music, voreplay

Voreplay

An ongoing series in which we chronicle what we’ve been spinning (and attempt, in vain, to keep pace with Eric Bescak).

Bevin Beers.  Seriously, go listen.

Calexico, Carried to Dust.  You may know Calexico from their collaboration with Iron & Wine on In The Reins, or as the backing band on much of the I’m Not There soundtrack. Their music feels especially cinematic, and Carried to Dust is no exception. It is also one of their finest. “Slowness” gets our vote for the prettiest song you’ll hear all year. Buy. This. Album. Now.

Ben Folds, Way To Normal.  What was so winning about Ben Folds’ last album, Songs For Silverman, was how adult it was. Folds was no less the cheeky prankster, but the songs had real weight and were unabashedly sentimental. The snarky punk kid was now embracing fatherhood in “Gracie,” a love letter to his daughter, or paying tribute to Elliot Smith in “Late.” Way To Normal is a return to earlier, cursier Folds, which you’ll either welcome or think is a step backward. We are in the latter camp. Where you fall depends on what you think of this sample lyric: “The bitch went nuts/She stabbed my basketball and the speakers to my stereo.” (This is usually how fights start in the Vore household.) Still, we’re not denying the pleasure of car-singing your lungs out to an Elton John send-up like “Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hit His Head)” or the fuzz rock of “Dr. Yang.” 

Page France, Page France and the Family Telephone.  These guys sound like Sufjan Stevens’ kooky, glockenspiel-lovin’ cousin. Basically they just make us happy. But they’re no longer together. Which makes us sad.

Aimee Mann, Magnolia soundtrack.  Matthew Leathers made us pull this one off the shelf. We challenge him to a “feel-off” listening to “Deathly” to see who’s really the more sensitive, soulful blog. 

Ra Ra Riot, The Rhumb Line.  A friend described Ra Ra Riot as “Vampire Weekend meets Arcade Fire,” and that about nails it. If you love those bands, you’ll love the atmospheric chamber pop of The Rhumb Line. If, however, you think Vampire Weekend is “the most offensive appropriation of a heritage (they’re the hipster Jar Jar Binks),” then you’ll ridicule us for liking them or anyone who remotely sounds like them, especially intelligent, successful, good-looking twentysomethings who pay tribute to the death of their drummer with a elegiac but life-affirming album. (See Ra Ra Riot at the Southgate House on December 9.)

Stereolab, Chemical Chords.  Who wants to buy this album off us? The bidding starts at a dime. Then you too can enjoy the first twenty-eight seconds and “Self Portrait With ‘Electric Brain'” and nothing else. 

     (Seriously, why wasn’t this album more fun? Are we turning into old fuddy-duddies? That will be our next poll question.)

Thao, We Brave Bee Stings And All.  Eric Bescak steers us right (again). A couple times, actually. Shortly after purchasing the album, we noted that “these guys sound great, like a funky, jacked-up bluegrass outfit,” to which Beez made it known that “these guys” were in fact a lady. A funky Asian lady who sings like a long-lost member of Jane’s Addiction. Erin has had it playing in her car nonstop for two months straight.  She’s unafraid of singing out loud at the YMCA while she enthusiastically bobs up and down on the stair-climber. Buy. This. Album. Nower.

Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and Essence.  These were to get us in the mood for Little Honey (next Voreplay). Car Wheels is, indisputably, a classic. But we have a soft spot for the admittedly uneven Essence, especially the sad-sack, crackle-voiced “Blue.” Go find a jukebox and see what a quarter will do.

Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary.  We hadn’t listened to this one in a while (it was on our stolen iPod), plus we need to gear up for Wolf Parade’s Southgate show on November 12. How could At Mount Zoomer have been such a clunker after this near-perfect debut? We promise you that listening to Apologies while you run will decrease your split times. There are no two ways about this.

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15 thoughts on “Voreplay

  1. 1. I’m with you on the Ben Folds. I don’t dislike the album, but I’m in the Whatever and Ever Amen camp. I need both the goofy and the sentimental. Song for the Dumped and Evaporated, two of his best songs, totally different, on the same album. This new one has maybe one serious song, and it has lyrics about astronauts and diapers. Couldn’t stay serious the whole song. And saddest of all, the prettiest song on the album (Before Cologne) is under a minute long.

