Nov 30, 2009

np: "Aetheral" - Augury

Need a little kickstart to your week? How about some Canadian progressive death metal? Augury's latest album, Fragmentary Evidence, came out of nowhere and blew me away. Recently it seems like it doesn't take a particularly skilled band to play death metal, but it takes rare talent to play it in a new and exciting way. These Canadians know the difference.

Nov 29, 2009

np: "Speechless" - Lady GaGa

I was convinced it would never ever happen, but it finally did. It was a slow process, albeit one much less painful than I expected. Yes, I finally gave in to the hype and started kinda-sorta loving Lady GaGa. I was pretty much indifferent to her first single, "Just Dance". Despite its ubiquity I wrote her off as another Cascada, tossing off dance-pop fluff that didn't leave much of an impression. I absolutely hated the next two singles, "Poker Face" and "Lovegame", particularly the latter. The more I had these songs shoved down my throat, the more I wanted to despise this girl and deny the talent. People like stupid things and I hoped the masses would move on to someone else soon enough. Then a funny thing happened. Kid Cudi put "Poker Face" to great use on his single "Make Her Say" and repeated plays of that eventually softened me on GaGa's original. Still wouldn't say I liked it, but was less enraged when it came on the radio. Then "Paparazzi" came out and my resolve weakened. I hated it at first, my kneejerk reaction to GaGa's inexplicable success fully intact. As with many of pop's more notorious earworms, repeated airings allowed me to cozy up to the song's charms, of which it has plenty. Then the lead single for extended EP The Fame Monster, "Bad Romance", dropped. And this one hit me immediately, I was smitten from the start. I felt like all of the buzz around GaGa was suddenly justified by this one track. With a $15 Best Buy gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I decided to take the plunge and picked up the expanded Fame Monster that also contained her debut, The Fame, in whole. While I still haven't grown to love that full-length, I've already grown to love each and every track on the new EP. I love the ABBA biting "Alejandro". I love the track with Beyonce. I love the weirdly absurd "Teeth". I love the bounce and Madonna vibe of "Dance In the Dark". I'm not going to write her off any longer, in fact, I'll be looking forward to see where she goes next. The girl is exactly the kind of versatile hurricane that pop music needs right now, it'll be fun to see where and how she next pops up.

Nov 23, 2009

np: "Mind Eraser, No Chaser" - Them Crooked Vultures

Before taking off to enjoy lots of food and the long holiday weekend, I thought it would be a good time to get a few thoughts out on some recent-ish releases before we get well into year-end wrap up season when December rolls around.

Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures (DGC/Interscope)
We all know by now that rock supergroups rarely, if ever, live up to the hype and potential. The better ones serve as entertaining detours from the members' main projects and the worse ones are understandably lost in the sands of time. As fantastic as this particular project sounded on paper, Dave Grohl + Josh Homme + John Paul Jones = OMG, my instincts were telling me to brace more for the latter when the album finally came out. Mainly because, well, the combination sounded too good to be true and that usually signals the death knell for supergroups. As it turns out, however, this is actually pretty good. Essential? No. Definitive? No. Best mainstream rock album of the year? Possibly. Things definitely rotate more around the Homme/Queens of the Stone Age axis than anything else, but Grohl and JPJ certainly make their distinctive marks. If you have no problem with meandering riff-fests featuring thunderous drums, huge bass lines, and the odd mandolin solo - you'll probably get a kick out of this.

Weezer - Raditude (DGC/Interscope)
I've long ago made peace with the fact that we're never going to get another Blue Album or Pinkerton, I'm fine with that - those particular albums meant a lot in a particular time and place that can never be recreated. But now I need to accept that these guys aren't even going to give us another Maladroit or Make Believe. It's just not in them, Rivers has moved on to a different place entirely. Not sure exactly where that place is, maybe a universe where he considers himself king of the Top 40. Last year's Red Album gave us about three decent to kinda good songs and a huge pile of steaming crap. Ditto for this year's Raditude. And, surprisingly, the song featuring Lil Wayne isn't the worst. I think I'll save that particular distinction for Patrick Wilson's "In the Mall". Download "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To", "Put Me Back Together", and bonus track "The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World" and save yourself from the rest of the mess.

