Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Burst and Bloom into beauty

First of all: GO FUCKING VOTE!

Do they still teach kids to write in cursive? If so, why? Teaching a kid to write in cursive is basically the educational system saying, "here's a good tool to ensure that you'll have fucked up writing later in life." Because eventually you're going to start printing, and then you're gonna end up with some screwed up amalgamation of cursive and print that's going to just be a goddamn mess and no one's going to be able to read it. Next thing you know, your signature looks like a coked-up apoplectic tried to draw a straight line, and people are making jokes about you not being able to read your own writing. Fucking bastards.

(deep breath)

Anyway. That started out as a simple build-up that was going to end in a nice, easy segue, but clearly I have some shit to work out.

Cursive is a four/now five-piece rock outfit from Omaha, Nebraska of all places. I'm always amazed at the number of quality musical acts that come out of Omaha, and Cursive is another notch on the big O's musical belt. Formed in 1995, Cursive frequently finds themselves the victim of the dreaded "Emo" label, which to be honest, isn't entirely accurate (not to dump too hard on emo music - there's some decent stuff out there. You just have to dig. A lot. Really deeply. Like, China-deep). Truth be told, they're a little too smart, a little too self aware, and frankly, a little long in the tooth to be labeled Emo. See?

In reality, Cursive is a sumptuous blend of sounds, as if Fugazi and Built to Spill mated and threw in some piercing, jangly guitars... yet they are distinctly their own band. They've clearly got some punk rock in their roots, but also a flair for creative instrumentation and clever, ascerbic lyricism. Similar to another favorite of mine, Murder By Death (sans the awesome gothic/country flavor), they also incorporated a cello that was featured featured in their stellar album Burst and Bloom. Between torturing their guitars into a beautiful sound, they are fronted by the versatile Tim Kasher, equally at home with gentle murmers and cacaphonous caterwauls. With six albums over the last 13 years, they've gone through a series of break-ups and reformations, always keeping most of their core croup together, and always coming back strong with new and innovative material, including adding a brass section to the engaging concept album, 2006's Happy Hollow (the last album they've released). Very true to their indie roots, they consistently put out strong, interesting music and are deserving of more attention. Here's a few tracks:

One of my faves, here's "The Recluse" from The Ugly Organ (2003):

Rocking out a little more, here's the brilliant titled "Art is Hard" from the same album (read the lyrics here.... they're brilliant and wickedly funny):

"A Little Red Handed Sleight of Hand" again from The Ugly Organ:

"Dorothy at Forty" from Happy Hollow:

The wonderful "The Martyr" from Domestica:

Enjoy (and don't forget to vote!).

Now playing: Cursive - The Great Decay
via FoxyTunes

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