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“Dolby’s My-10-Favorite-Things-about-the-Lower-Dens-Song-‘Lion in Winter, Pt. 2′”

And I mean it’s stupid ordering these things, it’s not like I like one facet better than the others: what this album is to me is a masterpiece (pigeonholed in the pitchfork review of Escape from Evil as “experimental,” as if that’s a bad thing) by a bona fide electronica band that can likewise, at any time, include any and all styles of music into one curiously climactic radio pop song. A regular Umphrey’s McGee of post-Andy Warhol cool (appropriately enough they recorded Nootropics in Benton Harbor, Michigan, close to Umphrey’s’ hometown of South Bend, Indiana).

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10 Its positioning on the album.

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This is sort of the nerdiest thing to put on the list, so I put it last, but this song plays as the obvious centerpiece, and it’s positioned approximately where the climax would be in a movie, proportionate to the beginning and end. And you know it’s funny, I’d always remember the first song when I listened to this album, and the last one (which is one of the better album closeurs in recent history), but in between would get so fu**in’ hazy! I’d be like did that just happen? Did that just go down?

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9 The fact of this album’s making the ideal companion piece to fellow 2012 collection Ekstasis by Julia Holter.

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Oh 2012… you stole my gal… Green Day’s “Oh Love” paid off big time at the time too, although their excellent new album Revolution Radio does expose the erstwhile unexpected fact that that song was indeed a little bit soft and gushy.

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8 It amazingly features in composite all of the best attributes of Soul Coughing’s song “Lazybones,” but with a way better album cover!

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But then, what album cover isn’t better than Irresistible Bliss. Like “Lazybones,” “Lion in Winter, pt. 2,” is lazy, serene and of impossibly endless beauty. It is the very epitome of the narcotic, grafted in music, putting to shame in 2012 as it did Beach House’s effort Bloom, which was basically just Teen Dream session outtakes. Anyway, something about the way this infinite processional of synths interlocks with itself on this song just called to mind the sonic drapery going on there–the idea of it being music first, and instrumentation second.

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7 It’s got possibly the subtlest use of strings in recorded history.

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Which of course is nice if you’re used to listening to, like, Live’s “Turn My Head,” or something. In fact the name of the game, here, all over, is subtlety, the result of a process much more complex than many people might believe.

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6 The slight pause at 3:22, and the pauses in general

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Pauses are definitely a lost art in rock… Zeppelin were masters of them… I remember the pitchfork guy making fun of the pause in Songs for the Deaf’s opener, rightly so, I guess.

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5 The mind blowing fact that despite all of the substantial, spatially respective and texture-defining sounds, this is still a bona fide electronica track, and album.

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For all of this album’s (and it’s their second album, for the record) various brands of singularity and prowess, this is the first thing I noticed about it—it’s more Brian Eno than Bryan Adams. The percussion is digitally manufactured without a doubt, and this has… whatever the effect is when the percussion is digitally manufactured. I’ll leave that for psychosomatics. It’s that snare, with the amped up pogo. It dents your ear drums just enough. Clean as the doctor’s office… and then comes the shot.

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4 Organic, orchestral percussion.

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Toward the end of the song we get a host of glorious, expansive sounds, cymbals and gongs, oh my.. further adding to the warm, inclusive feel this song has the whole way through.

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3 Jana Hunter’s rich, euphoric vocal, with lyrics barely, if ever scrutable.

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Neil Young had a technique he’d employ when writing lyrics: he’d write them down on newspaper, so that he had to really concentrate in order to read them, whereas if he were just to glance at them, he wouldn’t make them out. Obviously Hunter’s materialized m.o. is a different matter, but her delivery accomplishes the same thing—blurring the reality of what’s at hand so that the whole thing becomes lighter, more playful and generally more MUSICAL. Especially my favorite part is during the multi-chord climactic part in the middle of the song, she says something like “Could… it… be… love…”…beautiful stuff, whether or not you know exactly what she’s saying, or even, maybe, especially if you don’t.

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2 That fact that few if any have more closely approximated the general Velvet Underground m.o. since 1967.

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There’s one fu**in’ riff the whole song, very much like “Sweet Jane.” And it’s not even really like it’s two chords—it’s sort of like there’s one chord, and then one phantom chord, prevailing over the second half of the given bars—this is, of course, before that sweeping entrance into the middle eight begins… there I hear another chord or two. But doing more with less is definitely something the Dens master here.

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1 GRUNGE, GRUNGE, GRUNGE!

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Da**it Lower Dens, I always knew you were a bunch of junkies laying around the house in flannel on cloudy days! Not really, but that distortion pedal rocketed in the song’s mid segment during a pause is TRES IMPRESIONNANT!

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