Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Echoes Of A Lost Artist

Calum Marsh

A long, long time ago, way back in the now forgotten year of 2003, legendary dance-punk gods The Rapture unleashed upon the indie world their epic premiere LP, Echoes. It was an album that not only jumpstarted the Dance Punk revival, inspiring indie kids everywhere to go to shows and move their bloody feet instead of standing still, trying to look cool, but it also ensured that nobody would ever forget the name 'The Rapture'. That lasted about two years, apparently, because if you ask somebody what they think of The Rapture now, you're likely to get a hazy expression that implies, 'yeah, I think I remember those guys...'.

DFA Records, who signed The Rapture and played a major role in their success, also seems to be nothing more than a memory of something hip. If it weren't for the surprising commerical success of label-frontman James Murphy's solo project, LCD Soundsystem, I can imagine most indie kids forgetting about the label altogether. The accronym 'DFA' seems to come into conversations as shorthand for Toronto's Death From Above 1979 more often than a reference to the forgotten label, which is ironic considering the tacked on '1979' comes strictly as a result of James Murphy's legal insistance that the name be changed.

This is unfortunate because the once-infamous label is still producing some of the most innovative and interesting music around. From the gorgeous and challenging soundscapes of the experimental Black Dice to the irrissistible cool of Hot Chip (their song 'Crap Craft Dinner' being particularly awesome), DFA Records is chock full of surprises. As a label of discerning taste, you get a kind of secure assurance that anything they release is going to be of a certain calibre. That's not to say you'll necessarily like it all but, for the most part, it's a safe bet.

Back to subject at hand: after the incredible success of Echoes, The Rapture ventured across the world, accompanied by The Cure, to tour and promote their album. The tour came to a close in 2004, and since then nothing has been heard from the group at all. DFA continued to release Rapture vinyl-only singles and 12" splits, but no sign of actual life from the band itself has been made apparent. Many fans hypothesized that, like Neutral Milk Hotel and My Bloody Valentine before them, The Rapture simply had nowhere else to go with their music and was forced to give it up as a group (and no, I'm not suggesting that 'Echoes' is as good as 'Loveless' or 'In The Aeroplane Over The Sea', but it's still pretty brilliant).

This seemed like a fairly solid guess of what happened, and it wouldn't even be the first time it happened in the past five years (remember what happened to The Unicorns?); but, right as we were all ready to accept this as the final word on the matter, there was suddenly Rapture-related activity: the group's website, which had remained completely untouched for ages and ages, was given a complete make-over and featured a message from the band, assuring fans everywhere that, while they didn't have any new material to speak of, they definitely hadn't broken up. So...problem solved? I guess, but if they haven't broken up, why the heck aren't they producing music?

Well, after stewing it over for quite some time, I've come to a conclusion: if it seems as though The Rapture fell off the face of the earth, maybe they have! Now I know this sounds silly, but just think about it. A talented dance-punk group records a near-perfect album and then just suddenly disappears? It seems a little inoppurtune, doesn't it? My theory is that aliens from outer space - yes, aliens - are involved in a dastardly plot to deplete the earth of its musical talent. Gifted musicians who create wonderful works of art are taken, via teleportation beams, aboard their intergalactic spacecrafts, doomed to perform before galaxies of foreign space creatures for the rest of eternity. These creatures have been partaking in the ritual since the early 90s, when the abduction of Kurt Kobain went over relatively smoothly (the success that Courtney Love found in the aftermath, though, was not anticipated by the aliens); since this abduction the creatures have taken for themselves Neutral Milk Hotel, My Bloody Valentine (the creatures briefly returned Kevin Shields to earth so he could score Lost In Translation, which he was a pretty good sport about), The Unicorns, The Rapture (of course), and, most recently, Grandaddy. The creatures abducted Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie sometime last year and replaced him with a talentless clone, but nobody seemed to notice.

