Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I have never wanted more to be your man and build a house around you.

Every year, I seem to find my January.

What? You don't know what a January is? Don't you have Januaries of your own?

I didn't initially go out seeking my Januaries and they began back in January 2009 when Noble Beast was released. It wasn't mad love at first listen but something about it was so compelling, and it made me want to keep listening to it, over and over again. Then came Armchair Apocrypha, and the rest, as they say, was history. I don't think I need to explain to ANYONE how much I like Andrew Bird.

In January 2010, I started listening to The National. Unlike Bird, I had never even heard of The National before I heard "Fake Empire" for the first time. Again, it wasn't love at first listen but I waited for the click and finally, I fell in love. I ended up buying a bunch of their records and saw them twice that year. I developed a bit of an obsession that has since subsided but 2010 was all about The National.

And then, of course, Destroyer's Kaputt was released. My favorite record of 2011. Destroyer was my favorite artist of 2011 (erm, well, until I discovered Feist in October). I never liked Dan Bejar before that record, I mean, I really could not stand his damn voice but after Kaputt, I became obsessive, consuming all of his music. And I mean, could you blame me? He is a bit of a genius, right? (I guess the obsession hasn't really subsided. Oops.) Nobody was better than Destroyer for me in 2011.

(2012 really didn't have a January because the first quarter of that year was devoted to Andrew Bird. It's hilarious when I think about how much new music I discovered during the second half of last year when I had basically played out Break It Yourself.)

And now, what about 2013?

Well, everyone, I've developed a big Frightened Rabbit problem.

I've actually been a casual Frightened Rabbit fan for about two and a half years now (I've even seen them live) so they're not exactly a new discovery. I've always been in their corner, I've always rooted for them. But I've always sort of described them as Snow Patrol with better lyrics (I'll have you know I really like Snow Patrol). They're a good band but nothing special.

Or so I thought.

They've just released a new record Pedestrian Verse and thanks to the glowing review on AV Club, I decided to check it out. (Truth be told, I would've checked it out anyway.) And I need to let you know that it is fantastic. Really, really fantastic. Like...that's all I've listened to for about a week. And the only other things I've listened to other than Pedestrian Verse are The Midnight Organ Fight and The Winter of Mixed Drinks. Frightened Rabbit's music has this quality that sneaks up on you; you listen to it and it doesn't sound special at all (I likened them to Snow Patrol meets Bell x1) but then you find yourself really paying attention to the lyrics and you say, "goddamn." Because Scott Hutchison's lyrics are fantastic. I find myself catching a line and having to replay the whole song because I need to hear the entire verse over again.

Look, I really like my music to either have a theatrical quality to it or to be spacey electronic shit, and I have in the past just said, "I'm over the whole bass-drums-guitar thing" (aka 99% of bands but I'm a pretentious jerk sometimes) but sometimes music doesn't have to be elaborate. It doesn't have to difficult or esoteric or a "grower" (oh, but I love esoteric "growers," I do). It can just be good. And that's all Frightened Rabbit are. They are good. They make good music and they are a good live band and they have been making my ears so damn happy. I want everyone to listen to them so in a year, they can win Grammys and sell out the Barclays and I'll say, "Well, remember that time I won tickets to see them like three hours before the show? Ah, memories." And I'll be happy for them. With reservations.

I suppose if it comes to that, they'll stop writing lyrics like "it takes more than fucking someone to keep warm." And that would be a tragedy. Okay, everyone can listen to them but be very secretive about it. Start a Frightened Rabbit Fight Club.

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