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Tuesday September 2nd 2014

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Ears and Fingers 5/9/13

By Jason Leger

Imaginary Air Show – ‘Imaginary Air Show’

“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.” This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books ever written, “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller. It has applied to several instances in my life, but recently, and perhaps most succinctly, this quote came to mind while watching the band Imaginary Air Show perform. As they are locals, I have the good fortune of being friends with most of the band, and I know that between teaching music, recording music, listening to music, and of course, playing music, these guys eat, sleep, and breathe it. While I do obviously love music, these guys show a better way with their commitment and drive. Now, the band has time capsuled 35 minutes of music and shared it with the world, and the wait was very much worth it. Something about Todd Vilardi’s lyrics and seemingly unconcerned tone—though, one would be remiss to confuse swagger with indifference—mixed with Brandon Warren’s always tasteful drumming and the thick synth and bass trade-offs from Sean Peterson and Aaron Finlay make these 10 songs worthy of getting caught up and lost in. Album highlights are the upbeat “Spirit In The Sigh,” introspective commentary “Instructions” (“You’re text messaging, Rome is burning. Checking your email while Rome is burning.”), and Joy Division-esque album opener “Sour Sweat.” Personally, the absolute stand out track is the hazy and layered “New Proclamation.” It isn’t very often that the word “beefy” comes to mind to describe a synth line, but when it does, I revel in it. Head over to the band’s bandcamp page (imaginaryairshow.bandcamp.com) to download the album—it’s only $5—and make a point to catch these guys when you have the opportunity. You might learn something.

Iggy and the Stooges – ‘Ready To Die’

Sometimes in life, we lose our way and need someone to set our course back to where it should be. Usually, it requires looking back to where we started to try and figure out where things went wrong. Sometimes, our catalyst comes in the form of someone who cares and wants us to be our absolute best. Other times, however, our catalyst comes riding in with no shirt on, leather pants that can’t be allowing much circulation, long hair blowing in the breeze, and a middle finger in the air. Iggy Pop is back and by all accounts and purposes, he is in the best form of his life. When Iggy and the Stooges released “The Weirdness” six years ago, there was a lot of disappointment from fans over the meekness of the album. Pitchfork gave the album a 1.0, which is dreadfully low—the only lower albums I’ve seen came from Jet—and the reviewer said that it “hideously disgraces the band’s original work.” Not that Pitchfork is the end-all, but that was a common reaction. “Ready to Die” marks a return to form for Iggy and the Stooges. Raucous, raw, honest and aggressive, this album not only shows all the reasons why Iggy and the Stooges were groundbreakers for many of the punk/hardcore/indie/alternative bands that followed in their footsteps, but it also reveals why the band’s relevance lives on now. This album could stand toe-to-toe with many punk/alternative albums being pumped out today, but it will always have the upper hand of experience, and probably some cheap shots. Highlights for me are “Dd’s,” “Beat That Guy,” and album opener “Burn.” “Ready To Die” is out now via Fat Possum Records, be sure to head to Revolver Records to snag a copy—they even have free Stooges posters and bumper stickers to go with your purchase while they last—which won’t be long, of course.