So why are the aliens doing this, you ask? Well right now, on a distant moon in the further reaches of the Universe, a huge music festival is taking place featuring all of earth's most treasured artists. This event, known to the space creatures as Space By OuterSpace (or SXOS for short), is held annually and is very highly regarded. Space Hipsters who can't afford to travel at light speed to the show are always jealous of the Space Hipsters who will be in attendance, and there is always a great deal of anticipation and buzz regarding the list of bands who will perform each year.
Can you imagine the wonderful music these artists are producing right now? Why, I wouldn't be surprised if Neutral Milk Hotel has written 10 albums that are each 10 times better than In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. Actually, it's probably a good thing we aren't hearing this stuff - music that incredible could potentially kill human listeners.

Download:
The Rapture - Alabama Sunshine
The Rapture - House Of Jealous Lovers
Hot Chip - Crap Craft Dinner
Neutral Milk Hotel - Two-Headed Boy
My Bloody Valentine - Soon
LCD Soundsystem - Jump Into the Fire
The Go! Team - Ladyflash (Hot Chip Remix)

Buy:
The Rapture - Echoes
DFA Records Presents - Compilation #2
Hot Chip - Coming On Strong
Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem

Related:
Grandaddy Retired and Drawing Pension
Unicorns Cut Their Hair, Form New Band

Comments on "Echoes Of A Lost Artist"

 

Anonymous Creature From Space said ... (31/1/06 3:13 am) : 

Now we must take you.

 

Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (31/1/06 3:54 am) : 

Oh dear. Let me pack my things.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (31/1/06 4:18 pm) : 

How does this theory explain the sudden disappearances of Creed, Limp Bizkit, most of the American Idol "winners", MC Hammer (OK so this one wasn't so sudden) and the like?

Surely our alien overlords must not believe that the afformentioned artists (and I use the term loosely) are actually good?!?

In any case, I'm not complaining. It just seems rather odd; that's all.

 

Anonymous mike said ... (31/1/06 8:59 pm) : 

Best post I've read all day!

 

Blogger No Frontin' said ... (31/1/06 11:04 pm) : 

My "provocation" was some jackass repeatedly making sweeping generalizations about an entire genre. That wasn't why I posted what I did, that was due to him making a racist comment. So you're right, the internet does reveal peoples' true nature. Dodge has come out as an ignorant, possibly racist, poser. You, by defending him because his blog is popular, come off as a sychophant.

 

Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (1/2/06 12:47 am) : 

Um, what?

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1/2/06 1:04 am) : 

No Frontin' must've become temporarily confused in a fit of rage and posted on the wrong blog.

Maybe he's really Dr. Bruce Banner. Only instead of smashing shit when he gets pissed off he posts random nonsense on websites. He's probably just a (regular) psychopath however.

 

Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (1/2/06 1:09 am) : 

He was yelling at me, I think. I guess Calum and Casey are too similar for him. Go to MOKB and read some of his raving there. I get the impression he's a wee bit bitter.

And 'no frontin' I pointed out that he runs a popular blog because someone was using his unpopularity as a source of derision on your blog. Therefore it's valid.

 

Blogger No Frontin' said ... (1/2/06 2:24 am) : 

No there was no confusion over names, this blog was listed under your (Casey's) Blogger profile. My mistake if he doesn't actually author this blog and this is totally out of place. If that's the case then sorry. However, since he responded here it looks like I didn't make a mistake. No Casey, please stop making things up to try and make yourself look less stupid, nobody mentioned the popularity of his blog, you were just being a sycophant as I said.

 

Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (1/2/06 2:29 am) : 

"all you need to know is my old kentucky is one of a million hipster blogs"

Feel free to leave.

 

Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (1/2/06 3:21 am) : 

Who the hell is this guy? Why is he posting stupid things on my brilliant and hilarious article? Are Crispers chips or crackers?

 

Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (1/2/06 3:35 am) : 

Okay, so I looked into this an now understand the back story. So, No Frontin', please refrain from posting comments on my entry that have nothing at all to do with either me or the entry itself. If you want to attack Casey for something, send him an email; there's a place for arguing and it isn't on an unrelated entry by an unrelated party. Mocking Music features articles by more people than just Casey, so while you're correct in coming here to find him, you're severely misguided when you post something on my entry.

 

Anonymous pastry recharger said ... (2/2/06 12:59 am) : 

isn't it 'crap Kraft dinner'?

 

Blogger Calum Marsh said ... (2/2/06 3:11 am) : 

Tis, I apologize

 

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