Letters Have No Arms have packed their bags, put their travel hats on, and moved to a new land!

You should be automatically redirected to the post you were looking for (yes, the same one!) in 5 seconds. If not, visit
and please don't forget to update your bookmarks.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The week I decided I want to get an update of the movies Colin Meloy watched this month. Every month.

Some time last week I happened to find myself on Soft Hearted Scientists' official site where, YES!, I finally found what I wish every band I love, like or even consider mildly entertaining would have on their websites: a "Likes and Dislikes" section. Why doesn't every band on the planet do this? Don't they think their fans care enough to see a film they recommend? Or eat at a restaurant they rave about? I know I read "Story of the Eye" just because it's mentioned in The Past is a Grotesque Animal and, though it was pretty shit, at least now I know what Kevin Barnes is talking about. You understand the band better - their influences, the meaning behind their lyrics, the references, the sound. I mean how can you find The Divine Comedy's "The Booklovers" - a genius of a song by the way - great or funny or anything if you haven't read any of the authors? You won't get the jokes. Which is why I love it when bands have references to movies or historical characters, or literature or politicians, or anything in real-life that you can grab and hold on to.  It gives the music an extra layer of meaning. But most bands don't directly quote their influences in their songs - hence the necessity for a "Likes and Dislikes" section! It's perfect. The artist feels good because hey: you, as a musician, are single-handedly creating a spike in DVD sales of your favourite Takeshi Kitano movie. The fans feel good because hey: you can now brag to your friends that you understand The Rakes better than they do and thus you are the only "true" fan. (if you take a peak at the comments on songmeanings.net you'll see what I mean: people are bending over backwards to prove that they understand the band better than you do.) And even the journalists and bloggers feel better because their Soft Hearted Scientists' interview will not be full of generic questions anymore. You can now casually ask "I saw on your blog that you dislike Irvine Welsh. Why? Have you read Filth?" etcetera. Or start the conversation  by chatting about Dexter (which you now know they like) for a while instead of staring awkwardly at your coffee mug. Plus, it would be good for the music industry (and the book-film-food-magazine-comic industries respectively, depending on what the bands want to include) because everything will be finally integrated and co-dependent. Modest Mouse are suddenly extremely famous? Bukowski books start selling like mad because they mention him in that song. Charlie and the Chocolate factory is a box-office hit? Britney Spears decides to name her baby Char...oh wait that's already happened. But you get the gist of it. Look at the way the clever people that deal with the LOST merchandise took advantage of many a LOST fan's obsession with reading all the books mentioned on the show and gave us the amazing "Lost Book Club". So here is the bottom line: we at Letters Have No Arms demand that all bands issue a monthly publication registering their likes and dislikes for that period. They can include anything from their favourite dog breeds to a list of the worst sex scenes they've ever seen in a movie. I will subscribe to the Of Montreal, Magnetic Fields, The National, Los Campesinos!, The Decemberists and Hello Saferide publications when they are made available. Thank you.

Oh, and I forgot that this post was originally supposed to be about Soft Hearted Scientists' last album (Scarecrow Smile), which I've only just discovered and which, for some odd reason nobody seems to have posted about because I can't find any mp3s anywhere. You can listen to the full album on Spotify though - which is great for us Europeans. As for the USA, you can download it legally from Amazon. Oh, and to get you more excited read the review of Scarecrow Smile from Drowned in Sound, where it is awarded a rating of 8 out of 10.

 "Start reading."

"An older one from Soft Hearted Scientists it is then" 

"I'm not usually fond of instrumentals but here's one I quite like"

"This mash-up should NOT be missing from Hype Machine, goddamn it."


Miles said...

To be fair to Los Campesinos!, their blog often does do this. Gareth frequently waxes lyrical on music he loves and hates.

Still, I agree with you. More of this sort of thing, bands!

Eliza K. said...

You're absolutely right, Miles - we love Gareth's blog!

Not exactly what we were talking about but also: for smaller bands trying to get attention, listing their influences is not a bad way to start. We get TOO many mp3s in the mail to be able to listen to all of them so very often I'll just go for the ones that say sth like "we've been told we sound a bit like Bon Iver" or "we've been influenced by Belle & Sebastian and Soda Fountain Rag.", "we sound like the soundtrack to a Wes Anderson movie". Whatever. Just write something about your sound we can go by because we can't possibly listen to everything.