Monday, November 30, 2009

new to me, volume 1

OK, so we're in a bit of a dry spell for new music releases. I have it on fictitious good authority that after the John Mayer album came out, everyone else who was going to release an album in 2009 stared wistfully out the window, said "what's the point?" and trashed it.

That doesn't mean we can't still find new music. Having never owned a car newer than the 1996 model year, my recent-ish purchase of a 2004 model year car, although it wasn't "new" on an absolute scale, felt like a spaceship from the future when I got in it. Dig?

First up in our "new-to-me" series is a 2007 release from "The Junior Varsity," a now-defunct band I found on Purevolume in college (remember Purevolume?! AIM?! Snood?! College?!). It's called "Cinematographic," and it's good.

This band captured me in about 2004 with a song that had such a non-conventional rhythm, unusual and pleasing chord voices, and an overall hyper-distinct "sound" that I, in my broke-ass college state, actually went out and bought the album, "Wide Eyed." The whole album was solid, and I spun it for at least 2 years in heavy rotation.

Fast forward 3 years, I'm out of college and working, listening to Pandora at work to pass the time, and I hear something familiar --- it sounds like The Junior Varsity, but I don't recognize the song. To my surprise, they had come out with a new album, so I instantly bought it on good faith, based on how much I loved the previous album.

It was more mature, better written, better performed, better produced.

Instant standouts included the warm, jazzy, horn-supported "Cinematographic," the powerful, riffy "The SKY," and the "do WHAT?!" inducing "Memory Made Easy." (Ed. note: not a lot of these are available on YouTube, so you have to lift a finger to get to them. LMGTFY.)

Listening to it now instantly reminds me of driving my mom's old Accord around the DC suburbs, wishing I had a Les Paul to get the beautiful, woody, warm tones that take this album from "just another indie release" to "gonna be up in my iPod when I'm 40."

Lafawnduh the Hawnduh

It's one of those albums that just has an inexplicable staying power --- whenever I have my iPod on "all songs shuffle" and I get something from Cinematographic, I never change it.

For the playas: The Les Paul / humbucker tones on this album are so good that I decided I had to get a Les Paul style guitar after I got this album. My Les Paul search led me to my now-beloved 335 Dot. I literally would not have that guitar if not for this album. Powerful.

There's nothing better than buying a guitar to get a specific sound you're looking for. Besides sausage balls.

Now, I had a rather pleasant Thanksgiving holiday. My wife and I went to Bedford, VA, where my family has "done" Thanksgiving for nigh on 20 years now. After eating sausage balls and fried apple pies until I was genuinely worried about my immediate health, I stepped out to the yard for the annual two-hand-touch football game, where I learned that my dad has still got skillz on the football field, Doc Martens are terrible for football, and teaching a young first-cousin-once-removed to run a play and subtly letting them get a touchdown without being obvious is a great feeling.

The next day we returned to central Virginia, where both her and my parents live, and had the distinct pleasure of picking her parents' two black labs up from the kennel. If you ever want to feel like the hero at the end of a movie, go pick a dog up from the kennel.

Also of note, for the first time ever, a band is actually sending me a copy of their album along with a press kit, so I'll review their album --- tortally allsome. Look for it next week.

All you jealous punks can't stop my dunks,

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