chapped lips
by Sean
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.


The Chap - "Auto Where To". Fluxblog tipped me to The Chap when Matt posted "Baby I'm Hurtin'", a greasy-haired electropop song with strings and madcap yells. But when Ham arrived, I found an altogether different thing: like the Junior Boys swirled with Datarock, it's cool synths and a clicking dance-track, all chilled and glassy and occasionally pop-a-pill crazy. "Auto Where To" lives at some middle point between the album's extremes. In the centre of the thing, in its twisty tree-trunk middle, there's that guitar-line. It hops and dodges, it navigates alleys in double-time. And it would be nothing without those pop-pop synths. They'd even makes fashion models dance.

There are vocals too, codeine English vocals, mostly nonsense, and then a racket of clipped percussion, buzzy Four Tet noises, and a growing synth threat. The crush of insects that descent on a land, drinks being spilled on the dance-floor, explosions shooting through the drywall, ash everywhere. [buy at Lo Recordings]


Micah P Hinson - "The Dream You Left Behind". Okay for me this is a special moment kind of song, where I was just walking along and light glanced out unexpectedly and colours waved and a wind blew at my collar and at the same time this song was playing, gold in my ears, this simple mix of sounds, of noise. It's a drum and a shaker, bamf bamf bamf, a guitar, another guitar, another, and there's Micah's still-grim voice, echoing back on itself, and out of nowhere, out of the moon or up from the ground or kicked up by your boot, it's another guitar and this one comes with bells and sparkle. It's a slight and magnificent counterpoint, straying from the melody's path just enough. All of a sudden this quietloud folk-rock ditty has got a monumental strength, the power to jar the world to the right or to the left, to make light glance out and colours wave and wind blow at collars. Yeah, a special moment kind of song, but maybe you'll have one too. [from Micah's new EP, The Baby and the Satellite. I can only see it at Amazon UK, but go buy!]

Posted by Sean at July 11, 2005 4:49 AM

An attempt at a one sentence review:

"Auto Where To" by The Chap:
Comparable to Califone, in an alternate universe in which Robert Johnson was never born and Steve Reich was played on adult contemporary radio stations hourly.

The Micah P. Hinson song is okay, but I don't think I caught the same vibe that you did, Sean. It's pretty, but I'm not sure that it would stand up to repeated listenings for me. But I think that the Chap song probably would, which is kind of a strange thing considering the Hinson-type song is, generally, much more up my alley.

Posted by Sam at July 11, 2005 3:03 PM

Thanks for that Sam.

Listening to that Micah song analytically (as I tried to do before posting), I'm struck and struck again by how little happens. There really isn't much there. But yeah, those simple shoves of melody and harmony just get me in the right places, golden wedges. Much more affecting than the ballyhoo'ed single from Sufjan.

And hooray for loving things you don't normally listen to!

Posted by Sean at July 11, 2005 7:25 PM

Saw Hinson open for Crooked Fingers, he was great.

Posted by Dodge at July 12, 2005 12:04 PM

Listened to the Micah song....Bubbie said " It's got a good beat ". I thought it was so-so !!

Luv Ya!


Posted by Zaidie Ben at July 12, 2005 4:19 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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