Monday, December 10, 2007

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.

45 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I pretty much knew what the fucking Brunettes were going to sound like before I ever heard them.


i h8 you.

ps. pizza with capers (:

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to see Iron and Wine. :(

5:13 PM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

SR,

I knew we'd have a good old fashioned throwdown someday, and that day has come. I think that this gentleman is one of the top five most puzzling indie rock personalities currently making music. For the love of everything holy, will someone send me a single track that will lay out what I'm missing? Something that isn't completely unmemorable, dense, sometimes slightly bluesy early seventies finger picking lite-rock with mono-melodic, afterthought whispering over it?

Anybody? I'm willing to give this another chance, for the 10th time in four or more years.

This stuff is the look and feel of what goes on inside a Civil War reenactment buff's head: A false sense of drama with embarrassingly archaic overtones.

PS-His collaboration with Calexico is such an unbelievable exercise in period piece boredom, it borders on genius. Unless you had to actually listen to the whole thing. I prefer the faux Mariachi's singing happy birthday to me at Tia's circa twelve years ago. More authentic.

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why oh why is pace rock at the GHOSTBAR? gross! ...and on a tuesday! i can't handle it.

---Ms. Pierce

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice writeup whatever your opinion.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iron and Wine is successful at creating a mood. That he does this via some pseudo folk rock thing doesn't really matter... its just part of a style. Just a boat to put the cargo in. Go unload the cargo, or something.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found Magazine is at The Public Trust tonight

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger fight!

7:04 PM  
Blogger the cat cheesecake said...

man what the hell is the deal with this indie shit.. you know i'm more of a twee guy. but seriously i don't know if you've ever heard left of center but the music they play blowlowlows. also have you heard indie sensation "black kids"? try to predict the forecast of their sound. i bet you can.

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hating shit before you even know enough about it to form an opinion is called being an asshole. And don't be "dismissive" of Will Oldham, it only makes you look like more of an asshole. I think I would really enjoy punching you in the face sometime because you kinda don't know shit about music.

8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the first iron and wine record is really beautiful. he's touring for his third.
DL doesn't like beautiful music. That's why he doesn't understand.
It's that simple.
Back to Shellac you fucking bore!

8:45 PM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

"Hating shit before you even know enough about it to form an opinion is called being an asshole. And don't be "dismissive" of Will Oldham, it only makes you look like more of an asshole. I think I would really enjoy punching you in the face sometime because you kinda don't know shit about music."

8:37 PM


"Anonymous said...
the first iron and wine record is really beautiful. he's touring for his third.
DL doesn't like beautiful music. That's why he doesn't understand.
It's that simple.
Back to Shellac you fucking bore!"

8:45 PM

Woah, who knew Will Oldham and Iron And Wine fans were so mean? Oh, wait. I totally knew that this crowd can really be some of the most hostile, close-minded fucking audiences you could ever try to communicate with. So, not a surprise at all. Not everybody of course.

Punching someone in the face is no way to handle a music argument. I guess the fact that an opinion made you want to punch someone makes you not an asshole ? Interesting. Let me tell you a little about how we operate: We choose to inform you (with the occasional opinion thrown in) over punching you. It takes much less energy on both our parts.

I'm sure some of you are as exposed, more or less, to the glut of information, marketing and branding etc. involved in music as we are. You know that certain promo pics combined with ridiculous press kits can really wear on you and even cause you to make a snap judgement from time to time. Stonedranger was admitting this human tendency and even his eventual acceptance of an annoyingly marketed artist.

Apparently, I don't like "beautiful music." I would love to hear how you define this. Back to fourth-rate Nick Drake ripoffs you exciting purveyor of all things beauteous.

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fuck yeah dl. tell 8:37 and 8:45 what dickmunchers they are.

12:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah dl! cite that dead dude you whos music you heard in vw commercial! that'll show em what posers they are!

12:50 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

yeah... don't listen if you don't like it. no need to raise a stink about it. stop it, stinky...face..

1:12 AM  
Blogger Black Market Funnel Cakes said...

iron and wine was absolutely beautiful. i've got to hand it to palladium. initially, i thought the space very awkward, but the sound is incredible. every note was distinguishable, and pristinely executed. the vocal harmonies were a peice of heaven. it was an unexpectedly wonderful experience.

2:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey DL, you're killin me my man.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

quote: "yeah dl! cite that dead dude you whos music you heard in vw commercial! that'll show em what posers they are!"



Like many people, my introduction to Nick Drake was from the cover on "Smash Your Head On The Punk Rock." It was fairly hard to find the albums at the time, before they were reissued to death because of that commercial.

I'm glad you saw a commercial and it introduced you to some cool music. Rock on, dude.

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock" es un clásico.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Stinky said...

Fuzzy Taco > Rock Lottery

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey DL,
thanks for breaking down how you do things around here. I guess I'm the one that's "hostile and close-minded" when SR admits he often hates shit before knowing enough about it to form an opinion. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I wouldn't really swing at the guy but admitting that is fucked up. I don't care about branding, photos or fucking press kits. I care about music. And Will Oldham is a genius. I'm going to print off a couple of pages of your blog now and use it wipe my ass with. I got to take a shit.

love,
8:37 guy

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol 11:22

i like you

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spare me, 11:22.

11:27 AM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

you never did well on reading tests in school, did you?

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Weshotjr,

Your opinion on music is an unduly glorified piece of shit. I mean seriously, you write about a fucking mixtape?!?!?!? I remember making mixtapes back when I was 12 years old. Too bad this blog didn't exist back then so that I could have been propelled to fame by my inclusion of Wham and J Geils Band on a fucking mixtape! You fucking fools. And don't tell me not to read if I don't like it. I will read whatever the fuck I want and, additionally, I will criticize any and all of your musings which I deem to be fucking stupid. So, fuck you, you fuck!

