Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Reviews of Music I Bought in Seattle, Part 3

Grand Archives - Grand ArchivesTwo Hundred Forty-One Words:

There was Bizzaro Superman and Bizzaro Seinfeld. Now there is a Bizzaro Band of Horses: Grand Archives. Grand Archives sound like Band of Horses had they followed the blueprint of Matthew Sweet and AC Newman instead of Built to Spill and Modest Mouse.

GA, like BoH, have a roots-rock aesthetic but opt for the more orchestral, pop side. Band of Horses record arena-ready anthems while Grand Archives write AM radio gems. The differences are slight, but they provide for a musical landmark when discussing these two Sub Pop bands.

The primary reason I bring up the Band of Horses comparison is the fact that GA's Mat Brooke played guitar for BoH before moving on to his own project.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a review of Grand Archives...

Grand Archives continues the part of Sub Pop that likes the Eagles and Sunday afternoon drives through southern California. The smooth, soulful, rootsy alt-country fits in nicely with Iron and Wine, Fleet Foxes, and Hallowpaw. At the same time, the band's work closely resembles fellow Pacific Northwesterners The New Pornographers, only not nearly as eccentric.

This is a very promising debut that fulfills pop fantasy while simultaneously feeding your alt-country hunger. The easy listening pop is augmented by sophisticated instrumentation, but the song's true strengths lie in the writing. Every song sounds like it belongs on an indie road trip flick, a Wilco tribute album, or at least in a Saturn commercial.

The one song that makes me think "Band of Who-sis": "Sleepdriving"

Number of things in common with Band of Horses:
18

Cap'n Jazz -
AnalphabetapolothologyEighty-Three Words: If you like anything on Saddle Creek, anything that's avant-garde in indie rock, or even emo, you have to like Cap'n Jazz. This anthology was released ten years ago and I finally stumbled upon it while shopping in Seattle. (Damn COMO reckid stores!) This has to be one of the most influential (for better and worse) unheralded bands of the nineties' indie renaissance. Jerky rhythms, squeamish vocals, half-thought melodies, youthful exuberance, and reckless guitar work dominates Cap'n Jazz's sound and deserves your time.

Song that is the best cover of an a-Ha song ever:
"Take on Me"

Spin-off Bands, including both Joan of Arc and The Promise Ring: 7

1 comment:

DJ Mike said...

The Grand Archives are the hottest band at the station out our way station. They've topped the charts for weeks!

I like the album more than BoH's most recent one. It's grown on me.