Bishop Allen

The other day I was writing a friend about music. I was reminded of a time about 10 years ago when my therapist at the time asked me if I ever thought that perhaps the music I loved made me depressed. At the time I told her that if anything music saved me from being even more depressed! I told her about how I kind of maybe thought that Joy Division were a bad scene for me so I put them away for about 5 years, but other than that I thought music served me instead of abused me. I've often felt like I don't fully connect to some music until I listen when depressed. Something Madonna once said has always stuck with me - something to the effect of when she was happy she didn't sit down to note it. She was too busy being happy! However, when depressed or upset or whatever, well, that's when the writing floodgates tend to open. I still don't think that music depressed me. However, I will concede that a great emotional song can really do me in.

In the last 3 years there haven't been very many songs that have just absolutely floored me on first listen. When me and my girlfriend first started dating we would listen to random records that she had that I had been curious about. One of those records was Bishop Allen's Charm School. If I recall, I became more curious after seeing the film Mutual Appreciation in which Justin Rice (from Bishop Allen) starred. I thought it was a cute and fun little record and enjoyed it. The sort of band that you have no real idea what might come next. Then, their monthly ep project got onto my radar and I checked out the newer stuff. I was surprised by the growth of the songwriting. The April release contains the song responsible for knocking me on my ass due to the imagery and beauty involved. It also happens to be a song that can put me into a severe bum out mode. None of this is helped by the fact that I temped at Rockefeller Center at x-mas time (not recommended unless you wish to be homicidal) AND am so susceptible to lyrics that I did recite my times tables the next time I was landing at JFK.
Flight 180
I must add that I find this to be a much better version that the version they re-recorded for their next full length. I don't know why, but I do tend to like the first version of a song before a band over thinks and tinkers with it to death.

They released their second record, The Broken String, to a good amount of blog press. Some songs from the ep project were re-recorded and there were some brand new ones. Overall, the record is much more "mature" than their first. The lyrical content, production, and musicianship had all grown. I like the record quite a bit. To me, all I ask of a band is to move forward. Evolve a little. So how could I not like the second record? It was slightly difficult for me to pick a song from the record but finally decided on this one for no other reason than we're expecting some here tonight as I'm writing this on 9/25.

My favorite song from their first record can be heard in the commercial for that new movie with Michael Cera. Apparently Bishop Allen are in the film?


Catherine said...

A couple of the guys in Bishop Allen used to do radio at my station a while back. They were in a killer punk band called Pissed Officers that sounds nothing like their current project (read: way better).
Check 'em out: http://humpypuzzlepieces.blogspot.com/2008/04/gerty-farishpissed-officers.html

®™ said...

i read an interview with them where they talked about the pissed officers and how different it was. lyrically it sounds pretty amusing based on what they cited. i will have to check them out - thanks for the link!