Dear, iTunes November 13, 2011Posted by reidmix in Music.
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An iTunes Wishlist
Here’s a running list of things I wish was in iTunes. Inspiration comes mostly from discogs.com who understand what music lovers need & want. I use playlists to add most metadata I need (not just mixtapes, but from where, when I listened to music, what series it came on, covers, etc.).
But for the uses below, playlists are weak at best.
- Label field – I use composer to store which Label a release came from because it is searchable. I’ve been wanting a dedicated field for years and years, should act just like composers do (searchable, grid category, used in smart playlists, etc.)
- Mix/Remix field – These are common enough they should have their own field, should come up in a search.
- Featuring field – ditto as #2
- Multiple Label fields – Sometimes a single release comes out on more than one Label (ie. 4ad & Teenbeat). Bonus points to add the corresponding catalog number.
- Secondary Titles on Tracks – sometimes tracks have 2 names (usually in parenthesis, His Name is Alive, Flaming Lips are notorious for this)
- Secondary Titles on Albums – albums have subtitles too (often my comps)
- Album Section names – this happens often on deluxe re-releases/re-masters. The original album plus the extras. Sometimes, groups of songs just have names. I use grouping for this but it’s not useful, just informational.
- Ordering & Grouping Discs – multi-disc/boxsets sometimes name their CDs and are in some order. I have to prefix the name with something like “Cloud Box 1:” to get them to stay together in the right order or not use their names at all (Disc 1 of 2, 2 of 2). I’d like a better way.
- Sort Year – I want albums (usually anthologies or deluxe discs) that sort chronologically based on oldest song. For instance, The Cure’s Join the Dots has b-Sides and Rarities that go from 1978 to 2001. It get’s sorted with albums at 1978.
- Sort within Year – I want to sort chronologically albums from an artist that is released in the same year. Not alphabetically. This happens alot with singles and The Beatles. Let me also specify release month or day in addition to year in these cases.
- Album Artist vs. Compilations – I use album artist to specify alternate band names for the same artist. This happens more than you’d think: Final Fantasy vs. Owen Pallett, Manitoba vs. Caribou, The Beat vs. The English Beat. Occur for legal and other reasons. Discogs has to mechanisms to deal with this, Artist Name Variants and Aliases. But Album Artist works fine, except with compilations where it breaks the album up. Please fix.
- Style vs. Genre – I use genre more generically than most people. Other music fans put the style in the Genre field or use grouping (see issues above). Allmusic and Discogs both have style, I want that too. I could have better smart playlists.
- Muscle with Large Collections – Think Apeture vs. iPhoto. I’m locked into iTunes because of the playlists-as-metadata thing where I lose information if I archive music by moving it out of iTunes (and in turn lose which playlists the tracks were in). So I want a little more muscle to handle my 30K song collection. But even with enough RAM, iTunes sputters alot more than I’d like it to. You got me here, help me out – I’m guessing it will only get worse.
- Music Only – I’ve already split my books/movies into their own iTunes library, I cannot quite split my apps and iPhone syncing without a big hassle. Maybe separate, dedicated apps makes sense. Also, it has an added benefit that it will match up to the apps on the iPhone (Music, Videos, iBooks, etc.)
- Music Store plugins – I buy rarely from iTunes but sometimes I do. I also have an eMusic subscription, I download from Daytrotter, I sometimes buy mp3s from Amazon. I have an application to download from each of these, do I really need them? I know they’re competitors and to allow a plug-in architecture to download from their stores would compete with iTMS, but guess what? I’m still buying from them and they are still your competitors.
- Specify bitrate/kind for iTunes Matching – iTunes will use iCloud to “matche[s] plays back from iCloud at 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free quality — even if your original copy was of lower quality.” This is cool considering I started ripping my collection in the ’90s when space was sparce (128 Kbps, *shiver*). But, 256-Kbps AAC? And really, no DRM, please. Let me specify and I’ll pay you the $25.
