Saturday, March 10, 2007

Casiotone For the Painfully Alone

MP3: Casiotone For the Painfully Alone - Graceland

NOTE: Today's blog comes from the amazing Zach Hangauer, who runs the brilliant label Range Life. They released White Flight's self titled debut, which I talked about right here. Fuck yeah.

Man, I love the song "Graceland". The way the melody ebbs in sadness and flows in anticipation, expressing exactly what's being sung. Hearing it as a kid - did anyone's parents not own this? - it made me long to be grown up and to know girls who could crush you by "brushing their hair from their forehead". Listening to it now, it's a diamond-in-the-rough, a gleaming, chiseled jewel of pure American Pop: road trips, Elvis, movie stars, fathers and sons, love and loss. It's almost too perfect.

Which makes it perfect for CFTPA. If there's a common thread to Casiotone songs it's that his heart is in the right place but something's forever awry. Like Thom Yorke in "Everything In It's Right Place", Owen Ashworth can make you feel like even the possibility of order is disconcerting. And grant him this: if he wanted to, he could rip this fucking song apart, singing it in a roar instead of a growl, shattering every little poetic line with a wrecking-ball of desperate, raw feeling. You can sense him wanting to - a grown man crushing a childhood relic, taking his world-weariness and busting up the nose of everything Sophisticated and Sensitive. But as much as I would enjoy the catharsis of hearing that (perhaps live? - Casiotone fans should conspire to get Owen totally bombed before playing and see if he won't shatter - I mean absolutely fucking demolish - this song), the tack he takes, I think, is the savvier one.

Gone is Paul Simon's baby-boomer crushed idealism, sad and sweet, and in it's place is a voice so aching it's agitated, honoring a lullaby of lost love through barely-contained gritted teeth. And isn't this us? I mean, think of the real Graceland now, how sold-out, dumbed-down, corrupt and lame it's become. It's about one step cooler than Disneyland. It's silly to even fathom it now as a place of redemption. Perhaps it's disdain for the way our parents, the Baby Boomers, have allowed things that were once cool (including themselves) to become so selfish and tasteless and shallow. Think of how different they are from how we are - how they all joined fraternities and sororities and got married in their 20's and voted for Reagan and brought their kids up on McDonald's. And think of how it impossible it seems sometimes to really find love. And how embarassing and shadey our Government is. And how little we get paid compared to what we have to pay. And all the commercials that bombard us. And how so much of what we know is meaningful somehow keeps turning to mush.

Casiotone knows all this. And by covering "Graceland", he's taken it upon himself to fight back. Nothing's sacred, Boomers. His "Graceland" isn't as pretty, sure, but it's real and that, right now, is our currency. It's for us that the drums come on like a staccato march, some home-brewed Timbaland, a lo-fi call to action. For us that lovelornness is recast as nerve-wracked. And for us the ending cacophony which would never be "received" by Memphis or Paul Simon or our parents. Fuck Graceland, seriously, shit's getting way too heavy. We've got to find somewhere new, start fresh and do the whole shebang right this time.

I wonder what Casiotone calls his apartment?

{buy casiotone for the painfully alone recordings on insound}

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