Thursday, October 8, 2009

What I've been listening to this week

Johnny Headband - Phase 3 EP
After seeing their theatrical and entertaining live shows, I was afraid that the Johnny Headband experience just wouldn't resonate as recorded music. But the three songs on Phase 3 have gotten the OCD best in me, and for the past couple of days I've listened to little else. And you can get the songs for
free dollars at their web site. Then, when you're all like, "Wow, I've listened to the Phase 3 EP so many times and it has brought such joy to my life - I want to put a monetary value on that and repay Johnny Headband for these musical treasures!" you can get your hands on the limited run vinyl version of the EP with handmade jackets designed by the band. They also have really sweet t-shirts you can purchase to shower even more money on them. The best place to do this? Probably this Saturday at the Magic Stick since their having their EP release show with Silverghost and Hidden Ghost Balloon Ship. Go there. Make it rain. I am pretty sure this "make it rain" expression has something to do with showering strippers with money or something. So treat Johnny Headband to your hard earned dollars. Just like strippers, they deserve it.

The Mountain Goats - The Life of the World to Come
The whole concept of The Life of the World to Come, with the bible verse song titles and such, left me with a feeling of dread. Why? Because I don't like Bible in my indie rock. I frown on artists sneaking Christianity into their music, as if their message will somehow resonate with me if they can trick me into hearing it. It's like those fake five dollar bills - have you seen those? It looks like a folded up five mistakenly dropped on the ground. But when you pick it up and unfold it, you're treated to a little Bible scripture and a message about Jesus being worth more than five dollars. Or something. I don't know about you, but if I'm going to find Jesus, it isn't going to be the result of having a practical joke played on me. Of course, the whole "being gay" thing makes me more suspicious of the Christian leanings of bands and music I like than I might otherwise be. I don't like having to wonder if musicians I enjoy possibly consider me an abomination. It just bugs me. But in fact, John Darnielle has managed to take characters, stories and lessons from that contentious "good book" and make insightful, not preachy songs. I could explain more, but Darnielle totally does a better job of that
himself. A definite contender for my best of the year list.

Polvo - In Prism
Polvo is one of those bands I should’ve listened to sooner, but alas, it took In Prism to get my attention. I blame the indie subcategory of “math rock” and how often Polvo were the first band mentioned to exemplify this so-called “math rock” sound. I don’t want to say I hate math, but if one were to judge my intelligence level based solely on my math skills, I may very well be considered a developmentally challenged adult – high functioning enough to say, dress myself, but still in need of some sort of basic supervision or home care. So it's no surprise that I shied away from listening to music associated with something I'm terrible at, right? But wow did this record blow me away. Now I have to somehow find the time to explore their whole back catalog. So much pressure! Of course come to find out lots of 90's indie bands I've grown to love have a "math rock" association: Shellac, Shudder To Think, Chavez, Jawbox ... Thankfully I wasn't aware of that or else I might have missed the boat on those bands as well. Also a best of the year list contender.

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