- Let me Scrobble – Scrobble to Last.fm without a plugin. Maybe keep things in sync.
- Friends – Let me link to friends, see their playlists, favorites, top artists & tracks, charge $5 a year.
- Shared Playlists – Truly peer to peer like Spotify, stream it, covered by charge in #2.
- Real recommendations – Let me push music to friends, stream it, covered by charge in #2.
Top 10 of 2010 at The Big Takeover January 2, 2011Posted by reidmix in Music.
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I’ve been mostly writing top 10 lists and a few album reviews (so far) at The Big Takeover online.
Please take a peak at my Top 10 for 2010.
Also, I’ve been listing all my articles under the Big Takeover tab above as it is sometimes difficult to find older articles and lists I’ve written.
Privilege the Parenthetical Girls: Evelyn McHale February 9, 2010Posted by reidmix in Free MP3, Indie, Labels, Music, Slender Means, Upcoming Releases, Videos.
Tags: kottke, suicide
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I’m a total fanboy for Parenthetical Girls. I squee at paypal confirmations from Zac. It’s a sad state I know but to discover their next album is being released in five parts is a collectors paradise for me (unless I’m one out like I was with the No Age series *sigh*). You can pre-order the first part from their parentheticalgirls.com site.
Until then, here is the first video off the first 12″ in the series titled “Evelyn McHale”, a song that introduces the title character who is known for the most beautiful suicide and is a *ahem* springboard for other confessions — as stated by the press release. Zac promises us songs in the vein of early Roxy Music / Brian Eno and Hounds of Love era Kate Bush. Where do I sign-up?
“Evelyn McHale” (mp3) by Parenthetical Girls. Taken from the release Privilege pt. 1: On Death & Endearments, available digitally and as a limited edition 12″ via Slender Means Society on February 23rd, 2010.
My First Poll February 6, 2010Posted by reidmix in Polls.
Tags: debut, The xx
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Inspired by a friend of mine who asked if I’d be still listening to The xx’s debut in 2013.
Top 12 Albums of 2009 January 31, 2010Posted by reidmix in 4AD, Album Reviews, Asthmatic Kitty, Beggars Banquet, Best of 2009, Carpark, Domino, Free MP3, K Records, Labels, Lists, Music, Reviews, Warp.
Tags: Anthony Ausgang, DFA, Domino, Frenchkiss, kcrw, kexp, Kranky, Late Night with David Letterman, Morr Music, Rough Trade, Sake of the Song, Secretly Canadian, stereogum, Upset the Rhythm, wikipedia, Young Turks, Ziggy Stardust
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I thought I’d mix things up and get my best albums of the year 2009 out first then work backwards through what I listened to (According to Last.fm). I must say this was an amazing year for music and I plead with my friends who “cannot find anything new to listen to” that they just need to listen around, become an ear slut, do what you have to do to get into all this great music.
Partly, this year for me has been a good one in music because I’ve been sitting at the computer so much after work and during the weekends building software. I do best with headphones in and bittorrent up. I only get a little distracted. Because I listened to 4½ days of music from 2009, I think I’m entitled to 2 extra albums in my top pics of 2009 compared to previous years’ posts. In fact I listened to over 12 days worth of music through the year, which is the most music I’ve ever listened to over a 365 day span (obsession).
Looking at this list, I noticed an interesting visual element. The first half of my list are dark, black covered albums with brooding and spiritual themes. They pivot around Merriweather Post Pavillion (seriously not a spoiler) which sits in its own illusion. Then the top 5 albums have a bold red-orange graphics, picturing albums that are orchestral, conceptual, and exceptional. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions:
12. Fleurs by Former Ghosts
I’m somewhat amazed that I needed to make room for this album on my list — but it makes sense, with the addiction I have with bandmate Jamie Stewart’s Xiu Xiu cover of Ceremony (live mp3), Fleurs seems to ante up to the same rich, throwback to early 80s goth and employ industrial’s use of found sounds, back when those genres were still novel and without rules.
