Sunday, January 17, 2010

Writer’s Jukebox – Vampires, Dinosaurs, and Idiot(eque)s.

We’re almost three weeks into 2010, and the world is still slowly weaning itself off of Best of the Decade lists. Not that there’s anything wrong with them, of course. But here we are, in the Future, and it’s about time we resumed discussing what our tastes are now, what’s ringing in our ears now.

Jordasch kicks things off with an attempt to reconcile his feelings about Vampire Weekend with the group’s bizarre anti-following. Boivin makes a case for a Twin Cities pop act I’ve never heard of – all the more reason he should be their champion. Still under the shadow of the Aughts, Chris tries to explain why he keeps listening to Kid A.

What’s worse: a weekend spent with vampires or being unable to turn off the nine-year-old album that people still won’t shut up about?  Find out after the jump.

JordaschPasty Bastards Who Can Sing

I can't figure out exactly how I feel about this Vampire Weekend band. I never understood what people found so offensive about them, but I wasn't in love with their debut. Anything past "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwass," and I sort of switched off.  The novelty wore off or something.

But this new one (inscrutably called Contra)? Damn, I'm hooked. There's just something more genuine about it, I guess. Songwriter Ezra Koenig seems less wary of those emotion things this time around. He's able to propose that "you and I tell each other everything for two months" without worrying about coming off as a cornball. He's a relenting hipster, and I like him way better this time around. "I Think Ur a Contra" (still don't know what that is) and "California English" are my favorites, but the whole thing is pretty wonderful.

I got this boxset by some britpop band that sorta sounds like the Vines so I've been listening to that a lot. Stupid accents, though.

I've also been rocking another box set (by Roy Orbison) 'cuz I like that old time rock 'n roll business. That pasty bastard can sing.

Boivin – Hometown Pride

I'm eagerly anticipating the release of Motion City Soundtrack's fourth album My Dinosaur Life this coming Tuesday, and in said anticipatory state I've been listening to them non-stop this past week. You see, MCS is a pop-punk/power pop/fuck it/whatever band from my hometown of Minneapolis, MN and is therefore something of a dream for me. While of course the Mill City can boast the pedigree of having contributed some of the most important recording artists of the past 30 years, it's not every day that you have a standard bearer of your own personal not-so-guilty pleasure genre, mine of course being the soundtrack of every suburban teenage boy, pop-punk.

Maybe what does it for me is the Moog. Maybe its the songs about crippling OCD. Maybe its the fact that I first saw them/heard about them in May 2004 when I went to see a Get Up Kids/Dashboard Confessional show and they were the opening act and wowed me with their gung ho enthusiasm for rocking and keyboard handstands. Or maybe its just my balls-to-the-wall civic pride. Who knows? The music is pretty good.

Oh, and their new song "@!#?@!" is totally about Zelda. Word.

Personal favorites: "The Future Freaks Me Out", "Make-Out Kids", "Let's Get Fucked Up and Die", "This Is For Real"

Chris – Kid A. Kid A. Kid A.

For whatever reason, I've lately been obsessed with Radiohead's fourth (and possibly best?) album. I first listened to Kid A sometime last spring, and I wasn't very impressed. However, it's recent ascent to the top of just about everyone's "Best of the Decade" lists inspired me to revisit the album last fall. It didn't exactly click then, either, but I was slightly more appreciative and kept it on a steady rotation on my iPod.

By the end of December, I was listening to Kid A nonstop, and my regard for the album only continues to grow. I traveled through sixteen states during my winter vacation, and I think I listened to at least part of Kid A in all of them. I used the haunting "Everything In Its Right Place" to begin a long car drive. I made my little sister chauffeur me around to the sinister, sterile beat of "Idioteque". Editor Rob Kunzig and I greeted the new year with several a cappella renditions of "The National Anthem." No matter what I was doing in the month of December, Kid A was always the appropriate musical choice.

I can't explain my sudden rise in esteem for the album. Perhaps its a seasonal thing. Could it be that the cold alienation of Kid A is better suited for early sunsets and deep snowfalls, rather than the warmth and light of summer? Whatever the reason, I've overcome my initial reluctance to draw incredible enjoyment from the work. I'm not a complete Radiohead convert - their other albums don't have nearly as large an effect on me, and there's still something about Thom Yorke that makes me want to punch him in the face - but I suppose I'm on the bandwagon now. And it only took me nine years.