Thursday, June 18, 2009

File Under: "I Just Don't Get It."

It happens. Writers, friends, random acquaintances; people who typically share your music tastes rave, swoon and obsess over a band you just have to experience.

So you do.

Annnnnd ... you don't get it.

Two such bands for me, that I just want to like with all the want that's there, are the The Fleet Foxes and Guided By Voices.

The Fleet Foxes, with their beautiful, lush harmonies somehow absentmindedly omit music from their music. I get it. You love you some CSNY. And The Band. You are all bearded, scruffy nomad-looking folk from the Pacific Northwest.

Why should I care when there's zero going on with your highly-lauded self titled release aside from four-part harmonies? Especially when I don't like beards? You could be so much more engaging, complex, and -- well -- enjoyable if a fraction of thought was put into more than how prettily we can sing together.

The only saving grace for them, which gives me hope for future releases, is that in this interview with Under The Radar Magazine, lead singer Robin Pecknold actually mourns the enthusiasm the press expressed over the release because it felt so incomplete to him.

Let's just hope the success doesn't go to his head.

Then there's Rob Pollard. The quintessential darling of Magnet Magazine, my alt-rock periodical of choice.

I've made my way through a large portion of the GBV catalog. There's a lot of catchy in there.

A lot of catchy, half-finished thoughts.

What is it with this guy? Is it just that he's a punk rocker trapped in an indie-rocker's body? Why can't he see a full phrase through? Most of the songs just trail off into oblivion without any semblance of finality. It seems to me that if he'd taken half of what he'd written, stew over the songs for a few days and actually go through the editing process, he'd come away a brilliant poet/lyricist/songwriter.

Instead, the result is just aggravating, frustrating, annoying ... but not noise, like punk rock is ... it's just so ...


That's the word.

Rob Pollard's songwriting, to me, is sex without the courtesy of completion.

Or maybe I just need someone to explain it to me.


  1. Funny...I could have sworn you were the one who recommended Fleet Foxes to me.
    But I agree. They felt empty. Lacking.

    You have such a talent for verbalizing what I can only identify through vague feelings. While I, who desperately wishes to be able to write more, sit down to come up with a music review, and find myself lost for words. Every time I try, I feel like I'm describing things exactly the same. Full sweeping melodies, plush environments, etc.
    I think I need a thesaurus.

  2. Aw, thanks dood. That's really flattering.

    But I'm kind of the same. Only instead of a thesaurus, I fight mostly with writing in the passive voice. Actionable verbs! That's what I struggle with.

  3. Oh, and it was me. Kahler was so enthusiastic, that I kind of got that way about them too, but after I really listened to them I'd told you to check them out. So my fault.

  4. Yeah, but I'll give anything a chance. There's always room for more music. Besides, you and I tend to have pretty different taste in what we consider good I've noticed. Our favorites rarely overlap.