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

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I love/dislike free week // Deerhunter Review // Ghosts of Classic Rock Past

Ok Free Week. Last night (Friday) I went down basically against my will because there are no goddamn parties when there is free week. But then it was really fun. People! Whoa! Pretty girls! Where the fuck are they the other 350 days of the year? Then I ran into a dude I knew from tour who asked me if I wanted to smoke some of Bob Marley's Favorite Weed (it was as advertised) which led to me passing out at his buddy's on South 183 past 71. We had a lot of fun. So that is the best of free week.

Then today I went back and it was like 30s singles crowd night for The Ugly Beets and What Made Milwaukee Famous. It was, shall we say...unfortunate. Free Week should be for the kids! Throw em a bone at least somewhere. I'm sure they have thought of this, but at least on the weekends, man! There aren't going to be any parties. So tomorrow will be a new day...lets hope Free Week can go 2 out of 3 for me.

------------------***warning: approaching super-rant*** skipping to Queen Videos at end of post encouraged***-----------------

Anyways, OK, so I really like Deerhunter right, and I had a conversation with a buddy who expressed a viewpoint I had never heard about them, namely that they were a fake-ass-god-damn-faggot-overrated-piece-of-shit-bullshit music-publicity-hounding-wool-over-sheeps-eye-pulling-band. I was somewhat taken about being as though this had not even occurred to me, and having been away from their old record for a while, and barely acquainted with their new one at the time (more on this later) my defense at the time was a bit weak. It basically boiled down to "yeah, but they write good songs!" which I still feel like is one of the ultimate defenses you can make for a band, (the other I invoke most often being, "they're awesome live." ) Writing even one good song, regardless of whether or not you manage to get it down on record is fairly difficult in my opinion, and I am pretty down with at this point material off of 3 of their records, not to mention that there is a lot of their shit I haven't even heard. And I wont get to the "but" just quite yet...I'll do my best to save that for a bit.

Here are some things I really dig off of Microcastle. Tracks 2,3, to a lesser extent 4, 9, 10, and almost 11. I really like the vocals on track 2, I think the delivery is creepy, and most of the lyrics are awesome. I don't like the line where he's like "I want to fade away," that's sort of a cliche to me, but some of the specific stuff I think really sets up some cool imagery. I like the background vocals that sort of come in, and then the i guess weird guitar solo passage at the end, I like how the beginning of it is composed and it sort of draws you into the section. Track 3 the thing i like is the breakdown part that starts just after one minute, but I also think at the same time this is the biggest sin of the record, and this whole track is this flagrant example of what I don't like about it (and what I like in contrast to this record about Weird Era Cont.) The thing I don't like is its so explicitly a "Big Rock Record." Like having the lyrics "it never stops" and then a drum break. It's not hard to figure out how that's gonna translate live, and the Hot Topic kids are going to get it.*

*Side note---On tour this last time I found myself in a mall for the first time in forever. I went inside a Hot Topic. There was one badass shirt, all black except for a giant glittery Tinkerbell, but THEY ONLY MADE IT IN GIRLS SHIRTS! HOSED!! It would have been rad.

OK, the kids gloves are coming off for a second. This whole record (Microcastle) is littered with "Big Rock Record"isms, and honestly, they are total cliches, aka boring. That's this overarching problem with the record. It's why the epic intro track sort of takes the sails out of the 2nd track for me. But hey, I understand the draw, check out this video of The Strokes playing this crazy stage and tell me that even if you are looking around like "this is bullshit" its wouldn't be totally fun to be in the middle of it, and who are you hurting really? Maybe thats how Deerhunter feels? Why not go for it and "be the Big Rock Band", which uuh, hasn't really, in my opinion due to permanent market changes, even existed since The Strokes/The White Stripes? And will it ever again? Who knows? People take rock and roll for granted. I will be interested to see what happens and that Strokes video to me really illustrates

Also, it has to be mentioned "Nothing Ever Happens" is a "Big Rock Song" (Anthem? Do people say that?) and it probably needs this record to be the context for its existence. Still, you gotta wonder, is it sort of bullshit, even if its not nefarious? And then, after that, does it matter if its bullshit if the song kicks ass? I actually think that counts as a total validation...

The Strokes, Live in L.A, Feb 2002


OK I cant finish this...this has gone on too long, and is already basically running in circles. I like Weird Era Cont. way better, but dont like the 3 instrumental tracks right before the last one. And also there are some of the big rockisms on this record too, even though its recorded totally differently (no pussyfooting with the production for one, thank god). My favorite track of all is track 4 on this one. I think the drum intro is amazing, the guitar riff is pretty original, the form interesting, and the last bit completely epic. Pitchfork described "Nothing Ever Happens" as the track you would play someone as like a "here's Deerhunter!" introduction, but to me this is a much cooler song. It's also really weirdly the most directly derivative that I can pick out, which is to say the guitar sound for the last section could be right off of a My Bloody Valentine record. This to me is so weird because I dislike this record for being essentially a genre record (shoegaze) and yet the one that almost quotes it is the one I like the best? A little weird for sure.

