Tag Archives: The Concretes

February 12, 2018 — “Old Town” by Say Sue Me

Say Sue Me

If you only listen to one song tonight. make it “Old Town” by Say Sue Me (2018, from the forthcoming album Where We Were Together)

Say Sue Me is an indie pop/twee/cuddlepunk/surfgaze quartet from Busan, South Korea. I don’t know anything about them other than that they formed in 2012, released an album called We’ve Sobered Up, and they released a Record Store Day EP called Semin last year. It’s my understanding that the EP was named as a tribute to the band’s drummer Kang Semin, who is in a coma. It is not, thankfully, a tribute to former NHLer Alexander Semin, whose career trajectory went very rapidly from “elite player” to “bum” almost overnight during his tenure in Carolina.

I had never heard of the band until I was doing some research today. I sort of randomly ended up on this song, and I really love it. It reminds me of the gloriously gloomy but bouncy twee-pop of Camera Obscura and The Concretes mixed with something like Veronica Falls. I love it.

“Old Town” by Say Sue Me

It’s a song about growing tired and growing old in a town where everyone else is leaving. The hero of the story wants to leave and also wants to stay. There’s not much to the lyrics, which are in perfect English, but there’s a lot to the melody and the big hook. There’s a bit after the second chorus with some hand claps and vocalizing. It’s magnificent, and there’s no way you can have a frown on your face while listening.

I’ve just listened a bunch of times in a row, and it keeps getting better.

Where We Were Together will be released on April 13. You can pre-order it via Bandcamp here, and enjoy an immediate download of “Old Town”.

February 4 — “Seems Fine” by The Concretes

The Concretes (circa 2006)

If you only listen to one song today, make it “Seems Fine” by The Concretes (2003, from the album The Concretes). “Sweden Week” is in its sixth day, and today’s song is from indie-popsters The Concretes. In 1995, they got started in Stockholm as a three-member girl band. By 2003, they had eight official members plus a bevy of “honorary Concretes”.

Their self-titled debut was released in Sweden in the spring of 2003. The US and UK versions were released in the summer of 2004, and it got very favorable reviews. Pretty much eight out of ten from everywhere. Not bad. They enjoyed some success when the first two songs from the record “Say Something New” and “You Can’t Hurry Love” were both featured in several nation-wide television ads in the United States. Those are both really good songs, but that’s not why we’re here today.

“Seems Fine” by The Concretes

Today’s song comes in at a taut 2:12, but it gets a lot accomplished in that short time. It starts with a horn solo, which I would normally find to be indescribably annoying. In this case, it’s only mildly annoying. There isn’t much time, but the rest of the song makes up for the trumpet (or whatever the hell it is). There’s also some keyboard sound running throughout the song, some synthesizer mimicking a horn. For some reason, though, I don’t find that to be annoying. I kinda like it.

This song, and most of the songs on the album have big rumbling Motown drum parts. I usually gobble that stuff up, and this is no different. I guess that’s why I love this song. The long sections where the thundering drums are the star of the show. They make up for the horn solo and the periodic short bursts of horns. Then, before you even know it, the song is over. It always leaves me wanting more.

This song is almost the opposite, thematically, of yesterday’s song. Whereas Loney Dear’s “Calm Down” says “It’s not as bad as all that”, today’s song says “It only looks like nothing’s wrong when in fact everything is wrong”.

Seems fine, though it ain’t.
No, no, no….
I’ve gotta find me a way to flow
Deep in the heart I will seek and find it all

No. Things are not okay. I wonder if this is about going through the motions of a damaged relationship. Maybe it’s about masking depression. Whatever specific thing it’s about, it’s generally about going through motions and hiding behind a facade. I guess another interpretation could be that she’s saying “don’t be so naive. Things aren’t as good as they seem”

No matter what, I like it. Especially the drums.

These days, the band is different. Lead singer Victoria Bergsman left in 2006 to pursue other endeavors. She’s done some solo stuff and she also appeared in that ridiculously catchy and hugely popular “Young Folks” song by Peter Bjorn and John. The Concretes have carried on without her, but they’re not the same. Not better or worse. Just different.

Get a digital copy of The Concretes from any of the usual suspects.

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