Converge - Axe To Fall (Epitaph)
Just how good can one band get? Converge could have called it a day after 2001's genre-defining Jane Doe (a cathartic napalm blast of an album that should already be in the collection of any fan of heavy music) and cemented their reputation as one of the decade's best. But no, they followed that up with two albums (You Fail Me and No Heroes) that damn near as good, particularly the latter. Still wasn't enough for these guys. They had to go and ring out the decade with an album even better than Jane Doe. Seriously. The band is as ferocious as ever, but spent much of the album spinning off into multiple different genres and proving that they can excel at nearly every single one of them - sludge, doom, shoegaze, buzzsaw metal solos - they're all here. Of particular interest are the final two tracks, both stylistic departures that are no less successful than the rest of the disc.

Nov 22, 2009

np: "More Stars Than There Are in Heaven" - Yo La Tengo

At this point it seems Yo La Tengo have settled into a steady groove of releasing albums that are good enough, but aren't quite as mind-blowingly awesome as this trio can be. That is, as good as the band was back in the 1990s. I mean, look at that run of albums from 1993-2000:

Painful (1993)
Electr-O-Pura (1995)
I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One (1997)
And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out (2000)

On just about any given day I could argue any one of the four as my favorite YLT album of all-time. It's a pretty noteworthy run of albums, one that cemented them as one of the leading lights of indie rock. Unfortunately the band hasn't quite scaled the same heights since. Both 2003's Summer Sun and 2006's I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass were frustratingly inconsistent, the latter ending up the stronger of the pair by far. Each had moments and the tour around IANAOYAIWBYA was wonderful, but I never find myself reaching back for either very often.

So I was disappointed when this year's Popular Songs ended up being just as frustrating - albeit for a slightly different reason this time around. Song for song, this is probably the band's best long-player since 2000, but is crippled by a horrible running order. It was a bad idea to dump all three of the 10 minute plus tracks at the ass end of the album, wearing out attention spans and detracting from three strong compositions. By the time you reach the 16 minute closer, "And the Glitter is Gone", it becomes a downright challenge to finish things. I think it would have made for a much better flow and more enjoyable listening experience to juggle these tracks with the poppier front section. When the songs come up on shuffle, I enjoy most of them, but sitting through the album is a chore. I don't think this is a problem of an overlong run time either, because ATNTIIO ran five minutes longer and never felt like it was overstaying its welcome.

At any rate, Popular Songs gives us another batch of quality tunes, just a shame that the album isn't all it could be. I highly recommend you check out their set on's Don't Look Down though, really makes these songs sound great.

Nov 20, 2009

np: "Wrong Answer" - Municipal Waste

The retro thrash movement is several years and hundreds of bands old by now, but we may now just be getting to the part of the trend that reveals which bands are in this for the long haul and which ones are going to disappear back into the ether. 2009 has seen releases from three of the standard bearers, as far as I'm concerned. Warbringer's Waking Into Nightmares and Skeletonwitch's Breathing the Fire both showcased tremendous growth for each band and are among my most listened to metal albums of the year. My favorite retro thrash release, however, came from Virginia's Municipal Waste. They came to my attention via 2007's The Art of Partying, which was decent enough retro thrash but the overload of songs dedicated to partying and beer drinking never really sat well with me - even though the riffs were powerful as hell. I much prefer my thrash metal lyrics to trend towards the dark and supernatural, thankfully Municipal Waste moved in that direction with Massive Aggressive. Song titles like "Wolves of Chernobyl", "The Wrath of the Severed Head", and "Mech-Cannibal" show where their heads were at this time. The riffs are even better this time around and I fully appreciate that band realizing the inherent silliness of this micro-revival and the way they keep tongue planted firmly in cheek. Just check out this suitably cheesy and gory video for "Wrong Answer":

Nov 19, 2009

np: "Singing Joy to the World" - Fruit Bats

Sometimes a song can be really lovely in spite of itself. This is such a song. If I were to see the lyrics to this song printed out before hearing it, I'd probably have tried my best to stay far away from it. Loneliness cliches, Three Dog Night references, no thanks. But damned if it isn't a beautiful song that caught me totally unaware one night driving home from my former job. Here's a particularly lovely acoustic version from an in-store performance:

(for the record: this song's parent album, Ruminant Band, is all-around pretty lovely)

