RUNNING DOWNHILL PRESENTS
PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL PREVIEW: SATURDAY
The National – This is old guy rock, for old boring people wearing stupid hats and black t-shirts. The type of band that gets applauded for “songwriting” and “themes” and stuff like that, when in reality sleeping on the Metra is more fun.
If these dudes are from Brooklyn, then Brooklyn is over.
“Fake Empire” sounds like…okay, is there a more trite and obvious protest that someone could utter than “We’re half awake in a fake empire”? Seriously, that’s the best you guys could do? Somebody get these guys in touch with Caetano Veloso and quickly for some lessons on writing political songs. Clearly, everyone who enjoys this band should just listen to Godspeed You Black Emperor! instead. There are no dumb words to get in the way, and the musicianship and intensity and edge and concept is about ten times better.
The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart – Put out a pretty decent record this past year, overhyped no doubt, but anyone who rips off The Pastels, et al., this well is impressive…of course until you see them live at Schubas and wonder why the guitar is so clean sounding and why they suck so much.
Anyone who rips off The Pastels this well is just as bad as the Pastels were.
This is certainly the type of pop that works better on record than it would live. I feel this way about 99% of bands these days in most indie genres, btw, which is why I prefer to rip on bands on this blog than to go to the actual festival.
MF Doom – White people really love this guy. Funny how they didn’t like KMD. What, white boy, you don’t know who KMD is? Oh that’s right, I forgot rap was invented when Pitchfork gave Jay-Z’s The Black Album an 8.0/10.
I really like MF Doom. I listen to about .01% of hip-hop that is around, though, so take that with a grain of salt. Marsh is spot on despite being white and being fresh out of diapers in the KMD era. JK JK JK JK
Beirut – This band is the brainchild of one of those dudes who “plays a lot of instruments” and is “into world music” and “is soooo inventive”.
Turns out the country of Lebanon has a Myspace profile. There’s also apparently a drinking game called Beirut that’s popular in Massachusetts. That’s what I learned trying to listen to this band on the internet today.
Beirut’s horn arrangements could be interesting if everyone would stop singing. Singing ruins so much music. Especially when the guy singing also writes “perdu à Casablanca” on his myspace profile. And says he’s from Francylvannia, New York. If you think that’s cool, you’ll like him. If you don’t, you won’t. That sort of either/or one-to-one relationship between a myspace profile and the music is so uninspiring, “n’est-ce pas”?.
Yeasayer – By and large this is New Agey bullshit. Remember that Clint Mansell score from The Fountain? This band is like that, but indie rock. I kind of liked one song off their album last year, but then I realized that it’s just a bunch of losers trying to be cool and foreign sounding, and failing (at being cool, at least).
What have you wrought upon this world, Brian Eno?
For a guy who loves Akron/Family as much as I do, these guys should be a slam-dunk proposition. Interestingly, they’re not. I think this has to do with their reliance on electronics and the polished production. Not Polish production. Polished.
Plants and Animals – Folky, eclectic, Canadian-crooning type shit. As if the world needs more of this.
These guys should join forces with Dr. Dog (whom I like) and form a North American folk-rock revival supergroup called Doctors, Plants, Dogs, and Animals. And then they should have to trade places and instruments and amps during songs. And then they should have to realize that THEY’RE THE SAME FUCKING BAND.
Wavves – Some killer records, backed by a pretty pathetic live show. Who let this dude tour with just a drummer? Seriously, it sounds like shit, and if he’s half as trashed as he was at the multiple shows I saw at SXSW, yall will be in for it. Though maybe he’s learned from his “meltdown” or whatever. Skip.
If you wanted to define my musical taste, you could say that I am 10 degrees short of liking Wavves. The more I hear about the guy though, the more I’m like “Nevermind. You’re a penis.”
When it comes to Wavves, a band picture ^ is worth a 1,000 listens, nahmean?
Matt & Kim – This is that band that makes “cool viral videos” … am I right?
Happy White Stripes?
Whiny shouting over synths. Surprisingly, every time I’ve gone to Brooklyn, it’s been really quiet.
Bowerbirds – I haven’t heard this band, and now I never will, considering I had to stop reading their bio in the middle of the first sentence after: “accomplished painter Beth Tacular on accordion and percussion”.
“Bowerbirds (sg. pronounced /ˈbaʊərbɜrd/) and catbirds make up the bird family Ptilonorhynchidae. The family has 20 species in eight genera. These are medium-sized passerines, ranging from the Golden Bowerbird (22 cm and 70 grams) to the Great Bowerbird (40 cm and 230 grams). Their diet consists mainly of fruit but may also include insects (fed to young),[clarification needed] flowers, nectar and leaves in some species.” You assholes.
