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Friday, February 4th, 2005

Fell To Earth

When most people talk about “dream pop” as a style of music, they’re usually talking about big washes of reverb, wispy vocals, chorus-y guitars… New York City’s On! Air! Library! deal in dream pop that sounds more like the dreams normal people have. Dense and cryptic, stuttering and hypnotic, confusing at times, unsettling at others, but always cinematic and utterly compelling. Or at least, I assume that’s what most peoples’ dreams are like. Mine tend to be depressingly mundane. For example – the last one I remember involved me sitting on a bus, getting off the bus, realizing I had gotten off at the wrong stop and then waiting for another bus. I wouldn’t have thought it possible for my id to be duller than my ego, but there you go. End digression.

On! Air! Library! (named for an radio show wherein an old man read books over the air which they saw in an African documentary) combine elements of experimental, noise, pop and shoegaze into something quite new and unique. There’s no overt wearing of influences on their sleeves, but if you can imagine what the Cocteau Twins might have sounded like filtered through the New York gloom of the first Interpol record. Perhaps the presence of Interpol’s Sam Fogarino on drums on several tracks has something to do with it? And any punnery inferred from the Cocteau Twins reference and the fact that O!A!L! is fronted by two twin sisters is purely unintentional.

They released their debut full-length self-titled album in April of last year, though I just got it last week. It’s taken a number of spins for this record to really sink in – it’s not the most immediately accessible album – but it does pay dividends. Check out the closing track from the record, “Feb”. I won’t say it’s necessarily representative of the album as a whole, but no one track really is. It’s one of the poppier numbers and is mesmerizing, before ending far too soon – kind of like a good dream.

MP3: On! Air! Library! – “Feb.”

They also toured through town last Fall supporting Solex but are planning on doing another North American tour in the second half of March and most of April. Here’s an interview with the band that Free Williamsburg conducted last year.

The Experience Music Project has a tutorial on how to write a song with Built To Spill. They must have left out the chapter on “How To Take Fucking Forever To Release A New Album” and the appendix, “How To Never Tour Through Canada”. Built To Spill’s new record is due out when Hell freezes over.

Urbanjetset talks to Fontaine Toups about her new band (The Fontaine Toups) and what the future might hold for Versus, who have reconvened to play the Teenbeat 20th anniversary celebration in DC at the end of the month. And of course, Five Seventeen won’t let me hear the end of it if I don’t plug his Teenbeat MP3 of the Week. From For The Records.

Torr has made some picks from the SxSW artists list and gone to the trouble of hyperlinking them all. What a nice guy. I am going to spend this weekend making a preliminary “to see” list. Meanwhile, Chart has compiled a list of all the Canadian acts venturing down to Texas this March. Goddamn, that’s a lotta Canucks.

Autechre are (is?) at the Opera House on May 11, $23.00. This would be the best birthday present ever… if I liked Autechre. I mean, I don’t dislike them, IDM isn’t really my thing, but it’s not like “ohmigod this makes it the best birthday ever” sort of news. I’ll shut up now.

The Lucinda Williams double-live album, Live At The Fillmore West, has a new release date of May 10. It had originally been scheduled to come out last Fall, but was quietly pulled from the calendar for whatever reason.

JAM! reports that Jack Nicholson has been added to the cast of The Departed, Martin Scorcese’s remake of Infernal Affairs in the role of the gang leader (Sam in the original, played by Eric Tsang). He joins Matt Damon (in the Andy Lau role), Leonardo DiCaprio (in the Tony Leung role) and Mark Wahlberg as some other dude.

np – Primal Scream / Vanishing Point

By : Frank Yang at 9:22 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. RSL says:

    That On!Air!Library! track hits your nail right on the head. It’s exactly that dreamy solidity that in the end just dissipates into thin air. Like the sand shaken from your eyes on waking. Outstanding cut! I never get tired of hearing this song. Especially for that wondrous wrap-up.

  2. suckingalemon says:

    I think the better question is why none of these canadian bands (the chart lists)are playing CMW or NXNE (i don’t know about this year but not last year).

    cheers

  3. Frank says:

    I think the simple fact is that neither CMW or NXNE are even a patch on SxSW in terms of size, scope or importance. But not many regional festivals are – SxSW is the grandaddy of them all.

  4. jcb says:

    Re: the link to the Teenbeat MP3 of the week — I’ve often wondered if the Brandon Stosuy of Jiffy Boy Records/Slow Children Playing is the same guy that now writes for Pitchfork? Either way, Brandon Jiffy Boy deserves sainthood for the amazing Indie 500 weekend, lo those many years ago. A first rate experience.

  5. audrey says:

    <i>Bread</i> is my favorite song on the O!A!L! album, but <i>Feb.</i> comes very very close. Great review.

  6. audrey says:

    Oops, your comments don’t read tags, feel free to remove them. Here’s a short review i wrote when the album came out:

    http://…/

  7. pinder says:

    most people’s dreams are boring too.

    i should give O!A!L! a few more listens though. i found it a bit hard to digest in one sitting, unless i’m in an out-of-it mood. in which case, i usually listen to The Radio Dept.

  8. Roy says:

    Wow… i’ve never heard of ’em, but i really like this song and another i downloaded from their site. This is something i’ll be keeping an eye on. They probably won’t tour Europe for the next 5 years though…