Friday, September 29, 2006

the gates of autumn

Shut your eyes and think of somewhere
Somewhere cold and caked in snow
By the fire we break the quiet
Learn to wear each other well

And when the worrying starts to hurt
and the world feels like graves of dirt
Just close your eyes until
you can imagine this place, you're our secret space at will

Shut your eyes, I spin the big chair
And you'll feel dizzy, light, and free
And falling gently on the cushion
You can come and sing to me

And when the worrying starts to hurt
and the world feels like graves of dirt
Just close your eyes until
you can imagine this place, you're our secret space at will

-- Snow Patrol

I was certain I'd gotten over the appalling habit of listening to the same damn song over and over when I was about seventeen, but apparently not. I'm now at 3 Snow Patrol albums and counting. Yes, yes, I know their latest album is distressingly 'pop' to their indie core fanbois, however I do feel both their earlier stuff and the most recent album show amazingly insightful lyricism, plus a studied and intelligent evolution.

Kids, I know how painfully devoted you are to that 500-watt college station you've been listening to for the entire duration of your 7-year attempt to graduate, and that it feels like a betrayal when your precious little twee bands hit adolescence and start making eyes at the A&R men, but let me enlighten you. Starving in a garret and playing shitty 50 seat venues is all a noble cause and such, but it doesn't pay the bills, and indie bands (to paraphrase Woody Allen) are like sharks. If they don't continually swim forward and thus evolve, they die. Not to mention that it's one thing to sound like a garage band when you are a garage band, but it's both sloppy and ill-advised once you're getting paid decent money to produce something that people who don't live in their moms' basements will want to buy.

When a band has been fortunate enough to get signed by a major label, I (personally) consider it refreshing that they put down the PBR, find some clean(er) tshirts to wear onstage, and make a good-faith effort to tune their instruments. Even better if they stretch their creative muscle and try out all those shiny new gadgets they've been given access to. It is absolutely possible to do all this without selling out. Irish-artists-who-shall-remain-nameless have indeed sold out, and this I will not argue. These guys, however, have yet to... despite opening for one of the more egregious examples of sellout in recent modern rock history. Oh and I don't doubt that with the exposure on some stupid TV show, the track Chasing Cars is poised to become the most-overplayed-song-on-the-radio for fall 2006, but if you listen closely to all the work on this album, you'll find it's well-crafted music that's still as emotionally raw and vulnerable as the stuff they were producing on Jeepster. (which happens to be the same label that spawned indie-pop gods Belle & Sebastian, who collaborated with the original SP members on their debut EP Starfighter Pilot).

man I loves me some Scots-Irish indiepop.


The days are getting shorter, the nights colder, and ski season is just around the corner. This summer has disappeared like a prom dress at the afterparty. The roommate is getting antsy to start the ski season and cyclocross bikes have been getting a heavy workout for the past month. The road bikes are getting left on the hooks more and more often as chill mornings, changing leaves and chinook winds all conspire to make riding in the woods an attractive prospect.

nighty night,