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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

You could use a change of tune...



Sometimes my descriptive skills of persuasion in the case of music escapes me. Or is that always? How do you convince someone through words that a band or songs in particular are worth listening to? It's much easier in person- "here, give this a listen and see what you think." In the case of music blogs, I often find myself so overwhelmed by the number of artists that are new to me, and in turn, various downloadable mp3s, that I tend to skim much more than I ought to. Ah well, let's give this one a shot.

The first thing that struck me upon recently giving this album the first listen since the months following it's release were the similarities it had with some of the Decemberists work. First off, the band and various other characters are dressed in old-timey costume; a circus side-show feel runs through the pictures complete with a strong man weight-lifter, crystal ball reader, magician, and dancing girls. A few subjects that would by no means seem out of place in the liner notes of a Decemberists album.

Then we move on to the actual comparisons and musical kinship between Grant Lee Buffalo frontman Grant Lee Phillips and the Decemberists' Colin Meloy. Many of their tunes revolve around evocative lyrics of another century, complete with phrases and descriptions that easily bring the picture and story into your mind.

Of course, neither songwriter ever lets their talent for eloquent and detailed lyrics get in the way of catchy, memorable melodies or great musicianship. Ukeleles, tack pianos, chamberlains (god bless Jon Brion,) sleigh bells- all part of a great mix. And pardon me, but what the crap is a Vibraslap? By the way, that's none other than Robyn Hitchcock on backing vocals and harmonica on "My, My, My."

Grant Lee Buffalo- A.P.B.

Grant Lee Buffalo- Change Your Tune

Grant Lee Buffalo- Fine How'd Ya Do

Grant Lee Buffalo- Everybody Needs A Little Sanctuary

Grant Lee Buffalo- My My My

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