Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Music Mon...Tuesday - Lunes . . .

I would usually have something smart to say right here, but for now, i don't. today, i don't have anything smart to say. to be honest, i just want to get to this weeks music because it is simply masterful.

when i first heard justin vernon, i was hearing the same sort of thing i heard with early MMJ. it was empty and orchestral at the same time. it was full of this feeling that couldn't be described with a few lines on paper or on the internet. in my case, this began with illegible handwriting on paper because that's how i get down . . .seriously, i still write with a pen (always blue, on paper) and sometimes there's a bottle of something associated with these notions when i listen to a given album.

it's winter.  the ground is cold and the weather follows closely, as if ordered by some sort of cold hearted drill instructor, yelling at you in a manner that makes you wonder why you're awake at all when it's this cold.  i though that, on a daily basis, sans liquor, because it was just a natural reaction to the dropping temperatures and grey skies.  i can hear it as each snowflake drops, as each number falls on the thermometer and plummets closer and closer to bare kelvin's zero.

winter always begs to hear "for emma, forever ago" by bon iver.  i don't know what it is about the season, but that album just fits the season.  it's the empty longing you hear in each stanza of each song that really tears at your heart, much in the same way beck's "sea change" pulls at you. as i listened to this week's album, i couldn't help but feel the same sort of loss that i heard while listening to bon iver's "re:stacks."  coincidentally, the mastermind behind this album happens to also play drums for bon iver.

writing and performing as s. carey, bon iver drummer sean carey managed to craft one of the most stirringly beautiful albums i've heard in a long time, recording during brief hiatus from recording and touring with the eau claire group.  as justin vernon's band garnered more praise, it afforded carey the ability to write and record music at his leisure.  like radiohead's phil selway, carey managed to write an achingly personal album that manages to embrace the vulnerability that we find in albums crafted by justin vernon, sufjan stevens and sam beam.

on his debut, "all we grow," carey utilizes the piano and viola to craft orchestrally stirring songs like the heartbreaking, "in the dirt."  listen to the clapping in the background and the piano.  it sounds like there's an inherent rhythm in the song that happened accidentally on purpose.  somehow, the drummer from bon iver manages to write and perform songs that don't showcase his talent as a drummer.  i know, it sounds weird to say that a drummer (by trade) makes an album that doesn't focus on percussion, but carey does it and he does it with the same sort of approach that you hear in the best songs written by ryan adams and  bruce springsteen.  it makes me wonder how much input carey had on the "blood bank ep" that bon iver released two years ago.   go back and listen to "babys" and tell me that you don't hear a gorgeous similarity between the rousing piano in that song and in the aforementioned "in the dirt."

the fact is this: it's been awhile since i've been so moved by an album.  i wish i could say there was a bad song on the album.  hell, there's not even an "average" song on the album.  simply put, the album is amazingly beautiful. each song manages to capture this gigantic sound, meant for an opera hall, and translates it perfectly through your speakers.  if you really want to hear how beautiful the music is, plug in your headphones and close your eyes.  you'll miss someone.  if not, you'll find it impossible not to fall in love with  the person you're thinking about at that moment.

so, there you have it . . . a whiskey drunk music review from the heart.  don't get used to it because it is a truly rare occasion.  in the meantime, i've been listening to the new social distortion album as well as an advance copy of the new iron and wine album, "kiss each other clean."  i am ridiculously in love with this album so look for more on one word titles.

sundays provide me way too much time to drink.  the bears won today which means my packers will be back at soldier field this weekend.  i'm a cubs fan through and through, but when it comes to football, i'm a green bay fan.  sue me.