Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Listening Too Long to One Song: The Rain - "Dry the Rain"

I love the rain. Perhaps the only thing I love more than the rain itself is waking up to it's undeniably comforting sound on the plastic roof that covers the modest porch that extends from our cozy apartment. If this happens on a day where I don't have to leave the house immediately after I wake up - a day where I can sit on my couch in my pajamas drinking coffee while reading or writing - then I will be about as happy as it is possible for me to ever be. It would make sense to say that my obsession with rain has developed through the course of ten years of living in Los Angeles. To be honest though, I've always been obsessed with the rain. As I noted in my recent post about the School's Let it Slip EP (certainly one of my favorite releases of the year) being outside in the rain has the ability to heighten any experience. Perhaps because the feeling of rain on your skin is so immediate, of course you can feel the sun, but not quite in the same way. Even if you are actively attempting to find shelter from heavy rainfall, chances are that you are more engaged in the process of running for shelter than you will be in most other moments of your life. To me, it's unbelievably exciting. By the same turn, if you find yourself inside while the heavy rainfall is lurking outside isn't it safe to say that you will never feel more safe, warm, or dry?

Given my sheer adoration for rain as weather, I find it extraordinarily odd that my favorite song of the moment is entitled, "Dry the Rain." The still relatively new indiepopedia resource is truly extraordinary in helping to speed along my process of discovering bands that I was likely just on the verge of discovering anyway. While looking at the band page on the site one day, I noticed that there was a band called the Rain, and of course I checked it out given my obsession with the weather that the band takes it's name from. Based on the lovingly crafted biography that was featured, and based on the strength of the "Watercress Girl" single included on the site's mp3 player, I immediately began to search for their records online. All I could find was a copy of the Medium Cool sampler, Edge of the Road, and since copies of this record are still relatively easy to find, and affordable, I purchased it immediately. Since that time I keep finding myself drawn back to that particular song, "Dry the Rain," the last song of side two of the record. It is also just around two minutes of sharply written, guitar pop perfection. You know, it's one of those songs with precisely the sort of rapid intro that jangles assuredly into life leaving you without any doubt that you are in for something exciting. The kind of song with confident, aesthetically pleasing vocals that are effective whether you are following the song's story or not though you will likely be far too busy dancing to pay close attention to the lyrics. Yet by the same token, the chorus is easy to memorize and sing along to, given that it consists only of the phrase dry the rain sung repeatedly with backing vocals echoing various aspects of the phrase. I have a genuine fondness for such immediate simplicity when it comes to the chorus of a pop song. Especially when it's executed with as much exuberance as it is here.

Unfortunately I can't find "Dry the Rain" anywhere online, but do be sure to visit the Clark Springs Myspace page. Clark Springs is the band that the Rain evolved into, and the page features songs from both Clark Springs, and the Rain. "Hi There 1968" being amongst the most notable. It's their fan-boy tribute to the Byrds, and it seems easily poised to be the next song that I am completely obsessed with.

Incidentally, as I am clearly very late in my discovery the sheer beauty of the Rain (the band that is) I have not surprisingly been unable to track down a copy of their one full length album To the Citadel. Is there anyone out there who might be able to help me out with this?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

As Long as They Gaze on Waterloo Sunset, They Are in Paradise...

I'll be back tomorrow with more of my standard over-obsessing about single pop songs, and/or bands either later tonight or tomorrow. For now, I would simply like to direct your attention to my friend Peter Hahndorf's recent set for my radio show on Peter is the founder of the ultimate indiepop database Tweenet, a site that I would be completely lost without the existence of. Needless to say it was a huge honor to have him put together a playlist for us at dublab.

It's a great session that features an expansive array of mostly new-ish indiepop groups. The songs are divided geographically to showcase a representation of the high concentration of exciting indiepop bands that exist in South East Asia, Australia, Japan, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K. His choices are fresh, and original, and it's certainly worth noting that the area with the most representation on this compilation is South East Asia. When this was recorded I was just beginning to notice how many good bands were appearing in the region. Peter then came along, and proved that I didn't even know the half of it. To be perfectly honest, I didn't even really know a quarter of it.

