It List: Monday
Iron & Wine/Arthur and Yu (Palladium): Hating shit before I even know enough about it to form an opinion is a really fun past time for me. If you spend a lot of your time listening to, reading about, and generally consuming popular music like I do, it's actually pretty easy to form an opinion on one of these "indie" bands pretty quickly, and I bet a lot of our readers have the ability, like me, to predict whether they'll like one of these bands before they even hear them, and I bet they can do so with pretty impressive accuracy. I'm not saying that this is a recommended course of action, or that I've ever dismissed a band or sound or record on this blog before I actually listened to it, but the kind of marketing that is commonly associated with a lot of "indie" rock bands these days doesn't leave a whole lot to the imagination, does it? For example, I pretty much knew what the fucking Brunettes were going to sound like before I ever heard them. Why? Well just look at them. And look at their name. And their label. And their cover art. I probably couldn't have belted out one of their songs, or even named their influences, but I knew enough to know I wouldn't want to before I spent more than five minutes listening to their music. And that isn't because I'm smart-- it's because their look, their label, and their PR people have pretty much already spelled out who they should appeal to and why, and I guess they left me out.
I'm only kind of just kidding about all that, but I do so in order to make myself look stupid, because both Iron & Wine and Arthur and Yu serve as pretty good examples of me being really wrong. Honestly, Sam Beam-- this bearded guy making quiet singer songwriter songs for English majors? It isn't all that exciting. Until you give it a chance. My attitude toward Iron & Wine for a very long time was based on a dismissive something or other about Will Oldham, but I've taken the time over the past few weeks to discover how this Beam guy stands on his own and writes really great songs. Go figure. Sometimes those douche MP3 blogs are actually right. And Arthur and Yu? Great lonely country songs that are perfect for a day just like today. I've only heard maybe a half dozen of their tracks, but I've enjoyed each one of them more than than I ever thought indie rock would let me, and despite an early protest from yours truly, I'll probably go to the show early to catch them. Sometimes truth is stranger than marketing.
Also, Cool Out tonight.