Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Meet Nestor (Part III)

NESTOR (tracks 10 through 16):
11 >> The Fratellis |Flathead
12 >> Nick Drake | Which Will
13 >> The Shins | Red Rabbits
14 >> Andrew Bird | Heretics
15 >> The Hold Steady | Party Pit
16 >> Maria Taylor | Lost Time

* * *
The Fratellis, fresh off an iTunes commercial and a Toaster post, are clearly riding the momentum of newfound fame. "Flathead," the song from said iTunes ad, is an infection of a pop song. It is so packed with hooks that I required a thorough background check into the rest of the album before I could even trust it through an entire listen. Too many hooks make me nervous. The point where they finally hook me is the third chorus break where the "Bah-da-bahs" should be, but aren't. Good play, Fratellis. Good play.

* * *
I told Nestor from the very beginning that we don't use Nick Drake anymore unless we're making a John Cusack movie. And that there might not be any Nick Drake songs left to unveil. Still, he insisted and finally won me over in a demo version of the mix in which "Which Will" brought peace to me after the pop chaos that is Fratellis. These are three minutes on the mix I couldn't do without.

* * *
Following Nick Drake with the Shins must feel like a move straight out Zach Braff's playbook. And for that I apologize. "Red Rabbits," however is a texture-rich song that brings Nestor through a delicate moment to a point where the mix can come to some resolution. As James Mercer's melody evolves, the song grows continuously brighter - until his signature end-of-the-song slight twist in the melody. On "Red Rabbits" it couldn't have been more sweetly done.

* * *
O! Where we'd be without DJ Bryan! His discovery of Andrew Bird and Devin Davis in the summer of 2005 single-handedly changed that year for me. And I'm drawn to Bird's antics in "Heretics" - yes, even the lyrics that are nearly spoken - mostly because of the way his style reminds me how much I enjoy living in D.C. I can't explain that in a way that makes any sense. But, then again, Nestor never really wanted to make sense.

* * *
The Hold Steady are one of the best bands making music today. And, still being hooked on 2006's Boys and Girls in America, I didn't think I'd surprise anybody by going out on Nestor with "Party Pit." The simple refrain of "Gonna walk around and drink some more" at the songs fade always brings me so much joy.

* * *
In the original version of Nestor, "Party Pit" was followed by "Lost Time" and the mix was capped with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. It soon became clear that the mix ends with Maria Taylor's final lyric no matter what I put after it. And so I obeyed. The song, which is mostly unimpressive until the male harmony brings that perfect touch to the song - something that Taylor, in her previous efforts, has never failed to be able to do.

And now Nestor is yours to love. Treat him well. And go get a drink - on him.

1 comment:

sandpaperhearts said...

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