Saturday, November 19, 2016

Music For Catastrophes

Whenever I’m severely depressed, or dealing with some sort of “Major Negative Issue” I would avoid new music, fearing that it would just get the stench of the crisis and forever be tainted by it. I’d use similar logic to deprive myself of other fun things during those times, but now I’m beginning to think that approach only made things worse. This time around, I’ll do good things for myself to keep up my strength, and one of those things will be to listen to good music. Another rule worth breaking now is my No More Than One CD by an Artist rule. Which is, when given the choice between two records to buy, I’d get the one by the band I didn’t have anything by yet. Its original intent was to cut down on those instances where I’m getting the eighth or twelfth record by one artist at the expense of hearing something new by another. After all, unless you’re Dylan or Neil Young, there’s little reason to think your twelfth record is as good as your first. But everyone once in awhile, I wise up and ask myself why I never bothered to go back to the well for a band that made a record I loved? Which brings me to the Chills, who made one of my all time favorite records, Submarine Bells (1990), which was definitely one of the best records of the 90s. Chills.jpg The Chills: Kaleidoscope World (1986) This time it’s their first album (Submarine Bells was their second) which is really a collection of singles. Now I know what you’re thinking. I’ve never even heard of these guys. Well, like the Clean before them, they’re from New Zealand. Most of the key characteristics of the band are here, if in more embryonic form. The songs with rhythms or melodies like old sea shanties, but modernized via echoey organ and guitar textures that provide a haunting, out of reach quality. Their music hasn’t yet taken on the bright sharp production of SB, but if anything, it’s even more haunting for that reason. The songs are as melodic as ever, but this time they sound both modern and mythic at the same time. Martin Phillips’ vocals may seem nondescript but they fit the mood perfectly, only adding to the overall atmosphere. The lyrics deal with major themes like death and love and leather jackets, so you know they’ve got their priorities straight. And they’re just vague enough to keep me intrigued. Somehow they manage to rock out more, too. And the good news is that they’re pretty good at it. The brilliance is not yet in full focus but it’s here nonetheless. So, while I’d recommend SB first, if you like that one, proceed on to this one. You won’t be sorry. I hope the music here will help me through some of this awful time. As far as getting the stench of the time on it, only time will tell. A- “Rolling Moon”

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