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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Perfect From Now On, Now

posted by on September 4 at 14:40 PM

Music industry executives are losing their jobs left and right these days, but you know who’s probably not losing his job? The guy who came up with the idea for all these “play a classic album start to finish” tours. What a great pitch—fans can count on hearing their fav albums performed uninterrupted by untested or lesser material, and let’s face it, gen-xers are at prime nostalgia age (cf, this year’s Bumbershoot line-up). Last week it was GZA touring Liquid Swords. This week it’s Built to Spill performing Perfect From Now On (tonight at the Showbox, sold out). (Sonic Youth, Public Enemy, and countless other venerable acts have been doing this lately as well). Anyway, it may be a gimmick, but it’s not a bad one, and Built to Spill’s Perfect From Now On is, well, perfect for this sort of treatment, an evenly sequenced album with both shining pop hits and stoner-riffic jam-outs and some of Doug Martsch and co’s finest song-writing. But don’t take just my word for it. Take it as well from Rebecca Brown, Tao Lin, David Shields, Everett True, Kathleen Wilson, Brendan Kiley, and Jeff Kirby’:

David Shields:

“Randy Described Eternity” is a launching pad for the empty space between your body holding your guts (built to spill onto the pavement) and the vast cavern of forever-land eternity.

Rebecca Brown:

I can’t get that sound you make out of my head. Nobody else can hear it, and you wouldn’t want them to. The sound of you napping perfectly, content like nothing could ever happen to perfection.

I once thought if I tried I could be perfect. If I did what one should, was nice and good, worked very hard, one day I could become as pretty and perfect as you. But I was wrong.

Jeff Kirby:

It was an adolescent revelation, like finally figuring out what boners were good for—how had this amazing thing been in front of me all this time and I didn’t know what to do with it until now?

Brendan Kiley:

Looking up lyrics is always a terrible idea.


Worst of all was Martsch telling me, in response to some dumb question about what some specific lyric meant, that he usually wrote melodies first and then just figured out whatever nonsense words fit them phonetically.

Everett True:

I think of seesaws—and children yelling, throwing Frisbees on a wide deck.

Tao Lin:

When he says, “Kicked it in the sun,” I think, “Someone kicked someone in the crotch in a movie in slow motion with fireworks in the background at night, giving it a solar system–like tone.”

Kathleen Wilson:

As satisfying as it feels to sing out, “You don’t like anything/’Cause you’re unlikable,” a modicum of self-awareness can set off a devastating case of the shudders as you wonder if Martsch’s words might spell out the reason you feel like such an asshole all the time.

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man, kathleen wilson nailed that one.

Posted by brian cook | September 4, 2008 2:58 PM

I love this article. And some perfect responses too,

Speaking of "playing the whole classic album through live" idea, I imagine that that is going to be my new conversation starter. (As in, *ahem* what album would you love to see played through live by the original artist? Oh yeah.)

Posted by Chris Estey | September 4, 2008 3:29 PM

For my money, Cheap Trick trumped all these acts: their first four albums in four days. Just wish I'd known sooner, so I could've made the trek out to Chicago. Granted, I'm not a big fan of Dream Police, but I worship "Surrender," "Southern Girls," "Downed"...pretty much everything circa 1975-78.

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | September 4, 2008 5:04 PM

Not to challenge the mighty fine KC, but Sparks recently did a run through of their entire oeuvre in the Uk -- twenty fucking albums over each night, with encores saved for B-sides, covers, outtakes, etc.!

OK, admittedly, I'd rather see four nights of Cheap Trick than twenty of Sparks ... especially the first couple of those nights. What do you do for Budokan though, go to the studio?

Posted by Chris Estey | September 4, 2008 6:55 PM

You didn't need to go to Chi-Town to see that Cheap Trick show. They toured with it circa '98-99, doing three nights at the Crocodile.

Posted by U-Ziq | September 4, 2008 7:50 PM

You're right, Chris, that Sparks extravaganza makes Cheap Trick's efforts seem puny in comparison. And @5, I missed that Crocodile event, although I would've preferred to see the band with a hometown crowd (no doubt members of the Ponys, Big Black, et al were in attendance). The Croc seems small for a stunt like that...

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | September 4, 2008 9:59 PM

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