November 20, 2009
IN THE NEWS
It’s nice to know that sometimes the actions of a fool can spur a response from someone clever. Take for instance, the latest head-fuck from Beck, “Harry Partch,” which is, most likely, a direct response to the inane rantings of Fiery Furnaces’ Matt Friedberger. A few weeks ago, Friedberger started one of the lamest rock feuds by going after Radiohead in a Spinner interview for their song “Harry Patch (in Memory of).” Friedberger, being as ignorant as he is, had misinterpreted the title as Harry Partch (the experimental composer) and lambasted the song as being pretentious even though a) he had never heard the song, and b) it’s about Harry Patch, the last surviving British WWI veteran.
After a million Radiohead fans pointed out the blunder, Friedberger was quick to respond. First with his publicist claiming that Friedberger had thought the interviewer was asking about Harry Partch, not Harry Patch, and then by releasing a statement claiming that he was quite aware that the song was about the last living “Tommy,” and that the whole interview was just harmless “‘riffing,’ or fooling around.” Though it’s possible that Friedberger was just fucking with us, it’s more likely he was being ignorant, especially when opening his release with: “Like most creative musicians, Matt Friedberger is not a fan of Radiohead and most of their chart busters.” He then blamed the media for the misunderstanding, made a Tommy pun, and ended with “Matt would have much preferred to insult Beck but he is too afraid of Scientologists.”
Well, the statement must have reached Beck (presumably via a derelict hippy servant while upon his freak-rock throne) since yesterday the ten minute epic about Harry Partch was released on his website. Described by Beck as a “peregrination across disparate territory to ascertain an unassumed frame of reference,” he either took the project extremely seriously, or has a very wry sense of humor; the quality, however, points to the former. It’s the musical equivalent of Jason Pollock’s throwing shit at a canvas, and with most of the myriad of musical ideas being good ones, it’s surprising digestible – even with the inclusion of Partch’s beloved microtones. Would you play it at your wedding? Not unless you were marrying Yoko Ono or something. But it is some fun, out-there musical shenanigans.
More on Matt Friedberger Vs. People Who Don’t Really Care What He Has To Say
Watch Oberst/Ward/James/Mogis Folk Supergroup Monsters of olk Perform With the Roots on Late Night; Experience Shock as the Four of Those Guys Approach Some Level of Danceability for the First Time in their Lives; See Oberst Hear Bass for the First Time [Prefix]
The Fiery Furnaces’ Matthew Friedberger Calls Out Radiohead for Releasing Song About WWI Veteran Harry Patch, Claiming They “Brazenly Associate” With Things Others Find “Cool;” Meanwhile, Friedberger Thought Radiohead Released the Song About Music Innovator Harry Partch, and the Fiery Furnaces Are Releasing an Album that Contains Absolutely No Music [NME]
Scottish Post-Rockers Mogwai to Release Live Album, Special Moves and Live Documentary, Burning; Expect Them to Be Abrasive, Angry, Angular, and Contain Very Little Alliteration [Pitchfork]
Sufjan Stevens Calls the “50 State Project” a Joke, Implies It Will Never Happen, Confirming What All Intelligent Fans Realized When he Didn’t Release Another Album Two Weeks After Illinois [Paste]
Strap on Your Petticoats and Climb the Parapets! The Decemberists’ Antiquated and Verbose Frontman Colin Meloy is Writing a Children’s Book, More than Appropriately Called The Unfortunate Demise of Whitley Rackham; If the Book is Anything Like the Decemberists Career, Kids Will Find it Full of Promise, But Ultimately Just Kinda Shitty [Pitchfork]
Vivian Girls Launch Record Label, World Wide Records – Begin by Releasing a Compilation by Yellow Fever, and the Debut Single from Woods/Vivian Girls Super (Only in Extremely Scenester Circles) Group Babies [Brooklyn Vegan]
Pavement to Release Collection of Radio Sessions and Outtakes “Sometime;” NME Runs Story With Headline “Pavement Planning New Album Release.” NME Remains Hotspot for Facetious, Hyperbolic, and Counterfactual Headlines, Journalism Cries [NME]
compiled by Max Sebela
September 28, 2009
This Frontier Needs Heroes
This Frontier Needs Heroes
2009 | Self-Released
Brooklyn-based brother-sister duo This Frontier Needs Heroes do not sound like city folk. Their self-titled debut LP is all open air, broken hearts, and quaint countryside. It’s the Old West by way of Williamsburg; it’s more Bonnie and Clyde than Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger. But their outer borough address sabotages the whole thing.
Their Myspace page rattles off a list of “authentic” American influences (Townes Van Zandt, Woody Guthrie, and Roy Orbison, to name a few) but namedropping can’t stand in for sincerity.
Lead singer Brad Lauretti’s vocals are touching – his voice seems to crack at just the right moments – but his simple lyrics and predictable rhymes (“Something’s gonna strike you down/ Something’s gonna turn you around/ Something’s gonna make you feel like everyone’s around”) are just disappointing. The album’s centerpiece, “I Can’t Do It All By Myself,” suits the limp lyrics, but only because it sounds like a lullaby.
This Frontier Needs Heroes just seem a little disingenuous, like two kids playing pretend. They label themselves as outlaws and revolutionaries, but aside from occasionally featuring the flute, their songs are pretty safe. “Long Gone” tries to swagger like a lone ranger, but it’s sung by a gentleman.
Opening track “Firefly” is a fitting introduction to the album: brother Brad wonders when he’ll have a hate-free heart while sister Jessica harmonizes over simple guitar-picking and tense strings. It’s pretty, but it’s all presentation. And for one moment, Brad’s lyrics don’t need any polishing: “I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that I’m right.”
by Kyle McGovern