inner totalitarian that is seeping out in every misguided attempt to correct the ways people live from making them feel guilty for drinking bottled water, to accepting mediocrity as heroic, to this defeatism in believing the apocalypse is just ahead of us, just around the bend. It affects music too. Will there be a political awakening in pop music? Hopefully not, but perhaps instead there will be a literary revival. This is not part of that revival. They are part of the anonymous middle class. They don't want to stand out. In concert I imagine they dress shabbily as if they were American and they play their songs proficiently and they sell homemade cd-rs and are big Blubird fans. But even without a personality of their own they charm. Because they've somehow tapped into the melancholic consciousness that so many of us are caught up in and unable to break free of. Next song. More Brighter guitar. The acoustic guitar next to the two note electric riff, the impassioned nasal whinge, sigh...perhaps this is me revisiting my childhood. Not the one that actually transpired by the fantasy existence that I created to soothe me in my uneventful old age. I was once so promising. Last time I was in Toronto was 1996. I went to an ice hockey game. I was back in Toronto two weekends ago and how desperately I wanted to be back in 1996. Toronto in 1996 waqs clean, safe, exciting. Toronto in 2010 reminds me of...shhh...Detroit. It has a new sinsiter edge about it. Read into that all of the racism you would like but there is a new edge to life in the big city, perhaps it makes it more exciting for the locals. But I grew up in Detroit. I recall driving down Woodward to the Latin Quarter and enjoying the freedom of living in an anarchist's paradise and not having to stop for red lights or pedestrian things of similar meaninglessness. Have you seen the show 'life after people' on History? When they profiled Detroit they didn't need to produce any fancy graphics to show the squalor and desolation as nearly half of the city is vacant. Dave Bing is considering turning much of it to farmland. Amazing. He had a pretty sweet jumper once upon a time, god knows why he wants to be a farmer. He could make Bill Laimbeer chief of police. But Toronto is not yet Detroit. It isn't empty. It suckles off the sustenance that comes from out west. But their hockey team is awful again. In 1996 it was closer to greatness. I saw Best Coast play live in Toronto. They were petty swank but their new song, not so much. The curse of losing the menace when you learn how to play your instrument and you meet people who are concerned with things such as fidelity. Ugh. Audiophiles. There were Rush tee shits and last night I watched the fabulous Rush documentary on VH-1. What a bunch of weirdos. My workmate says his grandmother looked like Geddy Lee. My Grandmother did not. In the Back of my Mind, brotherly harmonies, almost Everly-esque. Would the Everly Brothers sound like this in 2010? If they were Canadian? But EPG are Swedish right? I don't remember. The Sonnets are Swedish. They seem as if they could be pretty great and they already know how to play their instruments. This one is a bit vague. Pleasingly so. 4 tracks left. Now the upbeat number for the indiepop "dance" night. Disco preset on the drum machine. Excellent, the inhaler comes out after the first chorus. Did Sweden not qualify for the World Cup? I still have a low opinion of Sweden after their performance in the 1994 final. Word is that South Africa has a higher than normal incidence of Tuberculosis. =Could it be the curse of the vuvuzella? Possibly. It's as plausible a theory as global warming. Siberian Tigers are dying because they have lost the will to kill their prey. They could be gone within 10 years. I am sure if you purchase carbon offsets you can help them the same as my brother and his 60,000 spoiled water heaters. If we had 13 inches of rain here the Platte might rise to a babbling brook. Sometimes it is good to live in a desert but then I look at my prematurely aged hands and scream to the heavens. Jergens and humidors. Next song. Slightly slower disco preset on the drum machine. Same guitar notes, played slightly slower. Lovely. I should have gone to Toronto this weekend, free big screen tv's. I've just re-read "What is to be done", actually "What to Do" and on the airplane I had read Scientific American and they claimed that Obama was not a socialist but this administration is following Lenin's prescription to a tee. The midle class intelligentsia forming theories on how things should be instead of living in the same reality of most people and dealing with things the way they are. And some strange obsession with unknowing youth. Lenin would be proud. I wonder if he was a subscriber to Scientific American, he seems awfully conservative, probably more for casting a sabot rather than splitting the atom. But I am tired of Scientific American getting political. Just give me the science man, skip the propaganda, don't tell me that Abu Ghraib is the equivalent of Auschwitz. Don't tell me that my mediocre President isn't a Socialist. Second to last song. I should be off to bed. I have a budget reforecasting meeting tomorrow. I am meant to be sharp and aware and full of answers as to where our profits went. It could be worse we could live near the Cumberland river. The problem with being anonymous is that you become tiresome quickly. I have the same effect on people. All of my quirks and foibles are secret. To the outside world I am normal. I have normal hair. I have an invisible laugh. I have dreadful toes that I am not fond of. And so I am forgotten 12 minutes after I am introduced. Electric Pop Group have a bit of that inside of them as well. Nice last song though. Layers.