Tuesday, January 04, 2005

What WON'T undermine young women? Seventeen kinds of Wallpaper.

Say, didn't I leave a blog around here somewhere? Was it in this box? I know I packed it when I left and I was going to UNpack it as soon as I got that... say, is that a desk?

Well, goddamn. Must be hammer time.

Sorry about the down time. I'll try not to let it happen again. Now that I'm safely set in my lovely new home, I think I can promise a more regular schedule than we saw at the end of '04. The goal is another two hundred and twenty five posts by '06. Best to get crackin', eh?

glistening by the numbers: SEVENTEEN

Ratatat - "Seventeen Years"

41: Model example of being repelled at first and eventually, staying that way. Crisp beat nearly wins me over but I'm not so sure it does. No spark.

Avi: Too bad the recording kind of sucks because I really like this song. I'm a sucker for dual melody lines: Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, In Flames, whoever.

Lee: Kraftwerk with guitars. Pretty neat - interesting the way the sections fit together. The sounds and the harmonies of the guitars remind me of Frippertronics - that raw plugging-the-guitar-straight-into-the-tape-machine texture. The drum samples are nicely used too, adding to the overall 'cold' mood, although they could get annoying after awhile. I would like it even more if it were a bit shorter.

Jamie: Seventeen years...what was I doing at 17...oh yeah, unsuccessfully dodging a golf cart in a school production of Grease. Starts out fiery,gradually mellows, like the difference between you at 17 and you now (unless you have no intention of mellowing...)

Rosecrans: Ratatat has a hard time doing wrong. The guitar/keyboard bits are juicy. Plus, as Timbaland has shown, the world needs more songs with hand claps.

David: A friend was telling me how fucking amazing these are live, the other day. This is the first thing I've heard by them, and it is pretty bloody good.

Yes, they were musicblogged into the ground this year but that's hardly a reason to deny them.

Ratatat's unique shuffle and deal of AC/DC "throw-up-the-horns" rock in tandem with supercheesed Kraftwerk cribbing should be embarrassing and poorly dated. Instead it's exhilarating; "Seventeen Years" is a post-millenial Eye of the Tiger for all your city-strolling, pop-ya-collar-walkin', candy flipping needs.

I do find take issue with the inherent "gwuh?" in Pitchfork's all-inclusive suggestion that Ratatat is hip hop, regardless of the b-boy spoken word intro. Good beats do not hip hop make, any more than heavy guitar makes rock. What these boys have crafted is an techno/glam pushmi-pullu held together with a thick coating of instant nostalgia. "Seventeen Years" tastes so much like a lost summer that you'll believe in it like a phantom limb. That's their real triumph: even Ratatat's most upbeat songs are undercut with an air of wistful sadness, no easy feat in the face of an uplifting clap track and a wailing electric guitar.

Buy Ratatat's eponymous debut CD direct from Insound.
In my opinion, it's one of the best albums of 2004... but you can read more about that (and argue the point with me) in my upcoming best and worst of '04 list.
Visit either of Ratatat's official sites.
Read this brief Ratatat interview, courtesy of Glide Magazine or this one via Free Williamsburg.
Watch this fan-made eco-friendly "Seventeen Years" flash video.

Baby rabbits are eaten by the evil progress machine. It's like, symbolic.

Really, I love it. Right up there with the ol' Devileyes.


Ladytron - "Seventeen"

Glossy as a silicone implant and just as cold, this breathless pro-jailbait club anthem manages to be both creepy AND seductive. Ladytron's electronic wind tunnel whooshes over layered keyboards and big juicy bass beats all but swamp the insistent whisper of disposable youth. It's either an invitation to rockist orgiastic abandon or a cunning po-mo mentalist commentary on the glamorous life. I know which party _I'D_ rather be at but you can get with this OR you can get with that.

Buy "Light and Magic", Ladytron's 2002 sophomore release, from Amazon.
It's a bit more dolled up and overly pretty than the first album would lead you to believe; more Fischerspooner than Daft Punk... but beggars can't be choosers, eh?
Visit Ladytron's nicely designed and content-heavy official site.
Listen to this realaudio interview piece with Ladytron about "Seventeen".
Read this interview with the band.