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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Young Galaxy gets it right

Of all of the year end lists that I saw, I was the only person to mention YOUNG GALAXY. I thought their debut album was the best thing released in the past year. One of the members of this Montreal band posted a message on their MySpace blog. Personally, I think their blog post sums up my feelings toward music not just in 2007, but over the last few years. There were some good albums released this past year, but the majority of those albums are "good for the moment". You'll likely forget about them by 2010. There's a reason why I still find myself going back to Smashing Pumpkins' "Siamese Dream", Blur's "Parklife", Verve's "A Storm in Heaven", JJ72's "I To Sky", and Pulp's "Different Class". Any day, at any time, whatever mood you're in, you can put on one of those albums years after their release and say, "This is good music."

Here's what YOUNG GALAXY had to say about 2007:
"And while we are on the subject of top albums of the year, I would like to express my bemusement at the Pitchfork year end lists, particularily the 'guest list best of 2007' which exposes what a ridiculously one-dimensional and insular world Indie Rock has become. Every band obligatorily lists Animal Collective, Black Dice, Liars, M.I.A., Panda Bear, Deerhunter and Deerhoof as their favorites. So much for the 'independent' thought part of being Indie. They all mention the same bands (of course it is only these kinds of bands that were asked to submit in the first place). And what the fuck happened to TUNES?? I am sick of hearing how life changing Animal Collective's music is - write a fucking song for Christ's sake! It isn't that Animal Collective and the other bands I mentioned aren't interesting or credible or valid for what they do, it's just that more often than not these days it seems that earnestness, or a genuine and direct expression of emotion is frowned upon in indie rock. Why is everyone so afraid of being moved? Where is the vulnerability? These bands seem insincere on some level, more interested in being clever than being emotionally genuine. Growing up, all I wanted from music was the feeling like I was part of a larger conversation, as if the band was reaching through the music to ask "Is It You?", leaving you feeling engaged and lit up. An emotional connection is made! What self-respecting lover of music doesn't want that? In the Pitchfork review of Radiohead's album, In Rainbows, they mention the track, "House Of Cards" as "the one weak link in the album's chain", though it's not elaborated upon. How could someone say that about this song?? Is it because they are uncomfortable with the Darlings of Smart Music making direct emotional statements? The line "I don't want to be your friend/I just want to be your lover" is such a beautiful, simple truth about how we all feel at some point in our lives. I defy anyone to find a moment as moving or real on an album like "Strawberry Jam" or "Friend Opportunity"! Those albums are just trying to get you to hold the mirror up for them. Self-indulgent twaddle. Don't be sucked in by the critics - they hold being clever in greater esteem than being honest because they are afraid of something - the end of the world, perhaps, or being exposed as the insecure, lonely people they so often are. They need to feel smarter than you. Reject it! The spirit of GOOD MUSIC is about forging your own paths, creating your own communities and languages. Break rules and take risks! Say what you really mean! Tell someone you love them even if you don't know if they love you back! It's the only way to live an authentic existence. I hope 2008 is a great year for music, I really do. I hope more bands take EMOTIONAL RISKS. There were far too few this year that did. So hats off to Radiohead, Cass McCombs, Tinariwen and the like for delivering emotionally heartfelt, complex and exciting albums!"

They have a date set up at Schuba's in Chicago in two weeks. I'm hoping that they'll make it down this way soon. I'll leave you with a couple of videos.

Outside the City:

The Alchemy Between Us:

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