Monday, April 14, 2008

Tales From The Double Down, Part 3 (or Adventures in the Silver State)

It's true, you know. Just ask Meeshatron!

You know how it is. You live mere blocks away from this really good friend of yours, but you never seem to find the time to hang out. Things get in the way, like work, family, holidays, or (for those that are so inclined) kids. So you bump into them at the local grocery, exchange speedy updates, enthusiastically agree to meet up "sometime," then never do.

Sigh. Ain't modern life grand?

Such was the case with our Dearest L. It had been months, possibly a geological age, since we had had a proper chinwag with her & hers. But thanks to the entwining of local gossipy grapevines, we realized that we would be overlapping in Vega$ for a day or so. Though we still had professional obligations (mine: that bankery conference; hers: learning how to bring the white light / white heat of process engineering to the world of film), we were both free of children and therefore vowed to meet up.

And where did we hang? Why, at The Double Down, of course. Going there once and twice had convinced me it was just the place to leave the madness of Vega$ behind and have a good natter. So we chilled on the ratty sofa by the stage, chatted about this 'n' that, prodded the jukebox to spit out some bitchin' fast tunes, and got all caught up.

Halfway through our soiree, I went up to the bar to get a refill. As I waited for service, a cackly, gruff voice off to my left loudly asked "Hey, who's the square??" I realized that it was addressing me. I turned to look, and saw, a few seats over, a rather squat, cubic, muscle of a man who bore a passing resemblance to Goldie. "Unbutton your top button!" he demanded. I protested that the top button (aside: of my black, rather ace, Ben Sherman longsleeved shirt) was, in fact, already undone. "Undo the next one down!!" he countered. So I did, and he cackled beery approval, flashing me the thumbs up. I accused him of wanting to see my hairy chest, and got another boozy laugh, along with a hearty pat on the shoulder as he passed me on the way to the men's room. It was all good.

"Don't mind him," said a mild voice sitting by my left elbow, "he's real famous in the Vegas punk scene." Still waiting for my beers, I struck up a conversation with the guy who had counseled me. I asked him what he did, and he replied that he was a dental technician. He then stared off into space for a bit before intoning "You don't know what meth can do to your teeth." After a few seconds he refocused, and mentioned that he also played guitar in a band, The Silver State. Apparently the other members had moved to Brooklyn, but he had remained in Vegas. I asked what they sounded like, and he once again returned to space to consider for a spell. He then tentatively said that they all really liked Radiohead, but didn't really try to sound like them. Ah, I see. He went on to say that they were good friends with Margot and the Nuclear So & So's and were supporting them on their upcoming tour. I was beginning to form some rudimentary context, and my interest was piqued.

Somewhat embarrassed, as I often am when mentioning the humble interweb endeavour you are currently visiting, I said I had a music blog of sorts. His eyes brightened and he said that their debut album was going to be released on 15 April by Young American Records, and would I be interested in hearing some of the songs. Oh, yes please, I replied! I thought we'd exchange emails and I might get an MP3 or two in the fullness of time, but instead he went out to his car and returned with a CD. It was a lovely souvenir from what truly is the Happiest Place On Earth. Many thanks, Taylor Milne!

And so, to the album, Cut and Run. Well, it's not Radiohead, at least not to my ears. And that's no bad thing, since I must admit I've never really been able to get them. But The Silver State I get. And what you get is ten hypnotic songs that proceed at their own stately pace to draw you into their tales of love and loss. Frontman Caleb Lindskoog has a lovely way with lyrical structures, while Alex Stopa on drums, Brendan Fitzpatrick on keyboard/bass, and (my old friend) Taylor Milne on gee-tarr provide the just the right pacing and fuzz to both embellish and underpin.

So, if it's not like Radiohead, then what is it like?? Sigh, you do want your comparisons, don't you? Well, here you go: Pavement, a bit of Sebadoh, maybe some Eels, and a definite undercurrent of Dinosaur Jr minus the frenzy. Gosh, this is turning into a winetasting. Enough already, have a taste of the album below, then hop along and buy it. It actually came out on 1 April, so it's available now, my Dearest Friends.

The Silver State - Vampire Practice (buy here)