Former Ghosts is a collaboration between Jamie, Nika Roza (Zola Jesus) and much of the lyric heavy lifting from band “lead” Freddy Ruppert. They draw so much from their influences that they have transformative powers: they are Joy Division, they are Bauhaus, they are Siouxsie Sioux. But instead of being derivative, contrite, or mere imitations, they transcend. The songs on Fluers goes to places these bands just could not because Former Ghosts are forging a new and different path.
And how the sum of their parts can be more than the whole? I’m sure — dear reader — you can spot a few duos and bands where this is true. I cannot speak more in depth and with more love about this album now as it is still working its way under my psyche and given time (oh the woes of end of year discoveries) I’m sure it’d rise to the top of this list.
Buy Fleurs: Former Ghosts, Upset the Rhythm, Insound
11. xx by The xx
The xx took some time for me to unlock. When an album is impenetrable, I find that I have to find a “keysong,” the one song that will unlock the rest of the album and often the bands’ style. Sometimes this unlocking is immediate, like an epiphany. On xx it was slow, tumbling adjacent songs, one at a time before they became familiar and yielded to me. My keysong was “Basic Space” and all the versions that it took on the 12″ before I went “Ah”.
“Basic Space” is such a great keysong, because the title plays well with the band style. They play notes which hang in the aether and spread apart like the particles of atoms: my god you could drive a bus right through the spaces between the notes. And here is the contradiction of a band of 20-year-olds. New youthful bands play with fuzz and noise to fill spaces and with it, their inadequacies. They do not make music around where the notes are not. That’s just plainly too Zen for a debut album.
But the lyrics prove to me that The xx know this “Basic space / open air here / Don’t look away / when there is nothing there.” And yet, their superpower is something else entirely, it’s the art of the understated love song. Even talking about abstracts like “Basic space” they make sure to manifest exactly what it means in a relationship “I’ve been underwater breathing out and in / I think I’m losing where you end and I begin.” Now listen to the rest of the album with boy-girl vocals, soulful lyrics, understated electronic beats, and retro indie guitars. Best debut of 2009, hands down.
Buy xx: Young Turks, Beggars Banquet, Rough Trade, Insound
10. Bromst by Dan Deacon
Deacon is the best show I’ve ever seen / participated in and I sought him out for the Bromst tour and (as you can see) was happy I did. My goodness the man plays in the crowd when he’s not orchestrating it. The album cover is startlingly like Dept. of Eagles’s last album cover but the comparisons stop there.
Bromst ups the range that Deacon splashed on the scene with his prior album, Spiderman of the Rings. The instrumentation is fuller — he toured with a 13 or 15-piece ensemble. Think: much more percussion — but the core sound is still the deeply entwined electronics that sounds like his setup he uses to make it. He has not abandoned the Looney-Toons quality of his prior work that makes him such an endearing songsmith which is most apparent on “Woof Woof” where the backing beat is literally a dog barking in a tight loop. If his music was paintings, they would be drawn by Anthony Ausgang. But don’t shrug the man off as a clown or a hack. His music is built with a care and can be deeply contemplative and can draw on tribal chanting and orchestral roots.
The jewel on Bromst is “Snookered” which begins with a lone bells and a soft melody before stating: ”Been round this road so many times / feel like its skin is part of mine / This taste of milk is almost gone / Still got no shame, but not for long! / Been wrong so many times before / But never quite like this.” The song slathers on the electronics, discreet and interlocking noise and distortion before rolling in a stereophonic chorus of syncopation. The notes become only samples of consonants and wordforms before winding back down into the electronics, back through the lyrics, and out with the soft melody and bells again. A simple cannon, for a modern-day symphony.
Buy Bromst: Carpark, Insound
09. Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made by Fol Chen
I loves me some slide guitar, unless it’s in some full-on country song. Maybe a little country — if you throw in lots of psychedelia and a sweet vox (I’m thinkin’ Mazzy Star). Fol Chen pimps some slide guitar, horns, and funked-up whispered vocals; but it is against a massive electronic backdrop. Now think on a band like this covering of Prince and Junior Vasquez and Beastie Boys. What the eff (oh el)?