Nov 18, 2009

np: "Summer Jam" - Set Your Goals

Guilty pleasure admission time - I've always had a bit of a weakness for the right kind of pop-punk, even though I've drifted away from it over the years. There used to be a point about ten years ago where I was familiar with pretty much every band that appeared on the Warped Tour stage, even if I only liked about a third of them. I've long since given up on following that scene with any kind of regularity, but every now and than a band bubbles up and grabs my attention. A few years ago it was Paramore (whose Hayley Williams actually shows up with these guys to, er, rap), rightfully so - it seems quite a few had the same revelation about them. This year its a six piece out of the San Francisco Bay area, Set Your Goals. I'm not sure that they are really even that great of a band, but a few of the songs from This Will Be the Death of Us hit me in the right spot. They are certainly much better when they shy away from the hardcore shouting and breakdowns and stick to the meat and potatoes pop-punk. Not gonna top any lists and I'm not sure they'll be memorable two years from now, but for right now - they hit my pop-punk nostalgic soft spot.

Nov 17, 2009

np: "Song About A Man" - Deer Tick

Deer Tick was one of 2009's pleasant discoveries, an indie folk band from Providence, Rhode Island led by one of the greatest voices of the year - John McCauley. Despite the relative overload of bands milking similar territory right now (Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, etc.) these guys certainly bring their own take well worth hearing. Theirs brings a bit more of the backwoods Appalachia feel to it than what you might find in that of their West Coast contemporaries. McCauley's croon drew me in immediately, he sounds like a young Steve Earle at times, but its the delicate melodies that kept me coming back for more. Here's a pair of songs they performed live on KEXP this year, both are great but its the second that has become my favorite track of theirs.

Nov 16, 2009

np: "Thirty-Three" - Smashing Pumpkins

About fourteen years ago this month I was spending ridiculous amounts of time on the second floor of Flagg Hall, pulling all-nighters and generally trying to keep my head above the ever-rising waters that is the workload of a first year design studio student in architecture. Looking at its release date of 10/24/95, I can guarantee that Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness served as the soundtrack to the balance of that Fall semester. I'm bringing this up now because I'm spending some time with the album again this week in anticipation of those new Pumpkins tracks I mentioned a few posts ago. If you haven't given this one a spin in some time, I suggest you do so, the entire thing stands up remarkably well. However, one small suggestion. Assuming you have the entire album loaded into iTunes or your other favorite mp3 player, I think you should queue the album up in the alternate vinyl tracklist Billy came up with. With each slab of vinyl given over to a different "feel" (for lack of a better word), it gives an entirely new impression of a classic album. You'll need to grab the "Tonight Reprise" from The Aeroplane Flies High and grab the "Infinite Sadness" rarity to complete the final side (not really essential to the experience, I don't think). Of course you may already have the vinyl, in which case just toss album one down on your turntable.

Album 1, Side 1 - Dawn
1. "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness"
2. "Tonight, Tonight"
3. "Thirty-three"
4. "In the Arms of Sleep"
5. "Take Me Down"

Album 1, Side 2 - Tea Time
6. "Jellybelly"
7. "Bodies"
8. "To Forgive"
9. "Here is No Why"
10. "Porcelina of the Vast Oceans"

Album 2, Side 1 - Dusk
11. "Bullet with Butterfly Wings"
12. "Thru the Eyes of Ruby"
13. "Muzzle"
14. "Galapagos"
15. "Tales of a Scorched Earth"

Album 2, Side 2 - Twilight
16. "1979"
17. "Beautiful"
18. "Cupid de Locke"
19. "By Starlight"
20. "We Only Come Out at Night"

Album 3, Side 1 - Midnight
21. "Where Boys Fear to Tread"
22. "Zero"
23. "Fuck You (An Ode to No One)"
24. "Love"
25. "X.Y.U."

Album 3, Side 2 - Starlight
26. "Stumbeline"
27. "Lily (My One and Only)"
28. "Tonite Reprise"
29. "Farewell and Goodnight"
30. "Infinite Sadness"
np: "Brownout in Lagos" - Oneida

Really just about any of the fifteen tracks that make up the latest triple-disc Oneida opus could be pulled out and positioned as a "highlight", but tonight this track is hitting me especially hard. A slight shift in direction from their typical output, this features a higher reliance on electronics and vocals, giving the track an intense dub feel that doesn't otherwise appear in their discography. A standout track from one of the year's standout albums.

