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Posts Tagged ‘Sunny Day Real Estate’

Procrastinating with music

Tuesday, December 18th, 2001

It is now 4:45 am. I’m currently sitting at a computer lab computer trying to bang out a 20-page paper in one day and one night. I’ve been listening to music on headphones using the computer’s CD-ROM drive. I have no idea what the sound card and audio hardware on this machine is, but something weird is going on with it. When I listen to my music, especially CDs with strong stereo separation, certain parts of the mix get highlighted whereas others go really quiet. I’m hearing percussion in some songs on Kid A that I’ve never heard before, for instance. On the one hand, this is sort of annoying, but on the other, it’s actually kind of enlightening. Either way, though, it’s distracting me from the work I should be doing. Hmm.

My primary form of procrastination has been the reviews archive - I’ve found some pretty interesting stuff in there. Like, for instance, the only really really negative review of Mogwai’s My Father My King that I’ve yet read. Or, a review of a Sigur Rós concert that I think captures the awe and wonder of a good live show by that band - yeah, it’s gushingly positive and over the top, but that’s appropriate, I think. Or maybe my opinion of Sigur Rós is just way overinflated (but I knew that already). There’s also weird stuff like the statement that Sunny Day Real Estate’s The Rising Tide “would have been right at home alongside classic albums by Rush, Marillion or Kansas.” Umm… maybe. But not really.

Hehe: the new Pitchfork review of Radiohead’s I Might Be Wrong makes a point - over and over again - of calling the album an EP. A little bitter?

Oh this new Magma box is sweet

Wednesday, March 21st, 2001

I got Magma’s Theusz Hamtaakh Trilogie in the mail yesterday. Man, what utterly beautiful packaging. Packaging this good almost makes the music itself sound better. I’ve only really listened to the second disc, since of the three compositions Wurdah Itah is by far my favorite, but it definitely kicks.

Over spring break I managed to restrain myself to only one new CD, that being the new Sunny Day Real Estate I wrote about a while back. Like I said before, it’s pretty solid: nothing transcendent, but pretty good pop-punky stuff with prog influences. I think I like their slow ballad-type stuff better than their hard-rocking stuff: they just seem like a band that’s well-suited to doing pretty music. Or maybe it’s just because of Jeremy Enigk’s voice.

New York City is a hotbed for good concerts: this Saturday, there’s 12 hours of free live Miles Davis covers by various artists going on somewhere (I still have to figure out where), from noon til midnight I think. Also this Saturday, there’s a Birdsongs of the Mesozoic show at Tonic, starting at 10pm. And then, on Wednesday the 28th, Mogwai is playing Irving Plaza, doors at 8pm. Also, it’s a ways off, but Sigur Rós is playing at what seems to be an art museum or something, on May 8th. I’m going to try my damnedest to make it to all of these events; the latter seems particularly cool if only because of the unique venue.

Musical Francophobia

Monday, March 5th, 2001

The last borrowed item from the radio station was Sunny Day Real Estate’s The Rising Tide (their newest), which has been somewhat panned by critics, who have complained that the band moved too far towards progressive rock, away from their punk/emo roots. This is true, and while I liked the band in their punk/emo phase, I also like their new sound. Sure, it’s a bit overproduced in places, but I feel like the compositions are consistently solid, whereas all three of their other studio albums have been a bit spotty. More thoughts later… after I’ve bought the album and listened to it more.

Staying here with friends at Duke; I dug up Air’s Moon Safari, which is pretty neat. Some duff tracks. I’ve heard it before but now I’m giving it a closer listen… if The Virgin Suicides is far superior, as I’ve heard it is, I’ll probably have to track it down. Here’s a piece of drek from re the band; emphasis is theirs:

In 1992 the French newspaper Le Figaro ran a headline that read: “Thirty Years of French Rock’n'Roll And Still Not One Good Song”. Since the article’s appearance, however, a host of Gallic musicians have emerged to make the bad taste of Johnny Hallyday, Magma and Indochine distant memories. While the French may still be incapable of making a decent rock record, the influx of dance music and hip-hop into France in recent years has meant that French music is no longer simply a parade of jailbait nymphets singing Eurovision cannon fodder or kitsch hymns to the latest tropical dance craze. The latest in a long line of post-hip-hop artists, Air mix the traditional Gallic virtues of Françoise Hardy-style breathiness, Serge Gainsbourg-style seediness and Jacques Brel-style melancholia with an almost-British religious devotion to pure pop and a deep affection for ancient American analogue electronics.

I’ve never really walked around with headphones on, but today I walked around the Duke campus listening to a mix I made. Conclusions: post-rock music makes the best walking soundtrack. Salient moment: watching people get on cross-campus buses just before sunset while listening to A Silver Mt. Zion’s “13 angels standing guard ’round the side of your bed”. Simply beautiful.