23 July 2007

"You know who it is."

Lately I've been...
Let's call it summer vacation. Anyway, it's over.

The High Strung
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Problem is, you've heard this all before. A band with a familiar sound comes to a certain precipice, whether it be on their debut or four albums into their career, where a long fall to mediocrity is only one slip away. But more often than not, the slip isn't even required. Instead, the band – maybe once on sure footing and comfortable in its close associations with other acts – stands by too idly as the ground under them, their foundation, crumbles beneath their feet. To become too comfortable in a style frequently tread is all but a death-wish; instead of garnering emotion from a listener, the sounds hardly elicit a stir and rather than ambition, we hear apathy. And it stings all the more sharply, -- no, rather, the dull ache intensifies -- when it's easy to assume that apathetic re-treading was far from the band's modus operandi. Instead, by walking again the beaten path, one may cross the dangerous distinction between a warm, inviting reverence to influence and flat out bringing nothing new to the table. Read more...

The Slip
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The prospect of a make-over leaves one anxious and excited about the reinvention looming and for better or worse, shows a healthy dose of proactive revision. Results may vary, hopefully toward progression and growth, less successfully resembling regression or more ambiguously in the form of a lateral jump. Intent must also be taken into account, especially in regards to bandwagon hopping; although Linkin Park's emo make-over did result in a platinum record, in terms of forging new ground, there's something still to be desired. In the case of the Boston, Massachusetts trio The Slip, Eisenhower represents a largely lateral maneuver from Phish-style progressive jamming toward a more easily digestible form of indie-rock. And while the aim is obvious and the prog-rock exploration is trimmed of its fatty excess, the album's cohesion is thrown askew by an unbalanced and unexciting jumble of poor poetry and an interminable lack of commitment to stylistic flow. Read more...

Bird Flu (Diplo remix)
M.I.A. XR 2

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