NAILED Songs of the Week #43

Editor Staff, Music, April 8th, 2016

"People from Scotland are the nicest. They all told me stories about knife fights."

nailed songs of the week
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Guest Editor: Joe Blair, Writer and NAILED Contributor:

“Business Interruptus” – Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place

Rob Crow of Pinback fame brought many old school emo kids to tears when he announced in March of 2015 that he was quitting music after 20 or so years. According to Crow, at that point in his life, it was his only choice. He felt as though his music career had jeopardized his family, and the key to getting that in order was hanging up his guitar, quitting drinking, working on financial situations, and focusing on his familial relationships. We couldn’t be all that sad because he was doing what was right for him and his family, but the good news is, now we can be happy again. He has found a balance of creativity where he now knows how to keep music from being, as he put it, “financially irresponsible to my family and ultimately humiliating to my psyche.”

Crow has returned after what ended up being a short break, and many old school emo kids are now free to turn those tears of sadness into tears of joy. “Business Interruptus,” is the first single released from the new album “You’re Doomed. Be Nice.” The song takes the intricate instrumental meticulousness and sparseness that Pinback mastered, and fills the empty spaces with layers of voices and instruments, creating a “wall of sound” that would make Phil Spector proud. Just as Rob has found a balance with home-life and music, so has he found a sonic balance, creating a spacious song with room to breathe while simultaneously embracing a vast, impressive sound.

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Guest Editor, Adam Strong, writer and host of the reading series, Songbook, A Literary Mixtape.

“Carl Sagan” – Night Moves

“Carl Sagan” by Night Moves starts with the a roller rink organ, then a piano. That piano, that along with the guitar, is the thing that grounds to you the song, like the swing slam door shut of your middle school locker, just as the one walks by. The one you dedicated all songs to. Maybe it was the brown in his or her eyes, or the way they looked at you, but there is a kick in here, in the song, that mixes in with that middle school yearning.

The high falsettos, a groove you can snap to, and even before you go for the snap, there it is — drums and piano and lazy hazy guitar, the part of the song you will sing to yourself for the rest of the day.

“Carl Sagan” borrows so much from the songs played on pop radio in the 1980s, but somehow it pulls off the impossible, a feeling both modern and nostalgic. This song could be 30 years old, or it could have been released last week, because what lead singer John Pelant is channeling is our need for wanting. Whether it’s a person you’re pining away for, or a time that will never come back, “Carl Sagan” gives us a bit of what we’re looking for, even if what it gives us is more want for the things we cannot have.

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Matty Byloos, Publisher and Contributing Editor of NAILED:

“Alive” – Steve Mason

There’s something about… Scottish indie bands. Go listen to “Oblivious” by Aztec Camera. Follow it up with Primal Screams, “Movin’ on Up.” Chase that back with some Teenage Fanclub, maybe “The Concept.” If you haven’t had enough already, make “String Bean Jean” by Belle & Sebastian your dessert. What’s my point? Something more than just the Beta Band and its former frontman Steve Mason are from Scotland, hopefully.

But maybe not. I don’t know. People I’ve met from Scotland are the nicest. They all told me stories about knife fights. Every one of them, and there’s been more than a few friends from Scotland. Maybe Portland’s 9 months of gloom and rain share a twin in Scotland’s weather. Maybe I’ve always had it in me to love the music that comes from this country. “Alive” is just that — confident, present, just enough of a melody to take it in and make it your own. “Don’t you want to see me alive” has a notion of heartbreak to it that betrays the otherwise happy persona of the tune, but isn’t that just the way life is?

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Shenyah Webb, Arts Editor of NAILED:

“Bahia” – Prince Rama

Each spring, when the sun starts to show its bright warm loveliness to my pale purply flesh, I think, “Oh shit, better get in shape!” With my serious lack of motivation when it comes to exercise (I find it mundane, boring and torturous), I generally grab an energy drink, do a few resistance band exercises and finish my workout with a fantasy of my perfect swimsuit bod (I’m sitting at this point). This spring I wanted it to be different, I needed my motivation to be less fleeting, so I decided to look up some exercise videos. In search of my new motivator, I came across these sparkling gem sisters and their band Prince Rama.

Their newest release, Xtreme Now, is a concept album of extreme sports. Perfect! Although the Larson sisters duo has been going at it from Brooklyn since 2008, this was my first listen. Gimmicky with their whole workout schtick, yes, but their music is seriously dynamite! Flashy, bouncy, smart, hot, and fun to move to.

So back to this concept bit; the story is so bizarre. Apparently the sisters were participating in an experimental film that loosely explored black metal and utopia on a remote island off the coast of Estonia. While living in this “black metal utopian commune,” one of the sisters, Taraka, had a near-death experience while exploring an ancient Viking ruin.

While in an unconscious state, she had many visions of medieval times, merged with the future. She describes one of her visions: “In the year 2067, I witnessed an aesthetic landscape where art museums are sponsored by energy drink beverages and beauty is determined by speed. I saw a vision of ancient tapestries stretched across half-pipes and people base-jumping off planes with the Mona Lisa smiling up from their parachutes. I saw art merge with extreme sports to form a new aesthetic language of ‘Speed Art.’ I realized that time travel was possible via the gateway of extreme sports, and I wanted to make music that would provide the score.” After this life-altering experience, the two watched many extreme sports videos on mute, and created the album Xtreme Now.

The perfect impetus to my new workout regimen. My new energy drink.

Prince Rama are currently touring and from what I hear, they put on a hell of a show!

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Check out Songs of the Week #42 for even more great music from the editors and contributors behind NAILED.

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Staff

More than one editor and/or contributor was responsible for the completion of this piece on NAILED.