The Generationals {New Music}

The Generationals

Live at the KEXP studio, July 25th, 2009 {flickr user Mordac}.

New Orleans-based duo The Generationals plays music that spans many styles and references. The first track from their just-released album, Heza {spotify}, is an upbeat pop-rock track reminiscent of the Strokes or Divine Fits, with lead-singer Ted Joyner’s range reaching the heights of Built to Spill’s Doug Martsch with a tinge of Tallest Man on Earth’s Kristian Matsson.

I suck at writing about music.

The third track, “Say When,” has a bass line with that synth-twist that I picture the Cure’s Robert Smith appreciating.

Have I exhausted all the musical references I know about yet? I’m definitely getting close.

The fourth track, “You Got Me,” is an idyllic instrumental interlude; “You Got Me,” is alright.

Alliteration and semi-colon in one sentence. My job here is nearly done.

The fifth track, “Put a Light On,” is damn good. Joyner’s lyrics do that cool screamy-not-scream thing The Shins’ James Mercer is known for.

Well, I think of him as being known for that, anyway.

The sixth track, “I Never Know,” is where Grant Widmer’s guitar-playing really reminds me of the Strokes’ Nick Valensi.

I mean this as a good thing.

I’m sure there’s a word for it.

A more competent reviewer might take this opportunity to remark upon the lyrics—tying in some key moment in the band’s existence—with a nod to their hometown or a formative event in the lives of one of its members.

But you didn’t come here to read a good review.

The seventh track, “Awake,” is pretty good. No further comment.

The eighth track, “Kemai,” is a funky little gem.

The ninth track, “I Used to Let You Get to Me”, is the one I want to share here.

So just listen to it yourself.

 

The Generationals — “I Used to Let You Get to Me” {mp3}.

Found via Blogged 50 {songza}.

Sea Wolf {album review}

I’ve been a fan of Sea Wolf since their daytrotter session at sxsw in 2007. I loved the bounce of their lazy guitar hooks and the way lead singer Alex Brown Church’s voice seemed to hover over the mix, dipping in and out of the composition. I listened to “You’re a Wolf” over and over again that spring.

That fall’s “Leaves in the River” {spotify} brought with it a much tighter sound, and this haunting lyrical syllogism:

Black dirt will stain your feet
And when you walk
You’ll leave black dirt in the street.

The band’s 2009 followup, “White Water White Bloom” {spotify}, is where I lost interest in the band. It had the sound of their earlier recordings but none of the soul. It came off as lifeless and over-produced.

Enter Sea Wolf’s third record, “Old World Romance,” released last Tuesday. This is Sea Wolf’s most coherent album to date. Tracks like the opening “Old Friend” feel measured and patient. The guitar assumes a role in the background, creating a more even sound. There’s the unique allure of the  Sea Wolf I heard during that raw daytrotter session; but it sounds like they grew into a more mature skin at the same time, in favor of a more lucid record—both sonically and conceptually.

“Old World Romance” is heavy on allusions to nature and the changing seasons. The fourth track, “Kasper,” takes us into summer:

I think the sky is gonna clear
because the hills turn green as summer nears
but a lightning storm, a lightning storm
can even happen when the air is warm
and I can hear that nothing
calling out to me.

The fifth track, “Blue Stockings,” is about getting to know someone, and the gradual breaking down of first impressions:

Open the window up
the one beside the armoire
I need some cool autumn air
in this baroque hotel room
while you put on your stockings
on the rocker by the mirror
“Put on a record,” you say
We’re both relieved at the idea

The seventh track, “Changing Seasons,” is about renewal and fresh starts:

Sometimes you feel it coming back
I feel that darkness at my back
That’s why I’m always rearranging
And looking forward for the seasons changing.

And the ninth track, “Miracle Cure,” one of my favorites, is a kind of triumph over the preceding hardships:

If I, if I can surround you in beautiful sounds, I will
If I, if I can repay you for coming to save me, I will
If I, if I can be who you want me to be, I will
If I, if I can surround you in beautiful sounds, I will…

Download the AAC file for “Mystery Cure” here:
Sea Wolf — “Miracle Cure” {aac}

And listen to the whole album below or pick it up from your favorite music source.

Revisiting an interview with Tim Hetherington

Tim Hetherington, a British photo-journalist, was killed in Libya this week.

I took the time to revisit his November, 2010 interview with Marty Moss-Coane today, in which he talked about Restrepo, the film he co-directed with Sebastian Junger.

Two points stuck out at me from the interview today. The first was that Tim said he felt an obligation to cover the war in Afghanistan—as he said, his country was deeply involved in a war that would last several years, and nobody was covering it.

The second was his respect for the soldiers, and his desire to show their lives in Restrepo (a base in the Korangal Valley this platoon cobbled together and named after a fallen soldier) as they really were, without the slant of politics. Tim and co-director Sebastian Junger spent six months on the base, with no running water, electricity and bare-bones sustenance.

Tim Hetherington gave his life to bring us images of war that most of us are too scared to even imagine. Check out the official Restrepo site or watch it on Netflix.