Monday, April 30, 2012

New Radiant Storm King "Phonecall"

Remember Indie Rock Cribs?

Of course you kinda do....
It's one of those ideas that are simultaneously thought up and considered anywhere from brilliant to a no-brainer, to be quickly dismissed assuming somebody has already pursued it or it is in the works. An "I'll let somebody else do that" kind of idea.

I guess the guy from The Pernice Brothers was that guy.

Turns out, the guitar player for his band is one of New Radiant Storm King. Their song, "Phonecall", is on my list to be mentioned as part of....


#1 "Phonecall", New Radiant Storm King

     So here we are.

New Radiant Storm King win first prize in naming things, as their 96' album Hurricane Necklace points out.  It recalls a naming device peers Guided By Voices have perfected: culling the strange verbiage/titling from a familiar object/scenario and reapplying it, an appropriation which undermines any metaphor that was once in place.  A petty thief of the uncanny. For example, a "hurricane necklace" is an actual type of necklace. The necklace is familiar yet its name is not common knowledge, this is the initial strange element. I would bet that a band member came across these two words as a functioning description of a necklace. At this point, the words were in place as a metaphoric device to term a necklace, its a "hurricane" necklace. Now the band member, having a relaxed-creative type brain, conducive to siphoning meaning and stealing things (good), took "hurricane necklace" and applied it as a signifier for the album by New Radiant Storm King as we know it today. This appropriation will do little to recall an actual necklace, since the product term is so narrowly known, but will immediately become the album, in all it's lyrical vagaries, hooks and slippage, in the listener's brain.    

But "Phonecall" (Rival Time, 1993is different. The subtext in "Phonecall" is served with a trusty  rhetorical question, heavy on the sarcasm. "Are you enjoying all your classes?" One line and the jig is up. The whole scene is set! She left him. She is off to college - as was expected of her; meet people, eat drugs, read books. We side with the first person protagonist as he fights for love, as he struggles to get through to her, as he struggles to fit the syllables into the next line, "don't talk to anyone who doesn't know you cause they don't know what you been through". Dumb elegance that you couldn't pay to learn how to pull off.

If the fridge pictured above is any indication, we are trying for P-H-fucking-D's here at headquarters.