Sunday, August 31, 2008

Vetiver "A Thing of the Past" ... an album I picked up on a whim last week

The cover looked cool, it looked new. There was a cute girl on the front looking old-fashioned and poring over an old record collection. I was like, hey, that could be me!

So I threw it on the table when I got home and it was pretty nice, ho-hum until I got to Side B. Holy Crap "Lon Chaney" and "Hurry On Sundown" are two of my favorite songs of 2008.

"Lon Chaney" is a quiet, meandering, piano-folk track, kind of plaintive and yearning and wonderful which then segues into the rollicking goodness of "Hurry On Sundown." I have put that track on repeat so much in the past week. I wish I could come up with a preview for you, unfortunately they do not have it streaming on their myspace. POOR SHOWING.

"Hook & Ladder" on Side A was one of my favorites on the album. Sway to the music, sing along, clap along, so sunny and great. You can't resist it, it's in your marrow.

Fun fact, Devendra Banhart has been known to join Vetiver from time-to-time. Pretty cool!

Vetiver's Myspace

Monday, August 25, 2008

Forest Fire "Survival" ... my very trite but honest thoughts -- A+ album! Must purchase!

There’s a part on Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s “4 Way Street” live double album, where I guess Graham Nash says (well I guess it might be David Crosby or Stephen Stills) “And now we’re gonna do a song that you have not heard!” and the way he says it, in his 1970s precious unassuming voice, it is this exciting secret invitation to experience something no one else has ever experienced, CSNY performing this little ditty for the first time ever. The song was “Right Between the Eyes” and when I first heard it, even though it’d probably been at least 25 years since that ‘first time’--- to me it was brand new. This ‘newness’ is exactly what I love about so many albums that I practically trip over in my musical life, Forest Fire’s “Survival” being one such gem.

The first time I heard the opening track “I Make Windows,” I loved the fresh, stumbling through-an-open-field-soft-yet-plunging-to-the-depths-of-you-style that makes me love it! The guitars are sunny, there’s a nostalgia for ‘I don’t know what’ in the sound. I love how an album can ‘REMIND’ me of a past event yet be released in 2008. The album is quick and enveloping. I sunk so easily into its breezy simple melodies and quickly lodged the words into my brain and was unable to resist singing along with its pleasant harmonies.

“Sunshine City” made my summer and I can’t even fathom exactly why. “Iiiiiii haaaavveee sunnnnshiiinnneeeeee… in my life,” is repeated so many times, broken up only to say “I don’t care if what you say is true…” There’s such a strong statement in its sneaking quiet, crawling guitar sounds, blazing dissonant atmospheric angel voices ‘ooohing’ in the background. In “Sunshine City,” I am so resolute in my happiness despite the completely NOT SUNSHINE CITY that is the world. There’s so much good here, WHO CARES about the bad???

Call me naive, but that’s the cool part about songs like this one… for three minutes I believe something that is entirely untrue. Rock n’ roll can save the world?!!? I sound like a DICK!

It’s odd how the whole album kind of gives the same vibe, yet none of the songs really sound alike. There’s a texture on each one that is completely palpable. I can actually hear the sun warming me on a summer afternoon as the sky turns orange on “Echoes Coming” with its slow procession of vocals and building buzzing guitars. And by the time I get to “Steer Me,” Forest Fire is singing “I don’t like what I’ve become” and it is reality, but it’s still so freshfaced and great. The whole album kind of rings of a slower, drudging, more blissed-out Sparklehorse.

The title track “Survival” is one of the best on the album, but doesn’t phone it in until Track 8. “What do you know about survival?” the song is needling me to answer this question and how the hell am I supposed to answer when you’re playing these sycophantic flutes and country road guitars?

The last track is entitled “Slow Motion” which is an accurate description of the entire album. It is slow motion slices of life, like how you feel when you’re really tired and the sun’s coming up and you’re staring at that big orange ball contemplating being the only person alive.

Oh wait, I’m not! Thanks Forest Fire, for reminding me other people are out there! What’s up!?!?!?!!?

Anyway, actually grabbed the LP at if you can believe it! Or! If you like mp3s, they are offering the whole album in 320 here: Forest Fire - Survival = Available to stream or download