Music

Eels: Daisies of the Galaxy

Fred Kovey

Daisies of the Galaxy, the latest release from a man named E, also known as a 'band' named Eels, plays like a demented nursery rhyme.


Eels

Daisies of the Galaxy

Label: Dreamworks
US Release Date: 2000-03-14
Amazon
iTunes

Daisies of the Galaxy, the latest release from a man named E -- also known as a "band" named Eels, plays like a demented nursery rhyme. The melodies are old and familiar, the rhyme schemes are Mother Goose-simple, but the off-kilter production and lyrics betray the music in a manner that would be ironic if the whole thing weren't delivered with so much conviction.

E's songs are strongest when they're personal -- or at least in the first person, so those who are disgusted by self-pity would do well to steer clear. But, for a moper, E gets a lot of mileage out of what goes on in his own head, and all that seething introspection on the slow songs makes the rock numbers sound like a relief rather than just attempts at singles. The semi-aggressive, unlisted final track and the radio friendly "Sound of Fear" are two of the record's most notable rave-ups and they're placed perfectly to break up the pity party before things get too maudlin for comfort.

Surprisingly, for such a simple record Daisies of the Galaxy is never boring. Much of the credit for this goes to E's considerable gift for hooks (well demonstrated on the Eels' one radio hit, "Novocaine for the Soul"), but the sound of the record plays a part as well. All of the arrangements are lovely, particularly the spare "It's a Motherfucker"; but the strange and noisy sounds on "Tiger In My Tank" and the aforementioned final track are just as good, and amazingly, just as subtle.

Ultimately Daisies of the Galaxy is a fine pop record in an era that seems uninterested in pop unless it's marketed with dance steps and a quicky bio. Though not the equal of the best work of Stephen Merritt or Elliot Smith, Daisies of the Galaxy is worthy of attention by alterna-pop fans and anyone else desperate for catchy music for grown-ups.

8

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less
3

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
5
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image