Monday, October 19, 2009

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Remix Monday: Phoenix “Love Like A Sunset”

Posted: 19 Oct 2009 10:00 AM PDT

's fourth LP drop, Wolfgang Amadeus , was critically praised by critics the world over and shone a light on a band that through no choice of their own, eluded immense popularity. One track off of that album that was well received was "Love Like A Sunset." Though I do enjoy the track, I don't hold it in as high esteem as others when compared to others from the album, however, I quite like the remixes. phoenix

. – Love Like A Sunset
"Love Like A Sunset" is an extremely long song, running close to eight minutes, with the majority being a dark and moody instrumental composition. The piano keys fall like raindrops on a cool and dreary evening, the melody hums, and a foreboding essence plumes from the staccato guitars. Though around six minutes in, sunshine breaks through the gloom with sweetly strummed guitars, Mars' gentle vocals and a slower pace that ends with "You're like a sunset."

.Shuttle Remix
The Shuttle remix is concise, which is welcome. It's not ominous or brooding like the original, but comes in with programmed drums that pitter patter throughout the track. Brief, but intense pushes on synthesizers are intermittently inserted, but right away we are welcomed with Mars' vocals, which is the best part of the track. From there the song picks up with insane pace, become a pseudo techy house mix, with fuzz, distortion and bubbles of electronic tweaks. Also worth noting is that Shuttle is a member of Passion Pit, with whom was playing a few shows with.

.Animal Collective Remix
The AC remix sticks to the blueprints of the moodiness of the original. The song is raw with a touch of tribal drums and the airy feel of the original. Here, too, Mars' vocals come in without any delay and echo across the tune in a spacial manner. The remix picks up a little speed but for the most part sticks to this format, pleasant, understated, but nonetheless great to listen to.

: website | myspace | @ rumsey playfield | @ monolith | @ record bar

Photo by: Dese’Rae L. Stage

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Elvis Perkins / The Dimes – The Doomsday EP / The King Can Drink the Harbor Dry

Posted: 19 Oct 2009 08:43 AM PDT

On the album Another Side Of Bob , in the song "My Back Pages," sings, "But I was so much older then/I'm younger than that now." True, that was a kiss off to the "protest songs" thing he'd been pigeonholed with and wanted to escape, but on his next album, he not only abandoned that particular stance, but stylistically began embracing rock and moving away from the acoustic folk that had dominated his music up to that point. In the song, he words his "declaration of intent" paradoxically to increase the power of the statement, but really it makes perfect sense: he had been playing the (older) music of the past up until that point and now he was going to play the (younger) music of the then-present and future. Of course, never entirely abandoned folk, but rather, he advanced it by electrifying it, filling it with amphetamine-fueled beatnik-inspired poetry and abandoning the limiting three chord structure of traditional folk to pen otherworldly epics like "Ballad of Thin Man" and "Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands."

The past can't be ignored, but it's no place to make a home, or worse, a career. and The Dimes aren't so much folk revivalists as they are folk preservationists, with the latter act going so far as to base the songs on their first album on stories they found in depression era newspapers preserved beneath the floorboards of the guitarist's house.

The two acts draw inspiration from Americana of more or less the same time period, but they differ greatly in their aesthetics. Perkins' approach is kind of goofy and not adverse to more electric instrumentation and idiosyncratic brass arrangements. The title track for instance, despite its morbid subject matter involving dedication "till doomsday," is a jovial, bouncy folky tune with a traditional melody Perkins sings in his quivering, exaggerated tenor. elvis

Perkins' strength lies in his large, charismatic personality. It's enough to carry the music, but his music isn't original enough to carry itself. All the songs on The Doomsday EP are based on traditional folk structures and the lyrics have their roots in either the religious or archaic. Admittedly, in "Gypsy Davy" the topic of underage girls is still relevant, but it's sung in away that suggests some kind of creepy 19th century perspective. And the straightforward "Stop Drop Rock And Roll" feels like nothing more than an energetic exercise, like something played to warm up the band. Perkins is simply repackaging music that's been around for decades. He's not updating it or drawing on it for inspiration like Bob or Bright Eyes or M. Ward; he's just remaking it with a funny voice and an electric guitar.

The Dimes fare somewhat better, largely because their songs aren't so strictly traditional in their structure. The arrangements are very in keeping with the sounds of the period, and the band use all kinds of sounds of the period to tremendous effect: sweeping harmonies are everywhere, supported by various rustic-sounding stringed instruments and all kinds of little bells and whistles. Over the course of The King…, The Dimes try out a selection of musical outfits. In "The Liberator" the band sound dark, brooding singing about the abolitionist newspaper the song is named after; the moving "Save Me Clara" is sung from the perspective of a dying man, begging in vain for "Clara" (apparently Clara Barton, a nurse during the civil war) to save him from his fate; the wispy, ornate "Ballad Of Winslow Homer" is about an American painter of the time who for a period painted scenes of wartime; "Webster Thayter" is a twangy tune about a judge who condemned two men to death, despite the fact that there was very little evidence to suggest they actually committed the crime they were accused of. TheDimes

The Dimes' devotion to the past is so deep-rooted and expansive that with a Wikipedia page open, it's hard not to be pretty impressed by what they've accomplished. But despite the strength of the music (which is considerable), in steeping the album so strongly in the past they've distanced it from themselves. The emotions don't quite ring true, but seem secondhand, like echoes from some elsewhere, which they are. And true, an artist can put himself in character and deliver great work, but The Dimes just don't quite manage to pull it off entirely on The King… Maybe it's because they focused too much on the history and not enough on the emotions involved, or maybe because they sound too young, or too clean.

The artistic and commercial success of Fleet Foxes and M. Ward and any number of great contemporary folk and Americana artists prove that the genre is still as valid and full of potential as any other, but looking at great bands and artists like the aforementioned, it's not greatly apparent that there's a thin line between paying tribute to the music of the past and indulgently recreating it. But there is. The past had its music, its stories, and its culture and those aren't going anywhere. It's up to the artists of today to give the present its own music, stories and culture.

: website | myspace | @ bonnaroo | @ sxsw
The Dimes: website | myspace

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Mew Announces Fall North American Tour

Posted: 19 Oct 2009 07:00 AM PDT

Having just released No More Stories… , their latest album, at the end of August, Danish rockers Mew have announced on their official website their North American tour for this fall. They will be supporting at Constitution Hall on December 1. mew

Tour Dates:
Nov 30 – Trocadero / Philadelphia
Dec 01 – Constitution Hall / Washington, DC*
Dec 02 – Paradise / Boston
Dec 04 – Webster Hall / New York City
Dec 05 – Cabaret Du Musee Juste Pour Rire / Montreal
Dec 06 – Mod Club / Toronto
Dec 07 – Metro / Chicago
Dec 10 – Neumo’s Crystal Ballroom / Seattle
Dec 11 – Venue / Vancouver
Dec 12 – Hawthorne Theatre / Portland
Dec 13 – Mezzanine / San Francisco
Dec 14 – Henry Fonda Theatre / Los Angeles

Mew: website | myspace | No More Stories…review

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