Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rodeo and New Music

It was a wearying drive there (horrendous traffic for the first good half of the journey and taking a wrong highway costing me gas as well as time) and a not-so-good stay at a hotel causing a not-so-good next morning (a VERY noisy night causing me to wear earplugs and sleep through my alarm. I woke up five minutes before I was due to check out and missed opening ceremonies!) The rodeo, in spite of all this, was well worth the trouble as it always is.

As you may alreay know, I am a big fan of rodeo but a HUGE fan of high school rodeo. These kids really put it all on the line, give it all they've got, have incredible heart and bravery, mad athletic skills, and they love their animals and treat them well (in spite of what some people would like you to think.) Rain had been forecast for this weekend and I was afraid the event would be rained out at worst and very messy at best, but there was no rain though it got very cold by the last event. I don't even know if they would have cancelled it. I have a feeling it's like soccer or football: the game must go on! I may or may not post pictures and/or video at some later time.

Wanting new tunes to listen to on the drive there, I was finally able to pick up some of the new albums I've been wanting to get.

I listened to Build A Rocket Boys by Elbow (scroll over the name on their site--very cool) on the road there. Elbow has done some amazing songs that I really love, such as 'Mirrorball' and 'Grounds for Divorce,' but it's not a group I can listen to all the time. I think I'm going to enjoy listening to this album while drawing or other non-verbal creative endeavor, something where I'm able to let it drift through me. It's music I need to just feel and hear and not (necessarily) listen critically to the lyrics. There's something about a lot of their music that reminds me of my favorite composer, Debussy; a 'tone poem' quality that's lovely to dream and imagine to, but would not be my first choice for music to drive to. This is the title track:

Chevelle, on the other hand, is perfect for driving to. I had high expectations for their newest album, Hats Off to the Bull, having loved every track of their last, Sci-Fi Crimes (my favorite being Shameful Metaphors*) which were completely justified as track after track proved they'd done it again, at least for me. After each track I wanted to go back and listen to it again, but resisted, preferring to get to the end of the album and listen to the whole first. They've proven their consistency to me and I definitely count them now as one of my favorite bands. I haven't had a chance to listen to this again yet, but it will be the first thing on the player when I get in my car in the morning.

Very often my favorite tracks are not the ones that grab me on a first listen. They're the ones that I have to hear a few times before I start going, "Wow, I really like that." Then that will be the one(s) that end up speaking to me the most, for whatever reason, whether it's something in the music itself or something in the lyrics hits home. I try to get the gist of lyrics on a first listen, but honestly, I'm just listening to the music. If the music doesn't grab me first, I may never discover what beautiful/clever/otheradjectivehere lyrics the song has. In fact I may need to listen several times before I decide whether I really like something, and then it's worth investigating the lyrics, but that's just the way I'm made. This album, however, has caught me completely already and I'm looking forward to listening over and over. It's much too early to say which my favorite track off this album is, but the opener, 'Face to the Floor' will certainly suit my purpose here:

Another album I had been looking forward to greatly is Port of Morrow by The Shins. Although they've been around for a long time, I've really only become aware of them in the past year or so, and that was because of Caring Is Creepy which I first heard on the radio and loved on first hearing. I had to have the album and wasn't quite sure what I'd found, but after listening many times I loved them more and more. I still get very tripped up by their lyrics which I'm ashamed to say I still haven't gotten to the bottom of and here, I've got the new album to decipher! Another favorite track off that last album Oh, Inverted World is New Slang.

I listened to Port of Morrow mostly on the way home and got through it a couple of times (some tracks even more). Fall of '82 really caught my attention for a lot of reasons. It has a mid-era Beatles (Sgt. Pepper) feel to it, though the verse also reminds strongly of an old Thin Lizzy song. Elements I really loved on this track were the retro instrumental sounds (maybe even a little Chicago in there?), a very tasty muted trumpet solo, and lead singer James Mercer's (I assume) lower vocal register.

The other stand out track to me is '40 Mark Strasse.' Very haunting music, very cutting lyrics. It reminds me of something . . . but I'm not sure what. Something also from the late 60s or early 70s. I'll have to think about that.

Then there's 'Port of Morrow' itself, which makes me laugh every time I hear it. I don't really know what the lyrics are about (yet-yes I could run and read them right now, but I really want to finish this post TODAY!) but it sounds like the way he sings in Broken Bells, which I also love. Anyway, it's a great album, I loved every track and look forward to picking apart the lyrics later when I can concentrate on them. Here is the track being played on the radio most right now:

Sorry for the VEVO :( I've avoided it where I could.

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