    2. I disagree about At Mount Zoomer, I love that album. I feel like it’s on par with the debut. To be fair, I heard it first, but come on, stop being such a jerk about it. Geez.

    3. I see how it is. I distinctly remember telling you and Brinkman about Thao months ago. I used to play it on Saturdays when Grant wasn’t there. No respect.

    4. I almost died listening to Deathly in the car. I got so wrapped up, I veered over two lanes and nearly rammed into a barrier. Top that.

    5. Matthew’s Saturday Recommends the latest from the following: The Shaky Hands, Haley Bonar, Rachel Yamagata, Horse Feathers, The Tallest Man on Earth, These United States…….and go!!

  2. You know how impossibly dense we are. It’s a miracle Ben put pants on this morning! Oh, um … now it’s a miracle Ben put pants on this morning! So forgive us for not recognizing Thao brilliance sooner.

  3. I do like the Page France too. Thanks, Voreblog, for buying me a copy.
    The new Lucinda Williams is very good too, esp. the ironic honky-tonk duet ‘Jailhouse Tears.’ There was a tear (from laughter) in my beer.

  4. We would buy Jeremy Piven some scruples if we could afford it. But we can’t. We had to pay that $128.11 because Cincinnati Bell actually bills you two months behind schedule. This seems fantastic when you start, but is a rather rude kick-in-the-pants when you leave, because you’ve naturally forgotten how easy those first two months were. So, basically, we’re helping fund Jeremy’s little rented Chelsea apartment and his charcoal gray hoodie and that soulful, earnest Allison Kraus/Robert Plant cd playing in the background. Just typing this makes us want to vomit.

  5. i can’t help but feel baited by this conditional statement [my comments in brackets]…”If, however, you [ie, me] think Vampire Weekend is “the most offensive appropriation of a heritage (they’re the hipster Jar Jar Binks),” [i have and i do and i will…that J.J. Binks line has a copyright, btw] then you’ll [ie, me] ridicule us for liking them or anyone who remotely sounds like them, especially intelligent [huh?], successful [wha?], good-looking twentysomethings [what *exactly* are you talking about, willis?] who pay tribute to the death of their drummer with a elegiac but life-affirming album [yeah, dying is fine, but “fab for suture” is better].”

    okay, i’ll bite. you throw stalwart stereolab under the bus, while you put page france and ra ra riot in the front seat? however beautiful and young and smart you believe them to be, they’re hardly on the same level. what a whacky mixed-up world on which you reside.

    i can’t believe just anyone can listen to music and have an opinion about it. your post is clear evidence this has oversight has reached crisis proportions. i beg you to destroy your listening devices immediately. or apply for a license.

    they’re stalwarts!

  6. calm down. i won’t quit you, but you baited me! i knew when i first saw your cd collection freshman year [“the nightmare before christmas” soundtrack?] that this was going to be a struggle. of course, i didn’t think it would be 15 years later with so little progress. i won’t give up on you if you admit without reservation and condition that you have no idea what is going on. consult with me before listening to anything.

  7. I have no illusions about the musical state I was in when you surveyed my musical collection in Norton 17. But I thought I had come farther in 15 years than you seem to think. Can I just call you at any hour of the day?

    (And I thought you liked to be baited?)

  8. uhg. and it’s “fab FOUR suture.” i am as bad standing up for stereolab as you are at trampling on them.

    and i guess i’m judging your progress against my expectations. by now, you should be a one-eyed reformed morphine addict fronting a dc hardcore band. but no…

    calexico were on sound opinions this weekend…www.soundopinions.org

    call if you must. but i can tell you now Oasis’ “Dig Out Your Soul” will be a major setback.

  9. I’ll call as soon as the Gallagher brothers finish cleaning my gutters.

    (My first question will be: How can anyone live up to your expectations? I was a Fugazi roadie for three years! That’s not good enough? I even killed a guy!)

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