But man, that slide guitar backing the lyrics when the male lead (who?) confesses “Fuck your friends they don’t care … I stole a picture of you and your sister in Jericho.” It’s a slow waltz of both deep guitar buzz and jangly acoustics the builds into a percussive crescendo. And like this song, they create an atmosphere that is surprising in its straightforwardness.
Nearly every track is a star on John Shade. Sometimes their songs are understated, slight tinkering of notes, and other times the go for big beats of electronic percussion. But somewhere in the middle they always find balance between the instrumentation, the lyrics, and their addictive little melodies. Even if the fundamentals are drawn from the same source, each song has it’s own personality and story.
“Everybody here / Thinks I’m and idiot / Everybody here / Can’t stop laughing / How can that be true / If I’m in love with you” slowly made it’s way to become a bit of an unlikely theme song for me. Schmaltzy, for sure, but there is a sincerity here that you cannot deny. I’m surprised this album seems to have slipped under the radar, could this be why? Please put this on album on your next top 10 list and thank Asthmatic Kitty for the free The Longer U Wait EP.
Buy Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made: Asthmatic Kitty, Insound
08. The Crying Light by Antony & The Johnsons
Antony is not easy, he requires your full attention. I think this is why I could not crack into prior listens but I was determined. At Coachella, I heard how he had reconfigured his songs to have a electronics to accompany his backing band.
This decision certainly made the torch-songs more palatable on festival hearing, and I took the advice of a lady standing behind me when she said to her friend to pay attention to the lyrics of “Another World.” On the opening refrain I simply and undramatically burst into tears. Typically, I’m not a lyrics man, but to hear “I need another place / Will there be peace? / I need another world / This one’s nearly gone,” I could not hold back.
There is one word to describe this, it is called “power,” Antony, in his shy demeanor and fey clothes is an unsuspecting source of this power. He’s got power in his voice which is androgynous but full of weight. He’s got power in his delivery that is equal to the agony and the personality of the Butoh dancer that strikes the album cover. He’s got power in those lyrics which bring out the most maternal instincts in the crowd and the listeners who want to shield and protect him like a lost child when you hear him utter the lyrics of “Epilepsy is Dancing.” He begs: “Cut me in quadrants / Leave me in the corner / Oh now it’s passing / Oh now I’m dancing.”
The secret is that he needs no protection from us, we need it from him and his brutal honesty and the self-actualization found in these songs. The power that he has is of possession and haunting. And he owns you with his words. They need little accompaniment, they take you down and they won’t let go. I highly suggest the free DC concert by NPR’s All Songs Considered.
Buy The Crying Light: Secretly Canadian, Rough Trade, Insound
07. See Mystery Lights by Y.A.C.H.T.
I’ve been a fan of Jona Bechtolt, and his band/brand Y.A.C.H.T. so long I cannot bear to un-acronym the name. I’ve grown with his positivity in outlook over the years and can be found to quote the title of his last album I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real. and I think this was the album I was most excited about in 2009. I’ve enjoyed his previous collaborations like Mikhaela Maricich’s The Blow but when Claire Evans became the yang to Jona’s yin, their message came pounding through fully amplified. The two share a symbiotic spiritualism that is explained in full detail in their Mission Statement.
See Mystery Lights is their child and the platform on which they build the Anthem of the Trinity, a set songs that sound like and sound off on their notions of afterlife and ufos, light and darkness, and rejection of materialism and center around connection: “It may come as a surprise / But you are not alone / All that you have is not what you own”. See, the music is all tied up in these lofty ideals. But that is where new-age mysticism ends, their message is rooted in the every day, even inspiring that “You can live anywhere you want.”
