Forgotten Noughties #8: Meet Me in St Louis, Variations on Swing

July 7, 2011

Meet Me in St Louis Variations on Swing

Meet Me in St Louis
Variations on Swing
Big Scary Monsters, 2007

There will be those of you out there who haven’t forgotten this at all – it may even be a favourite to this day. I know that I frequently return to it. But to many Meet Me in St Louis were just a name on a supporting bill, an act that hit its natural ceiling of potential and was never likely to have proceeded further. This album, to these ears, suggests that’s far from the case (and that such observers are/were ignorant dolts). Ostensibly post-hardcore – in so much as its cues can be traced to a handful of turn-of-the-millennium emo bands and the jazz-influenced playfulness of the likes of Spy vs Spy, not to mention the ferocious right-angles riffery of At the Drive-In – it’s an album that dares where so few of its ilk actually did, despite so much hollow boasting. Word was (from the band, at the time) that its producer, Alex Newport, was forced to play catch-up with the band (or simply leave them to it, and nod approvingly), as their chosen timings were too much for the Grammy-nominated fellow to process. And sure enough, at several points this record sounds seconds away from collapse, its players at the very edge of their abilities; cohesion is stretched to near breaking-point, yet somehow the five musicians keep everything under relative control. Ambition is evident from the album’s song titles, most of which refer to films and contain enough twists and turns to fill a dozen Hollywood flicks. There are moments of surprise, touches of tenderness, and everything’s overshadowed by the feeling that this band is giving absolutely fucking everything to the cause. But, like so many bands with the widest horizons before them, relationships within the camp weren’t as perfect as they could be, and vocalist Toby Hayes departed just weeks after this album’s release. The band eventually signed off for good in early 2008. Members have since featured in acts including Colour, Tropics and Shoes and Socks Off.

All We Need Is a Little Energon, and a Lot of Luck

The Torso Has Been Severed In Mid-Thorax

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A Forgotten 40 (ok, a few more than that) of the Noughties

February 13, 2011

I thought I’d do this. It’s a nice way of adding old(er) CDs to my iTunes.

By no means are these albums super obscure. Or terribly hard to come by. They’re simply great albums that I have enjoyed – that I continue to enjoy – immensely, and over the next… I dunno, few weeks or something… I’ll try to write a few words on each. It’s a series. Probably with sounds and visuals. Which you, reader, can click and link to and all that world-wide-web jazz. Amazing internet scenes.

Nothing on a major label though (I think – maybe some subsidiaries?). And nothing that really did pick up a head of steam and is deemed properly influential/important today in the world of the music monthlies (okay, so a couple probably are, albeit belatedly). And I might add to this. Warned. Might as well just let it run and run.

Themselves – The No Music – Anticon – 2002
Stapleton – On the Enjoyment of Unpleasant Places – Subjugation – 2001
Ten Grand – This is the Way to Rule – Southern – 2003
Meet Me In St Louis – Variations on Swing – Big Scary Monsters – 2007
Apparat – Walls – Shitkatapult – 2007
Bluetip – Polymer – Dischord – 2000
Breach – Kollapse – Burning Heart – 2001
Brian McBride – When the Detail Lost its Freedom – Kranky – 2005
Cadence Weapon – Breaking Kayfabe – Big Dada – 2005
Cannibal Ox – The Cold Vein – Definitive Jux – 2001
Dälek – Absence – Ipecac – 2004
The Dismemberment Plan – Change – DeSoto – 2001
Eluvium – Copia – Temporary Residence – 2007
Mono – One Step More and You Die – Arena Rock Recording Co. – 2002
Boris – Pink – Southern Lord – 2005
Nadja – Radiance of Shadows – Alien8 – 2007
Enablers – End Note – Neurot – 2004
Fairmont – Coloured in Memory – Border Community – 2007
The Icarus Line – Mono – Crank!/Buddyhead – 2001
The Rise – Signal to Noise – Ferret – 2002
Hammock – Maybe They Will Sing for us Tomorrow – Darla – 2008
Harvey Milk – Life… The Best Game in Town – Hydra Head – 2008
Shellac – 1000 Hurts – Touch & Go – 2000
Enon – High Society – Touch & Go – 2002
Hot Snakes – Suicide Invoice – Swami – 2002
I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness – Fear is On Our Side – Secretly Canadian – 2006
Constantines – Shine a Light – Three Gut – 2003
31Knots – It Was High Time to Escape – 54-40 or Fight – 2003
Q and not U – Different Damage – Dischord – 2002
Jon Hopkins – Insides – Double Six – 2009
Youthmovies – Good Nature – Drowned in Sound – 2008
Bullet Union – Ruins Domino – Jealous – 2004
This Aint Vegas – The Black Lung Captain – Jealous – 2003
J Dilla – Donuts – Stones Throw – 2006
Isis – Oceanic – Ipecac – 2002
Le Loup – The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly – Hardly Art – 2007
Manatees – The Forever Ending Jitter Quest of Slowhand Chuckle – Motive Sounds – 2006
Devics – Push the Heart – Bella Union – 2006
Russian Circles – Enter – Flameshovel – 2006
Four Tet – Rounds – Domino – 2003
A Sunny Day in Glasgow – Ashes Grammar – Mis Ojos Discos – 2009
Subtle – For Hero: For Fool – Lex – 2006
Telepathe – Dance Mother – IAMSOUND – 2009
Torche – In Return – Rock Action – 2007
Lightning Bolt – Wonderful Rainbow – Load Records – 2003
Amon Tobin – Foley Room – Ninja Tune – 2007
Stars of the Lid – And Their Refinement of the Decline – Kranky – 2007
Sole – Selling Live Water – Anticon – 2003
Wilderness – Wilderness – Jagjaguwar – 2005
Wives – Erect the Youth Problem – Sweet Nothing – 2004
HEALTH – HEALTH – Lovepump – 2007
Panda Bear – Person Pitch – Paw Tracks – 2007
The Village Orchestra – Et in Arcadia Ego – Highpoint Lowlife – 2007
Eiger – e – self-released – 2005
Murcof – Cosmos – Leaf – 2007
65daysofstatic – One Time For All Time – Monotreme – 2005
This Will Destroy You – This Will Destroy You – Magic Bullet – 2008
Seachange – The Lay of the Land – Matador – 2004
Non-Prophets – Hope – Lex – 2003
Saul Williams – Saul Williams – Wichita – 2005
The Bug – London Zoo – Ninja Tune – 2008
Adam Gnade – Run, Hide, Retreat, Surrender – Loud + Clear Records – 2005
Six By Seven – The Closer You Get – Mantra – 2000
Jackson and his Computer Band – Smash – Warp – 2005

Best get re-listening.