I am back from Florida and to my immense disappointment, all the half-written posts I had kicking around did not auto-complete and publish themselves in my absence. I have a meandering review of Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead in the wings that just keeps getting pushed back and lengthened because the racists keep doing such funny fucking things lately, like making passes at the former gang members they hire to mow their lawns and getting stabbed to death in the process. Plus, I just love talking about white power folks. They’re my favorites.

Over the winter break I downloaded a number of mp3s from various music blogs’ “best of 2009” posts in an effort to bring myself somewhat up to speed on what the cool kids* are listening to. Somehow I ended up with quite a few songs by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. (Go to HypeMachine and you’ll find hundreds of posts about them.) I listened to them a bit and thought, hm, this isn’t so bad.

So I googled them and found their site. Why? Why would you do that? It’s like Hippie Peanut Butter Jelly Time. (For a second I actually wondered if it was a gigantic animated gif, but no…Flash. Everyone’s favorite.)

Then I found their Wikipedia page. The lead singer was formerly a member of a “pop-punk” band that toured with legends of rock such as Hoobastank. Then he got sober and spent a year in seclusion and had a vision and led his followers to their deaths in South America formed this new band.

This discovery turned the sweetness of their sound into saccharine.

So then, check this out: It’s them on David Letterman.

He looks like he should be spraying a deli buffet with watered-down feces and she’s laughing and dancing like she’s having some sort of Sufi/transcendental meditation-induced orgasm. STOP BEING SO HAPPY, PEOPLE. It’s Letterman, not Jelly Bean & Blowjob Land.

Finally, I looked them up on Pitchfork, a site I rarely read because it might as well be written in Sanskrit for all I know about music these days. This review summed it up better than I could:

Remember Fruitopia? How good that sounded for a couple minutes? They’d roll out these big, beautiful kaleidoscopic ads before movies sometimes, swarming strawberries in stereo, and you’d look down at your Cherry Coke and feel somehow as though you’d failed. Of course, in the lobby’s light, you came to find out that Fruitopia was not in fact made by hippies using ecologically sound methods for growing giant fruit, but rather extracted and besaccharined by the very Coca-Cola corporation that had seemed like the source of so much pancreas-punching horror not moments before. Fruitopia was, in a way, more evil than your simple soda; evil, because it tricked you into believing it was good when it wasn’t.

Just as I had hoped. Sure, that song “Home” is pretty catchy until that stupid “conversation” in the middle takes a big aural dump on the whole thing. Sure, their influences are intriguing: Brooklyn Bridge, Arcade Fire, Ennio Morricone, Spencer Davis Group, Lee Hazelwood, David Bowie, Journey, and every psychedelic band named after a flavored appliance. I haven’t heard all their songs, but smart money says that there’s some Jim Kweskin-style jugband and kazoo as well as something along the lines of Subway’s “$5 Footlong” jingle. Because why the fuck not.

But it’s all so fucking calculated. I suspect that the dude’s “year in seclusion” was spent reading Gartner reports on what hipsters like to listen to.

*Not these Cool Kids.

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