Skipping Stones RecordsA small indie label with big ideas.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
a stream of consciousness review....
Trumpet Army Opposite Blog
Ok, we really had no idea the new Mary Onettes album looked like that. How similar to the new Celestial album! I believe in coincidence and synchronicity and similar things happening because the same people are thinking the same things and later you can look back on things and see a generation of symbols, colors, shapes and images that represent the universe working its magic.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Celestial. Dream On. The album cover is somewhat reminiscent of the Mary Onettes album. Black trim mat and a vague artless photo in the center. Thankfully nothing else links the two bands. This is an astonishing record. I can steal some notes from other people who have compared it to early Creation bands. It does sound similar. It's got also a bit of Sunday records in it as well; I think I hear the Proctors or others. It's also a bit Galaxie 500. It's simple and basic. It's beautiful. It's melancholic without being morose or overbearing. First song is playing now Brighton Girls, it reminds me a bit of Bart from Cat's Miaow's side projects like Pencil Tin. It's fantastic. It's over. Now to song two. More high paced jangle on this one. It is called Horoscope. His voice is definitely similar to Bart Cummings which is high praise. Was I the only one who dreamed that Bart would take over all of the vocals from Kerrie in the Cat's Miaow? Maybe. There is a dissonance/feedback on most of these songs that adds a bit of the shambolic charm from the antipodean school of indiepop as well. Third song. The songs are short, or seem short at least; this one is more in the dreamy vein. Saving My Presence, it's got some similarities to Radio Dept. It would be amazing if Radio Dept. inspired a raft load of bands as fantastic as this. Is this really a band? I think I am working under the impression that it is mainly one person, well two; there is a female voice on most of the tracks. Looking at the CD case now and there are loads of people on the album, I was misinformed. Sounds like it should have been on Bus Stop circa 1996. It's terrific. I can't make out any of the words but the ache is palpable, it's a gentle sigh, a longing, desperation, it isn't anything like the Mary Onettes then. If all else fails add another guitar! That's my kind of philosophy. Here is a song now with some fuzzy association with the Jesus and Mary Chain with a twee title The Boy Who Never Says Goodbye. It has got those slow JAMC drums, it's too tender for a real comparison though, and maybe this is what JAMC demos sounded like in 1983. The vocals are well down in the mix, it works well for the music, and it gives a wayward feeling to the goings on. Even on this song which now seems a bit Mazzy Star with the prominent female voice it's still young and naive. Innocent. Now they just need to learn some buzz saw guitar ala Motorcycle Boy to become the greatest band in the history of the world ever. I'd only ever heard a few samples from Celestial before picking up the album. It's miles better than the Charade album that came out on Skipping Stones last year. Hey what do you know some here is some of that peppier guitar on the next one, it's a bit Motorcycle Boy-ish. Maybe not. Can barely make out the voice, it's really reminding me of the Proctors if they had ramped up the fuzz. Imagine the Proctors with peach fuzz on their chins; it would have been a dream. This is the title track; it races along, her voice and his hidden beneath the waves of distortion. There's an early Brighter feel on a lot of these songs as well, before they went all dilatory all the time. There is deep seated warmth in all of this, I think part of it is down to the mix, the voice and rhythm section are buried together in a comforting cover of opaqueness and the simple but pretty guitar riffs are standing off to the side in cool shades acting nonchalant and aloof. Next song now is Fragile Heart, vocals a bit more up front here, not much, seems to be more important to be heard. It's a love gone wrong song. All of the Mary Onettes songs were love gone wrong as well; they just don't have any human emotion within them at all. Maybe it is the homemade aspect of this record that is deceiving me causing me to mistake lo-fidelity for warmth and sunshine. I don't think so though. I am in a much sunnier disposition today then when I was writing the Mary Onettes record, part of that may be my distance from the Mary Onettes record itself. I watched The Devil's Backbone this weekend. It's magnificent. Guillermo Del Toro (sp?) is god-like. Now to another song, a bit speedier, maybe a bit like Early Ride or Chapterhouse. Before Alan Moulder made men out of them. There is a cathedral of sound effect. I've been listening to some Cat's Miaow recently because of this album and realize I don't mind Kerrie's voice either. What a brilliant band they were. Cannanes get much deserved love from most quarters but Cat's Miaow/Hydroplane seems to have cultivated a more selective appeal. Who knows why? Now to Lake Como, again it's fantastic, every song is. It's one of the best records of the year so far. I spent today driving a very large truck; I was a truck driver with an air horn and air brakes and 38,000 pounds of underpowered moxie beneath me. I needed an ironic Caterpillar ball cap to make the day perfect. Lake Como would have been a perfect trucking song, it rocks. Whew it's already over. Short songs, too short. Another one now that is less than two minutes. Bah. I spent the afternoon a few afternoons back throwing homemade water balloons (a plastic bag filled with Sunkist soda) off a roof of a five story building onto a handicapped parking spot trying to fill a pot hole full, we did not succeed. I was getting paid for it. No tunes on the roof. We could have played hockey though. Looks like the Red Wings are done. San Jose is tough, Patrick Marleau, when did he become a monster? Now to a slow, dreamy acoustic number and we are in the land of very nearly Matinee records. It is called Bluebell Meadow. Maybe this is where the Field Mice comparisons come in. It's somewhat similar to Willow or And Before the First Kiss and songs of that ilk, but the words are not nearly so precious, in that we can't quite make them out but they sound pretty deep. Ha. Next song now, starts off with a Mojave 3-ish piano intro. A bit like Yer Feet, I think, it's definitely second album Mojave 3 when they sounded like the Band. When will Martin Scorsese make a movie about Mojave 3? Vocals are somewhat reminiscent of Mazzy Star, lazy and slurred, pretty and smoky, a stirring, a ready to pounce acoustic strum hanging over everything. Nice. It's got the same name as a Velvet Underground song, doesn't stop this song from ruling even with that unfortunate coincidence. Celestial are probably huge fans of Velvet Underground but they get over it here but not being horrible, like most bands I love that Love the Velvet Underground and are influenced by them. V.U. influenced and are the favorite band of a ton of my favorite bands but they were one of the worst bands ever. Really. All of their clones are better than them, is there another band this influential where this is true? Maybe the Who. But who was really inspired by the Who? Last song now, sounds like a last song, short intro section where he's announcing his goodbyes and then the middle section where he's reminiscing about all of the fantastic times you had together at the taste freeze and how sad he is that he's going to Evergreen College with all of those girls who won't date him because his carbon footprint is too large. Get that tattoo of a chainsaw removed and name your goldfish Gaia and you are in. I love this album, it's amazing, buy ten copies and then give them all to your mother for Mother's Day and she'll soon stop telling everyone that your sister is her favorite.
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Legal mp3 downloads:
Morning by The Charade, from their first album "The Best is Yet to
Gravity Girl by superfallingstars, from their first album, "Swimming Across the Sound"
Buy Swimming Across the Sound
Prison Song, by The Besties, from their album "Singer"
The Truth About Stars by The Year Zero, from their album "Oceania, I Will Return"
Buy Oceania, I Will Return
Popp og Co, by Dyrdin, from their album "Dyrdin"
Here is a special treat!
Dream On by Celestial, from their album "Dream On"