Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Music Tuesday

I am that girl who gets into ruts, musically. I dig myself in until I am comfortable, and then I stay there. Some of my favorite musical holes are filled with early Belle & Sebastian and Otis Redding singles.

To allay your fears, I am a naturally curious person, and I like new sounds, different sounds, but I am also very lazy. Listening to a new record is such a process. You have to hear it several times before you can make any worthwhile points. Gut reflex hardly constitutes a review.

Today, as a project, I am going to listen to a recently released album by an artist who is new to me, and I will update periodically as I make my way through it.

Step 1, picking a new album. So, I turn to the usual sources- friends, pretentious reviews, and the more light-hearted music blogs. Looking things over, I realize a few things. First, there's a new Clem Snide release! Second, Metric! And third, I need to stop just listening to the artists I listened to in college.

Eventually, after consulting the interwebs and examining my mood, I settle on The Bird and The Bee's sophomore release, Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future.

Oh, I hear you clamoring, "It only got a 5.4 on Pitchfork! This does not strike me as a particularly challenging choice." And it's not. I have two meetings on the docket today, kids, and this last line on the album from the AV Club review sells me on The Bird and The Bee, "the underlying skill and craft... make this fluffy-sounding collection of songs cheerily frivolous, but not disposable." That sounds ideal.

Step 2, laying my hands on the album. This is hardly even a step.

Step 3, first time through. Goofy, jazzy, fizzy. I can't tell if I like it, but I can certainly nod along.

Step 4, a couple listenings past. Ok, so it's ever so catchy and charming. Inara George has a faultless voice for this mod, synthy, jazz-influenced indie pop. My favorite track at this point is definitely, "My Love," with its effervescent love song from a Jetsons style future sound, "Hey boy, won't you take me out tonight?/ I get excited when I think of crawling into your arms," the chorus rings out over xylophone and a clap track.

Step 5, a few lyrics memorized. I finished up my first day of listening to this record a little sick of it. I would put two of the songs on mix cds, and the rest are largely forgettable. As my housemate would say, the record is pleasant. It is cohesive, and flawlessly produced, but it is never surprising.

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