Thursday, September 28, 2006

"But God I Like It"

There comes a point every other year or so, where I become convinced that I've pretty much heard all that I'm going to hear. Things begin to feel recycled or overplayed. It's at that point that I'll hear an album that reinvigorated my belief that music is boundless and that there's always new places to explore. It's kind of amazing when you think about it. As humans, we've been creating music for thousands of years and it's hard to believe that there's still anything to explore. But sure enough, bands are still finding new ground. A couple years ago, it was the Arcade Fire's Funeral. This year it's Return to Cookie Mountain from TV on the Radio, to whom I compared Arcade Fire in my recent ACL Fest writeup.

Stylistically, the two aren't that similar. TV on the Radio is much less straightforward and much more subtle. That said, both share that same combination of creativity, rhythm, and anger, captured nowhere better in Arcade Fire's "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)"

and TV on the Radio's "Wolf Like Me".

It's rare to find bands that can convey this kind of emotion without simply devolving into a melodramatic caricature of anger-bands.

"Wolf" is probably the most immediately accessible track on TVOTR's recent Return to Cookie Mountain. The album begins with what sounds like a broken hip-hop track in "I Was a Lover" in the same way that Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart" sounds like Rock and Roll falling apart. "I was a lover, before this war" is the first, and probably best line of the album. Followed by the ominous "Hours," the album is unpredictable even after listening to it multiple times.

Perhaps the highlight of the album creatively is "Dirtywheel," which AMG describes as a combination of "girls and hurricanes." The darkness and anger are most prevalent in "Blues From Down Here." The album concludes with an 8 minute barrage of noise in "Wash the Day," replete with anthemic lyrics and guttural shouts.

It's tough to imagine where TVOTR will go next, but it's just as well. Return to Cookie Mountain will take a while to fully digest. A

(p.s. If you haven't gotten enough "Wolf Like Me" here's an awesome live performance with decent sound and captures the energy this band puts out.


I have no idea who the girl is. Cat Power?

Anyway, I can't get enough of this song. Song of the year.)

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