11:39 AM  
Anonymous the brunettes are good said...

Here's something that DL said that got my brain thinking.
"We choose to inform you (with the occasional opinion thrown in) over punching you. It takes much less energy on both our parts."
Are you saying that you don't put any energy into the things you guys inform us about? I've been thinking this for a while. You just happened to give me confirmation.
BTW, I'm listening to the Brunettes. I didn't know who they were. I like them.
Make a list of all the bands that you guys have dismissed on the basis of how you thought they would sound. There might actually be some good stuff. At the same time there might be some hilariously terrible stuff.
I'm not even saying that judging some things by their cover is a bad thing. Obviously we can easily dismiss things like Black Tie Dynasty, Exit 380, and the Feds just based solely on their promo photos. We know that those are going to be some pretty crappy bands playing some pretty crappy music.
But to say that you know what something is going to sound like and whether you will like it or not just based on how they were marketed is foolish. You're walking a very fine line of being discriminating and just being dismissive to be dismissive.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

"Hey DL,
thanks for breaking down how you do things around here. I guess I'm the one that's "hostile and close-minded" when SR admits he often hates shit before knowing enough about it to form an opinion. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I wouldn't really swing at the guy but admitting that is fucked up. I don't care about branding, photos or fucking press kits. I care about music. And Will Oldham is a genius. I'm going to print off a couple of pages of your blog now and use it wipe my ass with. I got to take a shit.

love,
8:37 guy"

Oh, I guess we don't care about music. See we actually do and that's why this branding and marketing can be a real beating. That stuff actually can fuck up what's probably a decent band a lot of times. You have to wade through a lot of shit to find something that's remotely interesting.

I'm glad you liked my breakdown of what we do. I thought it was a little too scant as far as summaries go. If you have any more questions feel free to email me-

defensivelistening@yahoo.com

I'll tell you anything you want to know.

Like about how Will Oldham is okay, but not a genius.

11:43 AM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

1139,

man! it is actually a real honor to see that you care so much about my opinion. Obviously we're an important part of your life, so thanks for that! Keep reading and feel free to comment any time your little heart desires. And I'll be happy to debate with you whenever you start making sense.

thanks

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DL,
you are underrating Will Oldham. He's better than OK. Come on man, there's no need to be so contrarian, but then again isn't all of this nonsense so dreadfully subjective. Toodles.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous damn gina said...

SR, please don't lower yourself to the blog cliché of saying "you love us because you post here regularly, etc.". That's for fags like GvB. I for one am not here because I particularly like you guys or care about your opinions.

You nerds are just know-it-all pricks who, like myself right now and almost everyone on here, hide behind anonymity and lash out in ways you'd never do in person. But, that's not a critique at all.

That's the reason I like this blog. You guys, and your douchebag commenters are musically knowledgeable, terribly smug, and generally pretty entertaining. I'd like to think I fall under that category as well. I love it most, I think, when you guys get into fights over grammar and sentence structure. Oh yeah, I also like to know what's going on every night. Thanks for the service, dudes.

Also, fuck with DL and he will snap you in two like a bear trap. Just ask Graham Parsons, er, I mean Aaron White. They don't call him "Defensive" for nothing.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

Damn Gina-

I was a little hard on Aaron White in retrospect. He seems pretty nice compared to some of our critics. That was a rough week, if you'll recall.

I like this website for a lot of the reasons you've mentioned, but I have to take exception to one thing and I'll clarify: We're actually much worse in person.

You should have heard Stonedranger chew me out on the phone last night. I cried myself to sleep.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i always thought defensive listening was a girl.

i love these early bitch-fests on here. keep up the good work!

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaron White IS Defensive Listening.

3:05 PM  
Anonymous gilmour gyrlz said...

Defensive White, is Aaron Listening?

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

aaron white is hot

6:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who's Aaron White?

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey dl,
you got slapped wth that "Back to Shellac" line.
that was a good one...you noun lover you.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

Grow up 8:48. This is about Iron and Wine. I wish you'd stop trying to push your favorite bands on me. Geez.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous urn said...

Will Oldham is partial genius. I can name about 4 of his 100 albums that exuded pure genius, to the point I would praise his name as master. The other 96 had a song or two with some genius. Granted, it is more genius than most people ever present, but really, he's a guy that writes a lot and has a hit every once in a while. Sometimes in bulk, sometimes in piddles.

Nick Drake was genius consistently, and only had a few albums to prove so. I'm glad for the commercial. It reminded me about how great he was, and my interest was renewed, and in fact turned into an obsession as a music listener.

To go back to the Of Montreal guy post, since I forgot to bring it up: At times, the marketing of material brings to light forgotten music or music under the radar. I praise the dudes in marketing that reminded me of Nick Drake and Richard Buckner in VW commercials. I might not have listened to them otherwise. To me, it's tons better than hearing "Bittersweet Symphony" or "Lust for Life" or Jet's rip-off of "Lust for Life" or any of those other recycled tunes in commercials over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

That's more of a sell out to me, when your song becomes the anthem of various companies because of your vocal hook fits the flow of commerce, rather than some band that allows their song to be used once because the marketing guy listens to shit other than out-of-date pop anthems.

Iron and Wine's pretty but dull, I agree.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous notverysmart said...

ill take callahan over oldham or beam any day

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i listend to propaghandi all night

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaron White isn't in Nouns Group... YET.

11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PHOSPHORESCENT!

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love LAMP!

2:49 PM  
Blogger aaron said...

Aaron White approves of these comments.
Nouns Group needs pedal steel? I'm in.

11:06 AM  

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