Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rage Roundup @ Recently

A week late? Not exactly. I wasn't going to do a Rage post at all for this week, but then a few nice tunes stuck around and here they are. (Thanks again for your always delightful free-to-air broadcasts, Rage.)

This is a short song. Under two minutes. Now, under three minutes is a rarity in today's marketplace – pop songs really have been bloating since the '60s, yes? – which makes this as sharp as a slap. Should I be disappointed that it's so short?

The verse is marginally annoying indie singsong, but the chorus is where it's at: a wonderful, wistful, Wilsons-ish call over a Be-My-Baby backbeat. And then that's it, it's over! So – two verses, which I could leave or take, and two choruses, which are genuinely lovely. And an unremarkable video featuring the singer (who's so nerdy, he might be too much even for indie geek chic).

The chorus wins. Next?

Vigo. Scourge of Carpathia, sorrow of Moldavia. Known as Vigo the Cruel, Vigo the Torturer, Vigo the Despised, and Vigo the Unholy. It's a nice enough song. Sounds a bit like Duffy without the speech impediment* or Missy Higgins without the real accent; there's nothing bad about it, but there's nothing spectacular. It's a vase of flowers on the kitchen table. Yes. But also I'm pretty sure that there was a copy of Ghostbusters II on VHS lying around my house when I was a kid, and I'm very, very happy for the opportunity.

*Note to self: stop teasing people from Wales, it's just not right

Oh, so this is why there's been so much buzz around these guys. Holy cow, this is one damn crafty slice of tune. But unfortunately, the video above isn't it. This here is actually an earlier version of the tune (from 2007, I think) – I'll post the new version as soon as I can find it on youtube. (So why isn't it there already, if the new video has already debuted on the teev? Must have a hole in the head.)

UPDATE EDIT!: As of June 17, here we go.

The differences between the two versions aren't drastic – 2009 has crisper production, tweaked arrangement, a more energetic solo at the two-minute mark (& more energy all around, really). But the arrangement is a frame for the song, and the song itself is bloody excellent. Criminy, what a sweet hook. I'm not sure if the polish shows thru so well on the earlier version – the 2009 arrangement is definitely a more effective delivery mechanism – but both versions are quite something.

Really – when was the last time you heard something quite like this from an indie band? It's Split Enz via Bryan Ferry. The video (not the earlier one, the new one) is simple but engaging, and also surprisingly charismatic; the bandmembers themselves, too. The frontman does an adequately Jaggeresque butch camp. The music makes it. Overall this is the kind of left field chance that pop deserves, I think. Here's hoping that these guys are, if nothing less, at least a shot at being the next Little Red.

And finally, for a Bonus (!) you could easily check out Fossil, I by Sky Larkin. More echoes of '90s grunge/alt revivalism, alright... but it's truly fine & modern guitarwork in its own right. Nice riffage. I think I need to hear more before I'm sure the songwriting is worth paying attention to, but either way: likely worth looking out for.

What a fortnight! What a week! What a minute! It's past midnight and I need to work. Good night.
--the Musical Thoapsl

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