this must be the place....goin strong , yeah baby!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

fancy upgrades // "...and also another great thing about vinyl..." // Me + Beach House Record = Devotion, Pt. 1

You may have noticed a fancy html upgrade since your last visit as well as some l33t hax0rs shit. I know I have, and I think that's rad. Hopefully, as with everything else pertaining to this blog, people will use "discretionary self-policing" and we can leave it at that. But that's not what this is about...this is about.......Beach House, and me convincing Fredirico RocketJ. the hows-whys of how and why they are so fucking great. And also why vinyl is so great.

Ok. So, I have been continuously listening to Beach House-Devotion lately, despite the fact that it makes me sad as shit and I both know this and have no desire to be repeatedly put in a bad mood. I bought it on vinyl and it's an interesting one because it is on two 12' records, even though I think its like, not even a 40 minute record. Which is to say it probably could have fit on one, but at some point it was decided to stick it on two records anyways. I wouldn't really like to wager why this was done...I would rather someone who knew the answer just told me, but it could be any number of things for sure. Maybe I will write the guy from Carpark.

But I think this is another consideration of format that makes vinyl the superior purchase for the serious listener. With vinyl, you have to explicitly consider the music playing more often that with CD or especially digital (you are forced into reconsidering if you want to continue your listening experience every side. And you can choose at that point to listen to a side again if you like.) The net result is that the percentage of close listening you naturally do is much higher with vinyl than, say, the mp3s you listen to at work to keep from slowly going insane (which is not to say maintaining sanity at work isn't important.)

And I sort of like that with vinyl you are punished for listening to records that are not good all the way through and therefore begin to value records that are, not just based off the money that you had to spend to purchase the record, but on the quality of your interaction with the object. Then also on the other end, artists rewarded for making a record where every track is solid.

And I'm not trying to start Bill O'Reilly's "War on Christmas," only with CDs and MP3s as the boogyman rather than the "liberal media," I just sort of find some ironic humor in the fact that a few years ago it was taken for granted that things were shifting away from the album format, and that a broader historical view going back to 78s was being trumpeted, and about singles being in vogue etc. I don't have a problem with singles, or singles bands...its hard enough to write one song that a band who writes great singles one at a time shouldn't be discouraged because they can't make "a great album" (which is a loaded concept in itself, that in my opinion is annoyingly taken for granted as a value to be aspired for. I'm fucking tired of people talking about "perfect albums" in history i.e. My Bloody Valentine-Loveless...I'm way too much of a relativist to think that's anything besides total bullshit.)

Of course, saying all this, I sort of feel like Bill O'Reilly with his "War on Christmas," except in my version, the bad guys are kids listening to music on their computers instead of nefarious agents of the liberal media.

And that's where this Beach House record comes in. 11 tracks over 4 sides, 3 songs each for sides A, B, and C, and just 2 songs for side D. That is the only way I can understand this record, and I have a lot to say about it. It makes the most sense to review each and every side chronologically, or rather, alphabetically--A, B, C, then D. (ha) So anyways, I'm going to save the actual review for its own post maybe in a day or two, but know its coming...


  1. I remember one time we were jamming at my house and I just threw out the "so what's your favorite album ever" question... You did actually seem kinda annoyed by it, just the concept of having to answer that question seemed to irritate you... Of course it can be really preposterous because it's purely an opinion, and opinions can be like assholes (everyone has 'em and they stink, da dum ching) but at the same time I hope you're not saying that in response to, say, the stuff I was saying about "Laughing Stock" in my other Post-Rock post. I was really just trying to draw attention to a record that, whenever I mention it, people say hmmm never heard it. Anyway, I recall that the question I asked then didn't seem to thrill you too much, so I'm not surprised to see you say that you hate discussions of so-called perfect albums. Your answer at the time was Daydream Nation by the way -- do you still feel the same way?

  2. yo, not a slam. It was in regards to a Bradford Cox quote...when the Deerhunter record came out I went through a phase where I read a ton of Deerhunter interviews, and he brought it up in multiple as "a perfect record", plus it sort of has this mythology because the band went around proclaiming that they couldn't make a follow up record because they had already made a perfect record, or some shit like that. I haven't listened to Daydream Nation in a really long time, but its definitely not "my favorite album.

  3. usually they put fewer songs on wax because if you spread the grooves out, you can have those fluctations be bigger...since we are talking about physical waves, bigger = louder. i am not surprised at all to find this on a carpark release considering their affinity for electronic styles probably with lots of bass.

    hence the 12" or two songs spread out to fill a whole side of a record.