Monday, June 19, 2006

REVEALED (more): Gil (pt. 2)

Gil, whatever that means, the June 2006 release from The Toaster Talks, hit the headphones last week, and things just haven't felt the same in the District since. What follows are highlights from Gil's back pages.

>> Featured Artist: Camera Obscura

When asked about the message a song called "Let's Get Out of This Country" might send to his listeners, Mister Toaster guffawed and reminded everyone that Camera Obscura was a Scottish group (just like its cohorts Belle and Sebastian). Then he took a nice long drag from his pipe and guffawed again - this time revealing to the world a cloud of think smoke.

The truth is we don't know what the hell the message is in this, the title track from the band's third full-length in four years (and the third in its 10-year existence). It's just a pleasant song we call hum and sing along too. Gil is too busy soaking up the sunshine to care.

*Oh, and they have a nice looking blog. Bien joué, mes amis.

>> Album Lookout: Eyes Open

Snow Patrol - Released: May 9, 2006 A&M

Preliminary reports on Snow Patrol were negative. A smarty-pants contingent of the blogosphere have written these lads off, and the staff here at the Toaster have heard the stories of rip-offs and too much hype.

Admittedly, Eyes Open is The Toaster's first foray into examining these Scots. We've been told from both sides not to trust the other, and so we stepped into the MP3s we found with the hesitancy of entering a cold swimming pool. And, to be sure, we wanted to reject these guys. "Lame!" "Cowardly!" "Blasphemous!" would have been the headlines on The Talks.

Alas, we couldn't do it. There's simply nothing to hate. Sure, sometimes they try a little too hard, but other times that extra umph is what sells the song. We've never been the type to knock a band for shooting higher and falling a bit short, and we won't start now.

"Set the Fire to the Third Bar" is not the most typical of songs on a Snow Patrol album. It calculates. It plods. It builds. Then it rides an atmosphere. And it brings in Martha Wainwright to guest, doubling the lead vox and providing her signature sound to the chorus.

We liked it enough to keep it, and Gil liked it enough to use it to begin the mix's denouement, coming in at No. 14.

>> Reverting to: 2004

The Hold Steady are on a warpath of sorts. And they have been since they emerged on the scene a few years back. Now busy on their third album, this un-Scottish band (they're from Minneapolis) packs so much energy into every song that the listener leaves each album (mostly recorded live, to boot) feeling a bit spent.

Craig Finn's lyrics are self-referencing, culturally astute and - often - tragically hilarious (see "Knuckles" - "We've got wars going down in the Middle Western states. Kevlar vests against the crystal flakes" or "I've been trying to get people to call me Sunny D. Cos I got the good stuff the kids go for. And people keep calling me Five Alive.") And even if he goes in an out of key, he throws himself into it, earning a pass just as a Lou Reed vocal performance would.

We believe in these guys. And Gil believes in you. G'night, dear friendlies.

[Editor's Note: Happy 64 to Brian Wilson! He's a little teapot.]

No comments: