Find Me On:
…My apologies, I wasn’t expecting my comment to become “Ass-Kicked’s Premature Evaluation.” I’ll work on my concision while I’m listenin’ to Modern Vampires of the City. Also, f*** comma’s!
First impressions of the City: There is no doubt in my mind that the lyrics and vocal performances throughout the album are Ezra’s collective best. He absolutely hits the ball out of the park. Sadly, I don’t feel the same way about all of the music. Before you (those of you that have fallen completely in love with the album) shun my opinion, I think that the first seven songs on the album are more or less a perfect sequence of songs in terms of being diverse and containing signature elements of VW’s “sound.” To my ears, the songs almost seem to be sequenced in pairs with “Young Lion” operating in a very clever way as a cyclical piece between “Hudson” and “Obvious Bicycle.” However, the flow of the album is derailed for me after “Everlasting Arms.”
“Worship You” is my least favorite song on the album, and it might be my least favorite song in VW’s discography (maybe a tie with “Giving Up the Gun”). My dislike for the song doesn’t necessarily stem from the lyrics and I appreciate the risk and performances throughout it but to my ears, the song is a structural mess. In defense of the song, its inclusion seems to be pretty important to the record with the lyrical parallels between “Unbelievers” and its pairing with “Ya Hey” (nothing new to add to its criticism; I like it and could do without the high pitched vocals but could see human sounding chants being tossed out during the making of for not working). I do kind of wish that Steve Buscemi directed a video of his reaction to hearing Ezra’s rapid-fire delivery on “Worship You,” that would be gold.
Arguably, “Finger Back” isn’t a weak song by any means, but (and this isn’t VW’s fault) I hear a bizzarre combination of Avey Tare in the verses (I think that is what the commenter above meant when he or she heard Animal Collective), Dirty Projectors’ “About to Die” (IMO VW wouldn’t sound the way they do without their earlier influence) and GIVERS’ “Up Up Up” (IMO they wouldn’t sound the way they do without VW). So, the song sounds strangely derivative to me which is a problem that I don’t really have with any of the other songs.
The ending of the album is great, though. “Hudson” sounds to me like what I would expect a song from a band called Vampire Weekend to sound like and has to be the darkest song in their discography; it is a pretty good penultimate song with respect to the rest of the record. I didn’t know the track times in advance so when I expected VW to pull a “Don’t Get Lost in Heaven”/”Demon Days” maneuver afterwards with “Young Lion,” I was pleasantly surprised with its brevity.
I was a bit on the fence with some of the musical arrangements bordering on overwrought after my first listen but by my third time through, I believe that VW has struck a good balance between band mode and orchestra mode. I will say that although I appreciate Appalachian Spring Suite as much as the next person, its allusion (?) in “Unbelievers” climax is an example of too much for me.
TLDR: I believe that the album is pretty close to perfect in terms of coherence and vision but I could do without two songs. Although, I’m not completely sold on all of the musical arrangements (the album sounds like Vampire Weekend on Broadway at points), the band does a brilliant job of keeping the songs diverse, thrilling, beautiful, and intelligent by adding new features to their “sound” (I see you female choir) without completely alienating fans of their previous records. Well done, VW!
I haven’t commented on here and forever, but I can’t resist when someone makes a comment like “disposable genres like rap have been hit way harder by downloading, plus those guys don’t really tour…so the only money is in Kesha, etc.” That is ignorant as ****. Have you ever heard of a mixtape? I would argue with the history of the mixtape that there is a (proven) much stronger bond between countless rap artists and their respective audience members but you would probably ignore whatever I said as you think it is a disposable genre…
I used to be able to just chill and at most, dance with Beck’s music on in the background. Now, the asshole wants me to have fun learning his new album on piano and play on his songs via PS3. Damn you ,Beck! You are going to be occupying a bunch of my free time the next few months.
Now, I know the feeling of someone making up his/her mind that an album, book, song, movie, video, etc. is the best of the year without the year being over or having heard/read/seen every other work in that category. #VOTY?
Haha comment of the week!
No, there was never a need to compare the two completely different groups in the first place (unless it is your job or you are a list fetishist). I could maybe see a comparison between groups with similar aesthetics, influences, and career trajectories (Grizzly Bear vs. Fleet Foxes or Animal Collective vs…The Residents? (Maybe Liars from a trajectory standpoint)) but I don’t see the need to do Grizzly Bear vs. Animal Collective (Four LP’s perfecting one direction vs. Nine LP’s going in different directions is absurd).
