Sunday, June 11, 2006

Misra Records: someone we like!

Earlier this year, Pitchfork did a piece on Misra Records and why they weren't bigger (specifically Phosphorescent), which hopefully had the effect of, um, making them bigger. This is a label with a seriously good roster, and label head Phil Waldorf is a stand-up guy. I've been a passing acquaintance since 1996 or so--when I lived in Mississippi no less--but I do know him to be a man of extreme integrity and good taste. So here are songs from three Misra albums that we like:

Love You Just The Same

Download: Centro-matic--"Flashes and Cables" MP3 from Love You Just The Same
Buy at iTunes Music Store

Someone once told me that they found Centro-matic to be an "inspiring" live band, and this guy wasn't even a musician. He was absolutely right, though. Every Centro-matic show is a series of wrenching peaks and valleys, beautiful passages butting up against rough-edged bombast as drummer Matt Pence becomes more and more unhinged (a one-man Live at Leeds!) and Will and Scott's voices battle the guitar wash for first chair.

And, on record, the band is no slouch either...underrated even. "Flashes and Cables" is one of the band's most stunning songs, live or on record.

    Lost In Revelry
Download: The Mendoza Line--"A Damn Good Disguise" MP3 from Lost In Revelry
Buy at iTunes Music Store

Much like their namesake, the Mendoza Line is all about lowered expectations and succeeding despite oneself. Lord knows, the Mendoza Line has put on some of the most execrable, screechy, sloppy live shows I have ever seen. But I keep coming back for more because the records manage to take all that's wrong with the band's tawdry backstory (cheating, drinking, more cheating, more drinking) and reconstitute it into some of the most vulnerable and haunted pop this side of Fleetwood Mac.

Streethawk: A Seduction

Download: Destroyer--"The Very Modern Dance" MP3 from Streethawk: A Seduction
Buy at iTunes Music Store

Man, we listen to this record all of the time in our office. We're pretty major Destroyer freaks around here (though I found Your Blues extremely disappointing), and this is probably our all-time fave. Rubies is pretty brilliant, too, as is Thief, but, much like its spiritual predecessor, Hunky Dory, this is one album I keep coming back to. Maybe it's the often hilarious but always pithy self-referential lyrics or the skewed arrangements or Bejar's vocal gymnastics. Nah. It's the hot piano licks that keep me coming back for more. "The Very Modern Dance" has easily the best piano hook on the record; it comes right after the chorus like the bastard child of Bowie-era Rick Wakeman and Todd Rundgren. It's killer.

1 comment:

jonpolk said...

ahhhh Lucas, excellent call on the Destroyer song. Man, that sucker is absolutely the jam! I think I might like Rubies more than Streethawk, but I don't think there's a single song on Rubies I like more than this one. How's 'bout you Cropper readers? How 'bout a little chatter out there?

Damn, Team USA's getting an ol' fashioned Czech beatdown. There all, "This is how we do it in Bohemia, Yankee!"