Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Wooden Finger Five – February 2015

5.Sitting Up On Our Crane – Pond

Pond have just released their sixth album in seven years, to try and keep pace with fellow freaksters King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s five albums in the past three years. Is there some kind of shaggy, stoned-out, cosmic competition going on here? What do we call it? Psych-Wars? Battle of the Bong? My Crane is Higher Than Your Crane? Are we even sure that Pond and King Gizzard are not just the same band here? I’ve never got a good look at their faces … though that may be because each time my mind has been a bit under the influence itself. (By beer, I mean – I’m not freaky at all.)

4.Nobody’s Empire – Belle and Sebastian

On their ninth album Belle and Sebastian have decided that they want to try and make their fans dance, like the ‘girls in peacetime’ of the album title. Which is strange, because I know Belle and Sebastian fans, and they don’t dance, and if they do dance, they generally dance badly, and if they did want to dance, it wouldn’t be to Belle and Sebastian. In any case ‘Nobody’s Empire’ follows on in the tradition of other great Belle and Sebastian opening tracks (‘The State I’m In’, ‘The Stars of Track and Field’) by getting the album moving, and drawing you into Belle and Sebastian’s own little music box world. (That opening line ‘Lying in bed/I was feeling French’ is a bit ‘arch’ though.)

3.Fangless – Sleater-Kinney

The longer you’re away, the more important you become. Were Sleater-Kinney ever really this important? On the American west coast, sure, but they barely registered here in Australia, and I think a lot of other places as well. Seems to me there is a bit of ‘Carrie-Brownstein-in-Portlandia’ revisionism going on here. Nevertheless they are a very good band, and their first album in ten years is certainly a fine return; perfect for those who miss that ‘90s-style rock, and those who wish they were there to hear it in the first place.

2.Marshall Law – Kate Tempest

On first listen: I thought this was a song set in a bar making general observations about fashionably-dressed posers. On second listen: it seemed to be a song about a specific girl, Becky, and her night around the crew of an artist calling himself Marshall Law, who despite sharing the same name as this character seemed to be a figure similar to Gideon Graves in the Scott Pilgrim series. On third listen: it’s not really about either of those characters, but a third character who Becky takes a fancy to, and then they start talking, and well … listen for yourself. Let me just say I thought Becky was a bit harsh. But then again it probably reflects how a lot of people’s nights out really end.

1.Stars – Angel Olsen

The Kate Tempest and Angel Olsen songs listed here are both actually from 2014 releases, indicating that not much tends to be released in the first few weeks of the year as people catch up on those ‘best-of-year’ albums from the year before. Angel Olsen’s second album, ‘Burn Your Fire For No Witness’ was a revelation to me – half of it acoustic folk, but then the other half taking off for epic tracks like this one. I then went back and listened to her first album, but that one – which is pretty much all acoustic folk – didn’t really do much for me. But this album seems to be a marked improvement, and if she keeps going like this, I’m really looking forward to her next releases. I’m also hoping to catch her at the Laneway Festival this weekend, and hoping that she plays this track, but we’ll have to see how the day goes.

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