Monday, November 8, 2010

New Music Monday - Welcome to the jungle, baby . . .

Yeah, that looked as ridiculous typed out on the screen as it sounded in my head, but hey, why not.  It's Monday again, and you know what that means; yep, you guessed it.  The week is back and if it's going to go wrong, it will definitely happen today.  That's ok, though.  If there's one bright, silver lining on the fact that it is, in fact, Monday it's this  . . . ok, i tried to be optimistic, but it's just not happening.  Nobody's optimistic on Monday, because in Latin, "Monday" means 'worst day of the week."  Ok, I made that up, but we can always amend the dictionary, right?  Right, so let's get down to business, shall we...

Oh, before I forget, don't walk into a room full of fat people and say, "whoa, this room is pushing maximum density."  Apparently they don't share my sense of humor.  This message has been brought to you by your friend, Chris . . .the one guy who can offend anyone.

I had this all typed and ready to go on Friday, but last night (well, more like this morning.  it was about two a.m.) I started thinking about what I've been listening to lately and it hit me.  I've been listening to some distant sounding stuff that just seems to lack any sort of humanity or visceral emotion.  To me, music has to emote something; anger, joy sadness, anything.  It occurred to me that it is extremely difficult to do without actual instruments.  The current trend of bedroom production has placed more emphasis on the ability to make music using electronic instrumentation as opposed to someone playing an acoustic guitar or a piano or something along those lines.  By no means is it my intention to devalue the efforts of these artists, but to me, there's nothing more musically moving (nice alliteration, huh.) than someone sitting in a room with an acoustic guitar and a four track, laying their heart out into the world for us to hear (see Jim James, Ryan Adams, or Ray LaMontagne).  It is music in its simplest form, the essence of all the thing that make music inspirational, the things that make a song punch you in the face then rip your heart, only to put it back and leave you with a feeling like someone draped a blanket over you to keep you out of the snowstorm.

I'm telling you all of this because what I meant to post here today was something along the lines of what I mentioned above, something that, after listening to it for awhile, just left me wanting.  That's not to say that it's not good music because, let's face it, I have impeccable taste.  It just wasn't doing it for me, so instead, I'm going to take the subject from something I was going to write about on One Word Titles and condense it for the lovely readers here because, hey, I care.  Before I get into this, though, I do want to say thanks to Matt Kanelos, singer of The Smooth Maria, for all the help.  Check them out because they are amazing.

Perfume Genius isn't as much a band as it is one guy, Mike Hadreas, sitting behind a piano, simply bearing his soul.  There's something about this guy that reminds me so much of Neil Young circa 1971, Nick Drake and to a large extent Daniel Johnston (if you haven't seen the brilliant documentary, "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" you are really missing out on some great insight into the mind of a musical genius that I never would have known about had it not been for the late Kurt Cobain).  He's just a guy, sitting at a piano singing songs that are both naked and understated, bringing to mind Sufjan Stevens when he's not singing an over the top, three ringed circus that he calls a song (see For All the Widows . . .).  Like Stevens, Hadreas has an almost innate sense of melody and brings scenery to the forefront in songs like, "When."  For all the vulnerability and emotional instability you find in each of the songs, it never seems theatric or forced.  Listening to the album, you could almost call Purfume Genius an Augusten Burroughs story, set to music.  It's apparent that Hadreas has had an imperfect life and the ironic part is that his imperfect life breeds a perfect album that sounds both broken and complete.  I've been listening to this album for a few days coupled with Introduction to Elliott Smith and it's hard to like one without liking the other. You can find more info at his MySpace or check him out on Facebook.

I'll leave you with a quote from the beautifully written post about Perfume Genius over at GoldFlakePaint, "Slowly and quietly, it has become one of the most talked about and most loved records of the year. It is also one of the most raw, honest and unflinchingly personal records you’re likely to hear."

I know that usually there are at least two bands in this new music section, but, to be completely honest, I don't think it would do this album justice to dilute its brilliance with the addition of more rambling on about another musician/band.  Next week . . .different story.

Until then,



tj said...

Only just seen this comment/link. Glad you enjoyed the post, thanks for taking the time to read!
Tj, GoldFlakePaint