Saturday, 30 November 2013

It's been a while - Jamie Lenman, of Montreal, Pavement, Young Knives and others

Since I last posted an age ago, I've been atrociously busy at uni, so I've not had time to write a blog. Technically, I don't really have time now, but music's so much better than essay-writing.

Exciting news - last month, I had the chance to interview Jamie Lenman again! My last interview was a rushed emailer in 2009, so it was exciting to actually get a phone call with him, during which he was achingly affable and a really good interviewee. Read the interview here if you want. As usual, I've had an atrocious and near-irrelevant title edited onto the article (I really should make the effort and write them myself), so please don't blame me for that. Jamie's new album is very good, especially the second half. Fans of metal may prefer the first half, but I don't think it really shows off Jamie's melodic and harmonic skills as well as the second - because he's split the album into 'Muscle' and 'Memory', the 'Muscle' half lacks the dynamic and contrasts which make tracks like 'A Short History of Nearly Everything' so beautiful. If you're a die-hard Reuben fan, by the way, and you want the full transcript of the interview which the article above is based on, comment and I'll send it to you - he says a lot more about Reuben and his solo stuff than I have the chance to mention in the article.

As well as interviewing Jamie, I've talked to the Young Knives this month, reviewed their album and been to their Oxford gig. Also since my last post, of Montreal have released an album - a great one. Lousy with Sylvianbriar is a departure for them in that it isn't as expansive and avant-garde as Paralytic Stalks, or as party-drugged and electronic as Skeletal Lamping. It's got quite a 60s vibe going on, actually, and it has some great album artwork too. I'll post a couple of tracks here.

She Ain't Speakin' Now by of Montreal on Grooveshark

'She Ain't Speaking Now' has a lot in common with earlier of Montreal material - 'Coquet Coquette' has a similar guitar-driven style, and the melodies and lyrics are recognisably Kevin Barnes' work. The chorus broaches great new territory though, and the production is a lot cleaner than on earlier records.

Belle Glade Missionaries by of Montreal on Grooveshark

'Belle Glade Missionaries' is Barnes at his wackiest and most incisive lyrically, but the tune has a jaunty Americana feel which hasn't been present on many of of Montreal's more recent releases. It's a long track but it's insanely catchy from beginning to end, and works with its fairly conventional bluesy chord progressions really innovatively. And it's fun.

Sirens of Your Toxic Spirit by of Montreal on Grooveshark

Finally, I'll post 'Sirens of Your Toxic Spirit'. Because of his way with melody, Kevin Barnes writes really great 'slow' songs - 'Touched Something's Hollow' is really addictive, and a lot of Hissing Fauna gets the haunting atmosphere spot-on too. Rebecca Cash's complementary backing vocals add a new layer of richness to the of Montreal sound, which really works on this track.

Besides these three, I've been listening to quite a bit of Pavement recently, so I just thought I'd post 'Embassy Row' without passing comment... other than to say it's fantastic and uplifting and great.

Embassy Row by Pavement on Grooveshark

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