Monday, October 15, 2007

Band of awesomeness

I recently read in Rolling Stone that Ben Bridwell who heads Band of Horses had up and moved from Charleston, SC, to Seattle back in 1997 with little in the way of a plan. By his own admission, he was into some rough stuff at the time. And for much of his time he spent there he was essentially homeless and sleeping in the back of unlocked rental trucks and working at the Crocodile Cafe where he stuffed his tips in a hole in a speaker so he wouldn't spend them.

And then in 2000 he helped sing backup on someone's record and thought "this is fun." So he taught himself to play guitar, bass and lap steel. And then cobbled together some guys and formed a band called Band of Horses. And recorded an album called "Everything all the Time" which in my (and a load of others') opinion was one of the best records of 2006. Incredible.

That record was anchored with two of the best songs I've heard in some time: "The Funeral" and "The Great Salt Lake." The album sounded as big, as limitless, as windy, as wild and as daunting as the wide-open West. Or how we imagine it as it was. I even remember having my own pretty transcendental moment in New Mexico last spring listening to "The Great Salt Lake" and its final "oh-oh-oh-oh's."

Ok great. So then what?

Move home to Charleston (Mt. Pleasant, technically) and record an album around the theme of coming home. An album about small towns and changes and the Atlantic and neighbors and who we are now. And who we were then. Once again they recorded ten of the best songs I've heard in recent years.

To my ear, it's kind of got it all, really. The haunting and huge opener "Is there a ghost", the beautiful "No one's gonna love you", the sweetly sad (but awesomely titled) "Detlef Schrempf." The awesome country stomp of "The General Specific" (with the incredible line "been running the blender in a lightning storm that disguises a blessing, I'm sure") and the rocking swing of "Islands on the Coast." The bluesy "Cigarettes, Wedding Bands" and of course, the shimmering cappers "Ode to LRC" and "Window Blues." They're the kind of songs you want to live with for a while and get their whole story.

Best of all, I feel like when he sings "the world is such a wonderful place" complete with those "la-di-da-das" on "Ode to LRC", I can't see any way to possibly disagree with him. Not with a story like that. Not with songs like those.

Not with music like theirs.

Color me fascinated.


Blogger minus five said...

i'm now concerned that my neighbors might grow to hate me because i play this album over and over and over again.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Howard said...

They should be thanking you. That's absurd!

4:26 PM  
Blogger me jeff b said...

You know the first time i listened to the new one, I was dissapointed. Then I listened a few more times. And NOW i can't stop listening to the damn thing.

You should also check out Grand Archives. It's new band of the guy that quit BOH(the guy that sang all the great harmonies on the first album). You can definitely tell where some of the great songwriting from Everything all the Time came from as well.

11:05 PM  

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