SOUNDTRACK: Make the Load Lighter: Indie Rock for Haiti (2010).
I mentioned this disc a few days ago because it’s a benefit disc for the people of Haiti. I had encouraged people to order it ($10 to a good cause, eh?) but hadn’t fully listened to it yet.
Well, after playing the disc nonstop for the weekend, it’s time to chime in and say that this is a fantastic disc of indie rock, which spans the indie rock gamut from harder punk songs to beautiful heart-felt passionate tracks. Each and every track is catchy, and most of them have a cool twist or hook to push it beyond being “just” an indie song
The first three songs are really fast and really heavy. Footstone opens the disc. I don’t know a lot by them, but this sounds to me like their heaviest song ever. It comes across like a really hard edged punk song, but you know there’s a groove too.
Boss Jim Gettys (one of many wonderfully named bands) play a 2 minute punk metal blast that is notable for the cool guitar solo that breaks up the onslaught. The third heavy song is by Dromedary stalwarts cuppa joe (!?). “Taniqua” is a fast song with a rocking guitar intro. It thuds along for 2 and a half minutes and then ends with a wonderfully upbeat chord that leads nicely in to the fourth song. Moviola’s “Calling on the Line” is a poppy jangly college rock sounding song from the 90s. It pretty well epitomizes the Dromedary sound. The band has a bunch of records out which you can see here.
I wasn’t that impressed with Three Blind Wolves at first. It seemed a little lacking. But after about three listens I got it, and it’s now one of my favorite songs on the disc. The singer’s voice is varied and wonderful, warbling over a fairly spare musical intro (the occasional high notes are totally cool). But the chorus just rocks out wonderfully. Three Blind Wolves is one of four Scottish bands from what I rather assumed would be a Jersey based compilation.
Paula Corino’s song is okay. It’s my least favorite track on the disc, but only because it never really grabs me, and, while it’s a totally fine song, it gets a little lost amidst the rest of the tracks. It’s followed by Wallendas’ “Adrianne” a delightful poppy song like a modern day Byrds.
The next song, The Neutron Drivers’ “All Around the Sun” doesn’t have an original second in it. And yet it is easily the catchiest song on the whole disc. When you first hear the opening guitars you pretty much know exactly what the whole song (even the obvious guitar solo) will sound like. It’s like the uber-rocksong. And yet for all of its sounding familiar, it doesn’t sounds like any specific song. Amazing how they pulled that off.
The Dark Brothers’ “Knee Deep in Sin” is a weird and unsettling song in that it sounds like the singer from Social Distortion with a slide guitar. It’s got a majorly country feel, until about three minutes in when you get a guitar solo straight outta Teenage Fanclub’s “The Concept” and suddenly this country song is a slow burning rocker. Very cool.
The next two songs justify the price of the disc. There Will Be Fireworks’ (Scottish band #2) “Foreign Thoughts” is a fantastic, amazing song. It builds and builds with tension upon tension as the singer (with a wonderfully aggressive accent) spits the words over more and more instrumentation. It’s followed by the utterly amazing Gena Rowlands Band’s “Fuckups Of the World Unite.” This is like the great long lost American Music Club song. It’s vulgar and yet completely un-profane. It’s catchy, heartfelt and it blows me away each time I hear it, both lyrically and musically. The simple guitar paired with the opening couplet is amazing in an of itself but it’s even better when it closes the song.
The Mommyheads come next with a remixed version of “Spiders” from Flying Suit. I enjoyed the song on that disc, but it takes on a new life in this remixed version. It feels fuller and even slighty creepier.
On like my third or fourth listen, Scottish band #3, Farewell Singapore’s “Blue” grabbed me and said “HEY THIS SONG IS FUCKING GREAT YA BASTARD.” And man, is it ever. I’ve been walking around all weekend singing “Scotland’s as dark as it’s going to be” over and over. And I’ve no idea what it means. The sudden breaks in the song sound like there’s something wrong with the track given the propulsive nature of everything else. And the intense guitar solo that follows the glockenspiel bit is fantastic. Oh and the male/female vocals sound great together.
Jennifer Convertible (a wonderful band name which gently rips a regional chain store, which seems to have changed its name to the far less inspired Jennifer Sofas and Sofabeds) has a very cool song that opens like a latter R.E.M. track but brings in some wonderfully atmospheric guitar noise to add a real sense of foreboding to the song. The buzzing guitar solo is a nice touch, too.
lions.chase.tigers (4th and final Scottish band, with a downloadable EP on their website) sound a bit like an early Bob Mould track. Which is pretty good in itself, but what I love about the song is that it’s a cool jangly indie rock song with a great martial drum sound. And it bops along, in a minor key until we get a delicate guitar riff and then a rocking chorus. But the really interesting part is yet to come: the gentle guitars come back but they’re accompanied by a voice screaming its lungs out (and yet mixed way down, so it’s no louder than the guitar). And the song proceeds as if that isn’t a weird thing to add in. Man, it takes guts to write a song like that, and it pays off.
The disc ends with Stuyvesant’s song, “Salieri. It’s another slow builder, but it’s quite catchy and when the harmonies kick in in the last minute, it become quite the great song. And it ends the disc on a good note.
So, in sum, order the disc. It’s for a good cause, but even if you’re not into that sort of thing, you get some really great music for your money. There’s literally not a bad track on the disc, and the bulk of them are outstanding.
Even the liner notes are interesting (and provide a look at why and how this disc came about). My only complaint is that you get almost no information on the bands! Now, I realize that in the world of online downloads, you’re lucky enough to get album art (and the photos are sad and beautiful) but I’d love to know more about these bands, where they’re from, who they are, and if any of them are have websites or other discs or whatnot. But then, I actually read liner notes on discs!
Download the tracks, and the art, here. Do it! Now!
[READ: Week of February 15, 2010] 2666 [pg 231-290]
This week’s reading is the first half of the third Part: The Part About Fate. And I have to say thus far it is easily my favorite part of the book. I enjoyed it right from the start upon learning that the titular Fate is not an abstract Fate but a person named Fate. A nice twist right up front.
This section also deals quite directly with matters of race. Fate is black, and during his travels he is acutely aware of his color. Plus, many scenes pop up in which race is definitely a factor.
Fate’s real name is Quincy Williams. He is a 30 year-old reporter for Black Dawn, a magazine out of Harlem. Quincy is known as Oscar Fate; everyone calls him Fate. (more…)