Monday, April 26, 2010

Sobre el fascismo

Has any Spanish-language (or English-language) (or bilingual) rapper done a version of this yet? If not, let's get on that, stat.

New Caribou album, people rejoice

I finally listened to the new Caribou album (finally in 2010 parlance = less than a week after it was released, obviously) the other day and I'll be damned if it hasn't been haunting the stereo at YMD headquarters pretty much non-stop ever since. After five or six listens, it's pretty solidly my favorite record of the year (with only the Yelawolf tape in striking distance, really). I'm not sure what I was expecting from Mr. Snaith after the sunny psych-pop of Andorra but a House record wasn't really it.

Lead single "Odessa" shows the most obvious traces of Snaith's collaboration with the Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan, sounding more or less like a good Junior Boys track done with Snaith's textural preoccupations. It's great, but the second track, "Sun", is where things really start to open up for me, as warm as it's title implies and building on a familiar drum pattern to build something I would love to dance to outdoors this summer. On the next track Snaith starts getting crazy with the stereo panning and I love every second of it. It's exactly what a Caribou dance album would sound like, now that you think about it, and full of surprises at the same time.

Snaith talks in this Pitchfork interview about how both the structure and compositional tools of modern House opened up all kinds of possibilities for him and, while I'm cynical enough to think about how this won't stop Swim from influencing some terrible "it's like dance music, but by a real artist" writing (why do I Google things*) the more people on the dance floor the better, right? Best Caribou/Manitoba yet? Too early to tell, but maybe.

* Okay, I know, what's the point of getting upset about a site I only stumbled upon by googling "Caribou swim Jeremy Greenspan" but they gets advertising so it must be something, right? And I'm too old to be surprised by people having condescending attitudes towards dance music, but god damn, "a reputation for rigid structures" my balls. And the bit about Kelley Polar and Junior Boys (both of whom I love) "often ditching cliched components of electronica like auto-tuning and forced flanging for more structurally daring feats" is even dumber, right? Because what could "structurally" even mean that Auto-tune and "forced flanging" would have anything to do with it? And they're being structurally daring by applying pop structures to, respectively, disco and, err, electro-pop?

I am 100% for exploring and writing about music from genres and scenes you don't know shit about. But you have to be humble enough to admit that you don't know shit about them. I'm certainly guilty of not doing this once in a while too, but I promise, I'm trying.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Long nights crying by the record machine

57. Elton John - "Crocodile Rock" (DJM Records, 1972)

Good to great songs about dances are a dime a dozen, as are songs about nostalgia for a rock and roll childhood. However, songs about doing an imagined dance to an imagined song during your rock and roll childhood are, as far as I know, quite a bit more rare and the creation of such a thing by Bernie Taupin is a wonderful move. Whether not actually inventing a dance to go with is laziness or allowing for creativity on the part of the listener or both I'm not sure, but it doesn't bother me. The famously and excellently annoying hook is either more important than the lyrical content or just a cherry on top, depending on my mood.