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Posts Tagged ‘elephant 6

Review of The Gay Parade (1999)

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Score = B+

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. “I ain’t gonna listen to no faggot gay parade!” But honestly, this is a pretty good album, especially for kids (yes, seriously). And it’s not gay as in homosexual. It’s just a HAPPY parade. I’m not sure why the band, Of Montreal, decided to call their album The Gay Parade though. I mean, obviously a lot of people are going to get the wrong idea. I think, perhaps, that their intention was to keep ignorant rednecks and similar types from listening; but then again, I think they’ve got that covered just by being Of Montreal. Or maybe they chose the title, because the word “gay” (in the sense of happiness) carries a certain connotation that the word “happy” just doesn’t quite convey. Whatever the reason, please just look past it. I know you don’t want to go running to your friends to tell them all about the awesome gay parade, so if nothing else just at least listen and keep it to yourself.

This is quite possibly – no – quite CERTAINLY the most upbeat album I have ever heard. When you listen to the album, you’ll probably think “This really is a gay parade!” The music consists of gleeful piano progressions and happy guitar rhythms. It really seems quite simple compared to some other Elephant 6 albums.

Many of the songs feature lyrics based around the story of a fictional character’s life. “Jaques Lamure” is a ballad about a volunteer fireman that faces a heartbreak and subsequently leaves his hometown forever – and he’s better off for it. “The Autobiographical Grandpa” is about an old man and his daily routine. “My Favorite Boxer” is about a guy who looks up to and finally meets his favorite boxer, Hector Ormano. These three are just a few of the stories based upon the lives of fictional characters found on this album. Other songs feature lyrics on a broad range of topics; however, the clear lyrical theme of this album is that of daily life and all of the loneliness and normality that ensue. “My Friend will be Me” stands out to me as a particularly powerful song lyrically (and musically). Even though many songs on The Gay Parade cover topics such as loneliness and feelings of inadequacy, it all still sounds very upbeat and celebratory. That’s what this album is – a celebration of normal every day life.

This is “My Friend will be Me.” Whoever uploaded it named it incorrectly.

The Gay Parade is very clean, as in there is no cursing or controversial lyrics. The lyrical cleanliness coupled with the fact that the music is so happy sounding makes this a terrific album for children. Sure, it’s called The Gay Parade, but I highly recommend that any parents reading this right now buy a copy of this album for their young kids to listen to. You might want to burn it onto a blank cd and sharpie on a new title though, Something like The Creed of Satan: Volume 666 should be appropriate enough.

Now let me summarize:

  • Of Montreal’s 1999 album, The Gay Parade is an extremely upbeat celebration of everyday normal life.
  • The lyrical content is great and unique. I can’t think of another album like it.
  • No curse words and a lack of controversy make this a great album for little kids to listen to.

NOTE: It was difficult to find the songs I wanted on youtube, so I just posted some songs from the album that I could actually find.

Written by danielperry99

January 27, 2011 at 4:32 am

Review of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (1998)

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Score – B+

Neutral Milk Hotel are weird. It’s like Jeff Magnum was trying to make an album combining stereotypes of old-timey instrumental music and new-age lo-fi pop-rock. Well, whether or not he was trying to do that, that’s what it sounds like. In The Aeroplane Over the Sea grew on me after a few listens; I didn’t like it much at all at first. This album is very interesting. I don’t quite know what to think of it. Right now, I’m thinking it’s a bit overrated (Pitchfork gave it a 10), but it seems like one of those albums that might contain a hidden genius that sneaks up on you.

The album starts with a couple of songs called “King of Carrot Flowers pt 1” and then “King of Carrot Flowers pts 2 & 3” (that’s one song). Jeff Magnum jumps straight into it on KoCF part 1 by singing a bunch of nonsense that certainly doesn’t mean much to anyone but himself. This style of unorganized inner-thought lyrics persists throughout the entire album. Also, this is just a side-note, but Magnum sings about semen way too often; the word “semen” appears in at least 2 songs – ridiculous. Magnum’s straining voice gets a little bit of additional grit thanks to the lo-fi recording process. I didn’t like the vocals much at first; in fact, the vocals were my main beef with the album. After my last few listens, I came to appreciate them a more. Magnum does sound like he’s forcing it at times, but there are a couple instances on In The Aeroplane Over the Sea where the vocals stand out. On “King of Carrot Flowers pts 2 & 3,” Magnum’s incessant belting out of “I love you Jesus Christ” is odd yet uncannily aesthetic. In the last bit of “Oh Comely” Magnum uses his voice as an extra horn for the ensemble. It sounds cool as hell.

