Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Best Band Ever*

*according to me at this moment, subject to change with notice

(I'm so tired...that post will be later on today.)
This morning the Best Band Ever* is The Raveonettes, not Rasinets those disgusting chocolate covered raisin movie candy, (I think I used to like raisins, but that was when they were claymated and reminiscent of the Four Tops, now I prefer my raisins to be grapes) but Raveonettes, a danish duo ( I think they're still a duo) who I first heard about in late 2002 early 2003. If you haven't heard of them before good ( I can try to win conversion points) anyway their music is a weird mix of like 60's girl group harmonics, film noir concepts and atmosphere and the distortion and noise of a group like the Jesus and Mary Chain. It was back in the day, when I was first learning to be a poser indie hipster that I read an amazingly solid review of them and so I decided to go to their show at the Troubadour. Well that and I was intrigued by the "gimmick" or concept/theme of every song on the album being played in the key of B flat minor. So I went and I stood on my own and I remember before they started to play there was a tall icy nordic blonde type walking around with a drink in her hand, but I didn't think much of it because this was in L.A. and the number of blondes here would be like a Nazi's white dream. Only when they got on stage, with a backing drummer and another guitarist did I realize she was actually in the band. I remember the show blowing me away, especially the songs being stretched out into masterworks of and noise, the melody slowing losing being consumed by controlled distortion (they closed the show with My Tornado and the song lasted like at least 3 times as long as the album version. Here's a shorter live version) Anyway their vocals blended and harmonized together so well (and I've decided that Sharin has the perfect image and perfect cool/droll and slightly disaffected voice and personality to be an ideal rock star at least in the alternative/noise/post punk game); it was a really great show, one where I couldn't actually hear for the next 3 or so days ( the Troub is teeny) I was so impressed by the show that I think I actually bought Whip It On at the show, not caring about the exorbitant price.
Whatever I paid it was well worth it. The songs on that album really put me in the mindset of a black and white film, wearing leather, and being in one of those scenes in a car where it is obvious the outside world is stock footage of a cityscape (Vegas or New York,) surrounded and led astray and manipulated by dames and femme fatales (Veronica Fever,) of being slightly drunk, nervous on the run but still with that cool veneer ( fully epitomized in the lyrics to Cops on Our Tails) and getting locked up in a small dusty jail(the melody of Bowels of the Beast especially, menacing lyrics notwithstanding). You may be able to get a taste of that by reading the lyrics. I think the single from this album was Attack of The Ghost Riders and you can see a lot of their ethos in this video, a homage to 50's B-movie crime dramas-those ones that would either end with an overt message or beat you ever the head with the idea that "criminals are depraved and this is the price of such a life" or something similar (which I don't think I had ever seen before this morning):

And I'm pretty certain that that is the best motorcyclist with a flaming skull clip I will ever see. But I think my favorite song on the album (which is my favorite of their albums; I guess I'm a sucker for a minor key) and the one that actually has been in and around my head for the past few days and inspired this is Beat City. The lyrics are so about the fantasy of living fast in the big city, of being a noir gangster:
Wanna die in beat city and run, run, run
Wanna hang with girls and shoot my gun
Wanna catch the rays off the sun
Wanna drink and drive and have some fun
it just really is a cool (Sin City/tarantinoesque) song one that I could see myself go-go dancing to (if I was wearing a go go outfit and suitably drunk, which would be the only reason I would be caught out in such an outfit.)

I really really like that song. I kind of wanna die in Beat City, or at least live there for a few years.
Their second album, Chain Gang of Love was recorded in B flat major (and I think I like the concept of an album being played in one key; it adds to the feel of unity, theme and connection betwixt the songs.) I remember when their song That Great Love Sound was used in a K-mart commercial and how incongruent that felt to me I can't find the exact commercial but I believe it was very sunshiny with teens in cars and being happy, which seems really far away from the lyrics and their unrequited or unequal love vibe (the way I interpreted them, though of course I could always be wrong) Not to mention the obsessiveness, anger, jealousy,and good ol' fashioned murder, satirical as it is, as seen in the video. (Beautifully shot though)

I didn't get into this album as much as I did with Whip It On (damn major keys) I guess the lyrics and their emphasis on love didn't really entrance me as much as the romanticized feel of 50's criminal cool or maybe because it's for the most part softer and more poppy but here are a few links to videos of other songs I liked on the album (though I don't know why this dude requested embedding be disabled; the visuals are not really good and it seems far from official, but the audio gives you a taste of the song) here's New York Was Great, Little Animals (mp3) Noisy Summer (mp3) and another favorite Let's Rave on (mp3) Ah, I like noise.

Finally their newest album is Pretty In Black (great name) and though at first it seemed way too girl groupy and 60's popish, it is an album that really keeps growing on me. Maybe because it feels more L.A.centric (which is always a good thing) or maybe it's because they began to use varied musical keys. Or more likely they wrote an Ode to L.A. (as well as a writing a paen or song of yearning to us Evil L.A. Girls :p ) but no matter. The video for Love in a Trash Can, which is one of my favorite videos, fits the song so well. The video seems like something from Tarantino, or that he would use as well as the song,with that surf rock feel it totally reminds me of Misirlou. But this is Love in a Trash Can

So for all these reasons, The Raveonettes are the Best Band Ever*

Ode to L.A. (mp3)
Beat City (mp3)
Love in a Trash Can (mp3)
Cops on Our Tail (mp3)
Heartbreak Stroll (mp3)

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