Monthly Archive for July, 2009

Checking In, Checking Out – The High Llamas

Sean O’Hagan has been a large, yet somewhat unsung part of two of my favorite bands. He’s done a lot of work with both Stereolab and the Super Furry Animals. In fact, if his best work with SFA (“Frequency”, from the album Love Kraft) was available on Youtube, I’d be posting that instead, but such is life.

So having heard his name over and over, I decided to check out the High Llamas a few years ago. And while it’s taking time to get myself sold on the whole catalog, the first song I ever checked out was this one from a collection of b-sides and rarities. And since being all “Beach Boys-esque” is really cool these days, I figured this was a good time to post a Sean O’Hagan song.

But seriously, search for and listen to “Frequency” by SFA. It’s probably my favorite SFA song, and the strings are a huge part of that. Or, in the alternative, if Pinko will let me send him the track to do the plug-in thing, I can do that too.

The Boy With the Arab Strap

One of my favorite songs ever. This version is exceptionally good. While it is quite similar to the album version, in this case the execution of such a facsimile enhances the feeling of vibrancy and connection. Certain songs can make your spine tingle a bit when you hear a live version that hits the tiny parts that you treasure, and because you are hanging on waiting for those brief moments, when they arrive they are that much more powerful.

Key aspect of this version is the faithful reproduction of the outro, which can be ad-libbed in other renditions. Also the volume gets pretty low on the album fade out so it can be very hard to catch, but here it is right there.

Summertime Clothes-Animal Collective

I needed to wait until posting this wasn’t seen as hipster, then I needed to avoid the accusation of bandwagon, then there was the minefield of the inevitable backlash. I hope I am in the realm of indifference/old news, but am likely in the land of poseur.

Creepy and psychedelic video for a surprisingly 80s-esque experimental art-wave straight up lovey dovey song about walking around at night in the city when it is too hot to sleep in your unstated 4th floor Brooklyn walk-up or some such. Works best for our Northeastern urban areas, 80s Sprite commercial type zones and from the Loop up to Wrigleyville. It is really a good tune.