Friday, March 18, 2011

Out of Vogue

I'm out of the loop, I know that because there was a time when I was in the loop. I ran a radio station, wrote for magazines, ran a sound system company, DJ'ed and played in a band. Hard to get more in the loop than that, right? Oh, and I freelanced as a cameraman, not to mention, got a comfortable 9 to 5 working for colleges and even an Ex President. Yes, very much in the loop. But, all that's behind me, abandoned from the mid 1990's. Now, I do this blog, I work a fairly straight job, I raise a kid, I play with my cats, I live in the Exurbs, well out of the loop. The reasons are a big mix of personal, philosophical and political- and far too messy to explain, here. However, it means that like some bizarre twilight zone episode of a castaway on a deserted island, strange bits of my former life wash up on me from time to time. Sometimes,I'll get a catalog. Other times, an invitation to a promotional event. Sometimes, a job offer. Usually, though, it'll be a promo CD, or a PR kit.It leads to some dissonances-wearing hipster J brand skinny black jeans to go to a tractor pull, and talking to a national figure on the cell phone, while trying to order an apple crisp from the Roy Rogers. I haven't reviewed a whole lot from that strange driftwood from another life. Most of it is crap, and not worth a mention. A few weeks ago, I suspect somebody screwed up at play it again Sam, and I got a package sent to a PO Box that I still have, and some of that stuff got forwarded to where I live now. I told you- it's very odd, how these things happen. Most of that stuff was basically known quantities but there was a CD that was completely unknown to me. The name of the band was very vaguely familiar, but I could honestly say I didn't know them, and was intrigued primarily by two factors- the painting on the cover ( a big Fauvist/ pointillist/impressionist painted face) and the production team- Flood and Alan Moulder. For those who wouldn't know- Flood and Moulder, back in the late 1980's and early 1990's were the best producers/mixers/engineers going. After listening to it, I cannot explain how I slept on this band before now except to say that I really am out of the loop. Unlike what I first thought- this is no debut from a british supergroup made up of pre-grunge all stars- this is a second LP from a New York band with Indie aesthetics that are firmly retro, but my missed impression should speak volumes. So, the band name is "The Pains of Being Pure at Heart", and the CD is called "Belong"- at first I thought it was the other way around. It sounds like a playlist from 120 minutes, circa 1989, mashed up, and played by a somewhat more energetic version of Belle and Sebastian. In other words, it completely speaks to the last time I was in the loop. The folks at Spin, Pitchfork, AV Club, Drowned in Sound, Rolling Stone, and so on- in other words, everyone in the loop, really likes it, and loves this band. I like it, but all I can think about when I hear it is that it really doesn't seem to matter if I'm in the loop or not because the loop is exactly that- a loop. They circle each other, again and again, looking very, very busy- but they're just going around and around, never changing all that much.

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