Sunday, September 28, 2008

Songs That Might Otherwise Pass You By

(The shownotes for the latest podcast, Special Edition 5, Lola Is Not In Her Comfort Zone, are before this post)

Born Again Floozies, "We've Got the Power (Love Song from America)"

This song is a force of passion--a configurement of many instruments: a surge of tuba, a surprise ambush of trombone, a guitar line that will mobilize you, a steady stream of foot tapping (literally: one of the members tap dances), and powerful, rhythmic vocal work from the lead singer and the two back-up singers. This is the perfect deployment of ensemble work: the energy and passion of the performers are the stars here, not individual members. This makes for an incredibly vibrant and engaging piece of music. I can only imagine what this band is like live.

Reverb Site

Amy Gilmore of Born Again Floozies looks at the camera as if to say "Yeah, this band? It's all my doing. I tap and they follow".

The Mountain Goats and Kakki King, "Thank You Mario But Our Princess Is in Another

(Not a direct link)

John Darnielle has always been the king of heartbreak. His songs are documentations of heartache and treatises on the pain of loneliness and broken relationships. I'm not saying they're depressing songs, though. There's always been a hopefullness and a sense of recovery to his songs--they're not so much about the breaking up as the getting on with life. They're songs about moving on. But this song may be a little different. Perhaps this song is documenting a reprieve from the sadness; afterall, the refrain is "when you came in, I could breathe again". Perhaps this is a love song. Or maybe it's not--later he says he's "frightened for his life". He also says he's pretty sure his "life is over". Could this be a swirling dive into madness? Then again, this could be just what it seems to be: a recount of the harrowing journey Toad takes to rescue his charge, Princess. The motif for the song is an 8-bit Nintendo game, Super Mario Brothers. Perhaps he's saying that at the core, our lives can be parsed through the events of the Super Mario Brothers games. I kind of like that. Now I'm left examining my own life, wondering if I'm the Princess or the toad dodging death?

Kaki King's Myspace

Peter Hughes and John Darnielle are emphatically, definitely part of The Mountain Goats. To prove it, Darnielle crosses his arms.

Blitzen Trapper, "Not Your Lover" (Not a direct link)

Well, that's just mean. What does he mean he's not my lover anymore? What did I do wrong? Oh, wait. You mean he was never my lover? Okay, that's fair, I guess. I wonder who he's talking about, then. Dunno. I like the harmonica, though. I also like the dusty, meandering spirit of the song. By night he's a "moon walking cowboy". While he's dreaming, he's much more than this person's lover: he's a traveler, a free soul and an explorer. By day he's willing to play the domestic role. As long as he can have his freedom during the latter 12 hours.


Apparently "Blitzen Trapper" must mean "very, very green". (Before anyone says anything smarmy, I know it doesn't really. Blitzen means "lightning".)

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