Pretty Embers – Inside
Genre: Math Rock
There are bands where I’d like to believe that all the members of the group were very close friends, and enjoyed each other’s company. Queen, Beatles, Nirvana. I mean the Ramones had all the same last name and wore the same clothes. Surely, there couldn’t have been too many differences of opinion there.
Then, there are bands where try as I may, I can’t imagine that these folks spared a word for each other while making the music. It simply doesn’t make sense that they would. The nature of the feelings described in the music are so insular, distant, imbued with feelings of melancholy and loneliness, that I just can’t convince me that the people playing it shared a good joke before the recording session.
Pretty Embers’ Inside is a beautiful song that features a detailed, complex arrangement. It’s played by a trio of musicians. For the life of me, I can’t imagine that they were having beers and watching the game as soon as they finished recording this. No, instead it benefits from a different kind of energy. It’s one that is built up by people living with their own thoughts for a long time. Inside sounds like the work of concentrated loneliness, a kind of meditation on separation.
The Great Fuss – Pink Television
Genre: Garage Rock
Similar artists: The Kinks, The Byrds, Ty Segall
Music made in the 1960s feels like it’s being broadcast from a faraway different planet. As usual, I’ll venture to make uninformed judgments about why that might be. I think it’s simply because the 50s and 60s were, largely, the only eras of popular music when your pop stars were merely photographed once every few singles.
Hell, in some cases audiences wouldn’t even get to know what the musicians looked like unless they happened to be shown evening television one day. Most of what these musicians had to depend on were some, usually, cheap instruments and their human voices. Did they actually have to sing with little involvement from producer interference? I am afraid, aspiring modern pop stars, that they did.
It takes a whole lot of preparation and a very sensitive year to pick up on the kind of vocal sounds that bands like The Byrds, or the Zombies might have been able to produce. Thankfully, this is not entirely a lost art as demonstrated by The Great Fuss on their single Pink Television. You’ve shivered at the sight of Facebook disappearing for a few hours, now shudder at the thought of ProTools becoming a thing of the past.