On Wednesday, Denver’s beach-pop blogger-darlings Tennis played a sold out (or, if not, extremely close to sold out) show at Toronto’s Drake Hotel. Lead singer Alaina Moore was a bit sick so she asked for some audience members to help her with the “ooooh’s” in “Marathon”…I may have obliged…And I may have looked like a tool because I was wearing my scarf and jacket and all the whole time (in my defense, I was wearing a thin white T-shirt underneath and I was pretty sweaty…)
Sydney band Hailer makes very enjoyable tunes.
This week’s band of the week were one of the best indie rock bands of the 90′s. They were successful not only with their own music, but the label the band started has gone on to become one of the most important and successful indie labels around. Recently they came back from a long hiatus with the best album of their’s I’ve yet to hear. The band of the week is…
Yes, the Chapel Hill band has a long, storied, and proud history. Their self-titled debut came out 20 years ago and they’ve just released the phenomenal Majesty Shredding, the album that has made me a fan of the group. And that record label I was talking about – that’d be Merge Records, home to bands like The Arcade Fire, Spoon, Fucked Up, She and Him, Caribou, and many more.
I’d listened to No Pocky For Kitty a while ago – considered by some their best album – and didn’t think much of it. It was only the solid 8.0 from Pitchfork (oh, boooo, boooo, you stupid fucking hipsters) that got me to check out their aforementioned latest. And as is often the case, the outlet was quite on the money. Majesty Shredding is an amazing album, bursting with energy, pop hooks, and schooled composition. I’ve actually not heard the second half of the album much because it’s been so hard not to keep listening to the first half again and again, it’s so good. “My Gap Feels Weird”, “Rosemarie”: these are the kinds of songs that make you want to howl along, screeching in a high register to keep up with Mac McCaughan as he unleashes all the teenage frustration of middle-age (he’s 43). Aggg, so good.
With this album, their first in nine years, Superchunk have added their hat to the strengthening argument that indie rockers (or just generally good bands, even if on major labels) of the last 20 years don’t necessarily have to start sucking now that they’re older. Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Wilco, Radiohead (all of whom are in their 40′s) and Robert Pollard (who’s in his 50′s!) have made some of the best work of their careers in the last couple years, but good luck finding an artist or band from the 60′s that made some of their best work in the 80′s (even if Dylan and Reed made some ‘good’ work, it definitely wasn’t among their best). Could it be that in a musical universe ruled (artistically) by indie labels, artists are somehow allowed to extend their primes? What’s the deal?
Anyway, Superchunk have won me over with their latest and now I’m gonna start going through their back catalogue (other than No Pocky For Kitty) t0 see if they’ve got other stuff as good as this late entry. That’s the age we’re living in now. Could be worse.