Quick Review (LP): You Can Play These Songs With Chords by Death Cab For Cutie

Death Cab For Cutie
You Can Play These Songs With Chords
Elsinor; 1997 (Barsuk; 2003)

My Rating: C (51/100)

Best Tracks: "President of What?", "Hindsight", "That’s Incentive", "Army Corps of Architects"

DCFC in embryonic form…

NOTES

  • I prefer this early version of "President of What?" to the version released on Something About Airplanes.
  • The power-pop influences really stand-out here. I detect significant influence from the likes of Teenage Fanclub and Matthew Sweet. Additionally, tracks like "Hindsight" display an affinity for the early, lo-fi work of PNW heroes like Modest Mouse and Built to Spill. Lastly, there’s a bit of Sebadoh in the mix for sure.
  • "That’s Incentive" is a cool bass-heavy sad-punk cut, although I’m certainly happy this wasn’t the main direction the band took.
  • The whole thing with throwing samples into songs as bridges is an annoying practice that I’m glad died away after the first album.
  • The most impressive thing about this early album is that its not all that impressive. Gibbard would certainly grow as a songwriter in the years to come.
  • BARSUK EDITION TRACKS: Only "Army Corps of Architects" is truly great among the extra tracks here, and to my knowledge it was was recorded far later in the band’s career. It reminds me a great deal of some of Modest Mouse’s great early singles, such as "Broke."

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (3/5)
Concept (3.5/5)
Songs (3.5/5)

Tracks of the Decade (so far)

1563_Pieter_Bruegel_the_elder_The_Tower_of_Babel-wl400There’s still more to come, but here’s a list of the Sweet Georgia Breezes’ Tracks of the Decade so far (in no particular order). What do you think of the list? What are your top 5 or 10 tracks of the decade?

Counting Crows – Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby
Wilco – I am trying to break your heart
The New Pornographers  – Myriad Harbour
M. Ward – Poison Cup
Kathleen Edwards – In State
Vampire Weekend – M79
Johnny Cash – The Man Comes Around
Built to Spill – The Weather
Neko Case – Star Witness
Belle and Sebastian – Funny Little Frog
Interpol – NYC
Wilco – Impossible Germany
Coldplay – Lost!
Ryan Adams – To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)
Fugazi – Cashout
Flaming Lips – Fight Test
Nathan – The Wind
Radiohead – Everything In Its Right Place
Rachel’s – Water from the Same Source
Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
Bruce Springsteen – My City of Ruins
The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin

Breezes of the Week #1

BREEZES OF THE WEEK is the wrap-up post wherein I discuss my favorite music related items of the past week. Enjoy!

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Built to Spill’s latest, THERE IS NO ENEMY, is probably their most vital and consistent album since PERFECT FROM NOW ON.  I don’t like to cast judgments on records as soon as they are released, or even after a couple of listens, but I am very stoked about the direction BTS takes here. Which is to say that they haven’t changed a thing!

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NEW RADIOHEAD LP IN 2010:

Ed O’Brien told NME that with sessions planned this winter the band would “definitely” be releasing a full album physically next year. “We were misquoted,” claimed O’Brien of Yorke’s comments, loudly adding, “WE WILL BE MAKING AN ALBUM!”
(via ateaseweb.com)

This is great news. I really believe Radiohead is at their most vital right now, and let’s face it, the album format is integral to the DNA of pop music.  Individual tracks are like short stories and poems, great in one sitting, but the LP is the novel, the grandest statement of all. Radiohead is AOR, no matter how much they’d like to be different.

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TRAVIS GETS THEIR DUE:

I salute the music blog Aquarium Drunkard for naming Travis’ The Man Who as one of their favorite albums of the decade. Travis aren’t exactly the toast of indie-dom, but the lush melodies of their Nigel G.-produced second album had most of us thinking back in 2000 that they would be to this decade what Coldplay ended up being. True, they haven’t really made anything so great since, but for one shining moment they had a whole lot of folks’ heads spinning. THE MAN WHO is an undeniable classic.

