Monday, September 11, 2006

Indie-Music Reviews for the Attention Deficient:Josh Rouse, Gogol Bordello, iForward, Russia!

And you may ask yourself, "What is this swine-loving blogger listening to this week?"
For those of you new to this series, let me familiarize you with how it works.

In keeping with this increasingly globalized,glibly compressed, irrevocably speedy, and immanently forgettable media culture, I have devised a simple review system that also allows you to voyeuristically peek into my ipod window but without all the trouble of having to wade through a paragraph or two of self-indulgent prose. I mention its 90s,80s, or, sometimes digging way back into ancient history,70s, influence, and give you a sentence or two explaining (sometimes in high modernist poetic fashion or haiku) why it's cool. All of these artists are creative exemplars of postmodernist pastiche. Little if anything in indie rock is thoroughly new, but the pastiche of styles can be impressive.

If you're not in a hurry, if your life isn't hurly-burly;if you're not thinking right now, "damn, here I am on the internet and I've got so much crap to do!"--well, I'm not talking to you.

Again, here's how it works. What am I listening to?

Josh Rouse, still. Emigrated from Nashville to Spain. Beautiful overtones of the Pernice Brothers, Elliot Smith, Gordon Lightfoot, The Smiths, Air Supply, Jon Rauhouse, and various seventies string and keyboard accompaniments (songs like "His Majesty Rides" on his latest album, Subtitulo, recall John Lamm's "Saturday in the Park"). I am amazed that someone can musically sample Air Supply and remain cool. Lots of clever, nostalgic lyrics about the 80s. Lie down in the park, with the sun on your face and JR on your MP3 player.

Gogol Bordello. Lead singer Eugene Hütz, originally from the Ukraine, migrated to New York and collaborated with a squeezebox man, a fiddler, a guitarist and a rock drummer. What a cocktail! My Balkanophile friends FnR turned me on to them: Pogues meets Goran Bregovic and Brechtian cabaret. Gypsy Punk. If you thought the Viennese waltz was dizzying, try it to this. Oscillate Wildly while taking shots of whiskey.

iForward, Russia! Leeds, UK. Gang of Four, David Bowie, Ted Leo, Television in brighter and paler shades, respectively. Gang of Four, Gang of Four, Gang of Four, which as you may remember were also from Leeds, a city legendary for its arts-school- and university-incubator of a post-punk tradition. Playful nods to Soviet anonymity; their song titles are simply numbers (e.g. "number three"). Their hit "Nine" sold out in a hurry, supposedly due to a popular UK dj's love affair with it. The vocals alternate between sanity-bending wails and barbaric Byrne-esque yawps, which are themselves sliced by staccato guitar-funk and percussion whose energy rivals Animal's from the Muppets. You're inspired to scream along.

That's all for now, folks. See you next time on "Indie Music Reviews for the Attention Deficient."

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