Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This Week on Audiosurf Radio – 9/22 – Laid Back Canadians Edition

Look at that silly moose. Canada and its people fill a peculiar role in our society.  We mock their accents, the whole “Canadian bacon” thing, and their fondness for moose meat.  And yet, they’ve given us Kids in the Hall and hockey (which would be more entertaining if the stupid cameramen could keep up with the puck).  They’ve got universal health care (and have the courtesy not to lie about it).  Personally, I’m a bit confliced, as I’m currently knee-deep in David Foster Wallace’s Canada-as-Antagonist novel, Infinite Jest, my fragile mind collapsing under 1,000 pages of postmodernism.

Why is this relevant?  Staggered Crossing is a band from Canada, featured this week on Audiosurf.  They had a brief stint on Warner Music before going indie, and they even have a nickname(!): StagX.  They’ve got a number of albums, but all of this week’s songs come from Burgundy & Blue. 

Hit the jump to find out how well StagX represents their motherland.


Classic Elephant Slope.  Haven't seen one of these in a while. “Burgundy & Blue” may be the best Staggered Crossing has to offer.  The vocalist sounds extremely comfortable, floating over punchy electro-pop with ease.  I’m reminded of the softer side of Nine Inch Nails – the mellower tracks from The Fragile where Trent Reznor takes a break from screaming but refuses to put the Pro Tools away.  And it’s brief, but that’s not a bad thing.  I could easily have seen this one dragging on ad infinitum.  Most of the challenge comes from sufficient match-making, not from the traffic volume or song length.  Still, he’s singing about feeling “Burgundy and Blue” – I’m not so sure what that means.  I’ve felt blue before.  Does he mean he feels like a Will Ferrell character?  (Man, I remember when you couldn’t go a day without hearing/making an Anchorman reference.  Now it’s just the occasional “punch to the baby-maker” remark.)  Lyric issues aside, you should play this song.  It doesn’t get much better this week.

I DON'T WANT PIG FLU Hey Staggering Crossing.  Tom Petty called.  He wants his sound back.  “My Disease” sounds like it could have come out 25 or 30 years ago – pre 80s pop and post disco.  Smack dab in the heart of the career of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  It sounds like them right down to the imitation of Petty’s strained yet soothing vocals.  Since I’m not well-versed in the Petty oeuvre, I needed a cursory glance through his catalogue courtesy of Wikipedia to convince me this wasn’t simply a cover (though we all know Wikipedia isn’t entirely trustworthy).  All this Petty talk  has obscured the fact it’s a fine song, if not more than a tad derivative.  But then there’s the hook: “Can’t you feel my disease?”  Out of context (context being his feelings for the song’s female object are like a disease), it’s pretty alarming.  What’s his disease?  If it’s H1N1, get the hell away from me.  I thought free health care was supposed to help us, not render us more vulnerable to the ravages of some pig virus.

Other Selections
“Nuclear Winter (Next 2 You)” can be divided clearly into two parts: the Canadian Garden State soundtrack part and the Foo Fighters cover band part.  Yes yes, I know I always pull out Zach Braff whenever I want to deem a song “sensitive indie rock.”  But there simply isn’t a more concise reference.  It’s not a bad song, but I left almost forgetting I’d even ridden it.  “Under Circumstances Like These” is surprisingly boring for how upbeat it is.  It’s an easy song to score, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be engaged.  And “Save Me Tonight” is not to be confused with that Eagle Eye Cherry song from a zeitgeist (or two) ago.  The chorus ends “I just need a little more time to be in love with myself.”  Is this song about masturbation?  Like that Green Day song (which I only realized was about masturbation a few weeks ago)?  I don’t like how this song makes me feel; I’m going to go listen to Kings of Leon.

Author’s Note
All songs were played at least twice on the Pro difficulty using the Vegas and Eraser characters.  I’m not sure if Staggered Crossing just has extremely disparate musical tastes or they are simply unable to find their own voice.  As evidenced by these tracks, they’re willing to dip their toes in a bunch of different waters.  Perhaps they should just pick one and stay with it.