Music

Outrageous Cherry: Why Don't We Talk About Something Else EP

Dave Dierksen

Whether or not the ebb and tide of pop trends happen to carry Outrageous Cherry to the shores of the masses, they'll probably keep on trucking, even if their chosen means of expression is 40 years old.


Outrageous Cherry

Why Don't We Talk About Something Else EP

Label: Rainbow Quartz
US Release Date: 2004-11-30
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

Outrageous Cherry vocalist and songwriter Matthew Smith should be grateful to New Pornographers frontman AC Newman for rocking out OC's "If You Want Me" every night on his solo tour last year. In fact, I'll thank him too. Without Newman, a good band might have continued to exist under my radar, which they have for far too long (almost 12 years).

It's a good time to be listening to these unabashed progenies of '60s garage pop. It's in the air -- from the soundtrack to Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic to the much deserved notoriety of similarly influenced bands like the Shins and the aforementioned Newman. And even your buddy who dismisses newer artists of this ilk for their 21st century production values would appreciate Outrageous Cherry's dedication to keeping the fidelity low and the vibes high. If Outrageous Cherry were to appear on a Nuggets comp, it's doubtful that anyone would bat an eyelash.

That being said, it's always a good idea to approach so-called retro artists with a degree of caution. Right off the bat, you can expect not to hear anything too stylistically original, which is OK, as long as it still manages to sound fresh. For instance, Smith's occasional meanderings into lyrical psychedelia come off a little silly: "The earth is just a particle of dust, whirling in the cusp of the emptiness of space / Don't worry, the inside consciousness will see to your success". Pop culture has been parodying this sort of imagery for years now, so it's difficult to take seriously, even when the intentions are sincere. Thankfully, Smith keeps the weirdness at bay for the most part and focuses on the never tiring subject of love, wrapping his sentiments in the sublimely groovy and sometimes gorgeous musical manifestation of a '60s summer.

This EP kicks off with the title track, one of two songs here that will appear on Outrageous Cherry's February full-length Our Love Will Change the World. "Why Don't We Talk About Something Else" is a peppy confection of multiple harmonies and Beach Boys wall-of-sound. Smith understands that the best songs are not often easy for the ears to catch the first time around; the vocal melodies constantly shift in a way to keep the listeners on their toes.

EP closer "Detroit Blackout", the other song that will appear on the full-length, is the weakest of the five tracks, mostly because it wallows in repetitive instrumental weirdness, indecipherable vocals, and unmemorable guitar solos. Still, it's similar to the title track in tone. These are daytime feel-good numbers, the musical equivalent of walking on the beach blissfully with a significant other.

The three non-album tracks in the middle, on the other hand, more closely capture how bittersweet a beautiful sunset can be when you have to watch it alone . . . in Detroit. "My Suspicious Midwest" does little to dispel the images of blue collar factory steel and Stooges angst that non-residents associate with the city, but it allows us to walk briefly in the shoes of a lonely local beatnik who can't escape. "Don't Worry" shuffles along merrily enough, but the lyrics reveal the darker story of a man trying to calm down his neurotic girlfriend by suggesting that their actions are inconsequential in the grand scheme of the universe -- or something like that. "Eternity Changed Her Mind", the mellowest track on the EP, is all about the confusion and frustration of being in love with an enigmatic woman, and the resulting denouement of hopeless acceptance is far from comforting.

It's hard to recommend shelling out money for an EP that's half-comprised of songs you'll be able to get soon enough on a full-length. But if Outrageous Cherry's press pack is any indication, you won't find anything like the three unreleased tracks on the new record; this is why it's worth checking out. When I put this in my stereo, more often than not, I'm going to skip past the happy pop single and listen to the tunes that feel a bit more emotionally substantial. It's this aspect that will keep this genre (and any genre, really) sounding continually fresh.

6

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

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less
Culture

Net Neutrality and the Music Ecosystem: Defending the Last Mile

Still from Whiplash (2014) (Photo by Daniel McFadden - © Courtesy of Sundance Institute) (IMDB)

"...when the history books get written about this era, they'll show that the music community recognized the potential impacts and were strong leaders." An interview with Kevin Erickson of Future of Music Coalition.

Last week, the musician Phil Elverum, a.k.a. Mount Eerie, celebrated the fact that his album A Crow Looked at Me had been ranked #3 on the New York Times' Best of 2017 list. You might expect that high praise from the prestigious newspaper would result in a significant spike in album sales. In a tweet, Elverum divulged that since making the list, he'd sold…six. Six copies.

Keep reading... Show less

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

I recently spoke to a class full of students about Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Actually, I mentioned Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" by prefacing that I understood the likelihood that no one had read it. Fortunately, two students had, which brought mild temporary relief. In an effort to close the gap of understanding (perhaps more a canyon or uncanny valley) I made the popular quick comparison between Plato's often cited work and the Wachowski siblings' cinema spectacle, The Matrix. What I didn't anticipate in that moment was complete and utter dissociation observable in collective wide-eyed stares. Example by comparison lost. Not a single student in a class of undergraduates had partaken of The Matrix in all its Dystopic future shock and CGI kung fu technobabble philosophy. My muted response in that moment: Whoa!

Keep reading... Show less
Books

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

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

rating-image