HURL HIM INTO THE FALLS
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.
Ravens & Chimes - "Saint Jude in the Village Voice". Reichenbach Falls is one of the most charming debuts of 2007, a music that distinguishes itself not by the originality of its features but by its sheer fresh-facedness. Twentysomething indie-kids from New York: dime a dozen. But they sound like kids. Scrubbed, heartsick, rosy-faced, and maybe even a little naive. Far from a drag, this romanticism is downright refreshing - welcome respite in an industry where cool is often measured in nicotine stains and don't-give-a-fucks. When Ravens & Chimes play a love-song, when they sing of regrets or lusts, it's easy to imagine that they're singing of first loves, first regrets, even first kisses. Arcade Fire may on Neon Bible be wrestling with doubts and existential confusion, but back on their debut there was a similar stupid youthful determination - and so it's fitting that R&C chose to record Reichenbach Falls in the studio where AF made Funeral. (And the album opener, "This Is Where We Are", is very much a page out of Arcade Fire's book - songwriter Asher Lack even foresees Neon Bible's deluge metaphors.) But anyway: "Saint Jude in the Village Voice". No heavy drama here, no angst-filled pleas: this is an arcing, hoping, open-hearted popsong, chopped into pieces and scattered in a track of well-meaning white-kid soul. Lack's second-gladdest when he gets to yell "Whoa-oh!" at 1:27. And he's gladdest of all in the choruses, the love-song flying free, the whole band shaking the apples from a tree.
Ravens & Chimes - "Eleventh Street". I listened to this song so many times that I went looking on Flickr for pictures of Eleventh Street. Every now and then the lyrics feel precious, not-quite-right, but I don't know there's something magical in this not-quite-rightness, this groping around and not (not!) quite finding the right words for heartbreak. And while Lack tries to peel back months & years, like me just trying to find that Eleventh Street, the band plays the perfect other half to a song such as this. (The half that's missing from so many songs that look back at an evaporated ever-after.) The drummer makes a banging racket, those million fierce heartbeats compressed into two minutes. And deep in one channel a mandolin mandolins: strum and strum and strum, hard as it can, just like all of us, not knowing what the hell else to do.
Archivists! Those who wish to explore the Said the Gramophone stacks are no longer relegated to the calendar view on the sidebar: you can now browse our archives bit-by-bit by clicking on "Older posts" at the bottom of the main page.
Arcade Fire's full freight-elevator Take-Away Show filmed in Paris, is now available. It's something special.
I have a feature on Arcade Fire in the April issue of Paste magazine, including an interview with Win & Regine and a visit inside the studio. I think it's now on stands.
Stalkers should also watch for the upcoming May issue of The Believer, which includes an interview I conducted last year with Okkervil River's Will Sheff. We talk about Sam Cooke, knife fights, Destroyer, and forming a band to spite your girlfriend.Posted by Sean at March 26, 2007 8:20 AM
Interesting -- I saw them during CMJ and they were a little too "chimes" for me and not enough "ravens" (haha), and were dressed very indie-rock-Ren-faire. Which can be good or bad, dependent on your POV. But you've convinced me to give them another shot.Posted by kathryn at March 26, 2007 12:50 PM
Just to let you know that I've droped an email on your account with some info on a compilation I released with some Polish and Portuguese projects.
Take care and keep up the good work.
3maj sie z Krakowa.
Congrats on the Paste article, Sean! That's big news :)Posted by Matt at March 27, 2007 3:14 AM
That Sheff interview, finally! I can't wait!Posted by g00blar at March 28, 2007 7:25 AM
I'm glad you finally found a home for those, Sean. Congratulations.Posted by Tuwa at March 30, 2007 8:48 AM
Regarding the Arcade Fire video, from 2:04 ("Let's do this!") until the music begins around the 4-minute mark, I am unavoidably reminded of the scene in "Spinal Tap" where the band gets lost between the dressing room and stage. Sorry to mention it.Posted by Jeff at March 31, 2007 12:01 AM