I love the music of both of these groups, and I’ll just cut to the chase and say that I am not a fan of the progeny of Hipster Runoff who took the joke too far. I don’t mean to be an asshole, but every time you open your mouth about either group, you sound similar to the “music snob teenage boys” that you detest. If I am missing your sarcasm, sorry, it is over my head; if not, I would advise waiting for Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear to release the remaining ten and eight tracks of their albums, respectively, so that in the future, you won’t have to backtrack on any statements you make about them.
Reminds me more of Radiohead’s “Knives Out.” The Other Lives comparison below is good. That would be a pretty damn good tour. One can dream…
Fingers Never Bleed is on Tim and Eric’s website.
Pretty clever reply song to Analog by Tyler, the Creator. I was going to say that it also remind me of Why? and what do you know…Yoni approves the song (check his twitter).
Damn, your response might be the most insightful post that I’ve read on stereogum! I understand your point more clearly now. I should have taken the time to read and digest your other posts carefully before jumping to “defend” DP, but I am glad that it was a catalyst for your last writing. I don’t even want to discuss the Dirty Projectors or Animal Collective anymore after all of the different artists you brought up in your discussion. I am positive that your knowledge and analysis of the arts goes much further than mine and is of similar interests, so I actually would just like to ask for a few recommendations and opinions on music and film (just guessing by your name that you are probably pretty fond of the subject). If you have time, email me at email@example.com (miscellaneous email account). If not, do you by any chance have a blog?
You’re right that they aren’t experimental the way that someone like John Cage is, but at the end of the day, I think that you have to check out the type of musical umbrella that they are operating under and re-think your definition in that context. When critics have a hard time putting music in a genre (which, to my dismay, all critics must do to make their job easier), because it mixes up so many different things (some of which may be foreign to them) they usually just say the music is experimental. I don’t think that it is Dave Longstreth’s fault as much as the people trying to describe his music. Some of his compositions and techniques are a bit unconventional in the “indie” world (I can’t stand that term even though everyone here knows what I mean when I say it), and not many people are utilizing techniques like hocketing, so of course they are going to label him as an experimentalist. These same journalist think that Grimes is making experimental music when it is really just unconventional. If you consider compositional phasing to be impressive and are familiar with the work of Schoenberg (if we are just touching the surface), then I understand why you wouldn’t find the DPs to be experimental
I don’t know how many Dirty Projectors albums you have heard (probably all of them), but do you find the Getty Address appealing? For some reason, alot of people who jumped on board with Bitte Orca haven’t taken the time to go back into the discography (so many people do this with their “new favorite band” and it drives me crazy, not saying you are one of those people) and realize that Dave Longstreth is the Dirty Projectors. Amber’s lead vocal style is becoming more essential to the DP sound, but essentially, the DNA/blueprint of their (his) sound is Dave’s voice, his existential lyrics, his oddball genre mash-up attempts at rock/pop with orchestrations (arguably experimental in this context), and rotating members whom he can direct to do his bidding (this is a lazy overview). I like the different renditions of the band (I love Angel Deradoorian, especially), and I don’t agree with your observation that they don’t have character. Don’t take this offensively, but there is no f***ing way that any other “Indie Band” could/would have recorded Swing Lo Magellan. I get that you aren’t into them and you are highly suspicious of Longstreth’s artistic credibility but come on! Ava Luna is the only band that I can think of that is highly indebted to the Dirty Projectors and might be able to faithfully cover a track or two.
TL;DR Critics would do the public more service if they made use of the word “unconventional” to describe rock/pop music that is outside the norm rather than “experimental” because most of this music doesn’t scratch the surface of techniques regarded as “experimental” within the avant garde/classical/compositional world of music. However, from a genre context, the term “experimental” may be applicable to artists that make use of certain techniques within this world. I agree that Swing Lo Magellan and Bitte Orca aren’t your kind of experimental, but I also don’t think that Dave Longstreth is being deceitful about the degree to which the work is to be interpreted that way. I love DP (yes, to both of the things you are thinking.)
Pitchfork has a somewhat-new article feature called “Inbox” in which readers can ask musical questions and inquire about their opinions, etc. I had a similar question that I asked in terms of Liars’ albums a few months ago. Here is their explanation of Best New Music:
Best New Music: Explained!
How does Pitchfork’s Best New Music system work? I’ve read reviews where two albums get a score of say 8.2, but one is BNM and the other isn’t. –Aurora Nuncio
“The truth of it is breathtakingly simple: Editors choose Best New Music albums based on the records that we think are the cream of the crop. These are excellent records that we feel transcend their scene and genre. When an album gets Best New Music, we think there’s a very good chance that someone who doesn’t generally follow this specific sphere of music will find a lot to enjoy in it.”
