Thursday, June 30, 2005

A special Canada Day Musical Audit of Non-Canadian Music

1. Wouldn't It Be Nice - Beach Boys
This is one of those perfect pop songs. It kind of depresses me, though. Brian Wilson laments about the suckitude of being young and having no privacy and curfews and everything. Well, what if you have everything Brian pined for and it weren't nice? I'm not merry and therefore not happy. Fuck you and your desire to embitter my life! 10/10

2. Black and White Town - Doves
Pretty poppy stuff from Doves. Interestingly enough, one of the more Beach Boys-influenced Doves songs. Good drum beat and fuzzy bass. The video is just this weird collection of photography of the mundane. The talking part in the middle doesn't really work, but the chorus has kick ass hooks. And though I dont' understand the lyrics, I think it's some depressing statement about modern life in modern cities, and therefore an upbeat sounding bummer, which I like. A pretty worthy single from Some Cities. 8.5/10

3. 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong - Mogwai
I don't really know Mogwai, but if this is what Mogwai normally sounds like, they would be my favourite band in the world. This is a near-perfect song and validates the short-lived experiment that was post-rock. The simple guitar motif is introduced at the beginning and serves as a perfect scaffold for other instruments and melodies to come in and out endlessly through the 9:31 duration. The highlight is the contrapuntal synthy horn that announces a triumphant statement. Later in the song, it fades into an electronicy vocal discussion. The only purpose of this apparently is to make me miss the earlier part of the song, which is what makes me relisten to the song time and time again. 10/10

4. Heroes and Villains Part II - Beach Boys (bootleg)
It's always strange listening to a brilliant song that never actually existed. In the final incarnation of SMiLE, this song is reduced to an afterthought of Our Prayer called Gee. It's one of the more psychedelic songs on the original SMiLE, with the Beach Boys indulging in voice play including a comment about 'Swedish Meatballs'. The bootleg snips some disparate material together to make the track sound cohesive, but it clearly was not a finished song. It is a nice conclusion to the Heroes and Villains epic. 8.5/10

5. 1st Instant / Last Report - Earlimart
A good driving song with a sadness of yearning lingering about it. If you only heard this song as a protoype of all Earlimart, you would be convinced that their mission in life is to please Grandaddy. Nice Elephant Six-y la la la near the end. 8/10

6. In The Sun - Blake Hazard
This is a lovely hazy song. Blake Hazard nicely shows off her singing chops and guitar skills. The beautiful music is only ruined by her whiny lyrics about how she is going to be loved. This song probably proves that she and her producer listen to a lot of Aimee Mann and Mazzy Star. 7.5/10

7. Blazing Arrow - Blackalicious
This song made absolutely zero sense to me until I listened to . The rapping is inspired, funny, and alliterative. If every hip hop song were this good, I would give up on rock. 9/10

8. Fun Loving Nun - Of Montreal
This is a most theatrical absurd song. Musically, it combines organ and kiddie choruses in a most interesting way. But the psychedelia is more similar to Dukes of Stratosphear than true 60s innovation. It's a short song, and that makes it bearable enough in the end. 7.5/10

9. A New Day - Olivia Tremor Control (live performance)
I think Bill Doss must have written this as a precursor to his music with A Sunshine Fix. The psychedelia here is forced and doesn't sound great in the recording. When OTC chooses to actually sing a chorus rather that make monkey sounds, it really isn't a bad song hidden in there, but why suffer through the rest? I give this my lowest score. 6/10

10. Wonderful (backing track) - Beach Boys (bootleg)
I belive Brain Wilson plays the harpsichord here in the most haunting melody from the old SMiLE sessions. The instruments are fragile and expressive. The best part is the vocal interplays in the background that are so well revealed without the main melodic singing line. Perhaps the finest yodeling the Beach Boys ever did. A small editing artefact of the bootleg takes you out of the song for just a brief second, but coming out of the trance is harsh. It is the only imperfection. 9.9/10