If you only listen to one song today, make it “Videotapes” by Blouse (2011, from the album Blouse)
Do not adjust your sets. All that pitch modulation and stuff is part of the song. There’s a LOT of knob twisting and pedal pushing going on in this song. It’s a mess. And it’s fantastic.
This Portland three-piece just put out their self-titled debut in November. They had released a 7″ single on Sub Pop records, but ended up releasing their debut on Captured Tracks Records. I don’t know much about that label, but a little research tells me that they like the shoegaze over there. They don’t have much going on, and they certainly don’t have the name recognition of, say, Slumberland. However, they were responsible for the 2010 debut release — Gemini — by dream-pop one-man act Wild Nothing. That one ended up on a lot of people’s “best of 2010” lists.
I really liked the Blouse album, and it ended up as my eighth favorite non-Canadian record of 2011. I’m not sure that in a couple of years it’ll still be one of my favorite records from 2011, but I’ll stand by it for now.
I also think that it’s only a matter of time before Sofia Coppola kidnaps this band and forces them to write the original music for her next movie. Based on her current trajectory, the next one is sure to suck. Her movies always have great music, and the first two were great movies. Since “Lost In Translation”, though, the quality of the movies has declined precipitously. If you really want to know what I think, click through for some detailed thoughts about Coppola’s career.
I’ve always been the type of guy to listen to whole albums instead of individual songs. It seems at odds then, that I LOVE making mix cds. It also seems very much at odds that I’m undertaking this project of highlighting a song a day, every day. I bring this up because this album really should be listened to as a whole. There are, though, two or three songs that are spectacular stand-alone songs. In my aforementioned year-end list, I highlighted the song “Into Black”, and that’s certainly not to be missed. It’s the song that The XX were hoping to write when they wrote “Intro”.
“Videotapes” is another one of the songs that can proudly stand alone.
My interpretation of this song is that the protagonist had a friend who always wanted to document their adventures on camera, but she thought it was a ridiculous thing to do. Now, for one reason or another, that friend isn’t a part of her life anymore, and she wishes that they had made the stupid videos. Just so she could see her friend again.
You’re not in my hands
But I see you often in my head
What it would be like to see you again
I hope that this band gets some recognition that they deserve. Whether that recognition comes organically, or from their songs showing up in a Sofia Coppola film, or a commercial for a Panasonic digital video camera, or an episode of The OC. Say what you will about “selling out”, but I think most bands would rather sell records than not sell them.
Speaking of which, you can (and should) buy the record in physical form from Captured Tracks. Their site is sort of sloppily designed, but use this link to get to where you need to be. Get a digital copy from amazon.