Thursday, April 08, 2010

Song of the Day: "Muscle n' Flow" by Menomena

This is the last time I'm doing this for a while. Not posting on the blog, but doing this: posting an old song by a band who has a new album that is coming out soon. Last time. Promise.

But, I read this while sitting at my desk. Menomena. New album. July 27th. It sounds like the summer months are going to be seeing some pretty solid releases. New LCD Soundsystem; new Wolf Parade; new M.I.A.; new stuff from The Hold Steady; new Band of Horses; and now we find out about some new Menomena coming our way. Consider me even more hyped for summer than usual.

I saw Menomena, at this point, almost two years ago (God, I'm so old) at Middlebury where they were playing WRMC's Sepomena spring concert. They shared a stage with The Ruby Suns and...I'm going to be honest here I don't remember much of the concert. I was paying more attention to the crush I had on a girl who was there...she was drunk and having a good time, I was neither...I was in the back coolly know how these things go. But, one thing I do remember is them playing this song. I mean how could I not.

As the opening track from the Portland, OR trio's third long player Friend and Foe, "Muscle n' Flow" sets a pretty high standard that the rest of the album strives for, but it never quite reaches (which isn't to say the album is bad, because it isn't). It starts off with Danny Seim's  jagged drumming before Justin Harris' voice comes in (accompanied by Brent Knopf's bouncy bass) with a song about getting up in the morning and moving forward with your life, no matter what. The lyrics themselves are actually pretty uplifting, all things considered. Overcoming adversity is one of those lyrical tropes that I'm always surprised to see turn up in music these days, and what's so great about this song is that, while it is musically incongruent and intentionally disharmonious, the vocal melody is quite catchy and almost sing-songy, which adds up to an interesting song that also gets stuck in your head.

The whole thing begins to culminate (I think it's clear by now I really like songs that build to some sort of grand conclusion or high water mark at some point in the song) around the two and a half minute mark, when an organ cuts through the angular guitar and irregular drumming and the lyrics take on a surprising religious tone that suggests the song could have an alternative Christian bent to it. But just as soon as these themes are raised, they're discarded, a rejection of strength through religion and Christianity in favor of a self-built strength and firm foot in the realm of the atheistic. Then the song goes right back from whence it came, keeping the organ and adding a baritone saxophone. It kills.  Hard. This is why I'm so stoked for a new album. With Menomena, each album has been better than the last, so here's hoping the trend continues. (Music is after the JUMP!)

So, here is the lala link to the song. Sorry I'm not able to actually upload mp3s onto this site and am instead sending you all over hell's half acre to find this music. You might have to sign up for lala (its free, don't worry), to listen to the full song, FYI. If anyone out there has any idea about how to upload mp3s directly onto Blogger, please let me know becase I'd much rather just put a direct link here  for you all than send you somewhere else. It's easier for everyone really. Plus, I can share ALL of the music I want, not just the things that are available to link to for streaming. Anyway, song. Also, the Pitchfork article I've linked to above also has a new track and video for your listening/viewing pleasure. Check that, too.

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