Nov 15, 2009

np: "His Spacetruck is Strange" - Guided by Voices (as Wig Stomper)

And there we have it, off on another GbV bender. Stopped by a local shop on Friday (Secondhand Tunes... highly recommend them if you are in the area) and found, much to my surprise, the third volume in the Guided by Voices Suitcase series - for a surprisingly cheap price. I couldn't pass it up, 100 more songs by one of my all-time favorite bands? Sold. The previous two Suitcase collections (the second of which contains the track above) were obviously hit or miss affairs but, as with much of Bobby Pollard's material, the hits are so very much worth wading through the filler. It becomes really easy for me to fly off on a Pollard spree, because there is seemingly always something new to discover. With the possible exception of the albums I've ingested quite completely (Alien Lanes, Bee Thousand, Do the Collapse) - I'm always discovering a new bit to love. So here's to another 100 chances of finding another gem! I'm particularly excited by disc number four, billed as GbV acoustic songs recorded between Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes. In celebration, here is the video for the first ever GbV track that I obsessed over:

Nov 13, 2009

np: "Welcome to the Occupation (Live in Dublin)" - R.E.M.

I have to admit I have a weird, weird relation ship with these guys. I've never been the biggest fan, but they've put out plenty of albums that I absolutely adore and I've always kept an eye on what they have been up to. Unfortunately, for about the last decade (yes, pretty much since the departure of Bill Berry), that hasn't been much good at all. Anyway, a brief history of my long and complicated love affair with R.E.M.

Up until about about 1992, they were just another ubiquitous radio singles band that I never really embraced. Living out in the middle of central Illinois with no college or alternative radio meant I was only subjected to the most mainstream of their hits, which meant pretty much "Stand", "Shiny Happy People", "Losing My Religion", and "It's the End of the World...". I hated the former two with a passion and had the other two ruined for me by overplaying. It wasn't enough to make me ever want to seek out more. I knew they had a pretty well respected past, but I figured they were just of another time and I'd missed the boat. I was fine with that.

Enter the winter of 1992-93, where I had recently started delivering for a tiny local pizza joint. We had two delivery vehicles, both in varying stages somewhere between "piece of crap" and "beat to shit". The Ford Escort had a crappy radio that only picked up two stations - one country and the other a local top 40 station. The other vehicle, an Astro van, was in even worse shape - the muffler was literally sitting in the backseat and the radio worked very sporadically. We usually preferred to drive the Astro van for two reasons. One, without the muffler it sounded loud as hell and two, being an automatic meant that the gear shift never popped loose as it did in the Escort. Anyway, that winter I spent a lot of time driving the van making sporadic rural deliveries. The owner's son had stuck a cassette version of Automatic for the People in the center console and it just kinda sat there. One night, sick of the radio, I popped it in. After that night it didn't leave the deck when I was in the van. Initially I only really liked "Man on the Moon" and "The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight", but in time pretty much the whole album grew on me.

Fast forward to the fall of 1994. I had just started my freshman year of college and in addition to all the other newfound freedoms, I was loving having a campus alt-rock station and constant access to MTV. One of the big songs being pimped on both at the time was "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?", the lead single from the upcoming Monster. I adored that song. I loved the obscure reference it came from, the backwards solo, the guitar sound, it was great. So I went to the big midnight release party at Record Service (R.I.P.) and bought the album, which quickly became of of my favorites. Now. I realize this album is pretty much universally reviled by the serious R.E.M. fans and has become bargain bin fodder the world over. I don't get it, it's a taut bunch of guitar-driven rock tunes. It was the perfect album for me at the time. Though I have cooled on it slightly over the years, it remains my second favorite album.

My first favorite? The band's follow-up to Monster, New Adventures in Hi-Fi, a sprawling record that showcase a wide variety of sounds. It remains my most played album of theirs. After I fell in love with this album, I scoured the used shops and started picking up cheap copies of their older albums - Green, Out of Time, Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction, and eventually Murmur. I found something to like on all of them, particularly Murmur, but none of them grabbed me in the way Monster and New Adventures did. But that was okay. I did end up really loving Murmur, but none of the other early ones completely clicked for me.

Then came Up, the 1998 album that was the first without longtime drummer Bill Berry. It was, alright. I feel like the loss of Berry forced them to redefine their sound in a hurry and they did a lot of experimenting. Somtimes it worked ("Daysleeper", "At My Most Beautiful", "Lotus"), but more often it did not. And that's pretty much where my brief affair with R.E.M. tailed off. I bought Reveal and tried to convince myself that I loved it, but it quickly sank into the back shelves of my collection. Around the Sun was just awful and I don't think I ever spun it more than twice after I first bought it. The advance press on Accelerate and it being a "return to form" hooked me and it was a surprisingly fun listen, but wasn't enough to rekindle my affair.

