Tuesday, June 14, 2005

M, X

Most Secret Method- Get Lovely
Most Secret Method- Our Success

Most of my reviews get written a week or two before you read ‘em. Initially I was posting ‘em as I went, writing the day of. Didn’t like that so much- too many typos, too rushed. So, I developed a backlog to allow for tinkering/editing. After the Jandek marathon, I was back to square one, pretty much writing everything the day I posted it, until the energy that man sapped from me returned and I got back to where I needed to be.

So, as of this writing, I’m ready to start writing reviews for the letter ‘p’ but the names of the two Most Secret Method records have been sitting with a big blank space underneath ‘em for the better part of two weeks. Multiple attempts have yielded nothing but a bunch of garbage.

Why has it taken so long? Well, because I really like the band, and have been trying too hard, I think, to get it just so. I do that sometimes, agonize over these reviews, and it’s funny, because the ones that I spend the most time on are generally the ones that fall on their faces the hardest. The easiest ones just come to me.

So, having said that, here’s why I like the band so much (without thinking too much about it): they’ve got some good pop sense, although they shine it through the prism of Washington D.C., sending their sensibilities refracting everywhere. The songs are dense and layered, though poppy, with fe/male vocals accenting but never overpowering the songs. There’s mathy tendencies, too, but unlike so many bands that take forays into weird time signatures, the Most Secret Method knows when to quit, don’t get caught up in going off for the sake of it. All the odd changes (which aren’t ever really that odd, just slightly off-kilter) are integral to the band’s songwriting, and are over exactly when they should be. After plucking ‘Get Lovely’ out of the bargain bin, I listened to little else for a month.

My Bloody Valentine- Loveless

You hate to think of Axl Rose and Kevin Shields in the same mental breath, but let’s face it- the two most anticipated albums of the nineties (and, now, the new millennium) were/are ‘Chinese Democracy’ and whatever the follow-up to ‘Loveless’ is. And we both know that neither of ‘em will ever happen, but we continue to anticipate and sit on the edge of our seats and wait with baited breath. The Red Sox winning the World Series last year just makes it worse (or better, I suppose)- if that can happen, then ANYTHING can happen! Both records will be released on the SAME DAY, the day that the goddamn CUBS win it all! Gas prices fall on that day, a perfect sixty-five degrees and sunny with a light breeze, as everyone gets time-and-a-half for hanging out in the park eating gelato. It’s gonna rule.

I’m not a betting man, but if I had to put odds down on which of the two records would be finished first, I’d say that it’s about even. I tend to think that Axl is never going to get his follow-up done because he’s way too busy snorting ______ and drinking _______ to get his increasingly fatter ass into the studio. The recent tour was certainly a hopeful sign for G n’ R fans, but then both the band and the new songs sucked, Buckethead or no. If nothing else, the tour generated enough cash to keep ol’ Axl in piles of whatever for another few years. When he runs out of money again, do you think it’ll be another tour, or the long-awaited album?

Kevin Shields, the mastermind behind My Bloody Valentine, succeeded in creating a gorgeous, absolutely seminal guitar album, the likes of which will never be seen again. ‘Loveless’ was released in 1990, before the advent of ProTools and all. Lord knows how Shields got the sounds he did out of guitars, what combination of pedals and amps he used to wrench these sheets of extraterrestrial static out of six strings, but he did it. If you listen to the legends (which you do, admit it), he’s been holed up in some studio with like a razorblade and some tape, painstakingly splicing the next record together. The dude’s a perfectionist- can he ever construct the record that he hears in his mind? Has he driven himself mad like a latter-day Brian Wilson? Is he pissed off at Sonic Youth for crankin’ ‘em out? Ask him if you see him.


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