I strongly encourage you to head over here, and listen for yourself.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Worlds of Possibility

I saw Sea Lions as a full band on Saturday night. Write ups of their music on the internet seem to be scarce. This is likely only to do with the fact that they have yet to release their first single for the YAY! label. Once that happens, I expect to see much more. I'll be honest, I've never felt inclined to write much about the band before this weekend. I've always enjoyed what they did, and I always knew there was potential for something great, but I could never quite find the words to make their sound seem compelling to new listeners without resorting to the cliche of comparing them to a laundry list of other bands. Of course there are still comparisons to be made, you'll hear them, and you'll decide for yourself what they are. For me personally, I always felt that Sea Lions deserved far better than that. They were the first YAY! band that I had the occasion to witness a live show from after all. Last Saturday proved that I was absolutely right to hold out.

What I saw on Saturday night was a full band in the process of gelling as a cohesive unit. I arrived to what seemed like an endless set up period: the working out of technical difficulties concerning borrowed equipment, and the extended wait to see whether or not they would even be in possession of a guitar! When they finally began to play, I was greeted by a full blast of energetic fuzzy guitar pop. I also couldn't help but notice that Sea Lions masterminds Pat and Adrian have become quite good on their respective instruments. As I mentioned though, the full band itself is very much in the process of coming together as a cohesive unit. There was something so intriguing about watching that unfold in a live show. All of the thrill of watching a still somewhat shambling band, yet for-seeing the dynamic, unstoppable force that they are just on the verge of becoming.

Interestingly enough, my Google search for their Myspace page led me to this. The band that I saw on Saturday night, I would count in the great company of the new shamblers that were cited in that article - side note DO be sure to listen to Pens, trust me. I would really not be too surprised if the incarnation of Sea Lions that I saw on Saturday night eventually produced a single that could somewhat near (my personal favorite track to be mentioned in the article) "Truck, Train, Tractor."

You've seen the title of this blog, surely you must realize that my saying a band could potentially produce a single that nears the caliber of a classic Pastels track is the highest praise that I could ever give.

Listen to the track "Beautiful Day," on the YAY! label's Myspace page for some idea as to what I might be talking about.

Keep checking the label's Website for updates on when you will be able to purchase the band's first single.

Oh, and if you live in Southern California and are feeling adventurous this Saturday, drive to Oxnard in your pajamas! Details about this year's installment of the annual YAY! pajama party can be found here. Sea Lions are playing along with other such personal favorites as Catwalk, and the Tartans.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Identity. Crisis.

I remember reading either last year, or the year before that Matthew Caws of the band Nada Surf cited Rihanna's single "Umbrella," as one of his favorite songs of the year. He spoke of the sheer enjoyment he was able to experience in connecting with a pop culture phenomena that the majority of the population connects with. When I read this quote I had not yet heard the Rihanna single, but I knew exactly what he meant. It's tough sometimes, when you venture outside of your small community full of people that are able to converse about the songs, the films, the shows, or whatever it is that you and this small community truly, truly love. Sometimes instead of feeling as if you are in on some sort of wonderful, exclusive secret that the rest of the population will just (sigh) never quite get, or attempting fruitlessly to turn that segment of the population on to your greatest pop culture treasure, it's actually a bit of a relief to meet them exactly where they are. Especially when it comes to music. I honestly believe that the majority of top forty music that we are faced with today is more disposable than ever, which is why I tend to pay so little attention to it. Perhaps it is because of that very thing that gives anyone who could be described as something of a music snob the potential to become so insanely excited over a silly pop single that will be replaced by the majority of the music listening public within a few weeks or months by something that's just as catchy if not as good.

No one asks to be a snob, but falling so in love pop music that it takes precedent over every other area of your life kind of leaves you no choice. So when you come closer to what the rest of the public enjoys it can almost feel like a meeting of the minds has been achieved. You feel a bit more in step with the world at large whose enjoyment of pop music usually takes a back seat to other (likely more socially desirable) things. You also have the pleasure of realizing that some very exuberant/well written/well produced pop still exists in the mainstream.

