I don't know if the Long Winters have ever played Madison or if they ever will in the future, but I don't want to imagine how much I'd pay to see them if they came tomorrow. With their last two records -- the new Putting the Days to Bed and 2003's When I Pretend to Fall -- they have made perhaps a perfect power-pop couplet and gone where Death Cab really should have a couple records ago. To be honest, I think the only reason they're not getting the kind of attention lavished upon the New Pornographers is that they don't have a Neko Case. Their cheery songs -- even when the lyrics are downbeat -- are both energizing and day-brightening, and singer/songwriter John Roderick's approach to writing about nostalgia and music has a wicked sneer that belies his Jerry Garcia-like visage. Probably my favorite song on the new album is "(It's A) Departure" (though "Rich Wife" and "The Sky Is Open" are close), which contains these lines:

I like the old days
But not all the old days
Only the good! old! days!

It's a nice acknowledgment of Roderick's own awareness of where the style comes from and where he's placed himself in the cultural continuum. Like the last couple Portastatic records, it's the sound of a middle-aged guy's young man's reaction to whatever happened to us all since the young folks took over again in the early 1990s.

Posted by Aaron S. Veenstra ::: 2006:11:29:22:46

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