I feel weird about posting about a music thing right after Pitchfork wrote about it. I'd read about Dan Deacon before, but felt put off by the album title, "Spiderman Of The Rings" and had reservations about how contrived the guy's physical appearance seemed. Anyway, the record's actually great. I don't know how well it'll hold up, for how stripped-down it is, but for now, it makes an immediate impression powered by positivity.
This is most true on the twelve-minute long "Wham City," named after an art collective/building that housed shows in Baltimore. Oh man, but how I love collectives- the mystery evoked. The Lisa Frank imagery of that song, "there is a castle that glows, there is a fountain" combined with the whole collective bit along with the music- It's all old electronics, put towards poppy effect, bringing Nintendo to mind- signals "this is of the same mindset as Paper Rad, which I love" in a way which should put all of the things that get me on guard in the right context. There's not the same sense of noise and overload. It gets closer to something a kid would actually like, although I don't have kids around to play records for.
Anyway, it's good.
Have I written about Marnie Stern? I went to her show, saw opening acts that weren't loud enough to cut down on the sound of snare drums, I went out front and talked to friends and missed the main event because it turned out that she was playing second to last, with the not-very-good-at-all Barr the actual headliner. I'd heard a few of her songs at home, and felt like they were hit and miss, but that a live show would be fun rock and roll times. After the show I heard the rest, and it actually started meaning a lot to me- The lyrical content is these weird anthems for art-making: "I've been off the radar way too long." This peaks with the last song, which is seriously amazing- it's narration and guitar, explicitly trying to evoke imagery through sound. What turns it into a song instead of just Peter And The Wolf in miniature is the - well, there's a chorus- but large chunks that state the intent, which is art-making. "I will paint you a picture that's inside my head, but first I must carve out a space." This sounds pretentious, but coming after an album's worth of guitar shredding craziness and a vocal style that caterwauls within it's small singsong range it's just this affirmation- A tiny break from the sameness to put it all into context, so it stops being this tiring thing and starts being a lucid moment.
That then turns into a framing device for discussing this art and music collision point, which is the space where the ridiculous figure of Dan Deacon resides.
Oh, and the guy from Barr, Brendan Fowler, has a magazine, ANP Quarterly, the last issue of which had a great Paper Rad cover story, so that ties it all together too, if poorly.