There is a big debate amongst music journalists and music fans over mindsets described as rockism, anti- rockism, anti-anti-rockism, popism, and/or (my personal favorite) poptimism. I'll link to some of my favorite articles on the subject below, but if you google any of those terms you could easily find enough reading material to last you for days. As each of the terms are so filled with contradiction that they lead there readers into further confusion and/or guilt over what you may genuinely like, or dislike. I struggle every day with wanting keep an open mind regarding music, and yet falling deeper into a pattern of indiepop specialism. And why shouldn't I? It is, after all, the sound that I prefer to any other sound. Of course, on the other hand, I'm too busy trying to put it all into context tracing it from Motown to Punk to surrounding elements of Post Punk, and then holding it against it's concurrent genres like Hardcore, Riot Grrrl, Indie Rock, and even current poptimist favorites like Britney, Beyonce and Rihanna. I'm so intrigued by where my first love (indiepop) fits in with my second love (the dissection of all other forms of pop music) that I have missed so many of the finer points of my first love. I'm not too worried about the rest of the pieces of my indiepop puzzle falling into place though. In fact I think that learning and absorbing these bands, and songs slowly over time will probably produce the most satisfying effect for me anyway. And, of course, I will never be able to stop myself from putting things into context no matter how hard I might try.

Of course, in the midst of all of the dissection, and debates we tend to forget what is ultimately so exciting about pop music in general. When it is at it's best, it should be able to transcend any sense of genre loyalty/specialty. It should grab you by the lapels and force you to enjoy the two to three minutes that it has you for more than you will ever enjoy any other two to three minutes of you life. That is, until the next amazing song comes along, and makes you feel that way all over again. You'll move closer to the rest of the world, and hope and pray for some instance to move the rest of the world closer to you. And then maybe we could dance?

Further (far more well researched, and insightful) Reading:

The New York Times article that famously sparked so much of this debate.

Seattle Weekly Article attempting to narrowly define Rockism as a means to perhaps learn how to counter it.

Slate article fantastically titled: "Does Hating Rock Make You a Music Critic?"
This is a nice musing on the subject that i found on a message board. I think that I remember originally reading it in Spin a few years ago.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Listening Too Long to One Song: The School "Let it Slip"

Just as us citizens of Los Angeles were beginning to resign ourselves to a year with no winter, something magical happened. Last week the temperature dropped about 20 degrees, and it began to rain. It began to rain with an intensity that most of us seem to have forgotten could exist. The general rule that I find with Los Angelinos is that we love the rain because we see so little of it here. When it does pay us it's ever elusive visits, it washes our cars, clears away the smog, and it just seems to render our collective senses heightened. It's no wonder then that I officially fell in love with the School's song "Let it Slip" while running through a torrential downpour.

I'd had their Let it Slip E.P. in my possession for months. I'd listened to it, and even played a different song from it on my radio show, but this time the opening title track became something of an addiction. I think because every instrument shimmers, and pops and fills up every inch of space that the song inhabits. Listening to this song in the presence of a lovely grey backdrop, as water pours steadily from the sky will tend to make everything else around you seem brighter. Something as simple as a street sign coming into sharp focus as you run down a hill in search of shelter can seem impossibly beautiful. In other words, since songs that are as exuberant as this one tend to come along almost as infrequently as rain in Los Angeles, the combination of the two has the the ability to make the listener feel very, very alive. Of course the song is strong enough to give off the same life affirming effect with or without the presence of rain.

The story of the song is simple: a girl suspects that the boy she is seeing is in love with someone else, and she is imploring him to let the information slip for her own peace of mind. The music is a modern take on the Phil Spector version of the girl group sound. Though their girl group update is not filtered through, and distressed by the noisier elements of punk rock the way that of my beloved Vivian Girls, and Lichtenstein is. Theirs manages to be modern, and confidently produced in a way that could almost make you forget that the styles of punk or indie even exist, even though you are quite aware that the ideas behind those styles are tucked neatly away somewhere in the background.

However, any similarities that you might find in this song to that of any other song are completely irrelevant. It's a perfect single that is bursting with pure joy. The type of single that (were there any justice in the world) should be a giant hit, and inspire an exorbitant amount of singing very very loudly into hairbrushes all across the world. Much like the aftermath of rainfall in Los Angeles, this song will heighten every one of your senses. And don't we far too often forget how much we need for our senses to be heightened from time time?

Watch the video for "Let it Slip" here:

You can order a copy of the School's Let it Slip E.P. with a quick search here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Little Flashes of Yesterday

I saw Vivian Girls this past Sunday. During the set, I was wondering what things would be like for me if I could build a time machine to go back to Scotland in nineteen eighty-four, and see the Shop Assistants. Of course, while I was there I would try to take in at least one Pastels show, and maybe even see if I could manage to wait around a few years so that I could catch Talulah Gosh, and well I could ratle of bands that I wish I'd been able to see in the eighties for hours. That's not really the point though.

