Sunday, August 3, 2008

Music Rec: Ludo

I’ve got an embarrassing confession to make. It seems like I discover well over half of my favorite new bands via television shows/commercials and as opening acts for other bands. I’ll write more about the latter down the road, but right now I’m too addicted to Ludo’s You’re Awful, I Love You to think about any other music for the moment. I first heard the title-spawning track, “Love Me Dead”, in the House season 5 promo. I was intrigued enough to download said track from iTunes, and shortly after I was downloading the rest of the album.

This album serves up pop punk with a sadistic, giddy edge. A lot of the tracks have a positively dread-inducing, frenetic, addictive energy that just pulls you along. The House-inspiring track that started it all for me, of course, is “Love Me Dead”. (Hey, look, a second version, that involves the bang brushing their teeth for four minutes.) The song is kind of the bastard child of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and OK Go’s “A Million Ways” with even more imaginative imagery.

Then there’s “Lake Pontchartrain” which is that increasingly rare of creatures, a full-stop story song. A modern folk ballad that just wants to tell you a really awesome, really creepy story. “Go-Getter Greg” is another uncommon kind of song, a satirical character study/monologue that paints a sad, overbearing picture of a guy we’ve all met before, unfortunately.

And then there’s “The Horror of our Love”. It takes an impressive passel of talent to make lyrics like “I've murdered half the town/ Left you love notes on their headstones/ I'll fill the graveyards/ Until I have you” and “I'll grind against your bones/ Until our marrows mix/ I will eat you slowly/ Oh/ The horror of our love” sound appealing and kind of sweet. This is actually kind of a great song because you can probably slip it into a mix CD and give it to a friend, and it may take them a few listens to really absorb the lyrics and get that great double-take “oh, shit, that’s what the song’s about?” moment. (I had that about a decade ago with Tom Petty’s “Last Dance With Mary Jane” – “You mean it’s not about a girl named Mary Jane?”)

Of course, not every song on You’re Awful, I Love You pushes the boundaries of material usually explored in music. “Scream, Scream, Scream”, “Mutiny Below”, and “Topeka” are standard pop punk fare, wonderful melodies and clever lyrics and no dismemberment or hatefucking. But they’re no less dazzling than the splashier tracks. In fact, “Topeka” is probably my favorite track on the whole album.

I usually download three tracks from iTunes if I want to check out an artist. Three’s a good number, tells you whether you’ll actually like the whole album or whether they’re a single-only band for you. So with that in mind, I suggest you download “Love Me Dead”, “Topeka”, and “Lake Pontchartrain”. Though I’m not sure discovering new bands via a blog is any less lame than doing so via television commercials, both trump discovery via Pitchfork, so at least we’ve got that going for us, right?

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