A regular Thursday feature of this channel.

Peter Baird


Listen to Dodinin without looking up the translation from Haitian Creole first. Listen for the tritones purposely pulled out of the minor feel, listen for the way the banjos eventually start to sound like kalimbas, listen for the detachment Leyla McCalla manages to maintain in the vocal despite how much she wants to start yelling.

Oh jeez, All Souls Hill. “Yet the touch of your hair as it brushed my cheek/And you telling me no, don’t sing, don’t speak.” This is the Waterboys channeling Tom Waits with Duran Duran playing the backing track. Great piece of audio.

Caroline has the lyric complexity I expect from Camp Cope. It also illustrates a few important points about pop songs. There is literally nothing between the listener and the lead vocal—effects are minimal, and they even let Georgia Maq go flat at the end of notes. It’s an electrifying vocal performance. As the tune builds to the climax, the band discovers something magical is happening when they all sing the word “Caroline” together, and the resonance becomes larger than the sum of the voices. They lean into it and let it build to where the hair on the back of your neck is standing, and then suddenly, the song is over.

I first came across Arcade Fire when I was mixing the Vegoose Festival stream feed some years ago. Even then the controlled chaos was engaging, and their ability to fashion anthemic songs was evident. In Unconditional while there instrumentally is a ton going on in the midrange, the mix manages to feature everybody without getting in the way of the vocal.

Young and Stupid is a frothy little piece of nostalgia. There is a 3/4 bar in the chorus. Belle and Sebastian, so it’s a bit pretentious, but worth a listen. “Now we’re creaking with old bones/Some with partners, some alone/Some with kids, some with dogs/Getting through the nightly slog.”

This week’s problem child is Starting Over by The Lazy Eyes. This is the other side of the Arcade Fire mix. There is a crash cymbal played with a timpani mallet in the most inopportune places that competes with the lyric for space. This is a shame because harmonically this song is brilliant, but repeated listenings just make the auditor angrier and angrier about the amount of work required to disentangle the lyric from the background.