Why do I just feel more and more, in the time transpiring these days, that this whole thing is just a charade, that there’s almost zero incentive for making good music in this era? Talib Kweli is hardly a heartwarming point person, at that, on this topic either.
So under the paradigm of this being a pretty thankless gig these days (music and music writing, but I meant music in particular), and in light of Bob Dylan and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have already relinquished their catalogs for finite funds, it becomes a little more sensible when you, say, come across a swatch of music that essentially seems like a practical joke played on the listener. And I’m talking to you, Kid Cudi, and I’m talking to you, Kendrick Lamar, and I’m talking to you, that dude who sat on the toilet for his photo shoot.
Then, when music comes along and actually doesn’t seem like a practical joke played on the listener, but rather, gasp, a genuine vial of inspiration and original vision, this, by logic, becomes the anomaly, or the oddity, as it were. In a sense, then, this semantic dystopia of musical transmission makes good records more noteworthy, hence potentiating the significance of what I’m doing on Dolby Disaster! Ok, that’s a stretch. But it’s a theorem, at least, you’ve got to admit.
I knew absolutely nothing about this Amon Tobin chap who fronts Stone Giants going into this project, other than that the name reminded me of The Stone Roses and of the Stone Roses-influenced band Elephant Stone who are, yes, named after the (excellent) Stone Roses b-side, “Elephant Stone.” And these guys sound like that too. What a linear web we sometimes weave.
The opener on West Coast Love Stories is a title track and to be honest I was half getting a mind to tear this album to shreds, partly because I can’t stand stupid, trendy songs about the “West Coast” (the weather patterns in Seattle and LA are so disparate that to lump the “West Coast” into one purportedly unified region, culturally speaking, seems like nothing short of an absurdity to me). And I’m really sick of love stories, in general, nothing against amorousness as an atonal entity, or anything. “Metropole,” the second song on this album is probably the trippiest song I’ve ever heard in my life, or at very least the trippiest one since the first time I heard “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” by Wilco. What’s even funnier about West Coast Love Stories as an album and as a general entity is that I have no idea what this dude is ever even saying, hencing granting it a refreshing semantic discrepancy from the tired, stale old love song (ahem, Hozier, ahem).
I mean this record is just ridiculously, dazzlingly creative, and a record on which I think mundane, ordinary songs are stricken from the record in expedited fashion. We come, along these lines, to this lugubrious respite within the instrumental “Stinson Beach” which as a music snob I just have to associate with that puzzling mid-section of Deerhunter’s Microcastle, with “Fairweather” a shocker for many reasons. This is a song that mopes along almost as if something made of syrup, or molasses, refusing to conjeal into anything precedented and for that reason truly sovereign, not in the least part for its chorus mantra of “So long to you fairweather friends” that oozes out as this hauntingly direct missive delivered in swathed, watery vocals. And with an LP as breezy and pliable as this, it’s a distinct possibility that Stone Giants will be earning back just what they shed, in terms of two-faced cronies.