2008 In Review, Vol. 3 - Tall Firs

New York’s Tall Firs released their sophomore record earlier this year called Too Old To Die Young through Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label. The connection to Moore is fitting. The Tall Firs’ stoned guitar clatter and creaky vocals recall much of the post-Daydream Nation era of Sonic Youth - when they were scooped up by Geffen Records and expected to produce some modern rock hits.

There is a definite nostalgia at work on Too Old To Die Young for those early 90’s days. With all the 80’s revivalists working today it’s refreshing to hear a band that’s more interested in the merits of Dirty, Where You Been, or going back further, Marquee Moon, than, say, Duran Duran. The band played to larger audiences than ever this year – All Tomorrow’s Parties in May with Deerhunter and The Black Lips, and a McCarren Park Pool Party gig with, again, Deerhunter, Times New Viking, and King Khan & The Shrines over the summer. They toured Europe in the Fall and were written up in Fricke’s Picks in Rolling Stone (he dug them) as well.

Too Old To Die Young’s lead track, “So Messed Up”, has a lot in common, thematically, to “Summer of Drugs” – not coincidentally a Victoria Williams folk song made radio-ready by Soul Asylum for the Sweet Relief compilation circa 1994. Its fond reminiscences to the days of underage drinking and drugging (“we were acid-crazed teenage tweak-outs/the booze fueled days of pills and freak-outs”) takes that song’s nostalgia and fast forwards to the modern day, and in turn becomes a sort of sad commentary on a life that never got over those blurry youthful nights. It’s one of my favorite songs of the year, and not only because of how true it rings. The rest of the album is filled with just as much earnesty, tension, and searing guitar work as a band indebted to the best New York rock of the past few decades.

Tall Firs’ Aaron Mullan sent along the following list of some things he and the rest of the band enjoyed this year. For the record, this is the third of these lists/reflections I’ve posted so far, and all 3 have mentioned Obama’s election as a highpoint of the year. For some reason that’s not at all surprising. Enjoy:

Top 10 of 2008

1) Obama elected.

2) Tall Firs UK Tour. Shredfest, ladies and gents.

3) Jury Duty/No more Jury Duty for 8 years.

Knyfe Hyts. This band is so killer it's completely off the freaking

5) Talk Normal. Same as above.

6) Party Store Records. Home of the 'Coldest Beer in Town' cassette comp
featuring Knyfe Hyts, Talk Normal, Awesome Color, Oneida, Red Dawn II, Tall
Firs and more.

7) Equalizers: API 560 and Pultec EQP-1A3

8) Richard Dawkins 'The Selfish Gene'. Not as nuanced (or original) as the
next few books, but just a strait up Rocker from '76; kinda like the s/t
Ramones debut.

9) The Crying of Lot 49.

10) ATP New York. Even if I didn't get to play in the baseball game.


MP3 :: So Messed Up
MP3 :: Hairdo
MP3 :: Secrets And Lies
(from Too Old To Die Young. Buy here)

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