>> Sunday, November 30, 2008
• Plants and Animals – Parc Avenue
So a couple years back, me and two friends, let’s call them Kid A and Kid B, would get together once a week and jam in Kid A’s dank, cavernous basement. I would strut around wielding a sleek, jet-black Ibanez. Kid A would spastically thump away on his patchwork drum kit a la Animal from The Muppets, while good ol’ Kid B would tow us along with his steady bass playing.
It was endless fun.
One night I proposed “This is the Girl” as our band name. Kids A and B enthusiastically accepted. Collectively, we envisioned a legion of female fans wondering who the lucky girl we named our band after was. Oh, the enigmatic aura we’d have! (Confession: I stole the phrase from David Lynch’s surreal masterpiece Mulholland Drive). Anyways, we adored the name. That was, until I discovered several other bands with the same name (Realization: Google can be a fucking wet blanket sometimes).
We were crestfallen. This infinite sadness combined with my delirious new aesthetic vision for us - a Smashing Pumpkins cover band called “Mellon Iscariot & the Siamese Gish” - led to our ultimate demise. That was that. End of jam sessions.
Flight of the Conchords is a fantastic band name. It’s Google-friendly. Go ahead. Try. I’ll wait. You back? Ok, so like I was saying it’s Google-friendly, a little tongue-in-cheek, and certainly has cadence. Now admittedly their risible, contagious debut isn’t a brand new edition to my sonic palette, but a hard copy of the album is. And since it arrived in the mail I’ve listened to it over and over, and even rewatched season one. I particularly love the packaging: when folded open, a cardboard pop-up of Jemaine and Bret greet you, plus they threw in a colorful two-sided poster, currently on display in my hallway. While the jokes aren’t as fresh 10th time around, the songs themselves certainly endure. My biggest complaint is the omission of one of my favs, the choral sing-a-long “Sello Tape” (see Appendix). Hopefully they’ll include it on their sophomore release.
Plants and Animals also have a great band name, a wide-ranging moniker that seems to match their artistic ambitions. I think, though, they should be “Plants & Animals” not “Plants and Animals”. You know how when screenwriters work closely together, “&” is used between their names, and when the collaboration is a little more distant, “and” is used? The same should apply to musicians: Parc Avenue sounds like three close friends working side-by-side trying to reach a shared sonic vision. The result is 11 accessible indie-rockers brought to life through innovative arrangement and genre-pureeing. Out of curiousity, I retrieved the cd case from my car and, sure enough, my theory was confirmed: “All songs written by Plants and Animals.” Who wrote the lyrics for which song, or invented the riff on which part is unknown. Individual egos do not matter to this band. Plants and Animals, then, encompass the significance of the symbol above the 7 on your keyboard…in the screenwriting sense anyways.
Unlike the Smashing Pumpkins say, whose entire catalogue was written by Billy Corgan (99% anyways). I assure you that if “Mellon Iscariot & the Siamese Gish” ever get together, we’ll work together in respectful harmony, worthy of that ampersand.
Pretty sure anyways.
Note: I heard a lot of solid new music this month but didn't have enough time to weave those records in. With school wrapping up, I'm a little stretched at the moment. Props to:
- Mr Pine - Rewilding
- Human Highway - Moody Motorcycle
- The Dears - Missiles