I like Vivian Girls, a lot. Of course, I must like them, they play what is likely (were I absolutely forced to choose) my favorite style of music: Noisy, punky pop music that owes a huge debt (yet always manages to be an update on) 60s girl group sounds. Yet still, I left their show the same way I left their album - wanting something more from them. They can't really give any more though. They have their version of what it is that they are doing down to a science, and their ideas are executed perfectly in their lovely, minimalist glory.

So perhaps instead of wasting my mental energy willing a break in the space time continuum, I should instead focus on saving money so that I could travel to Europe to see Liechtenstein. Lichtenstein are a Swedish band who seem to have similar ideas and influences as those of Vivian Girls, yet they are able to give me that elusive something more that Vivian Girls (by their very nature) cannot.

It's not really a fair comparison I suppose. Of course, based on my personal tastes I am more inclined to like a band who takes this clever girl group update idea more in the indiepop direction than in the punk direction. I suppose it's just fascinating to me that with so many music fans, and music writers going crazy over Vivian Girls - if this is a style of music that people are suddenly enthusiastic about - why aren't more people in general going crazy over Liechtenstein?

Watch recent videos from both bands, and formulate your own theories...

You can order Vivian Girls' self titled full length

and both 7"s from Liechtenstein here

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


... It's something that I, in so many ways, lack severely. Except in this one way, I have the ambition to one day posses a level of ambition that far exceeds the one that I posses currently. Of course, given my (natural) lack of ambition, this often tends to lead me... not very far.

That being said, when I encounter people in my life that posses REAL ambition, I find myself completely in awe of them. Last night I received this link via a hurried chat message. Since I was just determining whether or not I should brave the (inevitable) two to three hipsters that would be populating my street at that time of the night by running out to my car (while dressed in fleece pajamas) to get the book that I was planning to start - this message caught me far more off guard than it would have ordinarily. Once I realized what exactly it was, and that I was being asked to contribute, I was naturally thrilled.

So now, here I am asking YOU to contribute. I spent the greater part of my morning reading about the history of the punk rock movement, but this is just as exciting. Even more so, because we get to be a part of it! Visit indiepopedia; read, write, discuss, learn, and well... enjoy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You're So Semi-Precious About Life

El Records is one of those subjects, like Felt, that I would actually have to live inside of before I could ever find something substantial to write about them. That being said, I discovered a band today that reminds me very much of El Records.

I had been listening this band Testbild! for about two minutes, thinking that they sounded like they could have been an El Records band - elegant pop experimentalism, jazzy chord progressions, and all manner of other such wonderful things - when my friend who alerted them to my attention came back to our chat message and said something to the effect of, "Yeah, it's quite experimental, El Records type stuff." Their new album looks as though it will be called Aquatint, and that it should be available to purchase any month, week, or even day now! I find it difficult to stop listening to their cover of The Hepburns' song, "My Brother the Submariner." The original is a song that I have loved greatly in the past, and their version stands up quite nicely. I very much enjoy what they've done with the ending.

When you click the above link to the Hepburns' myspace page do be sure to listen to their collaboration with Testbild! entitled "Blurry." Testbild! also deserve a huge personal, "thank you" from me for bringing the Hepburns back to the forefront of my mind, and for the fact that The Magic of the Hepburns will be spinning around on my turntable tonight...

Oh, and for your reading pleasure, here are some words about El records explained by it's mastermind Mike Alway.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It is Tuesday, November 4th, 2008. A few hours ago, I voted in what may end up being the most important United States presidential election of our collective lifetimes. All I want to do is turn on MSNBC, and not divert my attention from it until we have a new president. Yet...I...can't. As high as my hopes are for the nation there is a part of me that just can't bear to look, at least not yet.

One of the good things about participating in a dance club night with friends who have better records than you do, is that sometimes those friends will fail to remember which record belongs in which record bag. Sometimes when this happens you will find, after the fact, that you've had a copy of The June Brides, This Town EP in your record bag for about a week without realizing that it was there. I know who it belongs to, and she will have it back in her possession tonight, but for the time being I thought that this record might provide a brief moment of escape. A safe world that exists in a standstill somewhere between 1985, and 2008. Of course I should have known better, June Brides songs consistently brim with wit, excitement, and frustration. If they are not political, though some surely are, they can be easily applied to most any political situation.

