September 19, 2005

Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary

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Wolf Parade
Apologies to the Queen Mary
[Sub Pop]
2005

I’ll be honest. I’m a bad person. I download a lot of music. I used to download not as much music but justified these actions by buying the music I downloaded If I liked it. I thought this was a fair deal that I’d struck up with the imaginary band/record exec lurking somewhere in the back of my monitor.. “ugh… Is this cool to be downloading tunes?" “Downloading? Hell yeah.. it’s ok! You know who really suffers from downloading? Big fat major record companies!! They have money anyway don’t they? And the cool thing about the music you listen to is that independent music listeners have a conscience and are probably playing in a band themselves and know about the importance of buying records and you have to download this music to find out about such artists as it’s rare to even hear it on the radio and after that you buy the albums and…."

Yeah I downloaded this album a couple of weeks ago. I’m probably not going to buy it. This isn’t because I’m in two minds regarding the quality of Wolf Parade’s tunes. It’s more to do with the fact I haven’t bought a single album since I arrived in korea. I have one sitting on my shelf which a friend in a straight edge band gave to me. I’ve only played it once. My problem is it’s difficult to find the albums here and I don’t want to be stuck carting a whole lot of CDs back home. I’ll have enough luggage as it is. You probably don’t realize how many coats I’m going to have buy once winter kicks in here. I’m a real baby when it comes to temperature. I’m going to fucking freeze!

Sorry was I talking about an album? Yeah. I don’t even know if Apologies to the Queen Mary has even been released yet. But when it does you should run out to the store as fast as yr skinny little indie legs can carry you and by this album.

The trick in making a great album is not only having a foot in the past (Americana) and a foot firmly planted in the future (they sometimes incorporate disco drums) but also possessing great pop sensibilities. Having a nice raspy voice always helps things I feel. Oh and coming from Montreal… Have you heard of a bad band from Montreal? No neither have I. So shut up and don’t mention Celine Dion.

Actually there is no real band I could think to liken them to give you a nice idea of their old sound. They just sound like they belong to period past. It could be the obscure lyrics. It could be the ringing harmonics that sound like the background music for ghosts a rapping at your door. It could be Isaac Brock at the recording helm and his interest in that sort of sound. There is a definite Modest Mouse feel to some of the songs but it sounds like Wolf Parade carve out sweeter, more honest songs.

The first half of this album in particular moves at a cracking pace with one gem after another, all twisted about Dan Broekners gorgeously rough vocals.

I liken them most as a cross between the Shins and the Constantines. They’ve been touring with Modest Mouse. With grooming like that how can you complain?

I challenge you not to fall in love with the last half of Modern World!

“I’ll paint three figures on your heart.
One of them will be me as a boy.
One of them will be me
One of them will be me watching you run
I am my fathers son"

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Sounds like: Modest Mouse, Shins mixed with the Constantines

Standout Songs: It's a Curse, Modern World, Grounds for Divorce

Posted by alex at 8:55 AM | Comments (2)

August 1, 2005

The Constantines - Shine a Light

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1. The Constantines
Shine a Light
[Sub Pop]
2003

This album never ceases to amaze me. Perhaps this is becuase it sat on my shelf for 6 months after i'd picked it out of a bargain bin for 10 bucks and played it once before I gave it the time of day it deserved. Perhaps it is because it is not at any point of time trying to be something it's not. Perhaps it's becuase the Constatines sound like they don't give a fuck what you really think about their music yet they craft it intelligently and inject enough passion into it they make allnight binge drinking sound like poetry. Perhaps it's because they make me want to write standard music cliches yet honestly mean them.

Every musician is bringing what he wants played to the fold and the result is one of the most interesting and passionate sounds to be conveyed in your standard rock album. The guitars buzz and move evasively over a somewhat sluggish rhythm section which creates a very intense and very powerful structure to the songs. The harsh grainy vocals are perfect accompainment to each piece, playing and twistintg lines of americana tinged sleeplessness. Passionate, yet scarred by years of hard liquor, cigarettes and blue highway motels. Lyrically Bry Webb plants some fantastic lines into the pieces. The sort of thing that sounds trite on paper but impacts in a big way in the right context.

"Don't talk to me of simple things/There's not ever such a thing/All a man can bulid is his vision"

It conjures up what springsteen may have sounded like had he chosen the path of punk rock and a metal zone distortion pedal. Every song on this album is a charm itself.

This album is a really grower and like any good grower, it takes some listens. But the more time you invest in getting to know it and letting it win you over - the greater the reward. And this album rewards you in so many ways. Fuck it.. what i say about this album can't do it justice. It does to rocknroll what you wish could be done anything you experience on this plain: makes it real and more interesting.

A very good friend once told me listenting to this album makes her want to have sex. I understand why, and you will to. But you just need to give it the time of day.

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Sounds like: Springsteen, Strummer, Trail of Dead
Standout Songs: Young Lions, Nighttime/Anytime Alright

Posted by alex at 9:44 PM | Comments (0)