Tuesday, June 24, 2008

(06.24.08) Recommends:

Forest Fire, Survival (Catbird Records, 2008).

This record might be one of the more interesting things to happen to country music since Uncle Tupelo gave the world No Depression in 1990. Which means, of course, that the record isn't really even country. It's more like sparse, low-fi, rock music that has enough space in it to come off as a bit haunting. The owner of Catbird Records -- which, if you haven't figured out already, has, over the past few years, developed into one of the most interesting record labels we have -- calls it "homegrown hymns for those with no religion." It's absurd to evoke names such as the Rolling Stones, the Velvet Underground, the Replacements, or even Uncle Tupleo, on a band's first full length album. But at various points all of these bands put out songs that could be called sparse, low-fi homegrown hymns for those with no religion. And at first listen, you're going to hear all of those bands. And that's why we're forced to start this recommendation with the sentence we do.

What's also pretty cool about this record is that Catbird Records is using the "Radiohead Model" by giving consumers options: listen to it as a free stream, a free download, or buy it for whatever price you'd like. (Of course the main difference between this and Radiohead is that Forest Fire does not suck[1].) Go here to make your choice.

So there you have it. Go give this music a listen. It's without doubt one of the year's best releases.

[1] (rant) Seriously, people. Isn't it about time we have a wholesale reconsideration of Radiohead? They have to be the most overrated band of our lifetime. Seriously. Every song is several minutes too long, with the same incomprehensible warbling vocals and monotonous computer-generated wall of noise. Now, don't get us wrong. We're not anti-lyrics-that-don't-make-sense, or anti-long-songs. In fact, we've surely been to more Phish concerts than you, and we really enjoyed almost all of them. We get that that type of music can be transcendant.

But here's the thing. Radiohead's music isn't transcendant as much as mostly just annoying.

We think Radiohead fans probably fit into two categories: (1) the group that just doesn't know any better; and (2) the group that was unduly influenced at an early age.

If you are a die-hard Radiohead fan in the former group, we have a challenge for you. We have hours and hours of live Phish shows on tape (hah!) and CD. And we're pretty sure we could make you a 45 minute mix (the length of one side of a 90 minute Maxell XL-II tape, for the old school tape traders in the audience) of live Phish that will make you realize that, on the one hand, "jammy" music can be incredible and, on the other, Radiohead puts out almost uniformly boring music. We certainly understand it's a band's perogative to put out boring music, we are just perplexed by all the Radiohead worship, and after our challenge we're sure you will be too.

What's more concerning to us are die-hard Radiohead fans in the latter group. These people are like the 13-year old who starts smoking cigarettes because he wants to impress the seemingly cool 14-year old of the group. And by the time the 13-year old realizes smoking was not cool, he is either too hooked to do anything about it, or has died of lung cancer. Since we do not wish death upon any music fan, all we are left with is to say that that smoking is not cool and the 14-year old was not cool (didn't you ever stop to think that maybe if he was so cool he would have been able to find friends his own age??) and Radiohead is not cool. (/rant)

1 comment:

Francisco said...

I am loving that Forest Fire album, thanks for tip-off!!!!