Saturday, February 25, 2017

Song of the day

"Postcard #17", by Jens Lekman.

Jens Lekman is rock'n'roll's premier empiricist poet. He observes, he takes notes, he constructs: not theses, but vignettes. Or maybe we could call him an investigative journalist of the heart.

Like all poets [full disclosure: I know no poets; but you know what they say], he has in recent years, I suspect, had his share of  introspection and its consequences (he spent 2015 writing and recording a song a week to see if he could even still write songs; of course he could, but it's easy for an outside observer to say that); so it's nice to see on his new album, "Life Will See You Now", a return of his earlier confidence (see for example our old favourite, "You Are The Light"). The production on some songs might be slightly more professional-sounding (thanks, maybe, to co-producer Ewan Pearson), and I am having early adjustment issues in relation to the rock-band-style sound of the rhythm section on some songs (I'm sure that will pass), but it's just really, really nice to be have this album in my life right now.

 "Postcard #17" began life as one of those 2015 songs; the version on the album is virtually identical, but for the slightly buffed-up sound. I wonder if some of his time living in Melbourne might have rubbed off on this song. Every time I listen to it, I have an almost overwhelming sense of: a single-fronted weatherboard house in, say, Northcote or North Fitzroy; the late-afternoon light slowly fading through the trees; a fireplace; a cup of tea; a kitten. That piano line is, as the song says, "fucking ridiculous". It's that kind of song.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Song of the day

"No Trace", by The Bats.

It is, of course, entirely coincidental that the very same week in which the United States inaugurated an Administration that is demonstrably bat-shit crazy, The Bats (you see what I did there) released a new album into the wild. The comfort provided by the latter has acted as a necessary counterbalance to the anguish dredged up by the former. It should be required listening.

"No Trace", as far as I can gather, was the second song to appear before the album was released (we used to call this "the second single", back when times were simpler and the position of President of the United States carried with it prestige, decorum, and even a modicum of civic responsibility; heck, how long until us old-timers start to feel nostalgic for George W Bush?). It is, simply put, another in a long line of classic Bats songs. It sounds simple enough, but the closer you listen, the more layers of guitars you can pick out. It is an impressive sleight-of-hand that nowhere do they collapse on top of each other; nowhere does it sound like Too Much Guitars.

It's been six years since their previous album. Here's hoping the planet hasn't been destroyed by madmen before they get a chance to make another one.