Saturday, June 22, 2013

Post 17: Things Fall Apart; The Center Cannot Hold; Mere Swagger Rock Is Loosed Upon The World

   Hey, you guysknow what I love? Hearing 20-something guys singing about about how awesome drinking and fighting is. No, I'm not joking. Apparently, somehow when two things that I hate get combined and put to music, magic happens. In fact, I'm gonna go ahead and predict that the next big sound is going to be guys singing about the manifold merits of organized sports and spouse abuse. I should mention that in this specific instance I'm referring only to drinkin' and fightin' music of the swagger rock variety; as much as I love the many pieces these topics have inspired, I generally find this stuff at its best when it's being slurred out by sauced Glaswegians and backed by delightfully chunky bass lines. Sue me.

  My favorite group in this field is probably The Fratelli's, because music is subjective and they are my favorite group in this field. I don't have any solid reasons for loving them, I just do. They made two albums, fell apart, and last year announced that they'll be putting out a new album this fall. I'm not a huge fan of their second album, Here We Stand, but that doesn't matter because Costello Music (their debut) is an endless assault of deliriously catchy melodies coated in an impenetrable coat of hooks (this is a positive attribute, in case anyone was wondering). In particular, I'm very fond of Ole Black and Blue Eyes, Henrietta, Creepin' Up The Backstairs, and Baby Fratelli.

   Next up, Franz Ferdinand. Did you know they made songs other than Take Me Out? They did, and those songs were rad! Honestly it's not really fair for me to imply that Take Me Out is the only song they've got that's well known; they were pretty massive for a couple of years, and most of my favorite songs by them got a decent amount of airplay (in the UK at least). That being said, none of them got as much as Take Me Out, and in my opinion that's a shame, because I like Dark Of The Matinee and Walk Away more. I'm also quite fond of Tell her Tonight, but I'll admit that it's not their best song. That would be Walk Away.

  And then there's Switches. I distinctly remember that I first heard their music was on Pandora, and being intrigued I looked up their album. Its cover was a picture of a man punching out another man wearing an antique diving helmet. It was at this point that I knew I was in love. Honestly, I feel like there isn't much more to say about them; their music is exactly what you would expect if you tried to imagine the kind of music that a cover like that evokes, which is to say it's rad. They only produced one full-length album (curiously, the kind of lifestyle that facilitates creating this kind of music does not appear to encourage mental, physical, or emotional health. Who'da thunk), but it was great, and filled with great things. Sadly, most of their stuff isn't available on Youtube, but I'll put any recommendations I can't find links to on the playlist. I should mention that as much as I like as I like this album, it's not the kind of thing I'd recommend listening to super frequently. They had a very aggressive, driving sound, and if you listen to a bunch of it when you're not in the mood it's liable to put you off the sound, which is an unnecessary loss. I'f you're ever in one of those moods where you're looking for excuses to headbutt people and want some corresponding music, try out Switches. I particularly recommend Drama Queen and Lovin' It, but my two favorite songs by them are actually the most relaxed songs they produced; The Need To Be Needed and Killer Karma. The Need To Needed is a sort of depressing ode to lost love contained in a surprisingly passable falsetto ballad, and Killer Karma is a lazy jam that seems to be about either infidelity or revenge fantasies (or both), but I can't make up my mind which. 

   And lastly, two songs from bands that I keep meaning to listen to and then don't. When The Arctic Monkeys Came out they were basically the biggest group ever to exist in swagger rock, and apparently all of their albums are hot like and sweet to the taste, but every time I try to listen to their stuff I end just playing Fluorescent Adolescent over and over on repeat. In my defense, it's a really good song. I have basically the same problem with Interpol; I'm told they're good, but I always get stuck listening ti Evil, for basically the same reasons as Fluorescent Adolescent. Slow Hands is also pretty good, but it's no Evil played seven times in a row, which is going to continue as my favorite Interpol song for now.

   And most lastly of all, have the triumphant return of the bonus song! Alt-J are apparently in the midst of becoming one of those bands that all the cool kids listen to, and I think I've figured out why: they make really good that's enjoyable to listen to. I've been listening to a lot of their stuff recently, but Dissolve Me in particular has really resonated with me. It has great harmonies, a beautiful keyboard hook, and it makes you feel like you're diving into the Mediterranean ocean on a cool spring morning. What's not to love? NOTHING, that's what.

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