Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Song of the Week: "Everything was Black and White Except the City Lights" - I Hear Sirens

So, a while back me and some chums attended a chill little concert at the ever-charming back alley venue, Kilby Court. We were there to hear Eluvium, one of the more wonderful ambient bands that I know of. Eluvium was really great and the whole concert experience was really unique - it has been a good year for noticeably new concert experiences (i.e. Gene Loves Jezebel & Eluvium). Anyway, preceding Eluvium was a Salt Lake original called I Hear Sirens. Their opening set was quite nice and I sacrificed getting an Eluvium T-shirt so I could get I Hear Sirens' self-titled EP, which is quite good.

"Everything was Black and White Except the City Lights" wasn't played at the concert, but it is my current favorite track on the EP and a good example of what this post-rock band is about. The song isn't overly complicated. Even in the soft piano opener, the song drives forward with a purpose and intensity that isn't interested in doing anything frilly or elaborate, but seems always focused and controlled. The emotion and feeling in the song is nice and impassioned, but never to the point of boring melodrama. It's just a really nice song that probably sticks with me so much because of their seemingly simple and direct approach, which keeps the track strong and meaningful, whereas a more elaborate, flashy approach might have sent the song soaring, only to deflate at the worst possible moment. (Sidenote: I might get stoned for saying this, but Depeche Mode's "One Caress" flops in this way. I think Martin Gore shoulda cut his last repeated chorus to let the orchestra swell and crescendo; as is, Gore's vocals flatten the whole finish, creating an anti-climatic song that boasts some nice lyrics, but ultimately dull music). I Hear Sirens come close to going over the edge, but maintain a firm hold on the pace and tone, knowing when to pull up and rely on less to be more.

At the risk of getting this band wrong by inappropriately inserting characteristics I perceive them to have, I'd say that I Hear Sirens sound like a group who (obviously) like playing music, are a bit introverted and uncertain about some things, while holding to some personal beliefs that mean a great deal to them. They feel things in a way that they believe can be best expressed through music. If they succeed or fail at accurately communicating what they feel is, for me, the lesser goal; the primary objective being more to have felt something at all and to have expressed it - basically, to have done something, gone for something. Maybe sometimes the act of going is far more profound and valuable than whether or not you got anywhere.

Here below is the audio for the song with an image of an old line-up of the band in the studio. Below that is a grainy picture I took at the show.


I Hear Sirens at Kilby Court, SLC, 5/31/2010

Also, if you like what you hear, there are more tracks to be heard on their myspace page.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What you wish your research was

I'll bet all you college kids out there wish your research was as cool as mine. Well, keep wishing, because real fun topics like this don't come to just anyone. Last week my African-American Literature class finished reading Richard Wright's impressive novel, Native Son. How Wright used movies, newspapers, and spectatorship was interesting to me and I decided it would be a good paper topic. This led me to this book:

Take special note of how smiley those people are; they're just out having a real good time, I guess. Oh, and then there's this one:

This is the book for the "Without Sanctuary" photo exhibit that made some waves a few years back. This book leaves quite an impression.

America, sometimes you really treat your people like crap.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rock Action

Rock Action

From the Yo La Tengo concert last October. Now almost a year gone by. When school stresses me out, I just take a moment and look at this picture. It does something for me. Something I like.