There are over seven thousand songs in my iTunes library, a number some might consider borderline excessive. Still, I’ve always maintained the idea that everyone needs a vice to grip in times of heartbreak or hangnail. I have tried countless routes to find my own. I’ve discovered cigarettes make me nauseous, wine makes me sleepy and my mouth to be filled with cavities after ploys to disguise self-loathing with milk chocolate and caramel swirls.
Since my last trip to the dentist I’ve realized I never really needed a vice at all, with a longstanding library of musical acts supplying a colorful backbone to the blandness of everyday. Music to lessen such the blow of such bleak existence in a soul crushing world. To bring light to the haze of our shadowed existence suspended like a speck of mud on rope of endless nothing. To fight the pain of mask manipulation, mastery and domination brought forth by patriarchal consumerist culture.
Or you know, to make you shake your groove thang.
So you can imagine my stress when I found myself in conflicting musical slump, to turn on an iPod and find not a single song wanting to be played. Putting on just any album is irritatingly misfitting, like wearing on a wool sweater in the dog days of late July. It was just last week I found myself annoyed at myself and my iPod, scrolling through lists of names I knew so well but didn’t want to sit next to on a morning commute. And then I found them. The Raveonettes
I bought a Raveonette’s album a while back and left it sitting for months, a mistake I’d mark up there with the time I gave a stranger $20 at a Phish concert because I was so hopped up on…fun. Yet last week, in the mysterious ways of fate and aforementioned slump, my fingers found the ‘r’ of iTunes library to click play. One click and there they were, bringing brilliant sound to wake me up and keep my toes tapping.
This Danish duo have been drawing crowds since 2001. Inspired by The Everyly Brothers and The Jesus and Mary Chain, Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo couple hard-edged electric guitars with liberal doses of noise, juxtaposing the structural and chordal simplicity of ’50s and ’60s rock with intense electric instrumentation, driving beats, and often dark lyrical content. Their 2009 album, In and Out Of Control, lies more on the pop end of the spectrum, with breathy lyrics and drum machine beats playing backdrop to dream pop setting. Despite any impression of sugar coating, the pair go more tongue-in-cheek than anything as the best tracks are lyrically somber or in the case of “Boy’s Who Rape”, directly emasculating.
Their catalog is a surprisingly lengthy one. In the early 2000s, nearly every band around seemed to be looking to the 1960s for inspiration. With their debut EP, Whip It On, and first full-length, The Chain Gang of Love, the Danish duo turned instead to 50s rock and roll.
With the sound of In And Out Of Control, the band’s tendency towards distortion and borderline dirty mindsets made their venture into pop music seem more like a raid. The band’s most notable full-length, Lust Lust Lust, returned to the muddy, almost sleazy sound the Raveonettes do best. Since Lust’s 2007 release, the pair have produced three more albums, all having a sound differing from the previous. Their latest album, Observator sees a more relaxed approach, with Wagner taking more turn lyrically.
Despite a decade worth of records, I’m surprised the band’s following isn’t up to par with some of the bigger bands of their genre. Not that their following is small by any means, having dedicated fans at home and abroad attentively cheering their set-lists of showtime. And then there’s me, cheering from the inside of a C-line T car, tapping my toes and trying my hardest not to sing out loud.