Me: "There's plenty of good music around, you just have to know where to find it, and/or be prepared to put the effort in."
Them: "But I can't be bothered doing that", or "but I don't have the time".
Me: "Then music obviously isn't that important to you then, so why are you complaining!"
I'm often reminded of the famous aphorism attributed to golfer Jerry Barber: "The harder you practice the luckier you get", and my reapplication to the search for great music: "the harder you search the luckier you get." A good example of this was my chance location of a review of the self titled album by Phonograph. This was miraculous given the difficulty in getting info on this band on the interweb (give it a try and see what I mean - there's more links to stores selling the album than links discussing the band or the album!). I managed to find a copy of the album on the legendary OINK (RIP), and it's been on my ipod ever since.
Phonograph can probably best be described as country-rock. An obvious touchstone is the mighty Wilco. In addition to the similar genre, Phonograph's songs use similar atmospheric sound collages similar to those on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. And although vocalist Matthew Welch has a country drawl, at times sounding like Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Lou Reed, his phrasing is sometimes similar to Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, and it's easy to imagine Tweedy singing some of these songs.
The Wilco comparisons are at their strongest on the first three tracks. Proem is an atmospheric piece with a Yankee Hotel Foxtrot vibe. In Your Mind is a mid-tempo song based around acoustic guitar, parping organ, and synthesised effects. Watch and Ward is reminiscent of Wilco's I'm the man that loves you, and contains chiming guitar melodies.
Radio Waves is one of the standout tracks, based around a shuffle drum-beat, with subdued reverb drenched guitar effect and Lou Reed like vocals. Parsons White has a driving beat and agile bass guitar, with reverb drenched guitar giving an atmospheric feel. Have I told you has a strong country feel.
Next follows a trilogy of standout songs. Thinking of you is led by piano and bass, with a driving snare beat, and an interesting tremolo guitar effect in the chorus. TV Screens is the album's high point, a slow-paced atmospheric track built around a synthesised drone, with world weary vocals and a distorted organ sound. Nu
The album ends with Isobel, a slowly building studio construct built around an eerie drone and slowed down synthesiser effects, with disembodied spoken word vocals and random drum parts.
A good album from a band I hope to hear more of - although given their publicity track record this may be wishful thinking!