Either you hasn't or you has
Oh so first the favorite three albums of the year so far.
1. Blueberry Boat - Fiery Furnaces. Close to impenetrable. Maybe I tried hard enough and penetrated it. I keep on thinking I will get tired of it and not want to hear it. I think the most depressing thing about this album and this year is that I had nobody to share it with - people were either offput by Eleanor's voice or the album's length - and if I did, I probably wouldn't want to share it with them. The best part of the album is that it is very much achievable. There are no stellar moments, no transcendental times like with other albums you sit back and think 'wow, what did you just do to me?', though parts of "Chris Michaels" come close, its basically seventy-six minutes of you listening and wishing you had done it instead.
2. Calling out of Context - Arthur Russell. Arthur Russell is the first artist I've had a bizarre high school girl crying into pillows (though there have been no tears) relationship with. Not over the fact that he hasn't called me back, but over the fact that everything he does (did) seems so simple and so perfect. You would listen to it and say to me "Tyler, he is just playing two or three notes on a crappy eighties keyboard to a simple drum beat and not even really singing over it" and I would say "yeah, but why does it sound so good". I would embarrass myself talking about things I've thought and felt while listening so I'm not going to go into it. He's dead now, Arthur.
3. Satanic Panic in the Attic - Of Montreal. Who knows if I'll ever listen to it again. This is another achievable album and in fact if you listen to it a bunch and then listen to Artillery you would say stuff to me like "Oh, so that's where you got the idea" and "What's Artillery?" and "What kind of guitar strings do you use?". The answers to those questions are: yes, an album by a band called James Rabbit, and Elixer I think they're called. There's cool guitar parts and moments where something could have been great. That last song is pretty special. I liked listening to it a lot at the time.
Other albums I've liked so far: The Hold Steady - Almost Killed Me (feels like I'm being lectured to). Electrelane - The Power Out (feels like I'm trying to pay attention to a pretty girl but am. distr. acted.) Kanye West - College Dropout (how rap albums always go, 'oh words going by fast' then 'oh that was a clever bit' then 'oh that was
a clever bit'.) You know, probably more, but with this interweb thing I'm listening to albums a year before they come out, so stuff I got tired of in 2003 is still just coming out. Its mixed up. Sorry I wasn't more enthusiastic about these albums.
So Next, Some Stuff I'm Thinking
We've finished doing the rhythm tracks for this next album. We worked hard in weird little pockets of various weeks and now we've got like twelve or fifteen songs sitting here in front of me. They are good, if not as instrumentally impressive as Artillery. You would be hard pressed to pick out a Cactuses or a Speed Dogs from the pack, but we're not quite done with the songs yet, so DONT YOU DARE START JUDGING ME.
When I record the perfect album, the clouds will part and God will hold out his hand and say 'hop on up' and then I will have lunch at this really nice restaraunt where Arthur Russell, JFK and the newly arrived Rick James will be at a nearby table discussing chess strategies (in Heaven they play a lot of chess). I won't look at the menu because in Heaven someone else always foots the bill, and if that falls through you have to work in the dish room, which isn't too bad because Heaven restaraunts are always well-cleaned, so its just like working in an operating room, but on dishes, and their sickness is food. God will tell me about how Paul is the only Beatle not getting into Heaven and I will say 'no way, Paul's my favorite Beatle' and he will shake his head and talk about how John got it somehow really really right. See, I'm talking about the Beatles because you know they each had a seperate lunch with God. I'm stressed, worrying about the effect various pastas with various dressings will have on my stomach (still not fully recovered, you know), so I order a sandwich, roast beef. God runs through a list of albums that would surprise you, Scritti Politti's Cupid and Psyche '85? Dexy's Midnight Runners' Don't Stand Me Down? Roy Wood's Boulders? God, are you telling me that "When Granma Plays the Banjo" is a track worthy of perfection? And he says 'you must not understand the humor'.
Roy Wood has been to heaven. It happened when he was in the middle of recording the follow-up to Boulders, titled Mustard. He was sitting alone in the studio (in typical Roy Wood fashion) and he saw the clouds and the hand. God said he'd made the perfect album and Roy said 'Really? Did you listen all the way through on the second side?' and God said 'YES, those songs were striking pieces of pastiche' and Roy rolled his eyes. But then came the pressure of recording something that could compete with Boulders. God was talking about recording techniques and Roy must not have been paying attention and thought he said 'turn up the drums' when really he said 'try a drumstick' (God is a big fan of fried chicken, which you should be prepared to deal with, if you ever happen to yourself record a perfect album).
Green Gartside has been to heaven also. He wrote a song about it, but that was on an album from 1998, which was a bad year for artists that had previously recorded albums in the eighties. I don't know as much about his trip to Heaven. But Kevin Rowland. He hasn't. God opened up heaven to him and he declined. Something about justice not having been done.
Anyway, God has mentioned the Beatles and I'm scouring the room and not really recognizing a lot of the people, but seriously, who REALLY knows what Joan of Arc looks like? I mean, I picture a kind of big nose and a bowl cut, but you can't be sure. Its so much pressure. And besides, there's plenty of non-famous people up there, I should mention that. Its just that the restaraunts that God likes to take his terrestrial subjects to are frequently populated by former/current celebrities. So he's stopped talking about how underrated Revolver is and I've started listening again and he asks me who else played a big role in the making of the album and I say 'Oh definitely my brother Conner, he owns all the equipment and knows how to work it and plays the drums really really well, and could be really spectacular at either of those things if he applied himself, but we Martins have a tendency towards tangents' and God says 'Can I talk to him? I'm sure he'd like to talk about Buddy Rich' and I look at the clock on the wall (remind me later to tell you about this clock) and I say 'oh, he's working til eight today' and God says 'oh, I've got a chess game later with Gandhi' and I say 'how is he?' and God says "soooooooooo slow" and we both laugh and I go back to my room in Santa Cruz where I'm tuning a ukelele.
That hasn't happened yet. And it didn't happen after I finished Artillery, so we're doing another one. I mean, I'm very satisfied with Artillery, its just that, you know, no public reaction (aside from the typical death threats and genetic offerings), so here comes another one you guys. And its a pretty good bet I'll finish it, because I know what most of the lyrics are already.
Oh, and it will confuse you. Hopefully. It is going to be more of a coherent album as opposed to Artillery's each-song-is-its-own take on albumdom. I mean, when you condemn the album you will be condemning every song instead of specific songs. You will say instead of "that song Wide is too confusing" that "Tracks one through nine leave me feeling suicidal". Anyway. I've got to get back to life and get to sleep. I haven't done any overdubs yet, but I feel like they'll jump out quick enough.