Also so unlike new-age harps and wind-chimes is the sound of See Mystery Lights – there is a reason why they moved to DFA, the home of LCD Soundsystem. What Jona can do on his Mac (he loves his Mac) approaches genius. The cover of Rich Jensen‘s “Psychic City (Voodoo City)” had the most plays in my car and on last.fm for the whole year. The song is multilayered and multifaceted, as slick as the Mac OS X interface, catchy as fuck, chanty as heaven, dance-y as indie can get. You might choose to “Hang around baby, baby / We’ll be making a cake for you” and you find that “We’ve been holding this moment for you / We told you your dreams would come true.”
Buy See Mystery Lights: DFA, Insound
06. Merriweather Post Pavillion by Animal Collective
Released within the first week of 2009, I forget what an amazing album MPP is — taking my iPod to bed to get to know it “a little better”. Sure, it is easy to reject claims that the album was the best in 2009 for those statements were presumptuous at best. But you cannot deny that AC have found the formula to traverse borders musically and top lists across all sorts of listeners.
For me, Feels and Sung Tongs are my favorite pair of their albums (and are the last where guitars make an appearance). Those albums do have a few meandering tracks which spring from their ethos: experimentation, combined with testing in front of a live audience which in turn inform future album successes. But what make those albums so memorable for me, if not pivotal LPs, is that they create their own tonal atmosphere and terrain that takes a bit of listening to wrap your head around and requires your own discovery. Sure MPP, has it’s “sound” but the surprises are fewer, they are perfecting the formula that is MPP. The songs are a perfect bubbly mix of tribal-chants, sonic illusion, underwater sounds, and rhythms that hook you in the way that most pop songs do.
Clear standouts are the title tracks “My Girls” (shockingly topped with Taken by Trees cover), “Summertime Clothes” and “Brothersport”. The latter a fraternal love letter to Noah “Panda Bear” Lennox’s brother to “open up your throat” (and sing) after, presumably, their father’s death: “I know that it sucks that Daddy’s done / but you gotta think of what you want”. The lyrics a little awkward in their gay-soundingness-but-not-really yet — like most of Lennox’s writing — they are sincere and comforting.
Tthe joy of this album can be found in a trinity of underwater carnival sounding tracks “Bluish”, “Guys Eyes”, and “Taste.” The songs feel as if the band is relaxing and letting their colors shine. Often AC albums peak and go into a more ambient self-reflective state after smash of the first singles, and these songs are a treat: modularizing on harmonizing and offering many facets with each refrain.
I am conforted with AC’s last 2009 EP from the album, Fall Be Kind. The songs are either enrapturing or forgettable. Its encouraging to see the are still exploring and finding what brings them delight not just returning to the prior formulae to cash in on.
Buy Merriweather Post Pavillion: Domino (UK) (US), Insound
05. Hospice by The Antlers
The Antlers have redefined / revived the concept album. Usually, a bank of songs following a thematic or narrative quality, concept albums found their way out of country and folk roots to begin their rise in 6o’s rock and fall in 70′s space prog and singer-songwriter introspection. Sure, there are examples of concepts in the indie world, (yes, Yoshimi but my favorites come from Viva Satellite!) but nothing like the likes of Hospice.
The concept is simple: the weeks spent in a hospice surrounding the submission to cancer of the protagonist Sylvia and the months after the narrator copes with the loss of their dysfunctional relationship. All of which is understandably existential for him.
The narrative is heart-wrenching, Peter Silberman sings his part jumping from whispers to arias, full of blame and shame, dodging porcelain figurines being thrown against the wall. Where Hospice succeeds is the vivid magical reality created by the luscious lyrics. Here is the light, offsetting the story in the rhythmic mumble of acoustic guitars, toybox sounds and resperators, and gentle bass drums. The band has been succussful in transitioning the intimacy of the album into a live act, you can hear several songs on their Daytrotter Session.
I’ll leave you with my favorite scene in “Two” where the doctor explains nothing can save Sylvia and his reaction is exquisite: “Something in my throat made my next words shake, and something in the wires made the lightbulbs break. There was glass inside my feet and raining down from the ceiling, it opened up the scars that had just finished healing. It tore apart the canyon running down your femur, (I thought it was beautiful, it made me a believer).”
