Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sharing is Caring

Cliches aside, everybody 'd agree, it's good to share.

And anyway, it being somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the very time of year encourages us to give.

So, here is my gift to you, that's been twice gifted to me: the music of Filligar.
The name's kinda like filigree ....... but different.
(Actually, the band is named after guitarist Johnny Mathias' twin sister's fish, just so that's settled.) The band certainly has something of that classic, old-school style (mixed with a youthful indie vibe).

They're said to sound a bit like Vampire Weekend - their partiality for the words that move, their lyrics often turned to a string of impressionistic non sequiturs. But then these guys have no pretension. They're just there to have fun. and make good music: They've written over 80 original songs, put out six albums, and been touring near continuously since 2008 (graduates of Dartmouth).

Three of them are brothers. The fourth member (Casey Gibson on keyboard) 's a close friend. So yeah: they're tight.

Anyway, when I was first gifted to hear of Filligar, I was on the verge of an adventure: Living Social was giving me opportunity to go on a photo scavenger hunt in Greenwich Village. I was pumped. And there was this party music going on, but it was playing too loud, too bold: I mean, the music wasn't as big a deal as it was being made out to be. and this guy, a staff member there, he directs me where I need to go, which is helpful. but then too he tells me, if he were the DJ, he'd be picking bands like Arcade Fire, The Decemberists, Death Cab for Cutie, the Black Keys... and I was like, Now you're talking my language. And I told him some other bands he might not have heard of yet. And then he told me, Well, if that's your thing, the new, not-yet-so-well-known band I've been telling people about recently is Filligar. Check out their album, City Tree.

So I did. And following the counsel of this very hip music junky, I bought City Tree (2007) and listened to every song on it many, many times. It's stuff that would inevitably put me in a good mood; the beat hops and bops and rock n rolls all around. And the lyrics never get lost in extreme poetics or sappy, cloying romantics. Instead, the words're straightforwardly ambiguous. which leads you back to the music itself. And the way the piano guides the guitars that drive the drums that keep the other instruments in line with the vocals - it all just makes sense: a green-blue-and-ruby-red harmony of sound. You get lost in it. Or at least I did.

But then, the second gift: I went to Filligar's website and discovered 1. A New Album was coming soon, and 2. Their latest album, The Nerve (2010), had been supported by dedicated touring with, among others, The Black Keys. and the new album wasn't just pop-rock-indie, it's solid-70s-rock. in the 21st century! (I know, it's crazy. and these guys aren't even as old as I am.) Naturally, this earns them comparisons to Wilco, especially as both bands are based out of Chicago.  But, let me tell you, Filligar is doing something different.

The Nerve has some blues-rock, some soft-guitar, some hard-hitting piano, some crooning, some experimenting, and some very real rock. "Health" and the other three songs that start off the album sound the most polished. But my favorite is the last, "Slow Night at the Red Sea," for the way it flares and then carries you like a galloping stallion. You never wanna leave hold. And right then, having followed along for the song's very fun four-minute ride, it sets you down with a flourish of atmospheric sound. And it's done.

As I said, Filligar's got a new album due out early 2012.
Go here for a sneak peek of two of their songs!
And below is my personal favorite from their album City Tree (2007). ENJOY:

08 Yo Hi Hey by Filligar

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