Tuesday, May 20, 2008

If you like it, I'm going home.

Funny how, as I hope that Los Campesinos! gain a wider audience, someone sends me a link for a site selling t-shirts with the design above. Kinda reminds me of the time when my friends and I purposely left Coachella early so that one of the people with us couldn't catch Coldplay. A couple of us were Coldplay fans in infant state (had to work hard to get over their popularity), so we were somewhat interested in seeing Coldplay live. But this person had been so annoying throughout the day that it was more important to leave early to spite her. Really, she was that annoying! Would've been fun to wear that shirt that day. Ah ... I can still remember so vividly how she asked if we could roll down the windows during our procession out of the parking lot so that she could hear the faint sound of Coldplay, which grew fainter with each spin of the wheels on our car.

Okay, now that I've written that out and read it, I do feel a sense of guilt. But probably not enough that I wouldn't do the same thing again. Really, she was just that annoying!

Let's Have Some Milk and Cookies

There's a mountainous backlog of entries in my noggin waiting to be transcribed, but this one will have to jump the queue. Just saw Los Campesinos! (their exclamation, not mine) at Bowery Ballroom.

I was supposed to see them back in November, but I screwed up and double booked an opera at the Met. Should've skipped out on the opera. (A real clunker. I had to fight hard to stay awake at that one. Can't even remember what it was now. Helen? Helene? Helena? Whatever.) [The lapse in memory really bugged me, so I poked around and figured out that it was Bellini's Norma. Norma/Helena ... close enough. Either is a fittingly bland name for the production.] {My apologies if your name is Norma or Helena. If it makes you feel any better, I'll concede that Steven would make an equally bland name for an opera.}

Such a rambunctious bunch. They're like overgrown, hyperactive first graders (all seven of them -- lead vocalist, two guitarists, keyboardist, bassist, violinist and drummer-ist) who decided to form a band during recess. Lots of shouting, lots of jumping, lots of carefree happiness. And that happiness is infectious. It's hard to watch and listen without feeling a childlike glee yourself.

But beneath the fun lies an intelligent grasp of rhythm and harmony. Each song is a tightly wound bundle of goodness with not a note (or bleep, click or clap) out of place. It's a wonder the seven of them are able to keep so many moving parts in sync -- especially live.

And all of it is stitched together with one witty expression after another. I typically don't pay much attention to lyrics, but even I couldn't miss a line as clever as: "I cherish with fondness the day before I met you." (From "My Year in Lists.") In the hands of lesser minds, that line would've been a lifeless: "I wish I'd never met you."

I see great things in their future. Hopefully, more people catch on. They deserve an audience.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

We stink, but we don't care.

Ugh. I just got back from what may have been the worst concert I've ever attended. (Well, of the ones I intended to attend anyway.) Saw The Teenagers at Bowery Ballroom. Phenomenally disappointing.

About the only thing more annoying than the lead singer's mannerisms was his voice. The bassist's best display of musical talent came in the form of his decision to wear a Nirvana t-shirt. And the guitarist? He likely exhausted his repertoire of memorized chords by the second measure of the first song. All in all, a complete disaster. Their producer deserves some sort of an award for making them sound as good as they do on their album, because it's painfully apparent that their musical ability hovers only marginally above nonexistent.

Good thing I'm set to see a whole slew of shows in the next month or so:

British Sea Power
Los Campesinos!
The Ting Tings

None of them are the sort who need studio tricks to make themselves sound respectable, I'm sure. I'm especially sure about BSP and Feist because I've already seen them live. The only one of the bunch I have some concern about is The Ting Tings, and that's only because they seem too stylish for their own musical good. We'll see what happens.