The Postal Service, Generationals, Eleanor Friedberger, CHVRCHES, & Taj Raj...
Well hello again, MP3 junkies! Welcome to Songs Of The Week #44!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Songs Of The Week column, here's the story: TCDroogsma likes MP3's. Each week he downloads more songs than he knows what to do with. For reasons only he knows, he's also been devoted to The Current's Song Of The Day podcast since its inception back in 2007. Seeing an opportunity, we put him to work reviewing those Song Of The Day tracks. Forty four weeks later and here we are.
As always, we strongly suggest that you follow this link and subscribe to the podcast yourself. It's free and it's fun for the whole family!
To that end, we also suggest that you give each of the tracks a spin or two and then cast a vote for your favorite in the poll on the right side of the page. The winning artist receives the validation that comes with winning an anonymous internet poll, arguably the greatest height to which a modern musician can aspire.
So, Droogsy... thoughs?
01. The Postal Service – A Tattered Line Of String (from the deluxe edition of the album Give Up)
So The Postal Service is back. Not only are they back to cash in on the Millenial generation's instant nostalgia-based existence with a tour, but, evidently they're releasing new music. And thank goodness! It's been about two months since The Current made me review a Ben Gibbard song. I was beginning to think something had gone horribly wrong.
To be completely honest, "A Tattered Line Of String" is not a bad song. In fact, stacked up next to most of Give Up it's a pretty good one. Sure, Ben Gibbard is still spinning yarns of doing, "some things that we knew not to do" with his female friends, and sure, Jenny Lewis' wordless vocals are absolutely shoehorned into this thing when they would have made a lot more sense singing one of the verses (a la "Nothing Better). Still, Jimmy Tamborello's music has developed a nice, heavy bounce since the initial incarnation of the band. Some guitar stabs and drums that, well, actually sound like drums instead of the "drum" button on a keyboard go a long way to making this one palatable. Plus, much as I like to take shots, Gibbard does know how to sell a hook.
All things considered, "A Tattered Line Of String" does a better-than-average job of being the "new material" for a reunion act. Of course, considering all Gibbard & Tamborello had to do was show up, play Give Up, and cash their checks, better-than-average is a compliment.
Final Score: 3/5
Like most people, my only exposure to Generationals was there excellent single "When They Fight, They Fight," a charming throwback girl groups of the 60's. The fact that it was created by Ted Joyner & Grant Widmer, two indie rock lifers, made the song a bit of a curiousity. Unfortunately, it also planted the seed that it could be an outlier in the Generationals catalog.
With "Spinoza," it appears that seed has grown up into a pretty average jangly-guitar, whimpery white guy indie rock song. C'est le vie.
Final Score: 2/5
True story: I was out at my favorite breakfast establishment last week (before I had downloaded "Stare At The Sun"). They had The Current playing at the bar and, come 10:00, they announced it was time to play the "Song Of The Day." When the DJ said, "Today's song of the day comes from Eleanor Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces," the bartender, her friend, and myself all groaned in unison.
Off the top of my head I can't think of any band that's presented to the public as a "big deal" as The Fiery Furnaces, yet doesn't actually seem to have any fans. I do not know anybody who isn't aware of the band, but I don't know anybody who owns one of their albums either. Listening to "Stare At The Sun," the latter half of that statement makes sense while the former is still a real mystery me.
"Stare At The Sun" is pretty, strummy guitar pop that features some truly obnoxious, "I love you, I don't love, you love me, what's happening" storytelling. How this woman ever managed to seduce Alex Kapranos is a mystery to me.
Final Score: 1.5/5
CHVRCHES, despite their aversion to vowels, has been getting a ton of press in the indie rock world of late. When I saw that I was going to be downloading one of their songs this week I was actually kind of excited to find out what all the hype was about.
After several spins of "Recover," I'm left to wonder why everybody would be so damn excited about the girl from Paramore commandeering The Faint's keyboards. Is this really how desperate the blogosphere has gotten to find "The Next Thing?" I don't take pleasure in saying it, but CHVRCHES should give that Postal Service song a few spin if they want to figure out how to take a flimsy idea and turn it into something listenable.
Final Score: 1.5/5
I don't know anything about Taj Raj other than their relentless desire to cover every square inch of South Minneapolis with flyers for shows. They did a nice job, evidently, as I was happy to see that I would get to hear one of their songs this week.
"Romani" is pleasant enough, if a little thin. Taj Raj seems to be sliding into the place in the Twin Cities music scene that's been inexplicably vacated by Romantica. The country strum of "Romani" leaves it feeling like a definite summer jam despite the lyrics being honest to a fault. It's hard not to picture Taj Raj peddling this sound at every block party across the Twin Cities this summer if they so desire, though I get the sense that they'll be playing before 5:00 most Saturdays.
Final Score: 2.5/5
Well there you have it, music fans! Another week's worth of songs downloaded, reviewed, and filed away!
As always, please keep in mind that neither Newest Industry nor our contributors is in any way affiliated with the artists above, The Current, or Minnesota Public Radio. We're just music fans with laptops and a little too much time on our hands.
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