Thursday, July 29, 2010

The new Candy Claws record makes my heart feel delightful.

Update: I am a subscriber to the pro-med medical list. Mostly because I read The Ghost Map which was about the last major Cholera outbreak in London and it mentioned the mailing list as some frightening sentinel for the end of time or something like that. It isn't that frightening. Sometimes it is sad, I confess to a long distance feeling of heartbreak when learning of a young veterinarian who died of disease caused by the Hendra virus for seemingly no other reason than his love for animals, or the death of all of the birds in City Park here because of civil engineering blunders. But sometimes tragedy almost turns silly. For some strange reason hippies are rather prominent on the list. A woman in a drum circle?!! in New Hampshire somehow contracted a rare form Anthrax from beating a drum made from animal hides from Africa. Now, drum circles are inane and preposterous efforts of rich white folks patronizing indigenous cultures but they are not normally dangerous. More comic/tragic is the increasing prevalence of stories about hippie/new age types forcing their kids to consume raw milk and the inevitable bit of salmonella or brucellosis or e.coli poisoning they inflict on their helpless kids. There was a local angle recently, in Loveland, recently and it's sad. This fear of technology is a more common sort of voodoo than is helpful. Panjandrums at the Sierra Club and Al Gore's Investment service would have you believe that companies like BP are like modern version of Prometheus and the fisherman of the gulf are the ones having their liver daily plucked by eagles. But it is the nature of a society that believes in the healing power of drum circles but worries about contracting brain cancer from a cell phone, who will have an feng sui consultant rearrange their furniture but won't eat something unless they are aware of its trans fat content, who will believe in the fantastical imaginings of computer climate models but not trust their bank. Into the breech then come Candy Claws. Uh...not really. There are different types of hippie, the outward types (see Candy Claws) and the inward types (see the creepy teachers at the Earth Day event I attended that brainwashed their kids in hopes of advancing a political agenda or said differently the "truth"). But Candy Claws are not political. Thank goodness. This record is about animals and insects and their teeth and the plants that are their best buddies and the live giving rain that drips from the bottom of leaves onto daisies and daffodils. They dress like hippies, they spout meaningless pabulum the same as hippies, but they make really lovely records. The first song has been playing for a bit, it is vague, meandering, its a wave of sound built to wash over without breaking, certainly without breaking your heart, because while the music is pastoral and tender it is unceasingly sunny. It's always sunny in space. I didn't know that hippies were prevalent in Fort Collins. It is a university town, a charming little hamlet, always ranked highly on best places in America to live, but they study things like corn, and public planning, and uh...beets and radishes. It's hardly Silicon Valley. The drive from Denver to Fort Collins takes about an hour and it is one of the more dismally unimpressive patches of real estate in the area. There are the mountains, always on your left, but between the automobiles and the mountains is semi-arid prairie, the occasional riparian cottonwood, the occasional oil well, and a whole lot of beige nothing. Colorado Rocky Mountain High doesn't really begin until you reach the foothills. But its easier, when you are a farmer such as myself, to farm the flatland. I put a cayenne pepper fresh from the garden into my omelet today, I haven't any idea if it was ripe, it didn't taste like anything other than perhaps how one imagines grass to taste. It is possible that it was not yet ripe. Nothing much happens on the first song, he whispers, she whispers more, the music is some pleasant hum, but it is an invitation to the womb, the circle if you will, apparently each song has a sample from the other songs on the album and all of it was recorded on keyboards which they don't know how to play. They did a splendid job of mimicry then. That was me relaying third hand bits from the press release, probably. I am so helpful. Now to song two, the single, if there is a single, this has some synthesized bits that sound like horns, and more amniotic hum and noise, the production has been improved slightly on the album, it sounds less like the vocals had been surgically reattached as on the last album, more cohesive and insular. On some journeys from some portions of the Denver metro area you would need pass through Commerce City to reach Fort Collins. I drive through Commerce City on my way home every day. It is aptly named, there are rubbish dumps and gas refineries and dog food factories and cement recyclers and most of the homes are filled with people who'd rather live anywhere but Commerce City but I find it romantic. Possibly my nostalgia is for those cold winter nights driving home from Sarnia, after visiting my family in Chatham where the steam pressed apparitions would crawl across deserted city streets as I was in a state of semi-consciousness and the windows of the Chevy Caprice were fogged slightly by the exhaled condensation. Or it could be similar to the lunacy of people who are travelling to Cuba to get one last look at the deprivation and charm of rustic living before the lot of the Cuban people improves with the introduction of evil Western entities like McDonalds and KFC. I don't know. I only drive through. In the evening, especially in