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Wednesday, May 24, 2006 02:32 pm

Vinyl Static

Celebrating those experimental Canadians, plus Basic Vocab

O CANADA! Let me reintroduce you to a little country I like to call Canada, the place where draft dodgers used to go and where everybody gets to see a doctor. But there’s so much more to our neighbor to the north, which has become a hotbed of experimental rock. Music devotees know the sounds of indie darlings the Arcade Fire and perhaps have found their way to bands such as the New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene. If you’re truly an underground-music devotée, the chances are good that you’ve just about worn out your copy of Wolf Parade’s Apologies to the Queen Mary, because Apologies is a musical gem. But those crafty Canadians are an industrious bunch; Wolf Parade songsmith Spencer Krug’s new side project, Sunset Rubdown, has released its first full-length, Shut Up I Am Dreaming, and it’s golden. Huge in scope, with everything from strong guitars and piano to tinkling bells, the album is topped off by Krug’s signature yelp, which resembles David Byrne’s nervous melodies for Talking Heads. Shut Up’s playfulness frequently channels the fantastical but can seamlessly transition to a quiet, haunting sound. God bless you, Canada, and may you continue to let your freak flag fly — you know, the one with the big leaf on it.
SINGLES ONLY: Who better to come up with the jam of the summer than three guys hailing from the spot where it’s sweltering practically all year long? Miami-based wonder trio Basic Vocab launches the single “Come Get with It,” from debut effort The General Dynamic, which was released May 23. Like the state of Florida itself, Basic Vocab isn’t typically Southern; the group’s no cog in the crunk wheel. Basic Vocab’s work is often likened to A Tribe Called Quest’s, a fair comparison because of the organic down-tempo vibe, courtesy of Tony Galvin, and lyrical flow from the rhyming duo of JL Sorell and Mental Growth. The groove for “Come Get with It” starts out heavy on the bass, keeping a tempo for when the weather is too hot for dancing but just right for swaying. An innocuous plea — “Just trying to get next to you” — comes in from the MC, and in a world where arrogant songs such as Ying Yang Twins’ “The Whisper Song” persist on Top 40, the soft coo for attention is damn near romantic. This is no club jam. Roll the windows and pop the top, because summer has arrived.
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