Between their picture, Beirut’s picture, and Wavves’ picture, I think what the music industry needs is a media guide like the one Major League Baseball has. Every musician just gets a boring portrait against the same background.
Lindstr0m – SPACE DISCO. Both Where You Go I Go Too, and his collaborations with Prins Thomas (most recently II) are great. Love this guy. He’s just so smiley! Can’t speak for the live show, but like, it’s a dude with a computer, so it’ll probably sound pretty good. Bring your Swedish dancing shoes.
For a guy from Norway, Lindstrom sure does seem to know a lot about electricity. I like that his music makes me feel like I’m riding my bike on Neptune.
The Dutchess and the Duke – Isn’t it funny how when bands have a stupid name they most likely suck? This is uninspiring folk played by people with no business being folky.
Myspace needs to get rid of the genre designation for bands. Every band IN THE FUCKING WORLD seems to think they’re being hilarious by classifying themselves as something ironic and silly, like these guys calling themselves “lounge/jazz/blues.” Okay. Um. Either say what you think you really are, or just leave it out. If you sound like crap, no amount of laughing when you pick “showtunes” from the list of genres is going to save you. Fuck. Also, for god’s sake, post some tracks on your page, you silly Aussie bastards.
Ponytail – Baltimore art weirdos, whose music kind of sounds like splatter painting with hypercolor (might be reaching a bit there). Spazzy, noisey, riffy, and full of strange hooks a la gibberish lyrics. Saw them put on a pretty fun show at SXSW despite it sounding like shit (the venues fault, not theirs). And the lead singer was def wearing a Ray Lewis jersey (cred).
Madness. Baltimore always brings the crazy and the thundery, which, like, yes.
Disappears – This band is from Chicago, and they fucking rule. Don’t miss, poser. Members of 90 Day Men and Boas and Fruit Bats, and I heard some (one, all?) of them work at Lula Cafe in Logan Square. Positive or negative? YOU be the judge!
These guys are awesome. As for the Lula Cafe thing, well, I can never get a seat there, so I can’t say. I like the Fruit Bats, but this is louder and greater.
Fucked Up – Saying a bad thing about this band would be dumb, because they are really good. On one hand they are total entry-level hardcore for Pitchfork attendees, but on the other hand, it’s like I said, they are really good.
This is the only band at Pitchfork I like. I don’t like that they have given every poncey asshole a reason to say, “Yeah, I’d like hardcore more if it was like this,” but I’ll forgive the band that, because all they’re trying to do is rock your poncey face off while you wait for whatever terrible shit you actually went to Pitchfork to see. It’s not their fault, it’s yours, and now you’re watching the Pharoahe Monch with no face. Gross.
Yeah, I’d like hardocre more if it was like this. lololololol No, really, the first three tracks on Hidden Worlds make me feel like President of the Goddam United States.
The Black Lips – I’ve always been luke warm on these dudes brand of garage rock, which I’ve found both good, bad, and mediocre. That puts them somewhere in the middle. Of good and bad. And mediocre. So like, they’re decent, I’d say. Pretty good. Not too bad. Alright. Live show is the thing of legend at this point, so if I was attending I’d probably try and see what was up.
Wait, the Black Keys? Black Crowes? Black Mountain? Black Sabbath? Black Angels? Black? Big Black? Jack Black? Bud Black?
Cymbals Eat Guitars – The verdict is still out on whether these guys are legit bringing back 90s/Pavement indie rock or just being thieves.
This reminds me of a joke. Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7, 8, 9. To return to the point, I don’t like this band. Their songs go “No1zyGUitarR!prettypop!No1zyGUitarR!prettypop!”
The Antlers – There’s a really interesting story about their new album, Hospice, and the sad reality is that it’s a bit more interesting than the record. Some good, weird jams about a hospital patient falling in love with a nurse and stuff like that.
These guys have some good stuff, I feel. It’s quiet and understated, and I’d have to be in the right mood for it, and I wish they would’ve gone straight to the V instead of the ii right then, but…oh, no. He just started singing. Now I’m just sad/angry.
Final Fantasy – I’m a bit of a hyperbole addict, but god damn this is the fucking worst shit I’ve ever heard. Dude was in The Arcade Fire? No shit.
I should’ve seen this coming, but when I tried to find the myspace page for this cat, I got the Final Fantasy video game soundtrack instead, which I’d rather listen to, I think. Also, can I just say that I like exactly 50% of the Arcade Fire?