The music itself is rather interesting. It combines old timey r&b with punk. It comes off as mostly a folk album though. The instrumental song “The Fool” stands out to me as by far the best song on the album. It’s a rare number with an amount of soul that you just don’t hear too often these days.

I can’t understand why so many people claim that this is the best album of the entire Elephant 6 collective discography. It doesn’t touch anything by Olivia Tremor Control, but it is good enough to be worth a listen.

Summarized:

  • In The Aeroplane Over the Sea is an extremely highly acclaimed indie album with an interesting sound.
  • It’s overrated, but still pretty good
  • The music is a lo-fi production combining elements of folk, punk, and genres so old I don’t know what to call them.

Written by danielperry99

January 19, 2011 at 4:42 am

Review of Music from the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle

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I had never heard of this album, or even the band that recorded it until about a week ago when I was looking online for some unfamiliar music to listen to. I stumbled upon Olivia Tremor Control’s Music from the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle (henceforth referred to as DaCC) while scrolling through Pitchfork.com’s top albums of the 1990’s list. I like Pitchfork’s music lists because they always throw in some indie shit I’ve never heard of before (even though a lot of the time their indie favorites suck). DaCC had a solid ranking in 39th place , so I decided to do a youtube search to hear a couple songs. The first song I clicked on was “Jumping Fences,” and all I can say is…well just listen to this shit.

I loved the song immediately. It contains absolutely no typical 90’s sounds or stereotypes, sounding rather like it must have been recorded in the 60’s. The vocal style, and even the lyrics being sung, are delightfully Beatles-ish in a way that is obviously inspired rather than bitten. Actually, it would probably be more accurate to say that the band’s similarities to the Beatles result simply from Olivia Tremor Control drawing inspiration from the same acts that inspired the Beatles. After listening to “Jumping Fences” 3 or 4 times I decided to check out a few more songs, and every other DaCC song I could find on youtube was just as good as “Jumping Fences.” It was getting near dusk at this point, so I figured it would be a good time for me to  pay a visit to Cubist Castle myself (this is my way of saying I downloaded the album). By now I’ve listened to this album in its entirety 10+ times, and I’m still not done. This is a great GREAT album. But I digress; let me tell you more about it.

This album is made up of two different things pretty much: pop music and electronic soundscapes. First, I’ll talk about the pop songs. All of the pop songs on this album are nearly perfectly constructed. Most of them go like this: starts with a verse-> goes into a great hook-> transitions into another great hook-> then to yet ANOTHER mind infesting hook. I don’t know if ‘hook’ is really the right word, but when I say ‘hook’ I’m talking about any super galactic awesome catchy part of a song. So basically, the main thing I want ya’ll to understand about the pop songs on DaCC: they are catchy as fuck. No that’s not strong enough. These songs are as catchy as songs can be. They are catchy like a net. Catchy like hands with extra fingers.  Catchy like a well set trap. I know I’m not the best simile builder, but I think you get what I’m trying to say: the pop songs on DaCC are the catchiest pop songs in the world. Seriously, I’m not even trying to be dramatic here, but only the Beatles could compare to this level of pop-rock expertise. But ok, that’s enough of that. Let me tell you about the soundscapes.

If the pop songs are the meat of the album, the ambient soundscapes are the forks. Sure, the album could still be great with just the pop songs, but it would be messy as hell. For their electronic soundscape portions of the album, Olivia Tremor Control found a perfect balance somewhere between “Revolution 9” and <insert Pink Floyd ambient track here>. I can’t find any examples to embed, because apparently people don’t upload the ambient electronic tracks from DaCC to youtube. So the best I can describe these tracks is to say that they consist of atmospheric sounds like birds chirping, dogs barking, or people talking; kind of like in “Revolution 9” but not scary. Then on top of the atmosphere there will be some electronic buzzing or blooping or scazzinging persisting unabashedly. Yeah, you’ll just have to check it out for yourself to know what I mean, but they do a good job of making you feel like you really are at Cubist Castle.

So here’s a recap of what we’ve learned:

  • Olivia Tremor Control’s Music from the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle is a terrific album, way behind it’s time. It sounds like it was made in the 60’s but was really recorded in 1993-1996.
  • Out of a total 1 hour and 15 minutes (exactly), there’s about 50 minutes of dreamy catchy pop music and about  25 minutes of electronic ambient soundscapes. These are just my rough guesstimates btw.
  • The pop on the album is some of the best pop music I’ve ever heard.
  • The ambient/electronic tracks are interspersed perfectly with the pop songs.
  • I recommend you get this album as soon as you’re done reading this. It is truly super galactic awesome quality.

So take a hit of lsd, eat some shrooms, or just stay sober, and don’t hesitate to cross the treacherous drawbridge into Cubist Castle.