I could be there when you land

dear friends,

1. I was lurking around the virgin megastore on 14th street like quasimodo in a hoodie when I bumped into the hard workin' contributor george who had a walkie talkie in his hand & that mirthful smile of his that always makes me wonder if there's something on my face, like a big glob of toothpaste or a wet maple leaf. he saw the stack of cds in my hand & "said what you got there?" & I showed him, he went "good", "great", "I like that one" & "eh...". eh? he was referring to the new franz ferdinand, you could have it so much better. I said "oh no, it's no good?!" & he replied, with a shrug, "I was never into them". & I suddenly felt like a sad little kid. which is what happens whenever I come across an intelligent music fan who is also a franz hater.

why, d, why? why feel sad that the folks aren't feeling the scottish disco dance rock offerings from a quartet of dior homme clad dandies? it's not like they're hurting for fans or are sobbing themselves to sleep for lack of acclaim. I dunno. I wish I knew! it's not that franz is my favorite band by any means. I never even really listen to the first album. what I do is play certain songs of theirs like the dark of the matinee or michael on repeat on my headphones 'cause it makes good travel music. music to scan faces with on subways as I pretend I'm in a spy movie. a spy movie where people are nondescript & have bags full of receipts & passersby occasionally break into huge musical numbers. perhaps I'm revealing too much about myself here?

jacqueline is my favorite off of the debut. it starts of with a tossed off narrative about nothing really, I'm not paying attention to the story, all I know is singer alex kapranos is being conversational & croony, in a sighing black & white world sorta way & then, the drums come in like well planned stealth attack & the lead guitar goes pah pada MEEEEOW!, pah pada MEEEOW! all bump & grind slink & I'm in a tiny little heaven. because when guitars sound like horny cats...that's when I feel at peace. so franz is providing a valuable service, no? I'm still revealing too much, aren't I? oh well...

but back to the purchases, I haven't heard enough of the new album to say anything about it as a whole so I'll leave the reviewing to the real writers at this here swap meet. of course, lack of ability won't stop me from saying go listen to eleanor put your boots on NOW. all a'yous, the franz haters to the lovers, unless you an ogre with a heart made of MATH, will be charmed, utterly, stupidly charmed by this kinks-like nursery rhyme of a request, complete with tinkly parlour piano, for a far away lover to get dressed, scamper to the top of the cyclone at coney, take off & FLY across the atlantic where you will meet them when they land. because you need to see them. because you must see them. a lovely whisp of longing & sweetness to add to your day. give in, let franz soothe you.

2. some of you might not know this, but I'm insanely obsessed with elvis costello & have been for a very long time. I know way more about him than anyone would ever need to & when his songs play anywhere near me, I sing along to all the chainsaw through a dictionary lyrics with the ease of leatherface making his way through some screamin' teens. for example, I'm pretty sure I could lip synch everyday I write the book, one of the cheesiest songs ever written, as flawlessly as any highly paid lip synchin' performer. with a dance routine to go with it. now why would ANYONE ever, ever learn to do that?

my introduction to costello occurred when I purchased a copy of the 2-disc collection, girls! girls! girls!*, on the strength of its hilarious liner notes written by the man himself. while girls! girls! girls! is no longer being made, used copies can be purchased on the web here. the cds soon became something I listened to daily, through coma-inducing homework, on saturdays as I lugged my cello to the city, on rainy sundays sitting on my twin bed next to the radiator. in short, it was love.

one day I will have the courage to start my massive series on elvis costello here on soft communication. in the meantime, I'll tell you to go hear the brief & odd secondary modern off of the motown lovin' get happy!!. secondary modern doesn't quite sound like the rest of the album & I wouldn't call it one of his better compositions but when he sings the line "nobody makes me sad like you/now my whole world goes from blue to blue" & jumps the octave between the two blues, I smile like the cat with a yummy canary. I savor this moment of technical dexterity because the lyric already says it all but costello, that big hambone, can't help himself & goes & throws that vocalizing on top of it just to drive the point home. he's freakin' sad & that sadness is ecstatic. got that?

