Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Decemberists - And we'll all come praise the storytellers

Late, when you are trying to fall asleep and wipe away the two thoughts that hold tight to weariness - the expiry date of your job and your too much big and empty bed - the joy to hear fairytales from a storyteller peeps out.
When I was a child I remember there were those records with a voice that told about gnomes, sprites, princes, knights, dragons, and a lot of sounds, noises, voices of animals, from the wood, from the sea, thunders...... They gave me quiet, happines, fear sometimes.
This evening - relaxed on my bed - I have listen The Decemberists' new album "Picaresque", scheduled for march 22, and it has given the same joy to me.

Just starting the CD the dark room has become populated by the word-made characters and full of the figures painted in the literary lyrics by Colin Meloy.
As many fairytales, an animal (a kind of bird?) sound opens the first song of the album, with "The Infanta" carried on the back of a pachyderm, going with drums in a spanish march tempo.
In an unusually sunny and happy day R.E.M. meet The Smiths in "We both go down togheter", "The sporting life", "The bagman's gambit", "Sixteen military wives".
"Eli, the barrowboy" reminds me to Traffic's "John Barleycorn must die". So "(From my own true love) Lost at sea". This one makes me shiver.
Literary indie rock. Are The Decemberists moving toward progressive music?

A really folkloristic country band seem to accompaign the accordion in "The mariner's revenge song".
Anyway "The engine driver" shows that The Decemberists, by now, write popsongs with a personal and recognizable style.
Buy "Picaresque" here.
Here instead you can listen 2 song from the album:
The Decemberists - The engine driver
The Decemberists - (From my own true love) Lost at sea (removed link)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Books

"...leggo gli usati perché le pagine molto sfogliate e unte dalle dita pesano di più negli occhi, perché ogni copia di libro può appartenere a molte vite e i libri dovrebbero stare incustoditi nei posti pubblici e spostarsi insieme ai passanti che se li portano dietro per un poco e dovrebbero morire come loro, consumati dai malanni, infetti, affogati giù da un ponte insieme ai suicidi, ficcati in una stufa d'inverno, strappati dai bambini per farne barchette, insomma ovunque dovrebbero morire tranne che di noia e di proprietà privata, condannati a vita in uno scaffale..."

"...I read used (books) because much flipped and greased by fingers pages weigh more in the eyes, because each copy of a book can belong to many lives and the books should be left without any care in public places and move with the passers-by which carry them around for a little while and they should die like them, consumed by the ailments, infected, drowned from a bridge with the suicide people, burned in a stove during winter, torn by the childs to make paper boats, so anyway they should die except for boredom and private possession, condemned upon a shelf for its lifetime..."

Quotation by Erri De Luca's tale "Tre cavalli" (Three horses)
I apologize for awful translation with the author and the readers. Another one better than mine is welcome.
The words of the italian writer come to my mind when I have heard for the first time this strange musical duo, discovered just know (Many thanks to
Aurgasm. Why don't you tell me about it before?): The Books.

Since by picking the duo's name, Nick Zammuto Willscher (a guitarist) and Paul De Jong (a cellist) seem to show the same mental attitude and feelings than the italian writer for that concerning the literature, the music, and the art at all.
The books and the library which they refer to are the myriad of samples and sounds, directly taken from the real life. Mixed in an especially sublime manner, like only a great cook can do with spices and aromas, those samples dress and enrich the sound of the band.
Food music is otherwise a definition that they like a lot.
Guitar and strings get married with daily ambient sounds, just like bread and butter, in a musical stratification that tries with success to take simple and ordinary truths out from the complex mix. Almost searching for an ideal purity.
Their new album "Lost And Safe" is scheduled for release in April 5 on TomLab.
Taste this slice:
The Books - An Animated Description Of Mr. Maps