The second song on the b-side to the EP, "Just the Same." was there to greet me with this opening line:

"Left it til tomorrow, tomorrow came to soon. And I meant to be up early, I slept all afternoon. So much to do, nothing to lose, I must do better this time..."

I'm hoping that we do better this time...

All of the songs from the June Brides' This Town EP are available on the compilation Every Conversation: The Story of the June Brides & Phil Wilson. You can find a copy here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All You'd Ever Need to Know

Isolation is a tricky feeling to capture with a pop song perhaps because by the act of making a pop song you are willfully inviting other people into a certain aspect of your personal space. You may be writing about a song to say that surely no one, nowhere, has ever felt any more alone than you. Yet from the moment that that song was distributed, you have made a conscious decision to make a slight connection to another person. Even if the listener is experiencing the song in an empty room, and thinking that no one, nowhere has ever felt more alone than them.

Up All Night
, the new album from Toronto based band The Airfields captures a very subtle sense of isolation that comes from a feeling of not really being isolated at all. Very few of these songs are about feeling like the loneliest person in the world, but rather the near misses that far to often occur when you reach outside of your safety zone to make a connection with another person. The song opens with the cleverly fatalistic, "Prisoners of Our Love." "Oh, fly away," the narrator sings, "You'll be back, we'll remain, prisoners of... prisoners of... prisoners of our love." These oddly reassuring words are sung over an easy, resolved jangle that is promptly obliterated by the next track, "Never See You Smile."

In a way, you could almost compare the way this album unfolds to the way that a first conversation might unfold, the opener is friendly, relaxed, and clever. However, once you realize that the respective guard of each party may have been let down too much too early on, you present something a bit noisier to help recreate a bit of the distance that has been lost. Unexpected outros are included throughout the album to the fascinating effect of keeping the listener wholly engaged without allowing them to be absorbed by it. Kind of like the inevitable awkward pauses of a first conversation.

"Icing, sugar," may be the best example of this, as isolating either the intro (though the song does reveal itself to be built around this very intricate intro,) or the outro could never prepare someone for the song that they encase. "I wait for you, I always do..." begins the lyric. I can't quite determine whether the song is about a failed relationship, or a relationship that was never able to get off of the ground. I suppose that you could consider the two things different versions of the same feeling. The longing for what could have been vs. the reality of what was lost. "Your headphones and songs how they push you along your lonely life, how I hope they give all you'd ever need to know," is the final message that the narrator chooses to send to the one he loves, or perhaps it's directed at himself, or both of them. Of course a pop song could never give you all you'd ever need to know, not even close. The narrator of the song is surely aware of this fact, but he also must be aware that for some people it's the only thing that they have the ability to know.

The recording quality throughout the entire album helps to add to this sense of distance, and subtle isolation with it's extended dreamy echo. And, ultimately, isn't that the best way to establish yourself in any kind of conversation?" Leaving most everyone that you meet wishing that they could know so much more.

You can pick up a copy of Up All Night by the Airfields through Humblebee Recordings, here, or you can download it from itunes.

Friday, October 17, 2008

But No Matter How Fast We Go...

On a Monday night not too long ago, I found myself in the company of a few like minded (i.e. indiepop obsessed) friends chatting about records. When talk turned to YAY! Records, as these conversations so often do, it took virtually no time for all of us to begin marveling over just how good the most recent Catwalk single is. "It gives you something new with every listen," remarked one friend, "That last song especially..."

Oddly enough, I had been meaning to go back and listen to that single again. It received many spins on my turntable when I acquired it earlier this summer. Several times I sat down to write something about back then, but I could just never quite get my head around any way to write about this single that would do it proper justice. After the conversation that I took part in on Monday, I realized that I really wanted to try again.

I think this recent interview with Catwalk mastermind Nick Hessler helped to crystallize for me why it is that Catwalk produce such good singles that are so difficult for me to get my head around. Hessler doesn't consider Catwalk to be an "indiepop" band. They are, rather, just a band who happen to use a pop template to create their songs, and they happen to have so far only released records for an indiepop label. Therefore if they happen to produce songs that bear any resemblance to bands that came before them, it's simply because they are using the same recording processes as those bands, and probably share some of those bands' ideas about what constitutes a good pop song.

