Friday, November 17, 2006

Indie Music Review for the Attention-deficient: Pajo

(Also published by Blogcritics Magazine)

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 usually 90s,80s, 70s, or, sometimes digging way back into ancient history,60s, 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?

Thanks for asking.

Pajo: David Pajo did time with legendary indie bands like Slint and post-rock demi-gods Tortoise. But he came to a fork in the road, took the path less-traveled by, and made an appreciative difference. The well-crafted songs on his latest, 1968 (2006), showcase his hauntingly poetic vocals on carefully wrought musical scapes, whose consoling autoharps and synthesizer pops and gurgles fleetingly recall children’s camp songs as well as 80s Eurodisco.

Take, for example, the track “Who’s that knocking.” It begins with simple strums of an autoharp, then adds an echo chamber vocal layered on the basic autoharp chords, then adds intermittent electric guitar licks, which develops into organs,piano,and acoustic guitar, while the omnipresent autoharp recedes in the mix. It’s like three songs in one. Ironically it is just in the last twenty seconds of the song that a drum set appears only to fade out immediately in a tour de force of composition.

I find the uncanny likeness to Elliot Smith’s vocals bordering on the eery (e.g., "Prescription Blues"). ES haunts this music. Who else? Magnetic Fields, Pernice Brothers,Will Oldham--dolt-headed signposts are de rigueur, mes amis.

Ever had the urge to dash to the nearest pond, lake, or stream, commandeer the odd available row boat, pop in some tunes, and give your aching mind a break? Next time take Pajo avec. Trust me: it's an unbeatable joyride.

Pajo in Haiku...

Dolt-headed signposts?

E. Smith, M. Fields, P. Brothers.

row, row, row your boat.

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