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NORAH’S SOUNDING GOOD:

Go here to stream a fresh track from Norah Jones’ upcoming LP THE FALL. Nothing TOO revolutionary, but she’s definitely kicking up the groove factor and trying to incorporate heavier rhythms. All good things, since her last outing, NOT TOO LATE, was kind of a clunker. Looking forward to THE FALL. (heads-up via Stereogum)

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JASON NOBLE’S ILLNESS

When I was about about 15 years old, I heard Rodan’s RUSTY for the first time. All I can really say is that RUSTY shattered my previous conceptions of what music could be. That album was in large part the work of Louisville’s own Jason Noble, who went on to record countless other works (see Shipping News, Rachel’s, Per Mission) that have been a huge part of the last fifteen years of my life. It’s safe to say that Jason is one of my musical heroes, and a real inspiration to me. My prayers are with him as he battles cancer. God grant you peace and serenity in the face of it all sir, and may you continue to inspire us for decades to come.

As a glimpse of his genius, here’s the beautiful “Last Things Last” from the Rachel’s masterpiece SYSTEMS/LAYERS:

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Did I mention Rachel’s? While surfing for that video of “Last Things Last”, I also found this truly amazing guitar-based cover of the glorious “Water from the Same Source.” Wow:

Anyone know how to rip this to mp3?

Tracks of the Decade: “The Weather” by Built to Spill

“The Weather”
by Built to Spill
from ANCIENT MELODIES FOR THE FUTURE
In light of the legions of alterna-rock heroes struggling to re-invent themselves in the last ten years, Doug Martsch comes off like indie’s grumpy old man. Of the three records his outfit Built to Spill released this decade, it can be argued that he REGRESSED artistically, but in my humble opinion, he simply found what he was great at and continued doing it. Take “The Weather” as Exhibit A. The sort of dreamy acoustic strummer that might have figured as a closer for The Smiths or The Replacements in their heydays, it’s a stunning and swoon-inducing achievement. It reaches back to early in the band’s catalog, when songs like “Fling” and “Car” hinted at Martsch’s considerable melodic and lyrical gifts, applying the same cosmologic instrumentation as the band’s other great slow-burner, “Else.” Still, “The Weather” stands out as the song that might one day make some director millions as the inspiration for the nostalgic teen coming-of-age comedy THE WEATHER. It’s Hughes-worthy, this song, something truly special in the vein of a “Wonderwall.”

DougMartschWEB-1The Weather
by Built to Spill
from ANCIENT MELODIES FOR THE FUTURE

In light of the legions of alterna-rock heroes struggling to re-invent themselves in the last ten years, Doug Martsch comes off like indie’s grumpy old man. Of the three records his outfit Built to Spill released this decade, it can be argued that he REGRESSED artistically, but in my humble opinion, he simply found what he was great at and continued doing it. Take “The Weather” as Exhibit A. The sort of dreamy acoustic strummer that might have figured as a closer for The Smiths or The Replacements in their heydays, it’s a stunning and swoon-inducing achievement. It reaches back to early in the band’s catalog, when songs like “Fling” and “Car” hinted at Martsch’s considerable melodic and lyrical gifts, applying the same cosmologic instrumentation as the band’s other great slow-burner, “Else.” Still, “The Weather” stands out as the song that might one day make some director millions as the inspiration for the nostalgic teen coming-of-age comedy THE WEATHER. It’s Hughes-worthy, this song, something truly special in the vein of a “Wonderwall.”

What makes this song great in your opinion?

August 11, 2009

Two new reviews today:

– Dinosaur Jr.’s FARM
– Modest Mouse’s GOOD NEWS FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE BAD NEWS

News from around the web:
– Built to Spill got a new LP on the way (PASTE)
Sufjan’s hitting the road. [Pls pls pls let this be to road test songs for a new full-length!] (Pitchfork)

Just gotta say, today it’s SGB 2, Pitchfork 0, for those keeping score. AND I’VE GOT A DAY JOB AND A FAMILY. Who loves you baby???