Monday, March 12, 2012

Dispatch from the Dollar Bin: The Long Blondes "Someone to Drive You Home"

In transferring my CD collection to my iPod, I've been coming across a lot of albums I'd forgotten about, many of them impulse dollar-bin purchases from Last Vestige Records.  I'm paring down a lot, so I'm giving a these albums a second listen to see if they stay in the collection or eventually put them in a box and offer to trade them with my friends, hopefully for something cooler.  This is one of them:

I bought The Long Blondes Someone to Drive You Home for $3 sometime shortly after Dwight and I split up.  I was in the dead center of my neo-noir phase, coming out of my music journalism phase, newly relocated to Oneonta and just about to enter grad school.  This album's purchase, more than it's actual music, reflect this perhaps more than any other acquired at the time.

Yeah, I'm Awesome
I should like this album.  It's got tons of noir and 60's babe references (Shout outs to Edie Sedgwick and Arlene Dahl, in "Lust in the Movies," as well as the opening line "Give me a good film noir and a bottle of gin" from "Swallow Tattoo) and "Giddy Stratospheres" might as well have been written about the situation that inspired me to buy the album in the first place.  It's got a certain old-skool ska feel to it, which is kind of cool, and the album cover is a painting of Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde.  As a girl who uses a photo of herself wearing a Tom Waits cabbie cap in a dive bar in Binghamton  as one of her writer headshots, this should be my absolute favorite album after The Heart of Saturday Night.

But that's just it.  It's too self aware.  Awesome, Long Blondes, you own records and watch black and white movies and drink gin.  Yes, I did all those things in the year I bought this album (Dwight and I used to drink gimlets like in The Long Goodbye, which makes us clearly cooler than The Long Blondes) but seriously, give it up.  Yes, you're cool and the girls you're writing songs about don't deserve the boys you're pining for because they don't get your kitchy 60's references that everyone gets because Edie Sedgewick isn't exactly Jean Moorhead.  But that doesn't mean you have to write a whole album about it.  The Long Blondes have the nostalgia, but they lack the clever wordplay that someone like, say, Warren Zevon or Morrissey has.  The words are all crammed in, like they just set a diary entry to a fairly generic (but catchy!) guitar riff.  Kate Johnson's voice is great, but it's also generic of every hipster girl who thinks she's amazingly artistic and deep.  I know, because I sing just like her, and I am writing in a blog partially named after a Duran Duran song while wearing a hoodie festooned with a vintage Morrissey tee-shirt a stalker gave me and a free patch I got at Forbidden Plant when he was promoting Ringleader of the Tormentors that, incidentally, is also the same hoodie I'm wearing in my uber-cool hipster photo up there.

Keep or Giveaway: Giveaway
Song to Save: "Swallow Tattoo." 

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