We want to be clear on this. Battles is probably the most exciting thing in music right now. By “right now”, we mean that at this exact moment our feeling is that, yes, yes, they are. For a moment, we want you to feel it with us, and if tomorrow we feel differently than today we want you to know that we are nonetheless sincere. Because we are always sincere.
We had a chance to witness them–for the second time in not so long–at the Hawthorne Theater this past Friday, and we returned to our offices asweat, nervous, itchy. With that special feeling that accompanies close proximity to special things.
Things like ADHD fret-tapping and keyboarding, time through a prism, sounds from nowhere, laptop pianos, giddy propulsion, dime-turning, pedals and loops, real-time processing, fun from the future, things we didn’t always understand.
So, OK. But does it strike you that the band members are some of America’s most irritating? You know, what with the awkward, exaggerated sexual swagger of the formerly unappreciated? Singer Braxton’s showtime gargoyle mouthings? Ian Williams’ I-used-to-be-Owen-Wilson-before-Stephen-Malkmus-raped-me face?
All right, then.
Now that that’s settled: A word on Williams (pictured): I’m convinced we all grew up with him. He was your asshole friend from Great Neck with the antisocial superiority complex, the guy who always did everything first (shoplifting, smoking, girl-hugging) and passive-aggressively let you know he was first about it. The guy who smuggled himself along on your train ride down to NEW YORK CITY to see that girl you’d liked for years, pulled absinthe out of his backpack, got you all messed up on it and then fooled around with her on the couch, thus stealing your childhood optimism. Your sense of possibility.
Well… maybe not. Maybe I just half-remember that from The Ice Storm.
But he should stop chewing so much bubblegum. It’s a stagy, misanthropic kind of fun, and it makes me distrustful.
So anyway, an interview he did in Belgium during what–ingestion of solid food aside– appears to be the late stages of a blow bender:
Don’t say we never gave you anything.