Friday, August 01, 2008

Port O'Brien

Port O'Brien All We Could Do Was Sing I was introduced to Oakland's Port O'Brien when "I Woke Up Today" was the KEXP song of the day. I immediately fell in love. The song is sort of like the Arcade Fire meet Modest Mouse meet the Dodos - folky instrumentation with a hammering beat and shouted lyrics. It's a great song, and further develops and contributes to the catologue of baroque/folk/orch/indie music that has been gaining steam lately. What I like about this new indie folk music is that, while it can be pretentious and a bit affected, it is generally sincere and interesting. In an age of day-glo fabrics, stunna shades, and things moving at the rate of a fast internet connection, its nice to hear music that isn't snarky or ironic, and doesn't try to pretend that we should all be doing coke and sipping jack and coke's at some New York club in 1985. Fuck that, the indie folkers say. We should all be smoking weed and preparing macrobiotic group meals in a yurt in the late sixties. I actually have no compunction to do either, but I'm too old, and have too many bad memories of the 80s having actually lived in them, to want to relive that wretched decade. I'm much more into what the Dodo's, Port O'Brien, the Fleet Foxes, or the Arcade Fire are doing - using old tropes and instruments to make new music. Not everything on "All We Could Do Was Sing" is as great as "I Woke Up Today." There are probably one too many fishing ditties here, but that is as bad as this album gets, and those tracks are only mildly annoying. Elsewhere they do some sublime ballads, and even rock out a little. They also bring in a female vocalist, who rounds out their sound and brings a welcome feminine touch to an otherwise very salty group of boys. I'm excited to see these guys live (although they evidently just left the Bay Area for a US/Canada tour). They do wicked covers of Move Bitch and My Humps live. For real.

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