Beer and Pavement

Two for the Road

Posted in Records by SM on April 1, 2010

We had to travel in order to visit some family this past weekend1. So, I took advantage of the time to listen to new records2 throughout our travels.

I first heard Let’s Wrestle’s “I Won’t Lie to You” on a compilation3 a while back. From the get-go, I was hooked. Then I found out they were signed to Merge. What else did I need to know?

The band’s material is all over the map. There’s the punk charm of Billy Bragg, sans the politic. I hear a ton of Dinosaur Jr’s rawkward geekiness, without the guitar heroics. Plus, the presence of the youthful exuberance of a young Noise Addict4, with British accents instead of Aussie. The sound is still raw and emulates their heroes more so than creating their own niche, but that’s to be expected from such a youthful bunch of hooligans.

As a whole, In the Court of the Wrestling Let’s is as danceable and fun debut as one might want. It won’t shatter anyone’s expectations of rock ‘n roll, but it will remind you why you go to rock shows and buy more albums than you need5. There are even instances where I can tell this band won’t do punk records forever and my expand their repertoire to make albums of more substance in the future. However, for now, I want them to flaunt their youth and remind me that a piece of me is still young6. That’s why this record will be in heavy rotation for the spring and summer months, possibly beyond.

I’m lame. I have a minor crush on Zooey Deschanel. It’s nothing serious7, nor creepy. I just think she’s cute and her quirkiness gets me every time. There are no posters on my wall. The screen saver on my computer is not a series of Zooey Deschanel images. I just have a lame-ass guy crush on a Hollywood/Indie “it” girl8.

This does not cloud my view of her music. Sure, I loved Volume 1 she did with M Ward as the combo She and Him, but I was not alone in proclaiming the album’s greatness. Volume 2, on the other hand it is taking me some time to get.

The second She and Him album is bigger and brighter than the first. Deschanel still sings about relationships she’s had, not those for which she longs9. M Ward is still a master of producing 50-year-old hits. While all this sounds good, it doesn’t quite fit into the neat package that Volume 1 did, pulling me in from the first listen. Volume 2 is a good companion/sequel, but I don’t think I would give it as much time as I have had it not been for the band’s first effort. Eventually, it will grow on me and earn a regular spot in the rotation, but I doubt it ever overtakes Volume 1‘s place in the all-time list.

Notes10:
1We hit Pittsburgh before heading up to Huntingdon (near State College). I love older cities and towns like these. There’s so much character in eastern states. I miss it.
2Obviously, I did not listen to records on the road. The first album reviewed here is only out on CD. So, I lowered myself to purchasing said CD and played it on the ride to the airport. The second album came with the now-expected Mp3 download.
3The comp was created by my sister for my daughter Lucia after videos of Lu surfaced of her dancing in our living room naked. Lu’s aunt thought that she needed a mix in order to encourage more dancing. On the compilation are songs by Prince, The Clash, Unicorns, Michael and Janet Jackson, as well as Sponge Bob Squarepants.
4Early nineties teen band from Australia which was a pre-Claire Danes Ben Lee, released records on Thurston Moore’s and the Beastie Boys’ labels, respectively.
5It’s fun, exciting, makes you feel like you’re part of a community, etc.
6Despite the pains in my back that seem to shoot down my leg every morning.
7Then, I would be writing about my upcoming divorce. No worries.
8As far as indie it girls, there’s been Julianna Hatfield, Liz Phair, the Deal sisters before they became bloated on drugs, Neko Case, Feist, etc. Those crushes all fade eventually.
9This is a key difference between her and most indie musicians. Normally, they are way more awkward and unsure of themselves or they put on such a persona that their shyness doesn’t seem apparent at first. Zooey is a different creature all together.
10Look. It’s a very sensible size for a footnote section. I bet you’re proud of me…or hoping that the footnotes go away. For now, they stay.

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  1. […] I can’t believe I haven’t tattooed on my arm yet[11] makes them all the more enticing. In the Court of the Wrestling Let’s is maybe my surprise hit of the year as I had discarded any pop-punk from my collection long ago. […]


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