Monday, June 15, 2009

It List: Monday

Grizzly Bear/Here We Go Magic (Granada Theater): First of all, I'd like to note that if you'd like to gain a little more insight into both of these bands, you don't even have to leave this website: we have interviews with both Grizzly Bear (from a couple years ago) and Here We Go Magic (more recent) for your reading pleasure, and you should definitely check out the part where DL recommends that Grizzly Bear cruise by Spring Creek BBQ for a true taste of Texas. Total bro pas, my man.* Second, unless you already have a ticket or are at least as cool and well connected as I am (which I highly doubt), you can't get into this show because its SOLD OUT. Total indiebummer!

Grizzly Bear has been around for five years plus now, and although they kind of broke through into the indie rock mainstream in 2006 thanks to their excellent single "Knife," it seems that 2009 will actually be their breakout year into the "real" mainstream, or at least as close as a band like this could get, thanks to stellar reviews and fashionable blog-buzz concerning Veckatimest, their latest full length. Although a lot has been said about this record already by a variety of reputable sources, I think its worth noting that whatever your opinion might be of its quality, it is difficult to describe exactly what this record sounds like in terms of influences. When I listen to it I can hear so many tiny parts of so many different kinds of music that it really doesn't feel very appropriate to use any of them as descriptors here. The phrase "70s AM radio" keeps popping into my head, but I'm not even sure if it's really all that accurate, just more of a feeling it conveys than anything else. Reviewers often refer to it as "chamber pop" as well, but I often wonder whether a lot of those people even know what that means. In short, we can probably just borrow a phrase from Justice Potter Stewart and call this music "indie rock," using only "I know it when I hear it" as a defense because we really can't be moved to care enough to dig deeper.

And that's the problem at the end of the day. Grizzly Bear is "good." Their new album sounds very nice. Most of the songs are tasteful, easy to listen to, fairly interesting, whatever. They seem like smart dudes and a lot of people I respect seem to really like this record, so I'm not taking anything away from it necessarily. There's nothing wrong with it. The problem is that it just doesn't do a goddamn thing for me (this seems to be happening a lot lately). I don't even know why really, but I seriously doubt I'll listen to this record at any point ever again after I make a 2009 year end list in December and give it "one more chance" before I leave it off my list. Nothing grips me, nothing compels me, but I don't even dislike it. That's the problem. I kind of DO like it. It just means fuck all to me, and whether that is my fault, Grizzly Bear's fault, or just the current state of whatever the fuck indie rock is supposed to be these days, it seems like a big problem to me, especially since I'm not sure I can even explain it. Oh, and here are some phrases and sentences from Pitchfork's review that kind of pissed me off before I ever even heard this record:

"compositionally and sonically airtight"

"a painstaking chamber-pop record that never once veers above the middle tempo"

"fluttering opener... takes off and circles back like a flock of birds"

"one must consider both the overall structure and the connective tissue between the abundant highlights to judge it a success"

"there is something prim and proper about the record"

"four guys so completely serious about music-making"

"searching for perfection through meticulousness"

Uh... fuck it. Nevermind. I'm going to go to this show tonight and enjoy myself, and maybe try my best to forget that I ever read an article about Grizzly Bear. Think I can?

In the Face of War/Hercules/My Son My Executioner/Heinous Genetix/Negaduck/Jubilee (1919 Hemphill)

Cool Out (The Cavern)



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