This is a big one, so i’m splitting it up. Half the mp3’s are here today, half come at some point later in the week.
I have an undying love for the ukulele. I have a cat who jumps up on hot electric burners and then hisses and swats at them. My dumb cat and the ukulele are in many ways one and the same. Both seem pretty childish and usually get pegged as stupid and inexpressive. I mean, a dumb cat can tell you that it loves you, it can tell you that it hates you, but can it do anything else? A ukulele can make you smile pretty well, it can back a pretty decent kids ABC song, but you can buy them for 30 bucks at wal mart, you can’t expect Shakespeare or, more accurately, Dylan, can you?
The other day I accidentally locked my cat in my room when I went to class. That night when I went to feed her, she wouldn’t eat a bite, and stared at me. Immediately, I knew this was my punishement. I spent about twenty five minutes convincing her to eat. She eventually relented. There’s more there than you’d think.
I think it is the overwhelming simplicity of the four stringed uke that makes everything it does so direct. It can spend hours jumping on your bed and planting dandelions in the bottom of your shower (see “click click click” by Bishop Allen ), it can do a shitload of speed and grab you by the arms in line for the bathroom at Home Depot and tell you about these crazy dreams it’s been having (“Henry and Jason” by Carmaig De Forest), it can sit you down in the front of class and outline on the green blackboard why your favorite fairy tale has no moral (“Soon Forget” By Pearl Jam), it can spend all day cloudwatching, and keep telling you it sees your grandparents up there (“one april day” by Stephen Merrit, “Sunshine Lady” by Taken By Trees), it can fall asleep in with a lit cigarette in its lips in the non smoking compartment of a Brussels bound local train (“The Canals of Our City” By Beirut), it can spill ice cream on the sand at the beach, and then step in it and run, laugh-screaming, towards the ocean (“Engine Heart” By Mirah) and it can kill someone you love while you watch and walk away (the dayttotter live version of “Feirce Little Lark” by Shearwater”). There might not be symphonies there, but hopefully these songs will show you the range that those four strings can get at.
I never really got into Matthew Sweet as a god of power pop. I can absolutely get into the idea of the Marvelous Darlings as demi-gods, at least. And that’s after exactly one 7 inch. Listen here. Dance here.