Fat Cat Plankton

Nonsense in extensia

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Heldover Musical Observations from New Orleans Trip

1. Mid-90s were huge - hardly heard any new music unless it was veering dangerously towards me on the sidewalk accompanied by headlights. Instead, restaurants, bars, and stores seemed to be looping '96 Buzz Bin CDs or some shit - lotsa stuff like Bush, Veruca Salt, old-skool No Doubt, I guess insta-nostalgia for all the drunken college kids.

2. Bar bands sucked - limp Janis and lame-ass Steve Miller covers

3. Regrettably, we didn't check out any jazz clubs - there were plenty of guys blowing on the streets, mostly endless variations on "When the Saints Go Marching In" or "Amazing Grace" or Hank's "Jambalaya."

4. Undeniable highlight - piercingly loud, purposefully out-of-tune calliope "concert" from the top of the Steamboat Natchez before we boarded - pretty sure she played Ernest Tubb's "Waltz Across Texas," which was great.

5. Observations from the car rides, to and fro:

a) the newest Modest Mouse CD hasn't held up well at all - I was admittedly quite smitten with it at first blush, maybe it was just misty-eyed affection for its decided lack of trendy garage-rock or dance-punk signifiers, but also it just seemed to possess a messy humanity that's missing from most overdetermined indie-rock - often Brock would say stupid juvenile faux-existential shit about God, but then he'd reveal an admirable self-deprecating streak that let you know he was just honestly working through all these philosophies and life strategies himself, and it's always more fascinating to hear the process than the result on record. Unfortunately, the whole thing plods like a bastard, I think sometimes they go for "shimmering" and just wind up sounding sluggish, like on "The World At Large," which almost makes it there but not quite. Even "Float On" is starting to sound a little saggy next to better and brighter radio favorites from 2004. "Bury Me With It" and "Black Cadillacs" remain resilient, but thanks to the rest GNFPWLBN just took a plummet on my Top 50 (yeah I had to call it a "50" to make sure we even included the album at all).

b) once I actually got a little distance from it and then indeliberately came back, Hail to the Thief sounded much better than I remember from the last time I heard it all the way through, almost as good as my initial hyperventilatings.

c) Of Montreal is boss. Lauren knows this.

d) Tool makes me sleepy.

e) Elbow makes me sleepy, but in a good way.

f) I really like the Decemberists, but still not half as much as Lauren.


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