The Prids have released a video for “I’ll Wait,” one of the best tracks on their excellent 2010 release Chronosynclastic. The band has been slowly but surely releasing videos for each of the album’s tracks; “I’ll Wait” is the eighth song on the album (and the fifth video), and features Built To Spill’s Doug Martsch on guitar and harmony vocals.
Imagine a wine critic holding a glass of wine up to the light, studying the color and body before taking that first exciting sip, and then setting the glass down to think about what he’s looked at. Then, instead of picking up the glass to take his first drink, he picks up his pen and paper to write his review. This doesn’t happen in the wine world; it’s ludicrous to think that a critic would merely look at a wine and then write an entire review based on that one look. I’d like to think that before they start writing about a piece of art, whatever the medium, most critics spend some time with it, give it room to breathe, and let it do what it’s supposed to do.
I look at music much the same way, especially albums. People who care about what they’re doing have deliberately put together a collection of songs. There are themes, melodies, and (sometimes) lyrics that, in the end, equal more than the sum of their parts. It’s disheartening to think that some influential album reviews are written after only one pass, like my imaginary wine critic who skips the best part of the process.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to try a different way of reviewing music — a sort of deconstruction. After each listen, I jot down some notes. Eventually, I start to understand an album more clearly; as I become more familiar with the music, my feelings about it become more realized.
For my first go at this, I’d like to start with Easy Wonderful, Guster’s newest album. The Massachusetts band’s first three albums contained well crafted, catchy-as-hell indie folk, but it wasn’t until Keep it Together that Guster really came into their own as a multi-instrumental, envelope-pushing pop band, much the same way the Flaming Lips did with their fantastic 9th album, The Soft Bulletin. And like The Soft Bulletin, Guster’s Keep it Together had a joyful clarity. Some songs conjured up ethereal images of other worlds; others were direct and sweet, about love and friendship. If Keep it Together is where I fell in love with Guster, I’m hoping that Easy Wonderful keeps the love fresh. Continue reading…
L.A. guitar rockers The Henry Clay People just released their third full-length, Somewhere on the Golden Coast. It follows in the footsteps of their previous releases, but this time around, the album has a more freewheelin’ feel. When recording the album, producer Aaron Espinoza wanted to capture the band’s renowned live show, so he encouraged them to do away with the headphones and overdubs, drink some beers, and record live to tape.
It’s clear that they were thinking about sound when recording Golden Coast, so it should come as no surprise that they sent us a list of “Best Sounding Guitars.” The Henry Clay People will open for Silversun Pickups and Everest tonight at Soma. Their Poetic Memory is below.