Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Songs of the Week (4/20)

I know, I'm even later on this than I was last week, but I had some epic posting to do last night (god, I hope no one reads that entry, I say some pretty embarrassing things). So here's my top songs from last week, only 2 of 'em this time:

'I'm Confused' by Handsome Furs

Damn, this song just sounds like confusion. After Wolf Parade's second, Mount Zoomer, I feared that Dan Boeckner had already passed the pinnacle of his song writing powers. To be fair, the 4 jams he authored for that album were all quite good, and far outweighed the contributions of Mr. Krug. However, the album had nothing to rival the power of "Shine A Light" or "This Heart's On Fire", the emotional centerpiece and conclusion, respectively, of the Parade's Apologies. I never listened to all of the first Handsome Furs, release, but what I did hear was similarly below Boeckner's Apologies standard. However, 'I'm Confused', the lead single off the new Furs joint, demonstrates that Boeckner is back at the top of his furious garage-onslaught game. Unlike most of the Furs stuff, Alexei's synths and drum program don't sound cold and alienating here. In fact, they create the perfect backdrop to Dan's heroic, workman riffs and characteristically impassioned vocals. The lyrics fall into the Boeckner tradition of being difficult to interpret precisely, but transmitting general sentiments quite readily: "And if you're feeling destructive/ There's something to do/ Sometimes we all get confused."  I know I've posted this already, but if you haven't seen the video yet, watch it post-haste because it's so damn good.

'Ashamed' by Deer Tick

Thank you, Rob Holowka, for introducing me to this wonderful band. At first it sounds like some backwards looking, Dylan worshipping, World Cafe baiting run-off. But after a couple listens, John McCauley's larynx shredding growl gets under your skin, and then you start to listen to the lyrics, and holy shit: "I am the boy your mother wanted you to meet/ But I am, broken and torn, with halos at my feet/ And with your purest light, darling, shine on me/ I should have been an angel, but I'm too dumb to speak." McCauley chronicles the overwhelming shame that has crippled his character. Like a good storyteller, McCauley doesn't go into the details of the incriminating act, but invokes biblical imagery of heaven and hell in depicting the story of this individual's fall from grace, and the resulting collapse of his relationship with his partner. McCauley does manage to steal some of Dylan's gift for pop melody in conveying his tale. I've been digging on the version from the Daytrotter Session, but I'm sure the original is just as good. 

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