Buy Hospice: Frenchkiss, Insound
04. Logos by Atlas Sound
I read that this album is a collection of first takes but Bradford Cox, who is Atlas Sound, is known to tell stories. I tend to think that he’s is playin’ a right good one with us. Logos shows him coming out of an introspective spell. He’s tightening up his sound and expanding his horizons on two song collaborations.
These songs are the crown jewels of the album — it seems — that the rest of the songs are gilding around them (but still gold!) Cox’s style remains, a blurring between shoegaze guitars and modern indie electronica, yet he is a chameleon, taking the best of his partners and infusing it into his work. The effect is seemless, as if he snatched their spirit and wrought it into his own.
“Walkabout” is the first song with Noah Lennox, imbued with all of Panda Bear’s layers and facets, play-yard sounds, and childlike lyrics framed in addictive melodies: “What did you want to see? / What did you want to be when you grew up?” The phrase “want to see” becomes a homonym of “watusi” which is both what you want to do (dance) and the tribal influence the layers of sound takes on. Clocking at over 8 minutes, “Quick Canal” is a Stereolab organ-gasm, kraut-fuck of a song sung by Lætitia Sadier. Again, you can pick off the influences and the song even drives off the road and into a percussive jam half way through – a common signature of Stereolab. It’s still all through the Cox filter that is always subdued, dreamy, full of fusion without being cloying or overproduced.
Having followed Cox under the Deerhunter moniker, as Atlas Sounds, or keeping up with his proliferation of tracks on his blog, the progression is becoming clear: He is a musical genius and it matters not if the songs were not recorded first take. Here are 11 perfect songs that are so refined and lyrically contradictory and exciting that they’ve blown off any work that has brought Cox to this point. The album is angelic and dangerous and you can begin to understand why he sings: ”My halo burned a whole in the sky / My Halo burn a hole in the ground / My Halo is part of my crown / My halo is a part of my cry”.
Buy Logos: Kranky, 4AD, Insound
03. Clangour by Sin Fang Bous
Clangour is Construction Paper Folk. Seabear‘s Sindri Már Sigfússon builds songs that seem to have the simplicity of a child working with bright thick paper. His music is like the album cover of this, his first solo effort where he is a sunshine hippy wearing a beard made of streamers, makin’ music best akin to The Moody Blues. His voice is soft, Icelandic, fully submerged into the snips and glue of his brand of indie pop / folk / electronica. What makes it work is how the collage of all the pieces fit together to create a picture that is united and glorious.
Sin Fang Bous is the child-like sage. The title track is cut through with statements of a zen naturalist: “I will be the lumberjack and you will be the tree / I will be the boat and you will be the sea / I will be the fire and you will be the home.” And on “SinkerShip,” he reminds us that he’s still human, riddled with regret, where real knowing comes from: “I need to forget some words I said yesterday / Change them away from memories.”
All the songs are rich, full of sounds and softness, of whistling and paddling, upbeat and downbeat and crossing from one to the other effortlessly. Any connection with a computer is the cut and paste of a savant, the songs breathe in and out a life that is so organic you can smell the pine nettles and hear the echoes bounce off the slushy ice-flats. I want to shout over the cacophony that you must buy and this album and listen to it like a prize.
Buy Clangour: Morr Music, Insound
02. Actor by St. Vincent
Annie Clark is St. Vincent and she makes dark, dense orchestrations that unravel like the best of songs by Kate Bush without sounding anything like her. Like the songs of Hounds of Love or The Dreaming, you need approach St. Vincent from the side, deciphering the lyrics, listening to all the clues, separating the voices from the choir and peeling back the secrets.
