Friday, June 18, 2010

Favorite Friday with The White Ravens: Dissecting The Shins

Amy Bennett of sibling duo The White Ravens has a very unique way of thinking about the songs that she listens to and how they affect her. Bennett thinks and sometimes talks like a scientist-turned-indie rocker who still has a youthful wide-open view of the world. While we may not understand everything she is talking about; it's completely intriguing to see how music makes the wheels in her head spin. Gargoyles and Weather Vanes is set for release July 6!

The Top 5 Songs That Convince Me Mind Control is A-Okay

1. "Red Rabbits," The Shins
One moment I’m sitting in a comfortable swivel chair in front of my computer, my cursor descending upon a certain music track in iTunes. The next moment, my lungs are being crushed under layers of sedimentary rock, and something very strange is happening to red bunnies. No, I haven’t gone off the deep end, The Shins have just caused me to involuntarily hallucinate. I like this. In fact, I’d surrender control of my own mind to The Shins’ visually evocative lyrics anytime.

2. "Machine in the Ghost," The Faint
I am completing some unrelated, and generally menial task, such as sucking up liquid with laboratory equipment and squirting said liquid into something. This is a comforting task. All is well with the world. Suddenly, something shatters the nirvana of liquid relocation. A sound on the periphery of hearing. It sounds awfully like...buzzing. I look around the lab, to make sure that nothing is quietly exploding. I strain my ears. It hits me: the noise is inside of my head, and has lyrics, too. Witty lyrics. In a whir of synths, I realize that it is “Machine in the Ghost." In the hierarchy of deviously insidious songs, “Machine in the Ghost” has to be at least an emperor. An emperor to which one wants to surrender ones mental territories. Frankly, The Faint, go ahead. Your synthesizers can have my brain.

3."Die by the Drop," The Dead Weather
When I listen to “Die by the Drop” I find my feet tapping. Involuntarily. The Dead Weather’s bulldozer of distorted guitars and vocals pummels both not only my brain, but my body into a state of zombie-like entrancement.

4. "Parasites," Daniel Kahn
A parasitic liver fluke worm manipulates the minds of its ant hosts. By day, the ants perform their normal tasks in the ant colony, but during the night, the ants crawl to the tips of blades of grass and wait to be consumed along with a mouthful of grass, by a cow. By toying with the minds of ants, the liver fluke worm finds its way back to the cow, its final host. In “Parasites,” Kahn describes the life cycle of liver fluke worms and two other parasites in gory, excruciating detail, to the sounds of blaring Klezmer clarinet and accordion. If all mind control is accompanied by sizzling hot, gleefully sinister Klezmer music, I say bring on the parasites.

5."She’s Actual Size," They Might be Giants
If your lyrics are frightening enough to induce phobias in listeners, you know you are doing something right. They Might Be Giants manages to write lyrics that are so mind-manipulating, they instill me with a deep fear. It can only be described in TMBG’s own words: “Words fail, buildings tumble, the ground opens wide, light beams down from heaven. She stands before my eyes.” I don’t know exactly what “she” is. I generally imagine a bear/woman hybrid with sledgehammers for arms. Regardless, living in a world in which I feel empowered by the availability of information, and microwavable chocolate thingies, I have disturbing lack of helplessness and irrational fear. Thank you, TMBG, for providing my brain its daily required dose of pure, visceral terror.

Each Friday, hence the name Favorite Friday - one GLG band/artist will send us a list and comments about their "favorites" of the week. It could be a list of albums they are listening to in the van, books they are reading, guilty pleasure TV, and so on. We hope these various "favorites" will give you unique glimpse into the lives of our bands.