Kelp Objects

judgeI’d like to file an objection; actually, perhaps a few of them.

First of all, how come I’m always typing lately? If computers are really making my life so much easier, how come I’m having to spend more time than ever with them? I can’t type – I never said I could. Why is it a good idea for me to spend more time typing? You people are insane.

Let me stress this point: YOU PEOPLE ARE INSANE.

I am not myself lately, and neither is anyone else; but you people are… insane.

See if you agree: abducted girls are starting to turn up too quickly.

Please don’t misunderstand, I’m glad for them and everything, but it’s getting so I can’t turn on my computer without another little girl turning up missing on the Netscape-idiot-version-of-the news, and then ten or fifteen minutes later they’re back again, happy as clams. Apparently, young girls today can barely get through their morning constitutionals without Maury Povich showing up with a film crew, and I think it’s time someone stood up and said, “well, the heck with Maury Povich! Young girls are important, too!” and I hope someone does, and soon, too.

There; I’m glad I got that off my chest.

While I’m at it, though, I’d like to say a word or two about my cell phone experience; something along the lines of: I’ve had it, and I hate it. I started out with the expensive version, but it turned out to be too expensive. Then I did sort of a sneaky version, with a couple of different companies; this, too, proved too expensive.

Eventually, I acknowledged total defeat and wonderment, and surrendered to the slavish begging and stalking of my original phone company, who apparently had never really gotten over losing me all those months ago. They gave me an extremely generous offer to return, and when I finally accepted, I could tell they were ecstatic, even though they tried to cover it up with a particularly lengthy computer verification process, which, of course, I now recognized as a sort of lover’s plea.

Anyway, so now I’m back with Verizon, and we’re both very happy -despite the fact that so much energy was expended without anything at all happening.

-A natural segue is ever I heard one, and why not? Let’s see what’s happening on the music scene:

Of Montreal and Flaming Lips, two sunny, contemporary psychedelic bands with death obsessions, have new albums out, and that can only be good news. Both bands are quirky beyond belief, and both might have (in theory, at least) serious lead singer problems, in that neither of their lead singers has a good voice (unless you invoke the Neil Young rule, in which case everyone has a good voice.)

Still, I absolutely love both these bands, and their lead singers, who both succeed on levels that mere competence could never attain. In both cases, I can forgive my friends who don’t get it, but I still have a hard time trying not to convert them. The songs are strange and funny and sad and soulful, and the bands share at least one more peculiar quality: they both seem like they’re from another time and place than the here and now -they both seem a little lost.

Of Montreal’s new album is called “Aldhills Arboretum” (Kindercore), and it’s being touted as a back-to-basics sort of affair using a bunch of stuff from their live act and less studio tinkering than usual – strange proposition for a band that has never been known for either their roots or their rock. As players, Of Montreal are primitives, but as a writer and arranger, leader Kevin Barnes is a true, crazy, obsessive original; the combination intrigues me endlessly. I’m not sure I can really justify or explain it -for instance, guys who say the band are way too whimsical are obviously entirely correct -but I love them.

Same for the Flaming Lips, whose languid “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” (Warner Bros.) is a logical extension of their last, “The Soft Bulletin” -except this time it’s even driftier and has more strings. At first, it seemed a little monotonous, but it has already grown on me quite a bit. They still haven’t shot that horrible drummer, who still plays too loud on everything, as if to say, “YOU PEOPLE ARE INSANE!”, but, you know, without him it might be difficult to for the Lips to flame as much as they do, I suppose. Like Of Montreal, these guys sing a lot of rather absurd lyrics, but they do it in a much more earnest, almost sculptured way, which sounds like a bad idea, but seems to work, somehow; it’s hard to figure.

On the local front, Lovewhip, a wonderfully vivacious and enjoyable world beat band, hit the Land Ho in Orleans next Thursday, August 29. The only time I’ve ever seen the Land Ho totally happy and properly rocked, Lovewhip were the perpetrators, and they’ve gotten better since, with new drummer Jamil and saxophonist/vocalist Nancy, plus the personable Erin Harpe on guitar/vox and Jim Countryman rockin’ like a maniac on bass.

You really should try to check them out, because they’ve got personality, which the great Lloyd Price always said was a really good thing to have.

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