Bad Playlist, but the Good Outweighs the Bad

I’m all for long and improvised jams, but I cannot stand to feel a sense of redundancy during any song. The “Long Songs” track list provided unique tunes, but some of them did not live up to my expectations by any stretch of the imagination.

Before I rip a few of the songs apart, I should point out that there were two songs I really enjoyed. “Life is colder than beer,” the first song on the album by an unknown band, had an unorthodox sound with a lot of guitar distortion. The transitions from fast pace to slow pace and vice-versa gives the song a “trippy” feel. The band uses keyboards, and I personally feel that no band is complete without someone ripping up the keys. The song has both a high and low energy–it calms yet excites.

“Vinyl Fever” by Japancakes is definitley right up my alley. The tune is trance-inducing, psychedelic, and soothing. “Vinyl Fever” is a song that can help someone tap into his or her creative juices. It’s very mind-enhancing. Listening to this song definitely makes me curious about additional material by Japancakes.

Now, on to the ultimate disappointments. I had heard of The Dismemberment Plan prior to listening to the play list, but I couldn’t have been more let down after listening to their song, “Respect is Due.” The song has such a great opening–heavy bass with a smooth transition to the bass and guitar harmonizing the opening cords. I wasn’t all that impressed with the vocals from the beginning of the song, and eventually things started to seem a little redundant. A 12 minute song should have some jam in it! The song consists of poor vocals and practically the same chords and slow pace until the last minute and thirty seconds!

After having my expectations way too high for The Dismemberment Plan, I decided to keep more of an open mind for “Donelectro 2 (Nobukozu Takemura remix)” by Yo La Tengo. Believe me, I can dig some freaky-deaky techno jams from time to time. This, however, was nothing but a pile of noise. I’m not even sure it’s right to call it music. This was 11 minutes of racket, and I was ready for it to be over from the opening beat.

“The Diamond Sea” by Sonic Youth had an excellent start with the guitar using aquatic and “wa-wa” effects. I assumed it would end up being a really cool, relaxing song. The lovey-dovey lyrics brought the song down a couple of notches in my book, but the music was still carrying on from a good start. However, heavy guitar distortion starts around five minutes in, and continues as somewhat of a “teaser” until around the six minute mark. I felt as though the band was teasing me with the distortion, and a face-melting jam was eventually going to blast through my speakers. Instead, I got more lovey-dovey vocals. That’s fine. I can dig it. The song is almost 20 minutes, so I figured I could remain patient. Eventually the distortion started up again, only this time it was more of an insane, psychedelic acid-test distortion that went on for nearly the length of an average song. It is clear Sonic Youth has talent. I’m just sure it was expressed to its full potential in this song.

Overall, I will say I enjoyed the play list because the two songs I enjoyed outweighed the ones that let me down. It’s always a good thing to find new, good music, and that’s exactly what I did with the “mystery” band and Japancakes. I look forward to finding more of each band’s material.

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    • Geoff Carr
    • March 25th, 2010

    The Plan song is long and repetitive (much like a bad relationship) and not indicative of their work. Their next longest song is under five minutes; a majority of their songs followed a pop/punk formula.

    The Yo La Tengo song was a remix of the band’s two-minute instrumental. It is also not indicative of their style.

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