by mutt r.
No, that's not the name of a band I'm
gonna write about. Not a bad one at that though, now that I mention
it. If I may say so. And since I'm writing this article, who else is
gonna say so? And if I may say so myself (did I already say that?)
there's alotta good stuff jamming up the airwaves these days. That
said, I'll say this not to myself but to you, dear readers....there's
enough to warrant inclusion here of three very special bands floating
my boat these days. And maybe yours too. If you have one, that is. If
not, maybe get one. And sail away listening to the following. In no
particular order, if I may say so myself.
Stereolab has been making music it
seems as long as I've been listening to it. But that doesn't make
their new stuff any less compelling, just me a lot older. But wiser
too since I'm still all over anything they do. Including, getting up
close and personal with 'em last week at their Town Hall show here in
Gotham City. No, I didn't interview them....I don't speak French. But
I was second row just left o' center....right smack in front of the
young hipster on bass who was cool despite the t-shirt with the
stencilled-on-tuxedo motif he should have been told not to wear.
Kinda lame. But he wasn't and they weren't.
Stereolab are leftist-synth-drone-agit-rockers playing space-age lounge music for the now people masses. I can't name one song they played, nor one word lead singer Laetitia Sadier said, but know enough to know a good thing when I see one. And this was good. No, brilliant. She dances like a swivel chair on a Jetsons set....spazzy but cool. A beguiling chanteuse prone to spouting polemics against a backdrop of dada rear screens. Oh, and she sports a trombone. And plays it, too. Their new one's called FAB FOUR SUTURE and it's more of the same 'wow & flutter' they've come to be known for.....lots of retro keyboards like moogs & farfisas, and more melodic non-sequitirs than you can shake a flugelhorn at. Stereolab is at times like Modern Lovers with a better looking lead singer. At others, they're Kraftwerk with a soul. A Marxist soul.
The High Violets. Now that's a cool
name. You better be pretty good to be usin' that name as your calling
card. Or pretty high. The High Violets are the former for sure, and
may be the latter. Dunno.....you'd have to ask them. But if you ask
me, they are the very best of that whole Portland, Ore. thing going
on right now. What thing, you ask? No idea, I say. (I'm just filling
space here actually, biding time till I reach my word quota.) But
they gotta be today's best combo outta Portland. Oregon OR Maine. And
the whole Pacific Northwest, for that matter. Oh hell...they're the
greatest band in the world! Ever!
THV wouldn't argue that point actually. They themselves call the follow up to the stunning debut 44 DOWN their masterpiece....but what are they gonna say: "this is our new album and it's pretty good"? Masterpiece? I'm not so sure. I prefer my masterpieces on canvas. But, TO WHERE YOU ARE proves THV are no Strokes and as such, not prone to laying a sophomoric egg the second time out of the gate. Just listen to "Sun Baby" a few times and you'll swear you saw god and she was black. They paint dreamy landscapes against hazy hooks and big, crunchy beats. Think My Bloody Valentine meets Lush at a Galaxie 500 boxed set release party and shares with them several martinis and you're halfway home. The rest is up to you.
And speaking of cool names for bands,
it was on the basis of theirs that I looked into the catalog of the
following....Trespassers William. Now what the hell is that? And just
what the hell is it supposed to mean? Tell ya what, right after you
get through asking The High Violets how high they are, go ask
Trespassers William who William is and where he can be found. And
whether or not he's trespassing on somebody's hallowed turf. Or if he
himself is being trespassed upon. Me, I don't care. All I know is if
Mazzy Star were fronted by Aimee Mann, they'd sound like this. So-Cal
psychedelia via Seattle, Washington. Trippy, breezy melancholia
anchored in forlorn folkrock, desire and despair...it's all over
their new one, HAVING. Man, I'd sure hate to hear what NOT HAVING
might sound like. For my money though, they hit their singular,
signature peak one album earlier....no matter what, get thee self
down with "Lie In The Sound" from DIFFERENT STARS for a
full frontal, TW style.
Three great bands, all fronted by cool chicks. Gee, where's my head at? Forget the neuter card though.....men, women and the occasional barnyard animal would all do well to listen up to Stereolab, The High Violets and Trespassers William. Why? Because I said so.