[guest post] 2009 In Review, Vol. 5 - Old Canes

As I’ve done for the past two years on PHW, I’ve asked a handful of the artists I’ve blogged about over the last 12 months to reminisce, musically, on 2009. I asked a mix of my favorite local artists, as well as several more nationally recognizable acts, with the hope of having a diverse assortment of reflections on the music that mattered to the artists that mattered to me. In the coming 2 or 3 weeks there will be a series of “guest” posts from some names you may recognize, if you were paying attention this year…

One of the fall’s most pleasant surprises for me was Old Canes’ Feral Harmonic, a record I first heard back in late September and have had in regular rotation ever since. Old Canes is the side project of The Appleseed Cast’s Chris Crisci, and his sophomore album under the Old Canes guise is a positively raucous batch of exuberant indie-folk. The album works as a cohesive 40-minute artistic statement, blending, as the title hints, subtle melodies with unhinged recklessness. “Little Bird Courage” introduces this ramshackle aesthetic - it’s a barreling, Neutral Milk Hotel-influenced burst of hyperactive drums, street-procession horns, buzzing acoustic guitars, and the joyous call-and-response refrain of “And when I’m thirsty / You are the fountain / In the face of danger / I am not afraid” that'll have you shouting along in no time. From there the album hardly comes up for air, even the ballads possess an urgency you just don’t get with most bands. In short, Feral Harmonic is just pure guts captured on tape.

Crisci was kind enough to pass along a reflection on 2009 where he waxes on fatherhood, Jay-Z, Dirty Projectors, & Michael Bay. He even manages to diss Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Listen:

2009 will probably be remembered as the year Transformers 2 came out. I'll admit that I tried to watch it. Maybe I was tired, I was kind of drifting in and out of consciousness as I was watching. I'm not sure if the movie was making me tired, or if the movie just made no sense to me because I was tired already... but I don't know, am I the only one? Was there an actual coherent, followable plot unfolding?

2009 will also be remembered for the first of hopefully many installments of G.I. Joe films to grace our multiplexes. And Paul Blart Mall Cop.

Even the good movies were kind of a let down. Actually the only movie I saw this year that I really enjoyed thoroughly was Inglorious Basterds.

Music in 2009 seemed to be an equally barren landscape for me. There was a time when I would listen to college radio, or check out bands online, and I would find something every once in a while that I could connect with. This year it seemed like there was a fuss being made about band after band that have no content. It's as if Michael Bay has jumped into the music business. There's a lot of image going on.

The Dirty Projectors album is pretty damn amazing though. It took me a couple listens, but I came around.

Other than that, I really liked the Jay-Z New York song, and I saw a bunch of unsigned bands that I liked a lot.

The truth is, I probably could have dug a little deeper in my quest for any kind of edifying art this year. I was a pretty passive observer. I had too much on my plate to go out searching. I'm a new dad, and that pretty much ties up my free time. I worked on several records this year, one of them my own. Now that that's out I've got a few more projects to do, and then maybe I'll come up for some air and see what's happening in the world again.

2009 to me will be remembered as the first year of my boy's life. That and the year I got no sleep. They're closely related. Every parent in the world tells their friends the same thing. Having a kid will change your life. Little did I know, what they meant was I'd just not sleep anymore. Having a kid also brings some perspective to life that is sobering. It's not like having a pet (I love that one)... we're not just feeding the guy and giving him a place to sleep, we're trying to cultivate his mind, make him laugh, help him grow and learn about the world. It's heavy man.

~ CC

MP3 :: Trust
(from Feral Harmonic. Buy here)

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