Okay we’re going to throw two concepts at you at the same time here. We know you can handle it. The first is Rube Ambler’s answer to Mr. Brenner’s short review column, Short & Skinny. What follows is the first edition of Abbreviated Attention (Span) where your erstwhile blog administrator (?!) tries to regain his role as an actual contributor of substance to this little interweb adventure of ours.
The second is the simple fact that things like families and day jobs keep us from writing about all our mostest, favoritest records just as soon as they come out. It is no exaggeration that they end up Under the Pile, only to be re-discovered later with the lament that we haven’t told the whole world about them. No more regrets. We’re flipping those piles upside down and working our way to the top. We really don’t care if the record is (gasp) six months old (oops, there goes the hipster cred again…), we’re gonna write about it. And when we’re feeling really surly, we intend to borrow a page from Yankee Rose and pull one that’s really old Off the Shelf (see, that was sort a pun).
So if you’ve been keeping notes, you now know that new stuff is just a Record Review or Book Review, sorta recent stuff comes from Under the Pile and we pull older stuff Off the Shelf. We’re so clever, aren’t we? (sigh.)
Anyway, the inaugural presentation of Abbreviated Attention (Span) will be an Under the Pile edition. Here goes.
This record is about as “grrr” as a hummingbird. When we first listened to this record this spring, it reminded us of Donovan. We still hold to that. It has all the jangle you should expect from the finest late 60s pop (and Donovan was squarely there). The single greatest distiction between the two, is the precision of the production on this record (something I imagine Donovan only could have dreamed of). When the primary accompaniment to the tune is the tamborine (“The Lion and the Teacup”) that’s exactly what you hear. It seems that Bishop Allen is in search of the perfect pop melody, a pursuit we still have strong affection for, and they come pretty darn close here. And if you don’t believe the Donovan thing by the time you get to “True or False,” then maybe you need to go back to some of his records again. Fans Gomez and more recent Josh Ritter should enjoy this record.
We realize that hipsters need to dance too. But it can be sooo tough.
Released earlier this summer, we wore it out before we ever got around to writing about it. We don’t doubt that we will go back to it though – we are a wee bit hipster after all. Highlights include their cover of Michael Jackson’s “I Want You Back” and the self-referential “Can You Discover” – which is essentially a cover of Ra Ra Riot’s “Can you Tell.” Recommended if you need to work off an ill-advised after-midnight latte.
Dirty Projectors Bitte Orca
This is the kind of elaborate, carefully constructed, highly orchestrated music that can make hipsters swoon. (Man, we’re on a big hipster kick tonight, huh?) But we don’t care. There are moments when this record simply rocks. About 55 seconds into “The Bride” multi-layered harmonies break into a riff that is pure Led Zeppelin and that riff comes back more than once. The drums and synths that open the single, “Stillness is the Move,” don’t really seem to match and the vocal is even further off but when it is all thrown together, it is not only good – it’s pretty darn catchy. Maybe growing up on Queen let’s me take all the pomp and orchestration in stride, maybe it’s what makes me like it? I really don’t know. But this record has been in my heavy rotation all summer and I have no intention of taking it out of the rack. If you’re ready for a sonic adventure, then give it a spin.
Dirty Projectors will be at the Masquerade on October 24.