Friday, April 13th, 2007
Spring And By Summer Fall
I’d never listened to Blonde Redhead before very recently – can’t say why, just didn’t – but their new record 23 has been a revelation. The title track and first single had me hooked from the first bars – with its MBV-esque glide guitar and Kazu Makino’s dreamy, plaintive vocals, it was a sublime piece of dream-pop that I wasn’t surprised in to least to learn was mixed by shoegaze producer extraordinaire Alan Moulder.
The rest of the record follows closely in the same vein, though it never quite reaches the same lofty heights as the opening song. The music has a faint but consistent mechanical clang to it but remains fundamentally organic and utterly melodic throughout and is complimented by the vocals, which whether it’s Kazu or Amedeo Pace singing, create a vibe that’s foreboding yet inviting at the same time. One of most aurally compelling and engrossing records I’ve heard in ages, its dense and swirling textures are full of secrets and surprises, like the Beatle-esque orchestral breakdown in “Spring And By Summer Fall” – I didn’t see that coming at all and yet it fits perfectly. One of those rare records that impresses immediately and yet is enigmatic enough to be able to reveal a little bit more of itself with each listen.
Everything I’ve been reading about this record references their last record, Misery Is A Butterfly as the watershed album in their career thus far (though the reviews for the new one are tough to beat). Is it safe to say that if I’m liking 23, which obviously I am, then Misery is the next logical acquisition? I’m wary of going too far back into their back catalog as I understand it gets noisier and more discordant the earlier you get and that sort of runs contrary to everything I like about them in the here and now. But recommendations are always welcome. Blonde Redhead are in town May 11 for a show at the Opera House. Normally I’d plan to hit that up, but I kind of think that I should probably be doing something else – anything else – for my 32nd birthday. And I already saw them play a disappointingly truncated set at SxSW last month. Check out the comments on that post – things get nasty in all sorts of directions. Pretty entertaining.
The AV Club discusses Drums And Guns, mental health and cake with Low. The Chicago Sun-Times also talks to the band. They’re in town opening for Wilco at Massey Hall on June 30 – regular ticket sales begin today at noon via Ticketmaster.
Some show announcements – The Faint will be at the Opera House on May 23, tickets $18.50, and The Broken West will be opening up for Fountains Of Wayne at Lee’s Palace June 10. Hope they bring extra guitar strings this time.
Hey, new Feist video. More MGM-style dance numbers! I love it. No really, I do. The Times talks to Feist about her road from growing up in Nova Scotia and Calgary to The Reminder, out May 1, and her two shows at Massey Hall on May 25 and 26.
Video: Feist – “1234” (Flash)
Know what it took to get me officially excited about the Iron Man movie? Not the excellent casting of Robert Downey Jr and Terrance Howard, but this first look at how they’re rendering the original Iron Man armour in the film. That looks badass – can’t wait to see how the modern armour looks.