My friend was absolutely right, of course, the highlight here is the last song of the b side, "I Can't Believe." Yet, it's the a side, "Past Afar," that is really getting under my skin today. Perhaps it's the fact that I spent so much time with the b side this summer that the a side feels like a bit of an unearthed treasure? Perhaps it is the fact that it's one of those songs whose intro, and through line makes you feel like you should be driving while listening to it? Perhaps it's the fact that song is actually about driving fast to escape something vague? Perhaps it's the fact that listening to the song makes the listener feel like they escape the mundaneness of their own life? Perhaps it's the fact that this particular listener has also been repeating the Honeybunch song "Walking Into Walls," quite a bit lately - whose lyrics describe exactly how she feels about everything at the moment, but offer nothing in the way of escape, just reassurance that she is not alone in feeling that way? Perhaps it is all of these things for me, but really it has everything to do with the fact that all three songs on this 7" are just great songs. They need not be analyzed, and/or compared with other songs. They simply need to be enjoyed.

You can still pick up a copy of Catwalk's "Past Afar" 7" directly from the YAY! records shop.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Disappointment's Noble When it's Someone Else's Life

Very few words send up as many warning flares for me as the ones "eight-piece," and "orchestral." That's not to say that I will outrightly dismiss any band with a large number of members who employ strings (other than guitars,) horns, and woodwind instruments in their songs. It's quite the opposite actually. When those elements are employed properly they have the potential to create absolutely stunning music. I just feel that they are far too often abused, taken too far, and the result is often emotionally manipulative.

Glasgow's Butcher Boy, just saw their album Profit in Your Poetry have a domestic release this past Tuesday, October 7th. This record manages to walk the entire length of a tightrope between over the top orchestration, and genuinely effective beauty with out so much as dipping one toe over to the dangerous side. Not being a musician myself I am baffled by people that are able to achieve this balance so well. If I had to guess I would say that every note of instrumentation seems to be in place to serve the song that is at hand. No one is showing off. It also helps that the lyrics are razor sharp (and yes quite poetic) observations, and they are delivered in a tossed aside manner by front man John Blain Hunt. Since the lyrics are so sharp they need no vocal embellishment, and it's a brilliant contrast to the often borderline epic-ness of the music.

The record opens with the careful build of strings and drums into the line "I'm screaming in my sleep, I'm tired of the cool content of irony..." It's not delivered as a call to action, instead he voices his annoyance with the fact that this is disturbing his dreams. Later in the song he asserts, "I don't want any trouble, I just want to find a way home." I've considered the theme of escape in pop songs to be an important one lately. I think that it is safe to say that at some point in all of our lives it's likely that we've wanted to escape from or to something. The ability to convey this feeling in a thoughtful manner is a skill that far too few song writers possess.

I would consider title track to be the album's highlight. The intro vaguely recalls a darker version of American surf rock, not distorted, just dark. Lines such as "Your eyes reflect in my eyes," greatly benefit from the aforementioned tossed aside delivery. The song itself is likely about some facet of interpersonal relationships that I will never understand, but it moves with a well constructed sense of urgency that alerts the listener to the fact that something important is happening within the context of the song. It's also fortunate enough to know that it doesn't have to beat you over the head with what exactly is happening, and what you as the listener are supposed to feel.

Another note-worthy element of this album is the cleverness of the song placement. The most radio friendly track, "I Know Who You Could Be" is proceeded by the record's most dance-able number, "Girls Make Me Sick," and followed by the bleak resignation of "Fun." In the former the narrator details a lonely afternoon of sketching, and how that afternoon turns to evening color by color. The following morning when his lover shows up, he thinks about "How I look through bluer eyes than mine." Then on "Fun" he notes that the person in bed next to him, "Smells like places I've not been, but that's o.k. I wouldn't want it any other way." He also talks of being "Blinded by the times when we were fun." Perhaps this is in reference to the same person from earlier songs? Who knows? Well, surely the author knows, but he is kind enough to let the listener use their imagination.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about this record over all is it's ability to explore these largely familiar themes, highlight them with familiar elements of orchestration, and come across as being just as necessary as any other band or record that it might recall. I'm not quite sure how this is achieved so successfully, but I'll chose not to question that. Poetry that is as good as this is better left a mystery.

Available through the How Does it Feel to be Loved? label, and (hopefully) any good independent record store.