Friday, May 11, 2007

Two Reviews

Pitchfork has two reviews today that caught my eye. The first is of someone named Dan Deacon, who seems worth at least investigating based on this review:
"Wooody Wooodpecker", the opening track from Deacon's Carpark Records debut Spiderman of the Rings, combines everything awesome-- and potentially alienating-- about Deacon's music into 3:50 and sticks it right at the beginning of the record. Here, he loops and distorts the famous cartoon character's convulsive laugh over a sizzling synthesizer crescendo, a needling 12-note keyboard melody, and mechanical percussion that winds to a point where a human drummer's tendons would snap. It's like Deacon's switch got stuck somewhere between "irritate" and "captivate" and he decided to never bother fixing it.
The second is a review of one of my favorite bands, The Innocence Mission. Their new record is incredibly spare, even by their standards, and the lyrics seem duller. I figured we were well past the time when the snobs at Pitchfork would bemoan the earnest band's very existence, but instead they approach the new release with deep respect:
Over the course of two decades, the Innocence Mission's name has come to feel less like the mere moniker of another earnest late-80s college-rock act and more like an evangelical pursuit for simplicity and propriety, the result of which has been increasingly tranquil records that are practically defiant in their quietude. But it speaks volumes about their direct, affecting songcraft that principals Karen and hubby Don Peris can boast of a past collaborating with Natalie Merchant, soundtracking "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Party of Five" episodes, and writing songs for Amy Grant's Christian catalog, and yet, 18 years after their band's formation, find themselves right at home releasing a string of quality records for an indie label that counts My Morning Jacket and Mark Kozelek as alumnus. ... "You'll never lose that light," Karen sings on "Song for Tom", though it could easily be a song for them: a testament to the durable, slow-burn beauty of their work, and their softness of touch-- a light that rarely feels lite.


Blogger Beckylooo said...

Pitchfork makes me bonkers. I just read their review of Feist's new one (which I love). Like one of my college papers - they drown sentances in adverbs hoping no one will notice they've said nothing. Absolutely, postively, incadescantly glowing like a dying star not one thing.

By the way, found your blog a couple weeks ago over at Pajiba. Really digging it.

1:16 PM  
Blogger JMW said...

Please believe, Pitchfork makes me bonkers, too. In fact, I mostly posted this because I was so surprised to not be driven bonkers. (I do go there to find out about new records, and I find it very useful for that -- but I agree with you that the writing is most often torture.)

Glad you found your way here, and even more glad that you're digging it. Thanks for reading.

10:41 PM  

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