Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Love, death and new music.

So anyhow, one night indie-music favorites, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah got drunk at a party and ended up sleeping with the Acrade Fire ...and nine months later, we get Tap Tap.

While the British band, Tap Tap, actually is a beast unto itself, it would honestly fit quite nicely in a family portrait between the other two bands. It's got Clap Your Hands rambunctious, sloppy energy. Mixed with the slightly respectable and stately manner of the Arcade Fire that would make you less afraid to introduce it to your parents. Or, at least, your more professionally minded friends.

And, yeah, even though I'm still listening to it for the first time right now, I already like it a lot. (EDIT: Though, apparently its pretty short, since I finished listening to it while still typing the rest fo this entry)

Which is probably a good thing because it gets me away from the Cloud Cult for a little bit.

If anything should be apparent, its that right now I have a musical soft spot for solo artists who seem to create totally unique albums out of some sort of solitary vaccuum (see: Chad Vangallen and Beruit). In addition, I'm a little overly fond of big musical collectives (see: Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire).

So, it should be no surpise that when you combine the two into a band like Cloud Cult, its an easy sell. Solo Musical Genius? Check. Lead singer, Craig Minowa, is an organic farmer in wilds of Minnesota, where he writes prolific numbers of songs. Musical Collective? Check. The band is made up of a half dozen other members who, in addition to play, supposedly construct video displays and paint at their shows).

But, it was only when I heard the tragic story behind Minowa's life that the band really got its emotional hooks into me. Back in 2002, as Minowa's musical career was just taking off, his 2 year old child died suddenly in the middle of the night.

Seen through this lens, their latest album, "Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus," becomes the tale of a man not only struggling with loss, but slowly attempting to return to a normal life. That isn't to say it is a sad album, but at the same time it isn't an album that shys away from sorrow. It's varied and cathartic. Obsessed with that point where childhood and maturity intersect. And wrapped in the little momments that define a life.

So that when the final song ends with Minowa shouting "I still believe the world can be just like Norman Rockwell" over a technobeat which is a million miles from being Norman Rockwell, you kind of believe him too.

Tap Tap's "Lanzafame"

Cloud Cult's "Advice From the Happy Hippopotamus"

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