Posted by: William | February 12, 2008

Music of the Week: The Weakerthans

It’s probably on a weekly or bi-weekly basis that I move in and out of listening to a lot of one specific artist’s music—usually. I suppose sometimes it might be a certain set of artists who all share a similar sound or message. Regardless, it’s almost like tides. This week it’s one thing and next week I’ll be enjoying something else. This gave me idea to keep all of you up to date on the current week’s listening. I have an eclectic music taste, so maybe you’ll have some recommendations for me, or maybe my recommendations will introduce you to some music you haven’t given a chance yet.

So this week, my ipod has rested pretty consistently on a group that I discovered several years ago named The Weakerthans. While I’m especially fond of their album Reconstruction Site, their older albums Fallow and Left & Leaving also have some gems on them. Their music can probably most easily be described as folk rock, but that description is likely to confuse people. It’s rare that the Weakerthans sound much like the groups that probably come to mind when folk rock is used to describe them. Wiki-pedia describes them nicely as “Folk-Punk”. I think that’s a bit more precise.

The vocals of front-man John Samson sound something akin to those of They Might Be Giants, but for those of us who have some trouble stomaching the weird lyrics of the Giants (what the heck is a triangle man?), the Weakerthans are an excellent alternative. Samson could also easily be compared to Colin Meloy of the Decemberists. The songwriting is interesting, creative and almost always catchy. It’s not hard to find catchy music, and it’s not a long search before coming across some interesting writing, but to effectively marry the two is a rarity. Songs like Plea From a Cat Named Virtue, Psalm For the Elks Lodge and Our Retired Explorer (all from the album Reconstruction Site) stand out as some of my favorites.

The music itself is a nice split between acoustic and electric. The group often utilizes an array of instruments and styles (i.e., country, pop-punk, grunge-pop). Most songs are somewhat upbeat, but even when they’re not, they’ll fool you into thinking they are.

Besides some political themes, the content of the music itself isn’t at all course. You won’t find any swearing (at least I haven’t) and there aren’t any kind of graphic descriptions or anything like that. It’s pretty much clean and it doesn’t at all sound like they tried to make it that way which sometimes ends up sounding really lame.

All in all, I highly recommend you check out The Weakerthans; especially their album Reconstruction Site. Got a suggestion for me? Let me know.

 

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Responses

  1. Nice post, W.

    I’ve been digging the weakerthans for years, too, and agree that ‘folk-punk’ is a decent description.

    I’m surprised, though, that i never see specific relationships drawn between the band from manitoba and artists on the folk or poetry side of the genre. It seems that most of the wt’s audience (in my experience) comes from a musical background based more in the indie rock schools.

    Glad to see you’re spreading the word. The band certainly deserves good press.

    Take care and keep writing.

    HB

  2. […] Steve Pan wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptIt’s probably on a weekly or bi-weekly basis that I move in and out of listening to a lot of one specific artist’s music—usually. I suppose sometimes it might be a certain set of artists who all share a similar sound or message. … […]


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