But yeah, the Ghosts Of Classic Rock Past thing...I was listening to classic rock satelite radio at P. Terry's this afternoon while enjoying a delicious double burger (is P. Terry's the best burger in town? Tell me a better burger) and I sort of had this realization the connection from bands trying to be creative and making their singles and how people consumed music through the radio in those days which just doesn't happen anymore. There basically no free radio outside of college radio, and whoever replaced John Peel. And the thing that makes me a Deerhunter-as-big-rock-band apologist is that if you hear "Nothing Ever Happened" on a college radio station, its going to sound fresh and its going to sound better than almost all the other shit that gets played. And that sort of seems like all an underground rock band can really strive for (outside of an iTunes commercial, apparently.) Like this Big Rock Record deal....what is that? People trying to write a new Dark Side of the Moon? A new Zepplin III, or a new Zepplin IV, or a new Sgt. Peppers? The question of "which big rock record" you are going for is nearly as important as trying it, but in my opinion its a fantasy, because those things existed in market forces. What a lot of bands I think in their heart of hearts would really like to write is Queen's Greatest Hits, only they don't even realize it, and because they don't realize it their ideas get candied up and muddled and they write something far shittier than that.

I mean this is rock and roll. Its fucking stupid, and its fun, and its really campy, and it rocks. Look at that gong for Christ's sake!

and then look again, hes still fucking got it!

And now he's still got it, only more so, and without a shirt on!

I mean come on, these are great songs that people know and love, and are fun, and this is passion, and great performance and if you want to smoke weed and sit on a towel you can do that and enjoy the laser light show with your girlfriend. But that is something that literally barely exists at this point, and why I could never hate on Ghostland Observatory, because they get closer than anyone, even if they aren't exactly the songwriters Freddie Mercury was. Also, props to him for coming up with his signature look later in his career. That's pretty badass.

one final link of "we are the champions", because I cant embed this:

and another PS, from wikipedia
"In the UK, Queen have now spent more collective weeks on the UK Album Charts than any other musical act (including The Beatles),[61] and Queen's Greatest Hits is the highest selling album of all time in the UK.[62] Estimates of the band's total worldwide record sales to date have been set as high as 300 million.[63] Two of Mercury's songs, "We Are the Champions" and "Bohemian Rhapsody", have each been voted as the greatest song of all time in major polls by Sony Ericsson[64] and Guinness World Records,[65] respectively. The former poll was an attempt to determine the world's favourite song, while the Guinness poll took place in the UK. In October of 2007, the video for "Bohemian Rhapsody" was voted as the greatest of all time by readers of Q magazine."


  1. this is probably the best thing i've read in the last two weeks. thank you.

  2. one thing I found interesting was when Deerhunter said Microcastle is for younger kids who were (this is my impression of what was actually said) just getting into the wide world of indie / the "good music" canon. I believe that they said it was for kids getting out of a My Chemical Romance obsession and searching for more. That being said, I always think of you when I hear Deerhunter because you used to tell me that Cryptograms was your favorite record when it came out... I didn't feel very strongly about Deerhunter back then but I think that they've made a definitive statement with this last LP. They've moved from band I'm vaguely interested in to band I'm sure to check out anytime they are in town. From the opening, big, bouncy-reverb intro to the end of Weird Era Cont., I'm enjoying it...

  3. yeah. Microcastle confuses me. I can't listen to it on headphones, or it drives me crazy. Also, I don't get "writing records for kids just getting out of My Chemical Romance." I just don't really get the motive behind it. I would rather write the shit that they get the most into...which probably wont be one of the first 3 bands they listened to after My Chemical Romance.

    What drives me crazy about Microcastle is little production things, like the way they have a piano sound like its 2 mics on different parts of a piano, with no effort made to make it sound like a "piano" as you would ever hear it from one spot in the room. Same with cymbals at points. Which is not to say I need every cymbal crash to sound like a "real cymbal crash" but its like they are paying it this conceptual lip-service at the same time, which to me is a little too neurotic. In a word, Microcastle sounds neurotic to me, and why the fuck would I want to listen to that? But then, I went to listen to it when I wrote this the first time just on the stereo in a room, and 90% of those little things just magically disappeared. So maybe that's the trick.

    Weird Era Cont, I think the first 7 tracks are fucking awesome. That's the best part. It sounds alive, it sounds written by a band, it sounds like an "album" (which i think it cops out doing with those instrumental tracks right before the last one...but for the first 7 tracks at least...) I think if you wanted to flip the "faggy" argument on its head, you point to track 7 on Weird Era Cont because that song is fucking awesome and at the same time it sounds like the worlds gayest man flipping his wrist at you while he is describing the most overblown drama queen shit ever. yeah, it's great. Like, don't lump "faggy" in with all your other shit talking, because they do it right, or at least managed to for one track. But yeah, i think the neuroticism definitely creeps in on that record too.

  4. i should also say, my first x number of listens to Microcastle, and the majority of my's listening to it (10 days in Hawaii, woot) was all on headphones