3. go here & read contributor travis' bit on the new book about guided by voices. then afterwards, try & get your mitts on the clear-eyed ballad now to war off of gbv's fantastic mag earwhig! & give it a listen. now to war is one of the few gvb songs where big cheese bob pollard DOESN'T use the cut & paste method of lyric writing** to bracing effect. it sounds like he's just sat down next to you & is telling you exactly what he thinks of you. goosepimples!

love, d

songs to seek: jacqueline/franz ferdinand, eleanor put your boots on/franz ferdinand, secondary modern/elvis costello, now to war/guided by voices

* o contributor tavie, this double cd is my recommendation to you.

** let me be clear that this is not something I have beef with. he does a fine job of it usually, kicker of elves, anyone?


Blogger tina said...

You know, if you read Travis' other October posts, he likes the new Franz record.

2:00 PM, October 20, 2005  
Blogger d said...

where? I'm blind! I don't see nuffin'!

2:08 PM, October 20, 2005  
Blogger liz o. said...

Honestly, I think Franz did a better job on this new album. This isn't to say that album the first wasn't great, but this has so much more going on in it.

2:35 PM, October 20, 2005  
Blogger d said...

yeah, I like it a lot so far. I won't lie, I wish they'd do more with this new 60's sound, like an entire village green type album. not that I want to deprive the masses of their dance stuff but I really adore "eleanor..."

2:44 PM, October 20, 2005  
Blogger Mike said...

I tried to make the case for FF in the Riverfront Times. Like you, they're not my favorite band, but they're too good (and their roots go too deep) to just dismiss them out of hand. Even if you don't like them, you've gotta be glad that they've put tons of disposable cash in Domino's coffers, which Domino is using to reissue old Orange Juice and Fire Engines. It's like how Nirvana's success equalled Vaselines and Raincoats reissues.

9:02 AM, October 21, 2005  
Blogger d said...

hey mike, I don't suppose there is a link to that article anywhere, that you could put in these here comments?

10:24 AM, October 21, 2005  
Blogger Mike said...


Weirdly, New Times has reprinted this same article in its KC, Dallas, Houston and West Palm Beach papers. I guess I'm the go-to FF guy for their secondary markets.

10:28 AM, October 21, 2005  
Blogger george said...

I'm so touched that my disdain has inspired a post! I remember getting an advance of the Darts of Pleasure ep before I ever heard of FF, and I kind of liked that song "Van Tango". (Is that the title?) Anyways, I didn't think much of it and kind of buried it under a pile of other stuff. THe next thing I know they're the indie buzzsters and I'm sitting there with mouth agape going "that band with the ep?!?!?" By the time I got around to checking out the full legnth I was infected by the hype machine and found I couldn't really get into it. I listen to it at work and there's always a couple songs that stand out, but I don't need to own it or anything. And yes, if "Take Me Out" comes on in a club I will take my shirt off and shake my slender frame like there's no tomorrow.

11:00 AM, October 21, 2005  
Blogger d said...

what can I say? you're an inspiration george.

thanks for the link to the article mike! good piece.

11:18 AM, October 21, 2005  
Blogger Phil said...

Admittedly, I fall into the camp of FF-haters. If I had to make an argument about WHY I don't like them, however, I don't think I could offer anything too far beyond the fact that I find them so unexceptional, which makes it extra irritating that they're so popular. I wish I had a better explanation so that I could feel better about wishing that they would be wiped from the fact of the earth.

I don't think their music is terrible, I just feel like no matter what you're looking for in a song, you can find it done so much better by some other band.

I don't think Take Me Out is an exception here. It's catchy, yes, but it's the kind of catchy that goes directly to the annoying-stuck-in-your-head phase without ever passing though the gotta-hear-it-again phase.

But then I'm generally a crabby person.

7:02 PM, October 21, 2005  
Blogger therese said...

Did anyone catch their SNL performance? I haven't watched the show regularly in years, but it seems that, usually, the musical guests play solely to the studio audience. Not so with Alex Kapranos. He kept sending these sly, sidelong glances into the camera. Like he was letting the viewers at home in on a secret- sure I'm with these folks now, but I'm really all about YOU.

1:10 PM, October 24, 2005  
Blogger d said...

yes, I caught that. I was just remarking yesterday how I'm a cheap whore of an audience member. one sidelong, conspiratorial glance is enough to make me feel special at a rock show.

1:16 PM, October 24, 2005  
Blogger NotCarrie said...

mmm love Franz Ferd.

2:36 PM, October 26, 2005  

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