(I, like everyone I know, just love year-end lists, but I always think the strict numeracy of the whole thing’s silly. A top-ten’s fine; numbering things from 10-1 seems nuts (unless it’s super-obvious: 1970, when Hundred Years of Solitude was translated and released; 1996, Infinite Jest; 1998, Birds of America; 2000, The Last Samurai; etc.). With that in mind: from now till the year’s end, I’ll be posting best-of-2008 stuff. Mostly bands (and, by and large, mostly bands that’ve released their debut disc this year). Obviously books. Movies? Doubtful, but who knows.)
Throw me the Statue’s Moonbeams
(I’d meant to put up songs to download here, but the songs I wanted to put up aren’t cleared for download. So, instead, here’s a video of one of the cleared-for-posting songs, and also one of the coolest songs on the disc, and also one of the coolest videos I’ve ever seen (the song’s called “About To Walk,” and there’s a version at Daytrottere here as well)
Throw Me the Statue crept up on me this year. At some point I downloaded “Your Girlfriend’s Car” and I remember listening to it (this must’ve been like April) and thinking hm, but getting neither really super invited-in nor super pushed-out. I do remember thinking that it was an almost obscenely weird song: little in the way of lyrics, and what lyrics there are either seemed associatively strange (meaning, I guess, the meaning was fuzzy), or just flat-out strange—for instance, the part from which the song takes its title:
There is nothing
Like to steal
from your girlfriend’s car.
The bit there’s a bunch of things, but more than anything else it’s just ridiculouly, evocatively weird. Download the song and listen to it: maybe stranger than that set of words is the fact that there’s no morality in them: it seems neither a good nor bad thing that this dude should want to steal things from this other person’s girlfriend’s car. The whole thing, at the time I heard it, struck me as interesting, but not enough to get seriously invested in.
Maybe some months passed: I’m not really sure. I know the next song by Throw Me the Statue I listened to was “This is How We Kiss,” which is much more direct (in certain ways) than “Your Girlfriend’s Car”: gone are the real obtruse lines, replaced by stuff like:
Little chance, Eddie Haskell,
tell again how you were born a rascal
they screen my calls at the charity chapel
I lost the keys to the friendship castle
Okay, so, hrm: not so much more sensical, actually (plus the first chorus has got “This is how we kiss,” and the second one’s got “This is how we missed,” [plus I should just say here that 'chorus' isn't the real term: the actual chorus is just a vowelly oh oh oh oh repeated]).
What’s for sure, though, is that “This is How We Kiss,” was the track that made me realize how much I absolutely dug the hell out of this band. Again: download the songs. These are folks who’ve picked up all the lo-fi/indie sounds you’d expect, but they’re just doing things much, much better than most other bands. I suppose the music-snob class would here say that the band’s somewhat indebted to Pavement, and perhaps they are, to a degree: I hear more of The Glands than Pavement, plus, more simply, Throw Me The Statue have pop-music chops that put most other ‘indie’ stuff to shame.
Idle hypothesis: the whole indie/lo-fi thing’s actually not too technically difficult (I played enough guitar to know that much, anyway), and so the thing that separates a band like Throw Me The Statue from other bands of this genre/ilk is that instead of just droning stuff and feedbacking amps and etc, they’ve got something like the spirits of B. Wilson and P. Westerberg animating some of their decisions. “Your Girlfriend’s Car”? Regardless of how weird the lyrics are, the song’s as compelling as it is because, musically, it feels about as inevitable as falling down a set of three stairs. Some of the moves may feel, at first listen, counterintuitive, but listen to the song a few times and you can feel how smart these guys are, musically.
And who are these guys? Scott Reitherman, apparently, a Seattle-ite (according to Wikipedia), and the band he’s helped shape around himself. Their album Moonbeams, for the record, was actually released on Reitherman’s Baskerville Hill label in 2007, and re-released this year by Secretely Canadian (which label has just been dynamite in the last while, putting stuff out by Catfish Haven, Damien Jurado, Bon Iver, etc.).
I don’t know much more about these guys, but I’m pretty sure that nothing else I’ve got to say about them’s worth as much as listening to the songs here, the last of which will be this: Earlier this year, Throw Me The Statue released this track (on Stereogum, but the track’s also part of a H. Lewis covers comp called Are You Still With Me?!, which should put to rest any question about how great and sharp and incredible their pop-instincts are. Say what you will about indie rock and everything else: I can think of maybe five bands whose cover of an old Huey Lewis and the News song would make me not just disinterestedly curious but thrilled and pleased and (admit it) pretty up for going back and listening to more old H. Lewis songs. Please: make sure your year-end round-up includes stuff by Throw Me The Statue.