Monday, October 22, 2007

sunset rubdown @ the el rey

Trait common to hipsters and would-be hipsters alike: procrastination.

This show was on Friday; the words to describe it have heretofore escaped me. This is for a couple of reasons, I think, but neither because it was exceptionally wonderful nor exceptionally terrible. Sunset Rubdown, a side project of Spencer Krug (best known for his excellent work with Wolf Parade) is one of those bands that defies description. Most succinctly: they are pop music on crack. More eloquently rendered: they are an amalgam of instrumentation and melody that coalesces to create an effect not dissimilar to pop music on crack.

A few weeks ago, the band released an album called Random Spirit Lover on the unpronounceable Jagjaguwar Records. This album is outstanding. All the crucial elements are there: abstract lyrics, seamless transitions, song titles almost Sufjan-esque in length and absurdity. Sunset Rubdown make me feel like the star in my own fantasy epic, and I have always wanted to be the star in my own fantasy epic.

I was nervous about the show, however. The scope of their albums is such to make one wonder how it translates live, if at all. I needn't have feared. The band opened their set with the album-closing title track from their 2006 release, the exquisitely titled Shut Up I Am Dreaming, and the building tension and loveliness of the song was captured perfectly, albeit in somewhat-abbreviated form. In an inversion that pleased me, the regular set finished with the song "Stadiums and Shrines II", the same album's first track. Other great highlights include the continuous performances of "For the Pier (and Dead Shimmering)" and "The Taming of the Hands That Came Back to Life," the latter of which contains probably my favorite lyrical moment from the new album1:

She said: My sails are flapping in the wind
I said: Can I use that in a song?
She said: I mean, "the end begins"
I said: I know, can I use that too?


Additionally, "Stallion" made the piano-phile inside of me very, very happy, and it ranks, furthermore, among the more sonically perfect things I've been privileged to absorb in person. "Marching Bands of Manhattan" performed by Death Cab for Cutie still wins, but competition is always healthy.

1Not including all the "la la la"s and "ba da da"s, because listening to Spencer Krug sing nonsense words is just about the greatest thing ever.

mp3: "Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days" by Sunset Rubdown

2 comments:

CresceNet said...
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The Squad said...

half of the reason i was so depressed about not being able to see sunset rubdown was because i couldn't hear spencer sing that part of "taming." those lines make my life so much better in general. i sometimes rewind the song several times just to listen to that part over and over. no joke.

also thanks for linking to us!