Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Music Tapes - For Clouds and Tornadoes

The Music Tapes
For Clouds and Tornadoes
(08.2008 Merge)
Verdict: A whimsical pop gem.

Julian Koster's first outing as The Music Tapes blended iffy production methods, old time radio interludes, unusual instruments (including bouncy balls and metronomes for percussion) and childlike vocal delivery and subject matter such as: aliens, the death of superman and a mistrust for parents. Needless to say, it's held a special place in my musical heart for some time now. Nine years later Julian Koster is pretty much the same, and that's a good thing. While For Clouds and Tornadoes might not be as cluttered and as child centric as its near decade old predecessor, it's still chock full of the same sense of wonder, fantasy, and singing saws. This time around Koster has generally opted for sparser song arrangements, relying heavily on his trusty singing saw and banjo, but still finds time for ping pong balls, electric organs, and various percussive instruments. Koster's songs are genuine as ever and his ability to transport the listener into a carefree dream world is unrivaled. In an indie world that's often far too concerned with being hip, it's nice to listen to an artist that's just concerned with crafting authentic pop music that can't easily be pinned down to a specific time or place, an artist that can bring out the youthful wonder in all of us.

-Wooly Mammal

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