Thursday, August 20, 2009

Quick Hitters:: Trips & Falls, Little Silver Tabby and The Dodos

As much as we’d like to have more time, the blog world pays only slightly more than the bumming change on corners and washing windshields world and full time jobs and life gets in the way.

So, in an effort to talk about some acts we’ve been sleeping on far too long, we are going to do the Laveranues Coles notes version of a herohill review, hoping you will do the leg work on your own. That whole give you a fish or teach you how type deal.

Trips & Falls
This Montreal band emailed a while ago about a record – He Was Such a Quiet Boy – they recorded a while before that (2008). The tracks appear unassuming, letting you dictate the emotions and time you spend with them at first, but over time they begin to consume you.

I honestly don’t know what it is about these songs – Jacob’s voice? The eerie vibe that creeps into the mix? The harmonies? The interesting background clanks and textures? The quirky, fragmented change of pace they throw into How Do You Do? - but whatever that is, it grabs a hold of me like a vice grip.

Whenever youI find myself letting the songs play over and over again, equally confused and impressed with their tormented soul and unconventional beauty. Trips & Falls is working on a new record, and I for one am excited about the possibilities that implies.

MP3:: Trips & Falls - Breaking Up With My Mormon Missionaries

MP3:: Trips & Falls - How Do You Do...

Little Silver Tabby
Little Silver Tabby is another outfit out of the Steel city, but unlike some of the more experimental (Dark Mean for example), song writer Cedalou Torma prefers to work from more tried and true song writer influences.

His new EP - Weak Teen Magazine – is a collection of heavy guitar riffs and lyrics that actually mean something. I know that seems like an obvious concept, but for every artist claiming Elliott Smith as a hero, very few people care enough to spend hours penning verses that hit home with an audience or they forget that you need a melody to support your darkest thoughts.

There are moments on the record where Cedalou might sample too liberally from Smith’s back catalog (Empty Son for example), but there’s no doubt jams like Was Yew and Mouse show potential. Once he settles into his own style, I think Little Silver Tabby will deliver a record that will make some noise.

You can download the whole EP here.

MP3:: Little Silver Tabby - Was Yew

The Dodos
The one advantage of not really covering any American buzz bands is I can listen to a record like the new Dodos effort, Time to Die, and not get worked up in a tizzy about growth or changes in the band. I don't have to compare and contrast output and expectations, as I really had none for the release. I enjoyed Visiter - like almost everyone else in the world - but after a ton of listens, the songs got stale.

I don't think that will happen with Time to Die. The band doesn't meet the heights of the last record, but the clean sound, improved production and focus on melody make Time To Die an album that will hold up months down the road. I can see how you fans of Visiter might see the progression - and that's exactly what this record shows, progress - from more syncopated rhythms and energy to more melodic tracks as unsettling, but honestly, how many people would have wanted another record of the same songs and how long could that process be rewarding for two creative people like Meric and Logan?

Instead, the band added a new member and instrument (vibraphone) and despite that huge change, you can't find a review so far that isn't upset that the trio playing it safe or sounding too much like The Shins. I know in this post-Garden State world, that might be a bad thing for hipsters, but for me it makes The Dodos a band instead of an experimenting duo. You don't fixate the intense drumming or fragmented burst of energy (although the band delivers just that on Longform), and simply embrace the crisper, more accessible sounds. When you step back and realize the band, unlike the catch phrase associated to the sound, aren't trying to change your life, you might just realize that these 9-songs are just what summer drives need.

MP3:: The Dodos - Fables
LABEL:: Frenchkiss

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