July 16 — “Lemonade” by Braids

Braids

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Lemonade” by Braids (2011, from the album Native Speaker).
Braids is an indie rock/experimental/electronic band from Montréal-by-way-of-Calgary. They all went to high school together in Calgary, where they formed as The Neighbourhood Council in 2006. Three of the four band members enrolled at the extremely prestigious McGill University in Montréal. They’re the top rated university in Canada and the 17th best in the world, using the QS World University Rankings. Not only are these kids really young, they’re really, really bright. Oh, and they’re pretty good at making records, too.

Along with the change of venue, they changed their name to Braids.

Throughout 2009 and 2010, they played a lot of gigs as support act for some established names, including Holly Miranda. After a long string of tours, they finally returned to complete work on their album. They also announced that they had established distribution deals in North America. In January, they blew everybody away last year with their debut record — Native Speaker. It made the 2011 Polaris Music Prize shortlist. I called it #5 in my list of my 15 favourite Canadian records of 2011. Even Ian Cohen from Pitchfork liked it. He gave it a 7.9, which is sort of like getting a 9.2 from anybody else.

Today’s song is the first song on the album, and it’s by far my favorite.

“Lemonade” by Braids

I really love how both guitar parts are played in arpeggio. It’s really intoxicating. I wasn’t entirely sure that it wasn’t a loop effect or even some keyboard, but those guitar parts are live. Of course there is some keyboard, but that’s a separate story. And I think there is a little bit of tape loop, but they’re still playing live over the loops. And it’s definitely two different guitar parts. I love it.

It’s a song that’s fundamentally about having empty meaningless sex.

In the “chorus”, the line is

And what I’ve found
is that we
were all just sleeping around

In the rest of the song, there’s a story of a broken marriage, a somewhat wild party, and telling someone off. What I love, though, is at the end of the song, when it comes back to the chorus, there’s the important part added.

What I’ve found
is that we
were all just sleeping around

All we really want to do is love

That’s the beef of the lyrics right there, and it comes out at the very end. It’s brilliant.

There’s something really special that’s happening near the middle of the song. Just as the last verse is starting up, at 3:04, there are three big snare drum crashes. It only happens once in the song, which makes it pretty great. I’m not sure why I like those simple snare drum hits so much, but I do.

Fans in Canada should visit a bricks and mortar store, or order a physical copy of Native Speaker from the Flemish Eye web store in CD or LP format. Canadians should download the album from the Flemish Eye mp3 store.

Outside of Canada, fans should buy the album here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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