Friday, December 29th, 2006

Baby I've Changed

Fountains Of Wayne have announced the release of their fourth album, Traffic And Weather, on April 3 and I’ve been trying to decide if I care. I was a big fan of their first two releases, Fountains Of Wayne and Utopia Parkway but was decidedly nonplussed about their breakout record, 2003’s Welcome Interstate Managers.

While superficially it sounded just as power poppy and hooky as its predecessors, it also sounded just that – superficial. Not that the first two records were paragons of depth or complexity or anything, but they sounded more sincerely silly and whimsical while WIM had a whiff of calculation about it (it was also overlong and watered down with sub par material). Of course, it paid off huge for the band with their first big hit in “Stacy’s Mom” and while I certainly don’t begrudge them their payday, I can’t help but fear that the taste of success will encourage them to go back to that well and become the novelty band that they feared becoming when they shelved their cover of Britney Spears’ “Baby, One More Time”.

Of course, it’s also possible that I’ve simply lost my taste for such concentrated three-minute power pop sugar bombs. I’ll be revisiting their catalog before April to find out if that’s so, but will likely grab the new one either way. Just because.

MP3: Fountains Of Wayne – “Baby, One More Time”

AOL is one of the few media outlets not writing off the last week of the year, offering an Interface session with The Hold Steady and a DL interview with Aimee Mann. Craig Finn talks to The Indianapolis Star.

Check out the new video from Amy Millan:

Video: Amy Millan – “Skinny Boy” (MOV)

Guitar Player talks shop with Sonic Youth in regards to their latest Rather Ripped.

The Autumn Defense, side gig of Wilco’s John Stirratt and Pat Sansone, will be at the Horseshoe on March 24 to promote their new self-titled album, out January 16.

Basia Bulat, whose set was so enjoyable at Pop Montreal will be playing her first headlining show in Toronto on January 4, a venue that I seem to be spending far too much at (though I did skip the Russian Futurists show last night – just too tired to head out). For The Records has done a fine job of rounding up all you need to know about Ms Bulat, so I’ll just sum up by saying that she’s playing with Barzin, cover is $7 and her debut full-length Oh, My Darling will be out in February on Rough Trade in many parts of the world (but not here, I don’t think).

By : Frank Yang at 8:40 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. J.P. says:

    Well, I’ll hafta strongly disagree with your conclusions on Welcome Interstate Managers. It’s one of my all-time faves in any genre and perhaps my pick as best power-pop album ever – though there are certainly other albums that can give it a run-for-the-money. Collingwood and Schlesinger are so cheekily smart that sometimes they come off as too clever for their own good if you’re not paying close attention. Loved the first two albums, but thought WIM was several steps up the ladder. Thought that Out-of-State-Plates was generally pretty good – a handful of outstanding tracks, a bunch of fair-to-good tracks and several clunkers. Was also annoyed that it was released as a double disc set. A little judicious pruning and it would’ve fit on a single disc. Anyhow, the release of the new disc will be eagerly awaited by me.

  2. Roland says:

    Darn, so no new Ivy stuff for a bit…

  3. Karl says:

    I was underwhelmed by WIM at first, but it grew on me. I think they will avoid the potential trap of "Stacy’s Mom," as the video for "Mexican Wine" seemed to me to be a commentary on it. Plus, they weren’t above telling their new fans (pre-Interstate Plates), "That was a song by a band called Electric Light Orchestra. Ask your parents about ’em."

  4. Chris Collingwood says:

    Hi guys

    I can tell you that the new record is more dense and less accessible than the prior ones. Whether that’s good or bad is up to you, but from my own perspective, I can listen to it more times than the other ones.

    Maybe I’ve heard too many XTC and Syd Barrett records, but I’m in my late 30s now. On my playlist are Emmy Lou Harris, Pink Floyd, George Jones, Neil Finn and Glenn Tilbrook.

    To be honest, the record was hard to make, but we took our time and I’m glad we did.

    One final note: my New Year’s present is an orange kitten, in honor of a hallucination I had in Tokyo last month. I’m going to name her Banjo. Banjo was a couple of swirling bags by a ventilator. I wasn’t feeling well.

    Happy New Year
    Chris Collingwood

  5. Frank says:

    well I feel like a bit of a kiss-ass posting after Chris stopped by (assuming the preceding comment is what it appears), but I relistened to Welcome Interstate Managers and was probably a bit harsh in my original comments. Though I still maintain that the last four or five songs are utterly disposable and it would have been a stronger album without them, I had forgotten how good much of the record up to that point is.

    So taking the "dense and less accessible" comment from a relative FoW POV, I think I’m now looking forward to the new album a fair bit.

  6. Anna says:

    I’m not worried about the new album at all, I have faith in my FoW. They’re one of my favorite bands of all time, and the whole "Stacy’s Mom" thing didn’t change that. As different as WIM was, it was still really good. I agree that it went on too long, and some songs are easy to overlook – but it’s still overall a really good album. I’m just excited for new material and a new tour.