the rain, the lights and just on the edge of obsolescenceness appeals to me. I have enjoyed living further from work. I listen to the tunes that warm my heart, though this is more of a headphone record than a driving record, song three is on, by the way, very similar to the first two and well the whole thing works nicely as a pretty pastoral suite. Like say How Green Was My Valley works as a whole but seems really uninspiring in small bits. That's wrong actually, there are all sorts of pretty bits in here, there's one now, the beginning of song four, it's like a Swirlie demo played in the Von Trapps living room on a lyre and with a drum circle. I haven't recognized the samples, I am not an observant listener. Lyrics are indecipherable. Apparently the lyrics are drawn from a children's book. I couldn't say. Possibly the children's book is written on Catalpa leaves in charcoal made by the rustics in Cuba. Poverty tourism, how charming. What disappointments lay ahead for the man in charge of the Sierra Club when Cubans start hanging plasma televisions on their walls. But then the problem with the Sierra Club or any of their similar organizations is that they don't actually have a stake in their topic of interest. They have an interest, sire, the more panic they can create the better the fundraising and the easier the accommodations are at the fancy Climate conferences in Bali, in Rio, in Copenhagen. Where I work there are trucks that might be considered "common" in that everyone has access to using these and invariably these are the most poorly maintained vehicles in the fleet. Expand to "common" resources. But anyway, the next song has started, The Breathing Fire. Dragons? I'd imagine that they consume healthy amounts of cannabis, possibly with a prescription, possibly Mr Candy Claws was in a car accident and suffers the same chronic pain as everyone else who has a prescription, or possibly he gets it from other sources. The same place where he purchases his beaded headbands. I don't know. It's his own business. This is as lovely and non intrusive as everything else on the record. It's bliss, over and over. If the lyrics are charming or incidental I haven't a clue. Next track, sounds like it might be a guitar, tambourines, his voice, it's a bit thicker, the vocals sound like he recorded them with the microphone stuffed inside of a stuffed animal, possible a stuffed inside of a baby seal that he had just clubbed. Drums sound real, tapped gently with gladiola stems. My gladiolas have finally bloomed! Might I carve one up and put it in tomorrow's omelet? Unknown. The first to bloom was white, to be expected, i did register for facebook recently. using flowers for drum sticks sounds like a smashing idea. I could play the drums while Julie Christie played her tuba, I could feign broken ribs. I don't expect any of the drums in the drum circle had a warning sticker concerning anthrax before anyone played them, I assume a movement in New Hampshire is already afoot to make sure that all African drums are in fact locally made and have properly affixed a warning sticker warning of the possibility of death from Anthrax by participation in a silly drum circle. The young woman did not die. She's alive and kicking. The electrical outlets are all sterilised. Thank goodness. Another song is playing. I wonder what it would be like if the vocals would be decipherable, would their hippy claptrap make the sublime errant? Possibly. They have pleasant enough voices as effects. It's difficult to attack this record in my normally objective manner, I kid, but really these records cause me to drift and moan about things that are of interest to practically no one else on the planet. I could retell the story of when they closed the St Paul bridge and the sadness it caused in a friend and the recompensed joy of its reopening some months later. They are now building a bridge near my work, on Yale Ave. The locals were all aghast, bridges are evil and it is probably Halliburton that is contracted to build it anyhow but I went to the neighbourhood meeting because the bridge affects my work and well it seemed rather reasonable because currently emergency vehicles need to take a circuitous route to reach certain parts of town and this would alleviate that congestion in emergency services and well most of the malcontents protesting the bridge were on the verge of requiring emergency services but they seemingly all had flashbacks to their youth protesting the man and listening to CSNY's Ohio so a bridge equaled evil. Or something like that. No worry, the bridge is being built, and a new intersection. Candy Claws could do a concept record on this bridge next. They could visit Peggy Lehman's office, nay, they could have a sit in, were their beaded headgear and play these pretty songs to all in the vicinity and change the world, just like Country Joe and the Fish did! Some other song is playing now.'s hard to know where you are at with this album, it is all similarly gauzy and not demarcated by anything like say human emotion or change of tempo. Some synthesized this, some synthesized that, some low whispers, some high whispers, etc...Maybe they should be playing with Vampire Weekend at Red Rocks, the rocks might rise up and sing along. It's a bit like the theme to Star Trek now. Nice. Second to last song. Sun Arrow, nice title. It's reminiscent of Spectrum's Highs Lows and heavenly Blows in its amorphousness, the lack of density, etc...Spacemen 3 recently had a reunion. Well, not really, there was fat Kevin Shields instead of Jason Pierce. But they played Spacemen 3 songs. I don't even think Bassman was there. Did they play Darkside songs? This is much better than a Darkside record. It's beautiful. Listen while dreaming.