Wednesday, September 27, 2006

(09.27.06) Recommends:

The Lovely Feathers, "Hind, Hind Legs" (Equator, 2006).

Today, three recommendations for the price of one. A musical tripartite, if you will. Many (most?) good stories begin in Canada and feature mythical creatures. This recommendation-cum-story will be no exception.

Chapter 1: Unicorns Are Forever.
In late 2003, the Montreal-based band The Unicorns released the album Who Will Cut Our Hair When Were Gone? This album is hard to describe, so Ill settle on this: it is clearly one of the greatest pop/rock records released since the time of Mozart. Was Mozart a purveyor of pop/rock records? The answer, found in two seconds on Google or wikipedia is, undoubtedly, yes. WWCOHWWG? is strange and quirky and beautifully crafted and just fucking brilliant pop music. It features -- again, undoubtedly, here -- the greatest rock flute solo of all time. For years I have struggled with this question: Did the Unicorns, as a result of their finely-honed musical chops, intentionally create this album? Or did they merely stumble upon brilliance? Listen, and decide for yourself.

Chapter 2: Unicorns Aren't Forever, After All.
So, by 2005 the Unicorns were so 2004. As in, i.e., they broke up. But, as Unicorns arent completely real in the first place, so it was with the breakup: roughly 2/3rds of the original members went forth to form the Montreal-based band Islands. Islands released the infinitely listenable Return to the Sea in the first half of 2006. This album was released by Equator Records, a new-to-me record label out of -- you guessed it -- Montreal.

Chapter 3. Islands Might Not Be Forever, Either, But Luckily Equator Has Other Bands On Its Roster.
So, by the second half of 2006, the drummer of Islands has quit, but the band marches on, carrying with it still roughly 1/3rd of the original members of the Unicorns. There was a long stretch in 2006 when my car stereo was exclusively playing Return to Sea. As such, I kept the CD case on the front passenger seat, which caused me to notice the Equator Records logo on the back of the CD. Knowing that unicorns are not so much real, and Unicorns are no longer, and Islands are definitely real, but may or may not be longer [due to (a) departure of drummer and (b) global warming], I was curious whether Equator Records was real, and if so, whether it was still in business. Friends! Equator is Alive, and this album Hind, Hind Legs is great. (As an aside, Equator may or may not be run by former, current, or future members of Islands nee Unicorns). Its more of that Canada freak-out music. A little more Wolf Parade than Unicorns [I would recommend Wolf Parades full-length proper debut here as well, but, much like the Shop At Home Network, four recommendations for the price of one would quite literally bring upon me financial ruin.], but more Unicorns than Frog Eyes. All and all, it's a good album by a band that's getting out there and creating interesting things. And is there really anything more we can ask from a band?

Note: To the first person who can correctly name the Kansas City venue at which the Unicorns performed in the Spring of 2004, goes a copy of "Do They Know Its Hallowe'en," the UNICEF-commissioned (& fund raising) Halloween theme song penned by some of the Unicorns/Islands boys and additionally featuring the following individuals, bands, or individual members thereof: Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, Devendra Banhart, Beck, Buck 65, Dessert, Elvira (Mistress of the Dark, late of Manhattan, KS), Les Savy Fav, Rilo Kiley, Sloan, Smoosh, David Cross, Feist, Sex Pistols, Peaches, Postal Service, Sonic Youth, Sum 41, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. There are even more contributors, but if I type more, your head will probably explode from too much awesomeness.

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