Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Kings Of The Weirdo Beardos

There are beards everywhere in San Francisco right now…it is a damn epidemic and not a pretty one during this sweltering summer we are having. Fuck, I am wearing a beard myself, showing off my age with each grey strand shouting out amidst the newly-timid brunette ones. Beards have also mossed all over the music here in town. We have this fuzzy, hairy folk scene that has grown itself into the world consciousness through the Indian-style sittings of Devendra Banhart.

I think that the latest Devendra release has its problems (c’mon Mark-like Bolan…do your homework for us…20+ songs like these are not an album, they are a sketchbook). But his co-horts in faciality (pronounced face-ee-Al-ih-tee) Vetiver have probably put together one of the year’s best records. TO FIND ME GONE (DiCristina) showcases some amazing pop songs framed by a minimal folk-pop sound that is as refreshing as early morning foggy dew. The opener “Been So Long” (alt version from last year’s Between EP) lulls you into a meditative trance followed nicely by the pulsations of a very JJ Cale/Tony Joe White “You May Find Me Blue”—dig the groovy twang guitar and all that wonderful tattooing chorus. By the time “Idle Ties” comes in clean-up, probably one of the best songs of the year neck and neck with Howlin’ Rain’s “Calling Lightening With A Scythe”—by the time “Idle Ties” come in, it becomes apparent that this truly is a beautiful, classic rock record. Add to that the sudden but fantastic almost Dave Shannon-eque fuzz guitar-bath on jam #9, "Red Lantern Girls," and it seems that there is nothing in rock that Vetiver can't do in the studio.

King Vetiver and SF Richmond resident Andy Cabic, who wrote, played and co-produced the album, is obviously in peak form on all fronts. He may be a weirdo beardo, and his band mates may include poster children weirdo beardos, and he may come from this oh-so hairy San Francisco scene, but this record—this recorded moment in time—is pure classic pop goodness with the most organic arrangements and environments. Genre defining and defying.

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