Clark is more sinister than her debut, Marry Me, the guitars are darker. Where the songs from the first album were full, these are busting at the seams. The album begins with “Lover, I don’t play to win / For the thrill / Until I’m spent / Paint the black hole blacker.” It is an stinging opening volley and credo for the album. She continues to wind up the “The Strangers,” pouring guitars like oil over the other instruments and over an incessant bass-drum before letting it unravel and quietly exiting with a little French accordion.
Even when the compositions are stunning in their beauty and full of wonder, Annie makes sure to keep it heavy it with her humor: “We are sleeping underneath our bed / To scare the monsters out / With our dear Daddy’s Smith & Wesson / We’ve got to teach them all a lesson.” Here children are portrayed as the worst LA cops: “Stop right where you stand / We need a chalk outline / If you can put your hands where we can see them please.”
And her songs become instantly nostalgic as one title suggests “Just the Same but Brand New”. She plays it like an acoustic ballad in a Thompson Twin daydream. Floating and soft, strings humming, strummed out and as it departs, you are left behind as a mixture of tears and ash. The song is about finding meaning and has a meta quality where you are also searching for the meaning. Even now I’m trying to follow the lyrics: “And anything you wrote I checked for codes and clues / The letters stopped unceremoniously in June.”
Actor may be interchangeable with my #1.
St. Vincent is about to be epic. You can quote me. She’s not about potential and almost. She doesn’t need to refine to blow your mind. She doesn’t have to find her voice, she doesn’t need to find a point of view. She’s not nearly there, she’s already arrived. I wonder if you found your way to meet her?
Buy Actor: Direct, 4AD, Beggars Banquet, Insound
01. Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear
Every song on Veckatimest is a testament to the endless talents of Grizzly Bear. And yet, like St. Vincent’s Actor, every song is instantly nostalgic — I think there is a perverse reason they had Michael McDonald sing on an alternate take of “While You Wait for the Others.” But unlike Annie, until Veckatimest, they’ve been on an expedition: on safari (Deptartment of Eagles), searching (collaberations), scaling (being remixed), finding a hold (EPs), and now they are hyper-realized and have reached the top of their crest.
No longer can you box them into indie-folk. No longer can they be directly compared to The Beatles’ euphonious harmonies. No longer will reviews expect them to fulfill their potential. Like the cover, the songs of Veckatimest are multifaceted, deeply layered, fully integrated, subdued and full of bright color and dark hues. It’s musical comparison to Frank Lloyd Wright: a musical breakthrough akin to the Arts and Crafts movement, producing songs that are graphic as the Guggenheim, deeply spiritual and natural as Fallingwater. They seem to know it: “Our haven on the southern point is calling us / And faced with all the obvious, so carry us.”
The songs on Veckatimest have a monumental quality. A slight reverb on the guitar makes it sound gigantic. The synthesizers are delicate, integrate filigree. The vocals are wide as prairies and harmonize so beautifully you cannot pick out any individual voice. When Grizzly Bear lets you pick out each members vocals, their parts play off each other like schools of fish or flocks of birds, moving together as a single entity, mesmerizing in they way they glide over the song.
But if you wish, you are certainly allowed to compare them with the works of The Beatles. Come on! It’s not sacrilege and it’s about time we move forward 50 years after the fab four formed. They seem to know it: “I’m cheerleading myself, I should have made it matter / Go on let it go / It doesn’t mean a thing / Chance is on nothing changing.” They too can say so much with few words, repeating the choruses like a trance, spinning you into a frenzy. They can move a song from Act I to Act II, creating vignettes, going off topic. Sometimes they leave you hanging and don’t make it to Act III.
Despite how big they may become, in sound or popularity, they have an intimacy of a lover. They can whisper dream nonsense into you pillow-bed ear “Would you always / Maybe sometimes / Make it easy / Take your time.” They can stare at the ceiling and wonder on their hopes and dreams, “And all we want / Another voice / To lead us on”. And they can slip their hands under the covers and hug you close “I can’t get out of / what I’m into / with you” and you are all the more special for it.
Buy Veckatimest: Direct, Warp, Insound