Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Warm, Confused Places

>> Featured Artist: LCD Soundsystem

Yeah yeah, I know I've already done my fair share of talking about songs from the new LCD Soundsystem. Still, as we find ourselves on the other side of summer, I've yet to find its anthem.

"All My Friends" might not be it. But there's no question that it's anthem material. So I'll submit it to you, fine constituents.

The hypnotic repetition of the piano alternates between irritating and mesmerizing, depending on which listen I'm on. And James Murphy's lyrics aren't too shabby, almost benefiting from the simplistic melody. "And if I'm sued into submission, I could still come home to this." Yeah!

The central question, in the end, is a good one for summer: Where are your friends tonight?

>> Album Lookout: Emerald City

John Vanderslice - Released: July 24, 2007 Barsuk

The warm spot in my heart for John Vanderslice can be directly attributed to his opening for the Mountain Goats on their 2005 tour. It's not so much the music that I care for, as it is the fondness I have for any person who would share a stage with Mr. Darnielle.

That is not say that Vanderslice doesn't, on occasion, wow me with one of his alterna-indie pop creations. On "White Dove," the free track from his latest album, released today, Vanderslice doesn't stray much from the confusing but imagery-filled lyrics. And the driving plugged-in acoustic give the song a good level of drive.Still, he opts for lifting a Tom Petty line in the middle 8 and loses me a bit.

Bottom line: it's enjoyable, if just a little too contrived.

>> Reverting to: 1982

In the Toaster world, there are few things valued higher than a classic Elvis Costello track. My love for picking out the meaning in his clever turns of phrase knows little in the way of boundaries.

To that extent, "Man Out of Time" has become the Holy Grail of sorts for me - beautiful in concept but impossible to realize. Just what do lines like "Cause the high heel he used to be has been ground down, and he listens for the footsteps that would follow him around" mean? Or "To murder my love is a crime, but will you still love a man out of time?" (Or is it "To murder, my love, is a crime..."?) Or "he's got a mind like a sewer and a heart like a fridge / He stands to be insulted and he pays for the privilege")?

My best guess - and this, I admit, has been influenced by my penchant to think to interpret art to be a statement on capital punishment - is that the subject here is an upper-class murderer who is facing the death penalty and the song deals with how this affects his family. But, wow, even that doesn't hold up to "the after-dinner overtures are nothing but an afterthought..."

And what's with this beautiful pop song bookmarked by guitar chaos? It is an enigma. And I am forever intrigued.

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