Monday, 21 April 2008

Hipster Douchebag Music Recommendation Of The Week: "Drink Deep" by Laura Veirs

Since these posts have become a bit of a sausage fest, time for a recommendation for a female singer-songwriter. Most of my music collection is full of men (not actual little men skittering around with miniature violins and guitars, though that would be way cooler than what I have, which is a bunch of broken, empty CD cases and stacks of random, sticky CDs that never seem to match together), and I'm not sure why. It's just happenstance, I guess, since hipsterism is just as much a female affliction, but it's probably time to give in and finally listen to Lucinda Williams and Sleater-Kinney. (But not New Young Pony Club. They know why.)

So here's Laura Veirs, a wonderful musician I heard on BBC Radio Six, which is an equally wonderful radio station that I don't listen to nearly enough. I got in the habit when I was doing freelance work at home for a couple of months, and nearly every hour I'd hear an amazing song that got me into a new band, especially since they play so much music uninterrupted -- a very rare feat nowadays. Most of their DJs are good, though ("Smerch" is one of them now, as are Adam and Joe), and it's no hardship to listen to people who are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about music. Plus, the station streams online, which would be great if people at my job would leave me alone long enough so I could wear headphones. ::mutters, shakes cane::

One day while I was listening, Laura Veirs' album Saltbreakers was the album of the day (week? Something like that), and they played the eponymous single from it, which was enough to convince me to buy the album -- something I hardly ever do anymore now that I have the much more tempting option of stealing. It was worth it, though; the album is full of gems. But the best song by far is "Drink Deep," which Admiral Neck has kindly provided another video for. Watch! And Be Amazed!

If the little piano riff doesn't hook you a few seconds in, soon there's the pipe (or keyboard that sounds like a pipe?), and then the gradual flooding of sound that, yes, does sound like waves of water rushing over you as you listen, a theme that runs through the album. It's a quiet song but it's full of power -- restrained in its sound but urgent in its lyrics. And I love the lyrics: they are somewhat opaque -- which, as I said a few weeks ago, is sometimes a cover for faux-profundity -- but Veirs has a way with allusive metaphors that inspire thought instead of dampening it. I especially love the chorus, with the repeated lyric "Drink deep, my love, for the water is gasping for your mouth," which turns an accepted idiom on its head. And the vision of the natural world the song presents -- a place full of danger and passion and beauty -- is deeply alluring but frightening as well. It's a masterful song.

Apparently, however, even hipster douchebags can't agree on Laura Veirs. That nexus of douchebags itself, Pitchfork, dismissed Veirs' albums as a mediocre imitation of Sufjan Stevens and Colin Meloy. First of all, Pitchfork, Colin Meloy is a pretentious wanker whose pseudointellectualism matches your own, so I suppose I can see where you get your affinity for him. Secondly, he could be accused of just as much imitation as you see in Veirs -- but at least Veirs knows her way around a melody. Thirdly, "To The Country" is awesome, and I have no idea why you think it's even trying to imitate, as you call him, Sufjan Stevebs, but whatever it's trying for, it succeeds admirably. We are so over, Pitchfork. At least until you praise something I like.

At any rate, there's the song (I would put up "To The Country" as well so anyone who reads this could sadly shake their head at the Pitchfork reviewer's tin ears, but we've been having continuing computer problems and I don't have the patience or the ability to not throw the computer at the wall in anger). Oh, and before I go, I keep forgetting to mention: we got our own T-shirt! Display your douchebaggery with pride.

No comments: