Thursday, July 9, 2009

Inexplicable Love

Further to dancing about architecture: never harbored a desire to be a music critic, myself. Every time I tried I felt a form of cognitive dissonance: why am I trying to translate visceral reactions into words? Perhaps this is an outgrowth from youthful scars; e.g. a time a college girlfriend was trying to get me to talk about my feelings or some such crap. I recall opening one response with, 'I think I feel...' and she interrupted with an outburst of laughter over the absurdity of the juxtaposition.

But the music critic's job is an important one; we explorers need all the direction we can get, even if the destinations are sometimes cul de sacs. A couple of people I trust are Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic, and Jack Rabid, publisher of The Big Takeover. Also, a website that has been climbing my chart is the one operated by Other Music, a small specialty retailer in Greenwich Village. Subscribe to their weekly email update, which never fails to uncover releases worthy of investigation.


Q. So, Veronica, got an example of music for which you have an unexplainable love?

A. OK, hozzabot this: Sun Kil Moon's most recent album. The songs are long, monochromatic, with litttle dynamic range and a vocal style that can be difficult for the uninitiated. This album, April, might be my favorite from the past twelve months. I don't get it, and I sure can't explain it. Here is a sample:


Presumably these pages will soon feature some Fountains of Wayne afterglow and smoke-rings blown to the ceiling. Great band, great songwriting. Co-founder Adam Schlesinger first caught my attention with his songwriting for the Tom Hanks' movie, 'That Thing You Do,' including the title track. His beat out Dwight Twilley's effort, which says a lot right there.

Anyway, as the new kid who acts as if the beginning of time were June 11 of this year, I get to post this terrific Robbie Fulks novelty tune while blissfully unaware that everyone has heard it multiple times. To recap: Robbie sings in the role of a frustrated songwriter who has hit a wall on a new track he is working on. So he turns to the only songwriters' service he can trust:

The Fountains of Wayne Hotline. (Click on the little player at the end of the three paragraph editorial)


An irregular Thursday feature will be my choices for the sounds I'd like to hear wafting through the floorboards and down into my secret Cedar cellar, if tour itineraries, bankability, and diva demands weren't factors in scheduling.

Today I'd pick Pink Mountaintops. They're a side project for Black Mountain's Stephen McBean. They fall somewhere in the psychedelic folk category, which has been big in this household ever since Espers came along. The following is from an intimate live setting, and while the vocals are rather lost in the mix, their vibe comes through nicely:

To Mama E Dub, re Tell No Lies: keep working on it. Worth it.

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