One of my acquaintances in a band I love recently posted on Facebook that they’re recording new material. This, of course, got me as excited as any fangirl could ever be. I’ve been a fan of The Mission Veo for years, and I was glad as could be that they were moving on to bigger and better things in New York and overseas. They’re incredibly talented musicians, and I hope they have even greater success to come. That doesn’t mean I don’t get a little sad now and again that I don’t get to see them play live.
Of course, the mention of new material possibly coming out in the near future made me remember the music I had listened to compulsively for months on end before and during their big move, and I thought it’d be fun to share it with my very lovely tumblr followers.
New York Scum is sort of their big hit, the song that always has to be played at every show. I love this video, not just because I enjoy the song, but also because I think it’s very well done. They don’t have much on YouTube, sadly, but they do have some live performances. Here’s one: Fuschia, from a show they played at Kevro Art Bar in 2009. You can’t get a real feel for it, but they are massively energetic in their shows. Just all over the stage, never missing a beat (ha). At one show I went to, the amphitheater’s sound went out, and they just turned out their amps and drew everyone closer to the stage. When the mics went out, they kept going.
My favorite song of theirs isn’t available on YouTube, but you can get their full album on iTunes. You can also check them out on the ol’ Facebook. Do it. You know you want to.
I’m working on a post about Florence + The Machine, but I still don’t feel like I’ve listened to enough to really be able to deconstruct it. In lieu of that, I’m going to write about the band Mae.
I can’t quite believe that I’ve written as many posts as I have and not even mentioned the band Mae. The name comes from a college course one of the members took about “Multi-sensory Aesthetic Experience.” The kind of goal of the band was to make music that created those experiences. And from a synaesthesia point of view, they absolutely succeed. I’ve never found another group that makes music more friendly to sense-blending.
I mentioned in a previous post that Elliott Smith’s music is indelibly associated in my mind with the rainy season here in south Florida. Of course, since rainy season here is very long (something like six months, possibly?), and I am hardly the person to listen to the same thing for more than a month (though I do listen to particular albums sometimes as long as a month), there are more options for me, and more songs that capture a rainy day for me.
Since rainy season seems to have started early this year, here are some of my picks:
I told absolutelyadam that I was going to write a post about Muse, but this isn’t that post. The thoughts I have about Muse are just not turning into words well enough for me.
I’ve talked about Elliott Smith here before, I know. Namely, I talked about his last album. And I mentioned one of his songs as one I’d love to cover someday. But this post is about Elliott Smith more generally.
I’ll post a real bit in the next day or so, but my mom stumbled upon this: http://www.spinner.com/2008/09/04/kurt-cobains-last-days-detailed-by-manager-danny-goldberg/ and shared it with me on the ol’ Facebook. There’s one tidbit in that article that particularly intrigued me—
“Early in 1993 Nirvana began recording ‘In Utero.’ Kurt was focused on balancing songs with punk energy with those that could work on the radio. When he finished ‘Heart Shaped Box,’ he called and ebulliently announced to me, “I’ve got the first single.” While he was writing ‘All Apologies’ he played the Beatles’ ‘Norwegian Wood’ over and over again, hour after hour.” Emphasis mine.
When I read that, I immediately rushed off to listen to both songs back to back. I strongly urge my readers to do the same:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY5i4-rWh44 The Beatles “Norwegian Wood”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LFVQpDKHk4 Nirvana “All Apologies”
It changed my perception of both songs, particularly Nirvana’s. I think Kurt Cobain gets enough credit for his lyrics, but never really sufficient credit for his melodic sensibility. A comparison like this, for me, underscores that quality in Cobain’s work.
My last post highlighted the brilliant ways in which Silverchair captured the horror, the sense of pressure and darkness inherent in mental illness. I don’t think I could write enough posts to fully explore the genius of Silverchair’s oeuvre; particularly in the case of the last three albums, there’s just so much to work with. “A lot to unpack,” as one of my University mentors would phrase it.
I’m going to move forward in Silverchair’s body of work and try to re-approach a thesis I left dangling last time: as Daniel Johns has become healthier and happier, his music has become more difficult to “get.” And I think there’s something intrinsically valuable about that experience. Read on if you’re ready for weird:
I know that, in a previous post, I kinda made fun of Silverchair for some odd/nonsensical lyrics, but I’d like to turn the spotlight of this post onto their more shining moments.
Neon Ballroom is by far one of my very favorite albums of all time. Daniel Johns has said that he feels as though Neon Ballroom was the first “real” Silverchair album; that the two previous had been sort of “our high school band.” I can sort of see it, though songs on their second album, Freak Show, certainly showed some of the promise demonstrated in their later work.
Neon Ballroom is part of a theory of mine: Daniel Johns was at his most coherent, lyrics-wise when he was at his most miserable. This isn’t to say he’s any less talented now, or anything like that; it’s just that the lyrics in the songs on Neon Ballroom are extraordinarily clear. There’s still metaphor, still a little abstractness, but the intent of the songs is very apparent. I’m going to look at only a few of the songs, but I definitely recommend checking out the whole album.
When I was about seven years old, my step-sister moved in with my parents, my brother and I. The downer was that, after a few months of having the sweet freedom of my own bedroom, I was made to share my room with her for a little over a year. The upside to this was that, since my step-sister is about 7 years older than me, she was at that point a teenager, and my close living with her exposed me to music that I would have otherwise not known about for years.
Technically, I was probably not in the slightest bit old enough or mature enough for the themes in the videos I was exposed to at that age, but I’m glad that I was exposed to them so young—my unformed mind wasn’t judging things based on a lifetime of ideology. Instead, I was enjoying a completely different sonic aesthetic than I had been accustomed to, and engaging some interesting counter-culture. For example:
I was originally going to post about the amazing phenomenon of OK Go’s discography, but in listening to the songs to try and form a cohesive post, I kept getting distracted. Since Elliott Smith’s records are much more amenable to being written about, I will be focusing on him instead.
I find it interesting that, when an artist/musician passes away, whether it’s sudden or after a long illness, there’s always this rush to consider the “hints” they “left behind” in their music that they knew they weren’t long for the world.
In the case of Elliott Smith’s final, posthumous album, “From a Basement on the Hill,” people have been particularly at pains—possibly because Smith’s death, ruled a suicide, had come after many depressive episodes in his life. The theory seems to be that Smith, in his agonies of depression, left hints in his music that he was ready to kill himself, and that he intended to do it soon.
I read the album completely differently.