I’ve gone through an extended love affair with this band, and I don’t see it ending any time soon. Bringing melody and songwriting back into conjunction with something you want to bounce to, It’s a Corporate World is a refreshing taste of how the original pop-rock paradigm can cohabitate with modern sound. In this interview with half of the two-man team, I find Josh Epstein beaming with a stead-fast pride for his hometown of Detroit, an honest love for covering 80′s Winwood hits, and a conjunctive knack for crafting great songs. Read the full thing HERE.
I mean, yeah, there’s definitely that pressure from other people where “we need you to write songs that people like” just as much or more. But I think when you live like that, you’re writing from a fearful place. And I just don’t think that ever works for people. I think the sophomore slump comes from people’s heads. Daniel and I have to keep on thinking about that — this isn’t our second record. For both of us it’s like… number eleven. [Laughs] It’s not like we’ve never had to follow up an album before. Maybe not as many people listened to our other albums, but we’ve always tried to make one better than the last one.
Finally got all parties involved, including myself, to link up and get this interview I did with Warren from the great Montreal rock-trio Plants and Animals up and finished. Definitely took place at the end of last summer if I’m correct – cool shit though. Good guy, good band. Here’s the link and my opening:http://www.stateofmindmusic.com/entry/1207/Plants-and-Animals:-The-Roots-Remain—Conversation-with-Warren-Spicer/
So despite my new love for Destroyer, I can’t deny that Dan Bejar‘s more popular band, The New Pornographers have been steadily releasing solid albums steadily for the past 15 years. My affinity for the New Pornos’ fairly straightforward but subverted pop-rock waxes and wanes at different times, but they’re best tracks are usually the simpler ones with big back-beats. When Bejar teams up with his fellow Canuck Carl Newman, the two have the capability of making their indie-collective sound like biggest band on the planet – at least for a verse-chorus or two.
The latest video for “Moves” has the band pretending to be just such superstars, and has some great b-level comedians and musicians making cameos. My boy Horatios Sand pops up as John Collins and you gotta love the Rudd/Hader into. Killer vid for a killer tune off of last year’s rock solid Together album.
The biggest musical news this past weekend other than 2 billion people witnessing how ridiculously awful the Black Eyed Peas have become, is that James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem have officially announced their last show. With Murphy last Spring stating that 2010′s This is Happening would be the final album under the LCD moniker, many hip cats like myself made concentrated efforts to catch the last of the live fire of an LCD show. My cross-nation track to Coachella was far more handsomely rewarded by other bands there than LCD and their lackluster drunken performance. My daunting escapade into all thing I fear at Camp Bisco was far more worth the trouble. The band throwing down in Burlington, Vermont at Memorial Auditorium was an uber-epic-pantsdrop evening.
Yet one last show by no means makes me regret the effort I put into last year’s voyages – rather, I can’t wait to have one of the musical nights of my life April 2 at Madison Square Garden. Announced on the band’s website, they mention 3 hours of friends, covers, and never-before-played songs, and most importantly state: “If it’s a funeral, let’s have the best funeral ever!!!” Nuff’ said. If you leave within a 500 mile radius of New York City, the words “be there or be square” have never held more truth.
The deeper I seep into the new Destroyer album, the more I worry I’m going to wake up in 1982. This is only further evidence that Daniel Bejar needs to focus less on less on his other, less pop-savvy band The New Pornographers, and rather keep a one-track mind on pumping out the dreamy yacht-funk that is captured on last week’s release, Kaputt.
And I’ll say it right now, I hate Steely Dan. Yep, just hate em’ – kinda think they’re two of the most soulless crafters of pop in the history of the game. Don’t try to argue – I can’t be swayed. But regardless, I only mention this because it means I thus have a rather elevated and critical ear for the drifty funk-for-yacht grooves. And with a rather large pallet of hipsters crafting just such sounds at a relatively frequent pace as of late, again my tastes are rather attuned. It takes just the right blend of subtle irony, and true embrace of your inner slickness for me to shout your praise. But if Destroyer knows anything, it’s that when you really hit that groove right, you are legally binded to make a video with girls in 80′s leotards amidst some modern, nerdy twist. Grum of Super Furry Animals went off the same lesson-plan last year. Here’s the two together – headbands required for viewing.
So yeah, yeah, I know – Halcyon Digest came out last September, but now that everybody’s year-end best-of lists have been fully digested, I can’t help but comment on how over-rated this album is. Pitchfork had it at #3, Spin at #2, random tail-grabbers had the nerve to put it at #1. First things first, I friggin’ love Bradford Cox, and I think his oddly stretched out body has one of the most intriguing musical minds of our modern era. But God, I hope he never makes another album like this ever again.
While Deerhunter has been constantly evolving into a more fearsome embrace of the post-trance, organic drift-off vibe, Halcyon has gone one step too deep into some of the most incredibly boring music ever made. Honestly, if you can put this on your headphones any time after 9 p.m. without falling asleep, then I owe you a nickel.
Now admittingly, I had it at #28 on my personal top 40 list, but my real gripe isn’t with the album but with the unforseen embrace of it. What it seems to me has happened is that a whole shitload of people completely missed out on 2008′s Microcastle releases. So they had seen the Deerhunter name on other people’s blog and best-of lists back then, and had initially said “Fuck whatever band names itself after that creepy movie.” But then a year or so later, they finally heard it and were like “Oh shit, now I get it. I’m such a late-bloom new-release noob.” So then when Halcyon Digest came out, these same people said, “Oh sweet, now I can be one of the hip in-the-know peeps by putting this on my best-of list.” However, this act was done in complete disregard to the actual inert quality of the album, which pales in comparison to may of the other great releases form last year. Sure, it’s cool , it’s mellow, it’s rough – it’s good even. But it doesn’t belong in anyone’s top 10.
So despite it being both a critical success and a really cool album, the real aclaim is due more to hipster class wars than actual music. And that unatural out cycle of love unfortunately only leaves me with more disdain for the actual product. Sorry Bradford, not your fault I guess. Just get back to the shoegaze bud, ok?
If you’re completely unaware of Deerhunter then start with the 2008 bonus disc Weird Era Continued, then hit Microcastle, then 2007′s Cryptograms, then the new one, then the old one. Here’s my favorite cut off Weird Era, “Dot Gain” which actually has Lockett Pundt on vocals rather than Bradford.