Thursday, January 31, 2008

A History of Umbrellas


Over the past two years I’ve earned a collection of umbrellas. Before these two years I had none, had no use for them; whenever it was raining I just took the bus or my car or stayed in if I could. However, recently I’ve had to be a pedestrian come rain or shine, so thus my umbrella collection. My most recent umbrella is the one Dave got for me. He had found it at a bus stop, leaning against the glass, alone, and since he already had one (a nice one too) he gave it to me. It’s sheets alternate blue and white and if I rest the metal tip (which is about five inches and half an inch wide) it comes up past my waste, making it one of those heavy duty umbrellas, something that could easily be turned into a weapon if need be. Whenever I carry it around I imagine someone trying to mug me and me beating this person with my umbrella: I can’t help it really. My second umbrella I got when one night in Nancy, Mariella, the quiet Argentinean girl who occasionally showed up at my house for my small impromptu get-togethers, left her black umbrella at my house, so I took it. Even though I already had one, I couldn’t leave it in France, as it had easy access to a host of memories I wasn’t ready to let go of. My oldest umbrella I purchased one rainy day in the Vosges, had to run to the office of tourism to ask where I could buy one. The woman there pointed me in the direction of this cheap boutique. As I only had to make it from the school to the train station, I purchased the cheapest one, thinking it wouldn't really matter how big or well-made it was. This one was a small blue umbrella with a duck’s head at the end, and linings of plaid Burberry-style trimmings. It was with this umbrella that I learned how to properly use umbrellas, the way I imagine one learns to use weapons: where to point it when the wind blew so fiercely that the flaps clamped in on me; I learned how to quickly flip it if the metal claws ever went inside-out.

Lately I've been hearing a lot of indie-electro, or however you might call it, that I can really dig, and I realized that if you think about these songs, they are in fact quite simple. A good bass, some good singing, maybe throw in a breakdown, some bongo drums are always a plus, a wailing guitar solo if you think you can do it and there you have a grade-A dance tune. Such is the case for the following songs. It doesn't have to be Daft Punk-style mash up of obscure songs from the 70s. It doesn't have to be anything. These songs just do it for me.

Ghosthustler - Only Me To Trust

Architecture In Helsinki - Debbie (U-Tern Remix)

Last night I had an obsession. Behind on the MGMT-craze (if there is one, properly), I decided to check out a few of their songs. It could have been the Pabsts I had for dinner (and dessert), or just the feeling of the night weighing down on me, but I played the two songs "Time to Pretend" and "Electric Feel" over and over again all night. The lyrics, the heavy synth-bass, everything just got me. The two gentlemen that make up MGMT, VanWyngarden and Goldwasser, sing about youth and struggling with the responsibilities of adulthood--except with lots of sarcasm. "Time to Pretend" ends with this little couplet: "We'll choke on our vomit and that will be the end./ We were fated to pretend," as though in singing about adulthood, MGMT have found their way around it.

The management duo studied at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. For one of their first shows they played the Ghostbusters theme song ad infinitum, which may remind you of how the Flaming Lips got their start in the '80s. Interestingly enough, for their debut album Oracular Spectacular, MGMT worked with Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann. If you missed it, check out Matt's best of 2007 post for "Time to Pretend."

MGMT - Electric Feel

Also, for those of you in the Bay Area, Vampire Weekend is playing at Amoeba tomorrow (Feb 1) for Free at 7pm. I'll probably be there.

Vampire Weekend - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

Missed Connections:

Trick Daddy - Sugar (Gimme Some)

Talking Heads - Sugar on My Tongue


candy sanchez said...

good blog you have here i have one too but its in spanish and im new at this check it out

splatteredpaint said...

Candy, thanks for checking out our blog! We'll check yours too.