Why bring all this up? I'm currently listening to their recently released Live at The Olympia, a two-disc document of their five night stand in Dublin that served as "working rehearsals" for Accelerate, and falling for the band all over again. Since these shows were testing ground for the new material in progress, they are pretty heavy on Accelerate tunes. But what makes these so special is what made up the rest of the setlist - tons and tons of early material and obscurities. I mean, hell, there is four songs on here from Chronic Town! And even better? None of the ubiquitous big hits. There's no "Everybody Hurts", no "Shiny Happy People", no "Losing My Religion" - it's like an obscurists dream! More importantly, the band sounds fantastic, like they are just loving being up on the stage. It's a great document and one that should really be given a chance, particularly if you'd cooled on the band given their lackluster 2000's output. Seriously, give this a chance and you may find yourself falling for Michael Stipe all over again.

Nov 12, 2009

np: "Crystalised" - The xx

I haven't really had a chance to talk about this band yet, which is a shame because their debut album has certainly been one of my favorites of the last few months. Icy, cool, minimal pop with dueling male-female vocals. Lovely sounding stuff and one of those bands that is really hard to pin down in any one genre. It was announced this week that one of the original four members, keyboardist Baria Qureshi, has left the band due to exhaustion and the band will continue on as a trio. Time will tell how this will affect their sound, as I'm not sure just how much input Qureshi had in writing their tunes. Glad to see they are continuing on, I'd hate to lose such a promising young band mere months after their debut album gets released. Check out a few of the album's highlights.

Nov 11, 2009

R.I.P. Idolator

I never got around to dropping a link over in my sidebar, but Idolator was one of the regular music blogs I visited from time to time. I won't claim it was a daily stop because honestly, about half of the pop stuff they covered I could care less about, but when I did it was generally a good read. Sometimes a little heavy on the snark, but even that was typically balanced out by the kind of intelligence and thought that is all too uncommon in today's big hype blogs. Former fearless leader Maura Johnston, always a fun read, parted ways with Idolator on Monday and the site pretty much went directly into a tailspin. The two new writers Robbie and Becky have done little but regurgitate press releases and bash out gossip-less gossip in a style that would probably make a seventh-grade paper editor pause. It's rare to be able to watch a beloved blog crash and burn in almost real time. A few choice nuggets courtesy of the new content providers (I really can't call them "writers" at this point):

Oh, well. At least some Amerie posters and album samplers were given away at the album release party thrown at San Francisco’s Gus Presents Social Club the other night, right?

Rihanna was honored as one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year last night, beginning her speech by crying and admitting “I’m PMSed, sorry.” So this is the new face of PMS? A gorgeous, exotic pop star? I guess now guys can stop complaining when their girlfriends get bitchy once a month in the hopes that they turn into Rihanna.

Is my review bias? Mmm, perhaps, since I happened to be sitting three rows behind Billie Joe Armstrong and Tre Cool and stared at the back of their heads during song breaks, but that rockstar spotting was just the icing to an already awesome show. [Fantastic use of grammar in that first sentence.]

Another day, another super hot but kind of creepy thing Shakira does with her body. Shaks (we’re on a nickname basis) performed “Give It Up To Me” on Letterman last night, showcasing her usual body contortions, but with one new addition: dreadlocks. [Shaks? Really? Shaks? Don't we already have one Perez Hilton?]

You get the point. I'm sure there are some people that love this gossipy style of music news reporting, but I don't think any of them were regular Idolator readers before this change. Such a shame to see the site sink to these depths.
As mentioned on this post a couple days ago, I recently wrote a review for the new Flaming Lips album and it has gone up at a completely new outlet for me, Metro Pulse. You can read it here.

