Sunday, March 09, 2008

Songs That Might Otherwise Pass You By

Condor Moment, "I Hope Raymond (Is Still Alive)" (Thanks to Fanatic Promotion)

I'm not sure what my favorite part of this song is. It might be the beautiful, longing piano introduction. It might be when the piano hastily morphs into an electric rock opera. I'm also taken with the vocals--the voice slows and slurs into a deliberate exaggeration--very Cabaret-like. The end of the song? I'm not sure what style that is. I think it's performance art that turns into an electro version of Modest Mouse. If you don't like songs that morph from style to style, you may not appreciate this song's style. I could count the different turns this song takes, but that would take too long, and I have a post to write. Needless to say, I love it when a song changes dramatically within itself, as long as the pieces match. This song switches styles more often than Bowie has changed styles of makeup, but I still recognize the song even throughout its manifestations.


If one of these guys is Raymond, then Raymond is definitely having some problems.

Trolleyvox, "I Call On You" (.mp3 from their Myspace)

If I didn't know any better (well, actually, some days I don't know any better), I'd think it was the early 90's, I still had most of my life ahead of me and one of my favorite types of music was known as "college rock". It didn't have any other name--no "alternative" label. Just cool music you only found on the bottom of the radio dial, if you were lucky enough to live near a cool college (I really wasn't, so I had to depend on magazine reviews and the occasional mix tape to find out about music). This song has the clarity and the pop sensibility of some of the best 80s/early 90's bands--Throwing Muses, The Breeders, The Pixies, 10,000 Maniacs, Voice of the Beehive (I know you don't know them, but they're awesome) R.E.M, and a few others. I'm not disparaging the music of this decade--I spend a lot of my time listening to and writing about it--I love it. But there's something fresh about a straightforward pop song with clear, sharp female vocals and very little electronica, but with lots of guitar. I like loud guitars.

Amazon Page
(The URL listed for their website redirects to their Myspace)

The Trolleyvox offer these toasters, as thanks for opening an account at their branch.

Camphor, "The Sweetest Tooth"

I played this band a few months ago, but when a song is good (and legal), I can't pass it up. I have a soft spot for torchy ballads--you know, the kind that make you want to climb on a piano and start bellowing in a deep, rich voice. Preferably with a scotch in your hand, even if you don't drink scotch (which I don't). So, yeah, this song makes me want to be a torch singer. All good torch singers bear a burden, and this guy obviously has something on his mind because the refrain is "give me something for the pain" (hey--I suggested scotch). The lyrics are definitely torchy--morose, actually: "American beauty withering on the vine, saccharin smile rotting at the root..." That could be taken as a reference to the vanity and shallowness that seems to have crept in and strangled much of what is beautiful and worthy in my culture. The rest of the lyrics would seem to bear that out: "Self-Indulgent, cultivated to consume". Yep, that would be us. The lyrics don't specify what or who he's referring to, but I do take it as a general commentary on this culture. It's a depressing reminder of what our fascination with the Britneys, the Lindsays and the Hiltons of this country has landed us: a lot of piddling knowledge of nothing important. I need a scotch (though I don't drink scotch).


Camphor look at the viewer with curiosity, as though they might recognize the viewer but they can't quite place them. Or perhaps they've started in on the scotch.

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