Monday, July 11, 2005

The Robot At Me...

I've always had an attraction to fragile music. That fragility can take on many guises and I note that because a folk singer with a guitar doesn't have to be fragile, nor does a fully plugged in rock band unable to create fragility within the framework of that they do. I think the Decemberists songs are often fragile, I think Billy Bragg is rarely fragile, I think Wilco's best moments are steeped in fragile. A band like Phosphoresccent is all about fragile in the same way that Palace Music was and the Scud Mountain Boys were. The new Sufjan Stevens Illinois (incredible record by the way) is filled with fragility, an almost indescribable ache that's projected through pacing, instrumentation, voice and density (by density I mean how much space there is to move within a song. Phosphorescent is really dense. Sufjan actually feels more open (as best i can describe this feeling is that it sounds like there's space between the sounds of the instruments, where as Phosphorescent feels as though there's oatmeal poured into any available space) though he's still able to convery an amazing amount of emotion. The Robot Ate Meis a spare, economical band that hangs its emotion on lead singer Ryland Bouchard's lyrics and creaking voice. The songs are soft heartbroken affairs seemingly obvious candidates for my nebulous tag of "fragile". But the songs never seem to crack, it's as if there's almost too much confidence. Not necessarily a bad thing. I like Carousel Waltz a lot but it surprises me that the record doesn't feel more vulnerable. Perhaps it's the dose of slightly twee, self conciousness that Bouchard injects into the songs. By self-conscious I mean it feels like he's very aware that he's operating under the tag of "indie-rock" and plays to those conventions. Anyway, judge for yourself how full of shit I am.

2 songs from Carousel Waltz


Just One Girl


Blogger darwin said...

FYI, I just posted a live track I recorded at a recent The Robot Ate show me over at Nuclear Beef.


5:53 PM  
Blogger darwin said...

I just noticed you're in San Francisco.. which means you just missed a chance to see The Robot Ate Me live.. ;)


6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, my excuse is that i've been out of town. Cut a guy some slack.

Bars & Guitars

10:05 PM  
Blogger darwin said...

Also, your mp3 of "Just One Girl" is mis-labelled. It's actually track #5, "Tonight."


12:03 AM  

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