The Farewell Drifters

An old friend invited me to see his band come through town about a year ago. I didn't make it out that night but I finally caught The Farewell Drifters this time around and really regretted not going before.

Seeing these guys is like watching a really intimate hootenanny. Predictably, they draw inspiration from a range of genres and their permutations, but I'd say that Nashville country comes out more strongly (and in a pleasantly pleasing way) than folk. Between the two guitars, fiddle, mandolin, upright bass, and occasional banjo, these guys still manage to *all* contribute to the vocals. I can imagine that their practices would be a lot of fun to observe, because even on that stage, they were singing to each other as much as they were to the audience.

Stylistically, they have a good deal of variety and are young enough to appeal to the Uncle Tupelo-loving alt-country hipsters, but all of the old people who'd come out to see Elizabeth Cooke seemed to enjoy them, as well. These kids are amazingly talented and adorable. There's even a mustache involved! Preorder the album and they may even sign it for you!


Ratatat: LP4

Ratatat is the unofficial favorite band that I keep locked up in the closet. I really don't know why--it isn't as if its shameful to admit that I listen to them for hours every day, and that any academic achievement I've had in the last four or five years has been partially their doing. But, despite the care that is obviously put into these songs, and despite the way that they seem to connect with me through some kind of giant cosmic brainwave of productivity, I rarely talk to people about them, nor can I name any of the band members, and I've only seen them live once.

All of that is to say that the long-awaited LP4 is finally coming and I am actually excited despite not launching into full-scale countdown mode as I often do with The Magnetic Fields. It has been far too long, especially because it is allegedly the leftovers of LP3. Nothing wrong with that. It is still good enough to deserve a permanent spot in the work rotation, though there is a tad more foreboding and narrative here than any of its predecessors. At times, it has the richness and sense of anticipation characteristic of a Clint Mansell score, and at other times, the guitar distortion brings you right back to the band's S/T. There are some sweet bubbly purring sounds thrown in there, as well as some lovely vocal onomatopoeia that reverberates like my younger brother's beatboxing without all of the spit and embarrassing hand gestures. Overall, this is the most vocal of any of the band's albums so far. It will take me awhile to decide how I feel about it. For now, listen to the whole thing stream over at NPR until June 8, when you can purchase it.


What is going on in my universe:

I saw James McMurty last night at the Five Spot. There were a lot of old people booty dancing, and some frat boys freaking out, but I felt more like I was in Texas than I ever did when I actually lived there. In a good way. He sounds like the dude from the Jimmy Dean sausage commercials but epically more badass (and allegedly wears rose-tinted glasses).

What else? Hmm. The semester's wrapping up. I am distracted by a lot of things and constantly sleeping from the heat. My 69LS vinyl set came, so I've been working my way through that. The set is six 10" records and has a giant version of the little book that came with the CD boxed set.

Also, the Daria complete series ships tomorrow. You can get it here, with a free t-shirt that says "I don't have low self-esteem. I have low-esteem for everyone else."