Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Okay to be Happy: Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt

I used to be a lot of fun to be around.  Seriously, ask some of my best friends and they’ll tell you.  But I guess somewhere down the line I became not fun (I could probably create a timeline that led up to it but that would defeat the purpose of this column.  We’ll let all those details slowly surface in other writings).  And so, now that it has been brought to my attention that “It’s okay to be happy,” I have decided that I will try to be a sociable and fun loving human being once again.  So last week I got really drunk and saw Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt at Emo’s with a pal, here in Austin, Texas (As you can probably tell, this is going to be more of a confession piece than a review; read on if you can).

Recently, my idea of a really good time is sitting back, having an ice cold beer, throw on a Towns Van Zandt record,  and just focusing on all the negatives.  I like to think about things until they are complicated and unsolvable problems.  And the night was getting there; we were drinkin’ and we were sittin’ and I decided that I was ready to be fun again, fun the way I used to be.  And so we went.

Now, I knew what to expect.  Look up the band on Youtube and you will see what you can expect.  Plus, I had already listened to and enjoyed their album, I Love You.  I Love You and I’m In Love with You.  Have an Awesome Day!  Have the Best Day of Your Life! on multiple legs of multiple trips to Austin.  I had come to view the music of Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt as everything that was good about me just two years ago.  They are everything I believed in before I became grouchy for no good reason.  They are (ok you guyz, truth time), they are everything I enjoy when totally free of pretension.  And, this night, I was totally unpretentious.

My Pal and I arrived at the show just in time to grab a tall can of God-only-knows-what-but-probably-PBR and make uncomfortable conversation with those around us.  We found a pile of glittery clothes and various Sonic the Hedgehog like memorabilia.  We put that shit on.  And, as the lights lowered and the band took the stage, something came over me.  Something came over the audience.  We... I became inexplicably happy in a way that I had not felt in years. This was not a belligerent, sassy, or ironic sort of happy.  I had just become genuinely happy to be where I was:  in a place I head never been and surrounded by people I didn’t know.  Yet some how we were all together and alive and singing the lyrics to songs written by a band that we had not met until just now.

And, you know what?  I just started giving massages to the she sweaty man singing and the sweaty man playing the guitar (the guy singing seemed to enjoy it.  sorry if I mussed up your rhythm guitarist.  I had just sort of transcended space and time and it just seemed like you all needed to feel the love I was feeling.  I was not on drugs).  That’s the kind of show it was.  We, I felt, were just all in it together.

At the end of the show, the man singing told us that “even though [we] might think [he] says this at all [his] shows, [we] were one of the best audiences [he had] ever had.”  I believed him.

And if he or any member of the band reads this, I want them to know that, even though they might think I say this to ever band, that was one of the best shows that I had ever been to.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Think I Like Like The Symbolick Jews

You know that bizarre feeling you get when an album (or book or movie or whatever piece of whatever) really speaks to you in some totally nonsensical way that must really just be a personal perversity?  It’s not so much like “Oh my God, this band totally gets me” as much as “Oh my God, I think I get it, I think I get this band and have recognized some sort of soul in this album and am developing an interpersonal relationship with the artist.”  Well I got that feeling listening to Can I Trust You? by the San Francisco area band The Symbolick Jews. 

But that’s just my slightly intoxicated mind making friends with songs.

Can I Trust You? walks the line experimental and accessible like it’s a joke.  Clearly capable of making tight, commercially viable music, The Symbolick Jews, in the opinion of my super sensitive ears, compose a very neat song and then strip in down and let it loose.  In the same way that we dress ourselves up for a date, but, by the end, if you play your cards right, end up totally honest in the way that only the naked and vulnerable can be.  It’s the beautiful, ugly truth.

The album opens with “The Candidate (Burrr)” an atonal free-for-all that is part band tuning up getting ready to rock, part probable parody of experimental noise rock.  Like showing you pictures of them as a baby, The Symbolick Jews are baring their bones right up front and we cringe and laugh together.  Wiping the tears from our eyes, sighing heavily, we say “Jesus… Jesus” and move onto a wonderfully hopeful, spacey “Step Into the Bright Light,” which assures us that they are perfectly normal, affable, and reasonably romantic.

From there, Can I Trust You? reveals itself to be that album that I love enough to endure the eccentricities that make it as unique and lovable as the quirky female lead in a Fox Searchlight production.   Throwing in sirens or strangely faint and dissonant breakdowns that distract from an otherwise tidy song create character in what would otherwise be flawless and (face it) boring songs that wouldn’t forge a long lasting relationship. 

Like, wait a second, did I just here the silliest flute solo out of nowhere?

Shh… don’t worry about it, let’s just move on to the title track and dance slowly, hand in hand, with your head on my shoulder, and we’ll float on into infinite.

The album is good.  It’s eclectic and good.  Can I Trust You? is accessible without being boring, experimental without being alienating.  And you can download it for free.  So, like, you might as well.  Right? 


the symbolick jews are Determined To Be on tour this November