20 May 2008

Anatomy of a Mix, Part Four: Earn Your Sassy Indie Stripes

I had an incredibly brief reunion with the Reginator Thursday that consisted of a T ride and a latte - way too little. That was followed by exact the same thing with Rob on Friday evening, but in reverse order. Now I'm just spinning my wheels with too little to do, occupied only by mild caffeine shakes and Pandora. So I'll throw together a music post. That seems less financially frivolous than ordering accessories for my new espresso maker and a bit more constructive than creating a chain of paper clips or fervently checking icanhascheezburger.com.

Dr. Dog - Heart It Races (Architecture In Helsinki cover)
And we slow to acknowledge the knots in the laces / Heart it races!

I like this song. A lot. (Well, this version of this song.) My time in Europe was one of the longest stints in years that I've gone without being constantly tied to my iPod - I only used it on flights... I usually log four hours every weekday, not counting music constantly playing on my laptop at home or blasting my iBoom on weekends. (P.S. never get one - the sound is crap.)

But the whole time I was in Europe, this song was solidly lodged in the space between my ears. I would absentmindedly start singing one of the verses and the "bod-a-ba-bop!" accompaniment, and apologize to Rachel for subjecting her to that. Her response? "Actually, that was pretty nice." Even sent through the filter of my (extremely limited) singing ability, it was "pretty nice." Go figure.

The song doesn't make much sense, if any. But if this is nonsense, so be it. Dr. Dog's casual and mellow take on this chatty track is well worth a listen under a shady tree with an iced tea or strolling (strutting?) down a sun-speckled street.

Wolf Parade - Call It A Ritual
'Cause you know / They will swing swing their swords for show / While you turn your flower petals so slow

A bit ominous and a little heavy, this song sounds like something primitive and primal - something cult-related - is about to occur. The song picks up and drops off with a certain amount of tumbling and bravado, but lacks the normal wailing dissonance present with most songs fronted by Spencer Krug. He keeps his voice down for most of the song, choosing less over more... and in this case, less is definitely more.

The National - Apartment Song
Be still for a second while I try and try to pin your flowers on / Can you carry my drink I have everything else / I can tie my tie all by myself...

The National sort of wear their hearts on their sleeves - in a very manly way, of course. This song feels so familiar and casual - the first lines alone (quoted above), bring about distinct imagery of a couple who have been together for a long time. Much of The Boxer reflects on "lost youth," or growing up and moving on, and this song is no different. But it's a little more realistic, perhaps, than their other songs concerning the whittling away of time. It's self-reflective and more personal, than say "Mistaken For Strangers," a song concerning similar subject matter, but with a very different (read: sentimental) approach.

The Kills - What New York Used To Be
What music used to be / What luck used to be / What art used to be / What you used to be

When the song kicks off with thumping beats and impatient guitars, starting and restarting like engines, only to morph into a pulsing techno-infused rock song with the tongue-twisting, rapid fire, sexily whispered Coma comma drama come on / Draw it, scratch it, say it, say it... you know it's going to be intense... and good. But what do you expect from a band that makes a music video (for "Last Day of Magic") out of beating the bejesus out of each other (in Barcelona!)?

The Kills reflect a bit of Velvet Underground in what they do and how they do it, so it makes sense that they yearn for a NYC of yesteryear, Warhol et all. Whether or not the song should be taken literally is up to the listener, but surely, the band must feel a little sentimentality for the New York that was a prime influence for them - not just the place, but a specific time. Maybe this time without the massive amounts of heroin, huh?

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