Day 153: YACHT – See Mystery Lights

31 Jul

Psychic City

I was called out in the comment section of yesterday’s Foxy Shazam post.  Essentially, I was brutally attacked because of the double standards that I place on the music that I listen to.  I sometimes dislike music for having “perfect vocals,” while I’ll let some with this quality slide right past my critical eagle eyes.  What do I have to say to this, as well as to my dissenters, you may ask?

Haters gon hate.

Now, as for the reason that this blog exists: a seventeen-year-old wanted to do something with his love of music, and may have gotten himself in a bit over his head.  Not willing to back down, he types the first thing that comes into his head while listening to these records, with no regard for anything else that he’s ever written.

See, he’s willing to use stuff like this to take up half of a post.

Anyway.  YACHT.

Indie bands are (slowly) moving away from the guitar-dominated rock sound that they’ve had since lord knows when.  Some purists say nay to this movement, but I say bring it on.  Sure, (looking back on my initial dislike of LCD Soundsystem) I don’t always love this new type of music, but it takes a fairly special or well-done rock album these days for me not to be bored.

When this new music is good, it can be really interesting.  So far, we’ve got groups like tUnE-yArDs, Baths, and now YACHT.  All three of these acts would have sounded extremely out of place ten years ago in the garage rock dominated scene, but they’re finding themselves accepted today.

This record is completely electronic; even samples of recognizable instruments are fairly limited.  It’s got a unique sound, and it’s fairly hard to describe, so the blanket statement of “electronic” is going to have to work. Deal wit it.

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6 Responses to “Day 153: YACHT – See Mystery Lights”

  1. Yuanny Dollar August 1, 2011 at 4:19 am #

    “Brutally attacked”? C’mon Swole Ear. If you want to be a critic, you’re going to need a thicker skin. What you did to Lynyrd Skynyrd was a brutal attack (and totally misguided). What Chops did to you was to point out some inconsistency and ask for a little introspection. That isn’t “hate” and it is something that we all need to undertake once in a while. The fact that you reference LCD Soundsystem in your Yacht review shows that these things are worth thinking about.

    Now, as to Chops important question: Why The Hold Steady, even as they try to sound like the E Street Band, is so much better — at least two reasons. Craig Finn is a more consistently authentic songwriter. Springsteen writes some great songs, but he also writes some real dogs, and he seems unable to distinguish between the good and the epically lousy. Second, and I’ve said it before when discussing Nebraska, Clarence Clemmons (may he rest in peace), was lame as a soloist. In the backgound, okay. Given a little fill every now and then, pretty good. But when the “Boss” lets Clarence cut loose on one of the “Boss'” cliche’ songs, things go downhill fast.

  2. David Chops August 1, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    Gee and here I was trying to be all constructive and shit.

    SE we ALL find out that we like stuff we thought that we would never like – or learn to like stuff that we once hated. It is normal. As you go on your 365 day voyage to boldly listen to 365 CDs you never heard before (for which I commend you) your tastes and views will hopefully evolve and your little blog here will help you to see that. I know what balancing Carleton with just about anything else is like. Did it for 4 years. Now that you are back home and have possibly a little more time, I would be personnally pleased to see less liked this, hated this and attempts to associate the music with something ending in “wave”. But it is your blog and it is supposed to be fun so don’t let the rantings of a grouchy 40-something put you off.

    As for the indie move from electric to electronic, this is at least the third coming of electronic music in the world of underground/indie or whatever you want to call it. Round 1 took place as the gloss came off the punk rock in the early 80s (Suicide, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, Human League, Heaven 17, Simple Minds, Throbbing Gristle, DAF) though the Germans had a go at some synth stuff much earlier (Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream). Round 2 came in the 1990s with The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, Moby, etc. What I am trying to say here is that the musical mood tends to vacillate between electric and electronic. Right now, that pendulum seems to be swinging to electronic but I am not sure that there is enough of a cultural zeitgest left in the wired world for this to matter much.

  3. Yuanny Dollar August 1, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    And if you doubt the verity of Chops comments — check out the visiting vocalist on that album you love — Battles – Gloss Drop. That’s right — it is Gary Numan — emerging slowly from the racks in the back of the stax of wax (as they referred to vinyl during one of its prior comings — the one before eight track and cassette).

  4. David Chops August 1, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    Senor Dinero, it is perhaps unseemly for me to nitpick after you valiantly stood up for my grouchiness but I actually passed no judgment on the relative merits of THS vs. Springsteen. I interpreted SE’s description of the usual Sprinsteen sound (lacking on Nebraska) as over-the-top insanity as a negative comment. Maybe I mis-interpreted. I just found it strange that he would trash that sound when the E-Street Band did it and apparently find it all good when THS unashamedly mimicked it. It may well be that in the context of a Springsteen record that does not work for him but it does when Craig Finn is on the mike. That ought to tell SE that his problem (assumng that the comment was actually negative) is not with the instrumental madness but something else.

    • Yuanny Dollar August 2, 2011 at 9:07 am #

      You may be right. There is nothing like Craig Finn as a singer or a songwriter — would anyone else ever write Chill Out Tent (search it out). I think not. Craig on the mike is unique and, I think, not an acquired taste. You either like him or you don’t . So maybe Craig’s deadpan on top of E Street Band bombast works better than Springsteenian vocal bombast on top of E Street Band bombast. Either way, a lack of Clarence Clemmons makes everything better.

  5. Uncle Jiggly August 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    So are Senor Dinero and Yuanny Dollar the same person!?!? (I’ll skip the emoticons)

    A difference between now and the days of yore as far as electronics in music go is the dramatic drop in costs. When I last ran a sound board in the early 80s it cost between 5-10k and required a significant amount of skill (which I never had).

    In the early 90s the cost and skill levels came down quite a bit. But today any monkey with a PC and $100 of software can make any person sound like anyone from Mary Martin to Burce Springsteen.

    Sure, there are still talented people who can blow away the hacks but the difference has been narrowed.

    What tha means to the future of music I’ll leave to you all.

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