So Ricky Martin came out of the closet. Was anybody fooled? I think it was the skin tight white bellbottom pants, his penchant to show off his chest (preferably with hot wax dripping on it) and the frosted tips of his perfect gay-style hair. Maybe it was just that whole Livin La Vida Loca video. Don’t be fooled by the hot girl. Hot gay guys always have a few hot girls nearby. It helps attract other men. Not that there’s anything wrong with being gay. But imagine if he came out in 1999…all of the brainwashed TRL preteen girls’ heads would have exploded…and Carson would have exploded too, for converse reasons.
Speaking of super hot artists, here is a band of not-so-popular, average-looking guys. (I pride myself on transitions). The Brooklyn-based indie quartet to which I’m referring is Grizzly Bear. Their sweet, sweet harmonies puts barbershop singers to shame—even with those snazzy hats, armbands and bowties. And, ohh, the layers. Collectively, the band plays approximately [embarrassingly large number] of instruments and utilizes them in a way that will make you start to hate guitar rock monotony and find fault in the sometimes crowded Arcade Fire/Godspeed You! Black Emperor sound. And they accomplish this with ear pricking tones similar to when Andrew Bird lowers his violin to grace you with his whistling. Yeah, goosebumps.
I first got wind of these geniuses on Daytrotter last year before it became a membership site. Grrr (That's my grizzled hatred of memberships...even though you can listen without being a member and membership is free). Well, I scrolled past their name and decided a shitty band would be doing the name Grizzly Bear an injustice. Let’s be real, we live in a moderately-talent-soaked age where you can select artists by any number of irresponsible ways; mine just happens to be band names. I’ve come to be sort of good at matching skill and the genres I like with band names, so you could imagine my surprise when I stumbled across Neutral Milk Hotel (weirdos?) and My Bloody Valentine (trendy hardcore?).
They surely made the inde star-status rounds, with their strangely soothing Blogotheque set from a bathtub, their David Letterman appearances, and I’ve seen them twice featured in Spin while only having read a handful of recent-ish issues. (Am I the only one to notice Spin’s fervent recycling of material? Is every Featured artist plucked from the previous month’s Reviews?) As the band’s sound ranges from haunting and yet melodic vocals in “Colorado” to the whispered lyrics and soft melodica hidden by blips and cracks reminiscent of a turntable in “Shift”…you may need a few informal meetings with the sound before you can add them to any normal playlist of yours. They are a well-oiled machine which is daunting considering I heard (maybe on NPR?) that they practice on tour.
That being said, some of their music videos might haunt you dreams. Makes me shudder.
I'm not in love with all of their songs, of course, but I'm sure you'll find a handful that will top out your last.fm charts for at least a few months. If you're very critical of lyrics you might have a few disagreements with Grizzly Bear's vaguely depictive style. There's the persona and some other person, there's some sort of friction and you get a grasp of some images that lead you somewhere in your mind. Here's an example of the vagueness and simplicity in the complete lyrics to their "Knife" song:
I want you to know
when i look in your eyes
with every blow
comes another lie
you think its alright (x4)
can't you feel the knife? (x4)
Granted, not all forms of creative writing need to be fleshed out and I do appreciate their sometimes witty writing style.
Also, if you've been caught in this recent indie-turned-electronic fad, their complete Horn of Plenty album has been remixed by other bands. Take it or leave--there are a few gems. And, they did a savory collaboration with Leslie Feist of Feist fame. I had know idea that was her last name. They've toured together and covered each other's songs which makes me all the more antsy-in-my-pantsy to see this band live.
If you're not sick of clicking (or avoiding) links by now, I just found their interesting website today.