Sunday, May 13, 2012

Musical Conundrum: Atlas Genius 'Trojans'

This up-tempo sad song.

I can't figure out why I don't like this song. Because I like it a lot. 

Obviously, it's easier not to like something than it is to like something.

I read, essentially that previous statement, somewhere else. To paraphrase the source, liking something takes effort. You have to be open to a new idea, a new perspective, etc. 

It's the same way with the up-tempo sad song. 

Do I want my sad songs up-tempo? I don't want to try to feel happy about a sad song, sad theme. Musical listeners are fortunate in that respect, not a lot of songs take a peppy beat and include something more substantive, lyrically. And in any event, it's a lot easier not to like something than to like something. I can just say, "I don't want my up-tempo songs to be sad," and then I wouldn't have to listen to this, or any or kind of similar song. Problem solved. 

When the up-tempo song that is stuck in your head throughout the day keeps revealing lyrics that you might not necessarily like floating around in your head all day, well, then you might as well name your song "Trojans" (as Atlas Genius have done, here) and pat yourself on the back. 

I'm sure members of the band aren't patting themselves on the back for that reason alone. But it's reason enough to at least listen to the song, and try to see the up-tempo sad song in a new way. 

Friday, June 10, 2011


You have my friend Drew to thank for this recommendation. I'm just paying it forward.

I met Drew at a show. I walked up to him and told him I really liked his sneakers. He said, “That’s pretty weird of you to say.” Instant fireworks.

Now he lives in Seattle, where he enjoys hiking, home brewing beer and complaining about the weather. He literally mentions how much the weather sucks every time we talk. As if he’s surprised. He’s become a bit of a gloomy old man, full of bitter nostalgia for sunnier times, and that usually comes through in the music he recommends.

I talked to Drew yesterday and he asked me if I’d heard any new “tunes” that he might like. I told him about the new Antlers album, about streaming the new Bon Iver, about new Okkervill River, blah blah blah. I wondered what beautiful, slow dance misery he would have to offer me. And then. He offered me tUnE-yArDs.

When I first listened, I was not impressed. I’m not one for abrasive beats. Then I found the video and was reminded of a vaguely MGMT-inspired birthday party that left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Except this time around there were small children involved. And very bright colors. And I was REALLY not impressed.

Then I listened again [Note: Unlike with humans, you should never trust your first impression of a song or album or band]. I listened again and I was hooked. I don’t know why. I can’t quite explain it. Next thing you know I’m going to enjoy laying out at the beach and running for pleasure and going to wedding showers.

Who am I kidding.

tUnE-yArDs Bizness - Full Version from mimi cave on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shovels and Rope

Selfishly, I kind of want to keep this band a secret. They are some of Charleston’s finest. Actually, scratch that. Forget Charleston. They are some of the finest, period. During the two years I lived there, they played a show every Monday night on the outdoor deck of one of the better venues in town. But unless one were a really devout True Blood fan, people didn’t really seem to notice them. I’d go with a small group of friends every week and, if the weather was juuuusst right and there was nothing going on downtown, there might be 10 or so other bodies there. It felt like they were just playing for us. Our little secret.

But it’s hard to keep them a secret now that they just finished touring with The Felice Brothers (!) and are about to go on tour with Justin Townes Earle (!!). Someday soon they’ll stop supporting the headliners and they’ll head out with their own supporting acts. And, when that happens, you better believe I’ll be that girl telling anyone who will listen that I was there back in the day when they’d play for free on a stage the size of a large dinner table to a crowd smaller (and less rowdy) than a Landon family Christmas.

They are Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, a husband and wife who go by “Shovels and Rope” when touring. They sound so amazing together that it’s hard to decide the real reason fate brought them together. I’d like to say it was the love, I really would. But I fall a little too far towards the cynical end of the romantic spectrum. So I’m going to say it was all for the music. You decide for yourself.

And because 1 just isn't enough...