Nov 9, 2009

np: "Apathy's Last Kiss" - Smashing Pumpkins

It appears that a new Smashing Pumpkins album is imminent. Well, I suppose album is a bit of a misnomer. Let's call it the new Smashing Pumpkins project. And I have to admit that despite my recent misgivings about the band I once loved more than pretty much any other music out there (detailed in length here), the format of this thing could work out to be pretty cool. Apparently Billy and whomever is actually in the band this month are gearing up to release the first song of Teargarden by Kaleidyscope (I know, right?) as an absolutely free digital download in the coming weeks. But this isn't one of those hook 'em in with the first track free and make 'em pay later, no. The entire 44-track album is to be available as free digital downloads, with a new track to follow about once a month. The real money will be made by packaging physical bundles of the songs as limited-edition, collectible EPs every 7 or 8 songs. And if I know nothing else about Pumpkins fans, they will happily cough up cash at any opportunity to buy product. So it'll probably work, as long as Billy is able to maintain momentum on the project. I'm just happy that I'll be able to keep an errant eye on the band's new work without paying out the nose for it. Considering the Pumpkins are little more than a Corgan vanity project at this point, free is about the only price I'm willing to pay for new music in 2009. But hey, if they can convince me otherwise, I'll be a satisfied fan once again. The free download trick just may be enough to gain back some of the lost goodwill.

Nov 8, 2009

np: "Powerless" - The Flaming Lips

Embryonic is a treat, to be certain. An unexpected slab of brilliance that will add another bright, shining star to the shimmering galaxy that is the Flaming Lips discography. At the very least it rates right up there with Clouds Taste Metallic and In A Priest Driven Ambulance as their three best albums. But more on that when my review goes up shortly. For now I want to share what I believe to be one of the standout tracks from the album. Actually this song represents the middle third of the the three-track run that cemented this as one of my favorite albums of the year. For those of you still missing Ronald Jones, the fantastic guitar work here should give you another reason to give the band another chance.

Nov 3, 2009

np: "Public Display of Dismemberment" - Slayer

One of the most essential American metal groups of all time unleashes their tenth(!) studio album, World Painted Blood, on the world today and it is quite the scorcher. This particular two minutes and thirty-five seconds of hellfire is one of the more obvious highlights. Dave Lombardo attacks his kit with the same fiery abandonment as usual, but at speeds I really didn't think he was capable of anymore. Toss in a dissonant solo and you've got proof positive that this band is far from washed up.

Nov 2, 2009

np: "Surprise Stefani" - Dan Deacon

Dan Deacon can be a lot to take. He's kind of like that hyperactive genius kid that everyone knew in grade school, the one nobody could stand to be around. Not because he was annoying per se, but just because he'd rather invent new ways to make every game "more awesome" than actually just playing the game. Always bouncing from idea to idea, barely allowing anyone within earshot to take a breath. Deacon's live shows are certainly no exception, between songs he is breathlessly exhorting the audience to split down the middle, form circles, do crazy dances, count backwards, etc etc. It's nothing less than exhausting.

For me, Deacon's recorded works suit me just fine, where I can take him on my own terms without the hippy-dippy mumbo-jumbo and the annoying fans. Where I can appreciate the Baltimore musician for what he really is at heart, a truly outstanding and inventive modern composer.

Take "Surprise Stefani", the sixth track of his 2009 release Bromst, as a perfect example of his compositional skills. It starts out calmly with a modulating vocal sample that is quickly joined by some slow, spacey synths that wouldn't sound out of place on an early-80s science fiction soundtrack. Just as you start to get lulled in, everything drops out to be be replaced by layers upon layers of chopped up and manipulated vocal samples over sparse, droning keyboards. It's briefly disorienting, but pretty soon you become too overwhelmed to notice. Your ears are busy trying to pick out just one vocal melody or rhythm to latch onto, but it's a worthless exercise - there is just enough variation in each layer to have you jumping at each twitch. It's a neat trick and repeated listens reveal just how structured this is, this isn't mere chance and chaos. Eventually the vocals drop off and the focus turns to the drums and twinkling xylophone, one of Deacon's signature moves. Listening to this section on headphones is even more of a trip, as the modulation jumps from channel to channel. Finally the drone drops out and the last twenty seconds leaves us with bright, shiny and surprisingly tuneful xylophone.

It's difficult to express the experience of hearing this song in words, one would be far better served giving this one a spin for themselves. The point of this entry is to call attention to that aspect of Deacon's music that seems to be overlooked when the attention is on his live antics and cartoon vocals. Namely, Deacon is a composer more than he is your typical "indie" musician. His work pulls almost directly from the minimalism of Steve Reich and the looped oscillations of John Adams, and should almost be approached in a similar way. That's how his work has clicked for me at any rate, maybe that approach will work for you. I'm still not going anywhere near his live show though.