Friday, June 30, 2006

Liars - Drum's Not Dead

Liars, "Let's Not Wrestle Mr. Heart Attack"

Liars, "The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack"

With all of this talk about experimenting and outsider takes, I figured it was about time to look at the Liars' latest album, Drum's Not Dead. Yeah, yeah, I know that this has been out for months, blah blah blah. I just got the CD recently, so blame the people at Mute Records for not hooking your bol up with a free copy. C'mon record companies, I'm here to be bought.

Anyway, Liars might be the most interesting band to emerge out of the whole Brooklyn dance-punk whatever you wanna call it scene from a few years ago. Their first album was considered one of the finest examples of indie's return to rhythm and the early 80s influences like Gang of Four and ESG. I know that everyone thinks this shit is played out and all, but I can't stress enough how much life these new influences gave to indie and rock music, imo. Anyway, what makes Liars so fucking interesting is the fact that they refuse to stand still or be labeled. Just when everyone was crowning them disco-punk champions, they went and released a change-up called They Were Wrong So We Drowned.

Now, the boys have confounded expectations again. First, they moved from Williamsburg, Brooklyn to Berlin, Germany. Next, they dropped this album which takes them even further away from their dance-oriented beginnings to their own little twisted place in music. I've been having a hard time describing this album, which means it's really good. This is an album, a seamless, wonderful piece of music that doesn't need a standout single. There is some sort of theme here, based on two characters called Drum and Mt. Heart Attack, I think. This may have helped the band put it all together, but doesn't really make too impact on the listener.

Don't believe the talk about these guys being pretentious or difficult, as that is bullshit. This ain't toe-tapping music, but it isn't some art school project either. The first thing you will notice is that the band has clearly left behind the post-punk influences for even darker territory. In terms of current bands, this music wouldn't sound out of place with fans of Black Dice, Animal Collective, No Neck Blues Band, dark, heavy music that revels in heavy drums, feedback and drones. Most reviewers seem to throw out Krautrock (Can, Faust, etc.) as the main influence on this one, but I don't have enough knowledge of that music to agree or disagree. For me, Sonic Youth has been the most apt comparison. Not just in the music, but also in the fact that they're both relatively popular but unafraid to offend their fans. They both have one foot in indie, song based music and another in the deepest recesses of avant garde music. And no, I'm not saying this because I'm gonna finally get my Sonic Youth concert review up this weekend.

I cannot recommend album more highly; if you have not gotten a copy, go here and buy it now. You even get a bonus disc of videos based on the music, a damn good deal for the price. Pitchfork raved about this one months ago, and I couldn't agree more.

-New Yorkers, the monthly edition of Fixed is tonight, maybe the best event in this city for staying up and enjoying the new disco/electro/house goodness we have been featuring lately. As an added bonus, Pixeltan of DFA fame are playing a live set, hopefully foreshadowing some new material. As an added bonus (I think), Ramesh of Voxtrot will take a turn as guest DJ tonight, which makes sense since this is the official Voxtrot afterparty. Dave P and JDH spinning, I would be there if I wasn't such a lame tonight.

-Good news finally in the world of politics, as the Supreme Court ruled that military tribunals are not authorized by federal statute. The Washington Post details how this decision strikes at the heart of the Bush philosophy of presidential power and no oversight. The Times editorial page declares this "A Victory for the Rule of Law." Firedoglake has a nice roundup of reaction to the Hamdan decision on the web.

-Shout out to my Delancey St. Burger King people for keeping me fueled with Diet Cokes, which are the main reason I have the energy to make all these posts. I'm in NYC for the weekend, with little to do but hang out with my beautiful daughter, Jezebel. That means it's a good weekend for me, hope everyone has a great holiday weekend as well and gets to spend it with loved ones.

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