So for some people, this method isn’t working, but it makes a bunch more sense when you think about it in context of a person who might have certain prejudices or just not be a fan of a certain genre/sub-genre (genres suck!). Also, they said that a few or many staff members (depending on the popularity of the release) will weigh in on an average score, and someone whose score fell close to that average will usually write the review. I am not a huge fan of their ability to review albums without saying much about the music, but it all made more sense to me when I find out the method to the madness that is Brent DiCrescenzo (through the inbox feature) and he clarified a nagging suspicion that I held about his writing. There are a bunch of personalities as Pitchfork (and any other publication for that matter) so, usually it is a misconception to think that everyone is an asshat because of that publication’s reputation. I don’t agree with all of their reviews and opinions, but through a little research, I have much more respect for the work they do and their intentions. Gotta d-ride a bit, though, Stereogum is the best.
TL;DR – To the music critics: Even though we don’t always see eyee-to-eyeeeeeee, I respect youuuuu, and I keep you in my mind.
Let me preface this post by saying that it shouldn’t be read as an attack against you. I am just trying to help. If you listen to the two releases before MPP (the EP, Water Curses, and the LP, Strawberry Jams) and the single/b-side after MPP (Honeycomb/Gotham which hinted heavily at this production direction) this track makes perfect sense. MPP is somewhat of an outlier album as Deakin (their primary guitarist) wasn’t present for the recordings. I agree that the mix of this song is a bit cluttered, but so are some of the songs from the releases that I’ve listed above.
I am not a diehard fan but I enjoy their music, and I believe that they create songs for the album experience. Cherry-picking songs from albums (as is the way of the MP3 generation we live in now) doesn’t really do their work any justice. At the end, we even hear the transition from this track to the next. You may still not like this track/direction, but if you check out those releases I mentioned, this track should make more sense.
Goddamn, I knew I would regret clicking the play button… With each subsequent song that Kreayshawn releases, I think to myself, there is no way this one could be worst than the last one…and she proves me wrong time and time again. I guess that her brand is working in that she has managed to separate herself from the rest of the pack, in my mind (I challenge you to find a worst artist (Like I can’t think of any redeeming factors in her music)). Serious question: does Kreayshawn’s target demographic consist of paint huffers? Because that is the only way that I could imagine enjoying her music. On second thought, I would probably also enjoy it after a successful lobotomy operation.
Well, it’s settled; my end-of-the-year list is going to be circumstances and situations in which I would enjoy Kreayshawn’s music.
This collaboration also makes me nostalgic (ultra) for The Mouse and the Mask (got so much play time during high school). It would be beyond marvelous if adult swim sponsored a similar collaboration between Flying Lotus and Earl Sweatshirt.
Yeah, that is his flow and subject matter. We should consult the residential expert on Odd Future. Rubber Johnny, Rubber Johnny…Wherefore art thou, Rubber Johnny?
Q: What’s a boy to do?
A: Become a haunted man.
Detachable Penis is a subject that hits too close to home for many, including myself.
No, I just have little to zero tolerance for people that post bull**** before reading or assessing an article/situation. While writing my long-ass opinion, I wasn’t completely sure whether or not douchetard was a trap troll account, but now I am certain (and probably owned by you). I know that you didn’t bother to read my other essay a few comments below this one, and I am not going to paraphrase it for you, but I love that you singled me out for being on Frank’s dick. I question it, but I am not easily blinded by controversy and hype surrounding art and my opinion of the record hasn’t really been swayed by those events.
Now if you accused me of being on Liars’ dicks (or is that a collective dick?), I would admit guilt..Guilty as charged.
Everything is cooler in slow motion, so I figure that they sip lean and talk while the tracks are playing at regular speeds.
Could you imagine the crazy incentives that might entail? “If you donate a milli, Tupac and Biggie Smalls will perform a concert for you and your closest friends backed by Jam Master Jay via hologram.” I would definitely donate if I knew who the money was going to…
I like Kitty Pryde more with each subsequent interview she does. I hope that she keeps making music, and that her refreshing personality doesn’t change when the big dogs come calling. Awesome playlists from the both of ya; I haven’t heard My Boo (Classic!) or Gigolo (I’m still mad that Mariah Carey married Nick Cannon, though) in a while. Also, are you hinting that Azealia Banks is up next for the turntable interview? If so, I can’t wait.
You’re stretching like Gumby. Although I already voted for Ghost World, I would like to give an honorable mention to Sin City. If Robert Rodriguez does another Spy Kids film before A Dame to Kill For, you might read about me in the news. To get the full menacing effect of that line, read it again but this time, imagine that Yellow Bastard’s voice.