Monday, July 9, 2012

Of Montreal Outtakes?

This isn't about getting on the kids. I'm not in a "Hey You! Get off my lawn!" mood. I was simply doing a bit of investigative journalism, as I woke up thinking, "Gee whiz, Sal. How about writing about or posting some music from this century for a change?" Looking for headlines, I went to Here are today's "top stories."







"Hey you kids! GET OFF MY LAWN!"

The Of Montreal outtakes album caused a brain-shifting eyeroll. What would be the equivalent of an Of Montreal outtakes album say... in 1969 or 1979?

I thought I'd better find out what a few Of Montreal master takes sounded like first before I got my curmudgeon on.

Funny. They sound like something I would have loved in 1979.

Here's another one.

Everything old is new again. The goal of this post was to vent my frustration, yet again, on the sorry state of music these days. Instead, I just discovered that Of Montreal sounds more than a bit like one of my favorite bands, Sparks. And you know what else Mr. Crankypants discovered this morning? Of Montreal isnt even a new band. They were formed in 1996. 

of Montreal is an American rock band from Athens, Georgia. It was founded by frontman Kevin Barnes in 1996, named after a failed romance with a woman "of Montreal." The band is one of the bands of the Elephant 6 collective. Throughout its existence, of Montreal's musical style has evolved from vaudeville and Beatles influenced psychedelic twee pop to a mixture of electronica, funk, glam, and afrobeat music influenced by Prince and David Bowie.

I'd better get my act together, or tomorrow, you will be reading my high-praise of Nicki Minaj.


Anonymous said...

Hello all...No, please, remain seated,

Good morning, my grumpy amigo. I understand where you're coming from and somtimes feel the same way. However, having a teen-aged daughter exposes me to some contemporary pop gems like the Plain White T's. Try not to watch the video, just listen:

I LOVE it. Great melody, great chords changes. our age we must be vigilant lest our duddy grow fuddy.



buzzbabyjesus said...

I have a lot of music in my computer I'm only sure I never bought. How I ended up with a handful of songs by of Montreal is a mystery.
I like this one quite a bit:

"Chrissy Kiss a Corpse"

Sal Nunziato said...

@Rich D.

I really enjoyed the Plain White T's when they were a guest on Daryl Hall's show. Anf the tune you posted is great! As I said, I didn't wake up grumpy. (well, at least not this morning.)

I'm certainly open to anything. But sometimes I grow impatient sifting thru the crud...of which there is too much, to find the "pop gems" like the PWT...or Of Montreal.

Jeff Matthews said...

I'm not sure when I got turned on to Of Montreal, but I've been a fan for a few years. A subtext to your post (which may or may not be interesting as a future thread) is which bands/acts from this century (after 2000) strike our old jaded ears as being interesting, fresh, and sonically rejuvenating. Whose next release would you pre-order? There's very few bands where I care to hear outtakes; I wouldn't make that the litmus test. Recognizing that there's nothing new under the sun, here's a handful that come to mind, where the first release was 2000 or later: Jason Isbell, New Pornographers, Sam Roberts, Megafaun, Gaslight Anthem, My Morning Jacket, Joseph Arthur, Gotye, TuneYards, Phoenix
...I'm sure there are many others.

Shriner said...

I would nominate Sufjan Stevens. I know he's not everybody's cup of tea, but I find the Michigan and Illinoise albums just fabulous.

And the New Pornographers get a vote from this side as well!

Sal Nunziato said...

Love New Pornographers, and Megafaun was on my year-end Best Of list. That one sneaks up on you. Funny though, I still consider Wilco new and then I realized they have been around twice as long as Zeppelin, and almost 3 times as long as the Beatles, which in some ways, says a bit more about the substance of new(ish) bands. Amazing quality in limited quantities from pre-1979 artists, no?

Jeff Matthews said...

Funny, Sal, I'm the opposite with Wilco. I've been following the Uncle Tupelo/Wilco/Son Volt splinters for what seems like forever - but I guess it's only been, like, 20 years! They continue to amaze, but I don't consider them of this century.

Anonymous said...

As someone who really likes older music(to me anyways), as well as follows new bands, I try to expose myself to whatever is good. Not listening to music from the 60s and 70s when it was contemporary definitely affects my approach, but I try not to let it affect my appreciation. Good music is just good music. The problem comes from trying to determine which new bands are over overhyped and which ones are deserving of their praise; Most fall into the former category. Older music has been more or less vetted by dedicated fans. Oh yeah, of Montreal rock. Oh Hissing Fauna or The Sunlandic Twins are good jumping off spots for anyone interested in their albums.
-Blake S

bglobe313 said...

A younger friend of mine, knowing that I like Guided By Voices suggested that I check out Of Montreal. I could see where he got the connection and quite liked their skewed pop. BUT if my "recollection" is right at times they seemed a little too intent on getting quirky for no good reason (as far as I could determine) thereby (again, to me) sabotaging what could be very good pop songs. I call this chickening out, meaning not going for the brass ring (like the true champs like REM did). BUT, of course, they make music and I don't and they have the right, power and ability to do it however they want.


Sal Nunziato said...


GBV has always been a sore point for me. Early praise drew comparisons to one of my fave bands The Hollies, which I found to be inane. But while I am with you, re: quirk for the sake of quirk, it struck me as odd to see you mention that and loving GBV in the same post. To my ears, GBV are the kings of quirk, albeit low-fi.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I liked Okkervil River's "The Stand Ins" from 2008, but haven't followed up on them. I just read my own post to get the spelling right and saw they formed in 1998!
Dr.Dog almost did it for me. Did I mention I hate Arcade Fire?
GBV is about the most frustrating band I know. Almost there but not quite in a way that makes them worse than a band that falls shorter.

Anonymous said...

@ buzzbabyjesus

If you liked "The Stand Ins", you should definitely check out "The Stage Names" if you haven't already. Very similar but slightly better IMO. They were originally supposed to be released together as a double album.
-Blake S

Mister Pleasant said...

"Sound more than a bit like Sparks"? Ok, you got my attention, as I was just about to bail. And wow, if "Suffer for Fashion" doesn't replicate the Sparks glam period 73-74. So take off your grumpy pants 'cause you just made my day. Great stuff.

Also glad you came out of the closet about Sparks. Sparks fans tend to get beat up a bit around the rock/power pop blog world.

bglobe313 said...


Agreed re GBV being kings of quirk for quirk's sake. But just often enough Bob (or more particularly Tobin) would let the song stay great without "chickening out" as I put it. Of course, they might (as in "Tropical Robots") do this for the whole song but have the whole song last for 43 seconds, but what the hey?

I eventually gave up on being a Pollard completist, but I am still in there on Tobin Sprout, and one of my many (never to be achieved) projects is to make that great "tape" of my favorites legit-pop GBV-related tunes.


William Repsher said...

Of Montreal has been getting a little too precious for me lately. Been following them since the Elephant Six explosion of the mid-90s, which felt like a revolution at the time, but hasn't grown into any sort of lasting legacy. OM had a great balance there for a few albums between alt rock and electro/dance, but the last album sounded like they were losing their grip a bit.

I hear plenty of good music these days. Not great. That's the distinction in my mind. And when I hear critics carrying on about all the "great new music" ... I know better. Lots of good stuff. Three star entertainment, no doubt. But the word "great" is incredibly over-used these days and in no way indicative of greatness.

Outsider said...

Of Montreal (who are good today, by the top o'their trip) are being compared to Sparks.