Thursday, November 28, 2013

Medals - Disguises

Something in the water 
A 1000 mysteries below 
Time keeps no secrets 
Don't you know? 
(Tastes Like Glass)

You guys, do you know who will be in terrible trouble very soon? The guys from SAY Award (Scottish Album Of The Year)!
When they'll come together to name the Album Of The Year 2013 they will have among others (including artists like Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, Primal Scream, The Fratellis) these incredible releases on the list:
  • Biffy Clyro - Opposites
  • Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse
  • CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe
and now also:
  • Medals - Disguises
There will be some public voting as well - one vote per participant. That basically means I'll need to make a choice I cannot make. Don't tell the SAY Award people, but I might just cheat and vote for each of those. BUT if I would really, really need to make that decision it would look like that:

Biffy Clyro - nope
Surprised, huh? There is so much written on this blog, lyric pieces integrated into tattoos, miles traveled and EUR spent that there is more than enough evidence for what this band means to me, that it does not need this one click. The boys also won and keep winning - well deserved - all the awards anyway. "Opposites" is fantastic and the stubborn bravery to blast a double album into this short attention span driven world makes it an even more worthy candidat.

Frightened Rabbit - nope
To be honest I have no rational reason to say no except for the simple reason that I love another record on this list a bit more. I could fake to be offended by them cancelling my show here in Munich, but I know the reason and I am just sad and sorry, but not angry. 

This band is conquering the WORLD in such an incredible whirlwind that it takes your breath away by only watching. It is amazing and if you know a bit about the people in CHVRCHES and that the success did by far not come as "out of the blue" as it seems it's even better. The album is just a bit too electronic to make the Album Of The Year for this guitar loving lady here. 

Medals - YES - that's the one. Album of the Year 2013!

Medals is the new project of Sucioperro's JP Reid and Sucioperro is one of my very favorite bands. I will never ever understand why these guys are not outrageously famous and stinking rich, because that is how good they are. But oh well .. I used to work in music business for some years and had to learn that producing awesome music is guarantee for ... nothing. Market analysis, repertoire strategy and marketing budget drive to quite some extend the decision which band gets the support needed and which not. If you do not fit in there, it's not gonna happen. Kind of sad but true. But before we get lost in philosophical thoughts about the sense and nonsense in entertainment industry let's talk actual MUSIC!

I clearly remember the day when I heard the first song of the album - the title track "Disguises" - for the first time. I was at the train station in Landshut on the way back to Munich from visiting friends. I was also a bit tired and annoyed by all the already drunk people on the platform heading for Oktoberfest.
Then I caught a tweet from JP introducing "Disguises" and was like "Coooooool - new music from the Sucio camp.", put in the BEATS (headphones) and totally expected guitars when I got ... BEATS. 

I listened once, I listened twice, I could not stand still. Just .. dancing around to music only you can hear (yay to inears) is a tiny big awkward. But then most people around me had beer bottles in their hands and were wearing lederhosen - the awkwardness was very relative and who would care anyway? But before you now picture a break out of a Glee like singing and dancing routine on open scene ...  stop it. No singing was involved and for the dancing you should more consider a nice mixture of rhythmic foot tapping and The Ministry of Silly Walks on the edge of a train platform. Good enough I guess ;)
Fact is: Although the song was not at all what I had expected I LOVED IT, was in the need for more and could not wait for the full album release on November 11. 

Loyal readers of this blog may remember when I guest blogged for the SAY Award website reflecting my thoughts on "the album" and wrote a long post how I hate it when a record is new to me and how much time it needs to get familiar to the songs and to start really loving them. Yes?
Screw it.  Well, not totally of course. It is indeed how I feel often when I have a brand new record and fight myself through the first few rounds of listening. But just like every valid rule this one has exceptions, too and "Disguises" is one. The record did not feel like a stranger for a second. It was fun to listen to right from the first moment and it has a very natural flow. The effort JP put into finding the ideal order of songs was definitely worth it.
The songwriting is amazing and JP supported by the extended Sucioperro family created some very fine tunes (and yes - there are guitars and lots of amazing real drums, too) that keep you company like your best buddies.

The album is short (10 tracks / 32.36 min) and while I personally would have been happy about more I understand that it was conscious decision and the result really is the essence of the creative process. I  have seldom listened to an album that felt more like one piece, more dense than this one. In that context it does not even make too much sense to list single favorite tracks, but I will point you anyway to two songs I love in particular:

"Made Up Of All The People" is cowritten by my favorite "wall art supplier" and former Sucioperro member, Mike Logg, and also features one of my favorite people on Twitter and fellow blogger, David Rossi, on backing vocals. It also has a totally insane rhythm section set up with three drummers and two more people on percussion. It is far more "handmade" as it may sound in the first moment. 

"Tastes Like Glass"
is probably my very favorite song on the record. I give it usually a double run when I listen to the album. It is a slightly disturbing mixture of all kinds of music and drifts from a joyous soul pop chorus through some serious beats to a "Sucioperro / Fused" like guitar finish  - and makes sense anyway. 

"Joyous Odd Soul Pop"  - just like JP said when asked how he would describe the Medals sound.
I usually do not beg for RTs on Twitter or ask people to share my blog, because if they like it they will do it anyway and if  they do not like it ... well then not. 
This time it's a bit of a different story. You remember what I said about record label repertoire strategy and marketing budgets? Nothing like this applies here because since the release of "Fused" the members of Sucioperro run their own label called Medals For Everyone that also released "Disguises". That means that there is no politics to deal with but it also means that there is no big marketing budget to promote the record nor a big and powerful distribution chain (yet).
The marketing budget for "Disguises" is US - the people who love the music, share it and spread the word. So if you like what you hear - let your friends know! No better way to show your love than sharing some awesome vibes, right? Right! 
Now I am off writing my Christmas / birthday wish list and put  "Medals Glasgow Live Show" on top of it, because traveling to Scotland in the midst of winter is a totally awesome idea, right? Right!

Update July 2015: 

After being unavailable for some time the album is now re-released:

Click here to buy on: Bandcamp
Click here to buy on: iTunes

1 comment:

  1. It's disappointing that JP hasn't had the success he deserves, especially when he's just as talented as the guys from Biffy. It makes me worried that one day he'll just decide to give up and get a real job. Here's hoping he gets the recognition he deserves.