Everybody loves Emily Haines.

Metric played Wednesday at Terminal 5 in NYC, with Sebastien Grainger and Smile Smile. And yes, Emily was there. I like her too, but I wasn’t professing my love in between songs like every guy and girl within shouting distance. They sounded great live, as I now expect any decent band to do, but I was a little disappointed with the Fantasies-heavy set.

A few of the songs on their new album sound the same, and then act like they’ve got big hooks, and yet they don’t. The best examples are “Front Row” and “Stadium Love.” The lyrics to the former are simple and uninspiring, and the song doesn’t seem to go anywhere. “Stadium Love,” which they closed with, after Emily explained in great detail what the title meant, doesn’t have the kind of groove you expect from a song written so obviously for dancing. In case you were wondering, Ms. Haines claims to have more than enough love to fill Terminal 5, and by extension–a stadium. Hence the name, but the rest of her rant made no sense; it involved cheetahs, giant cheeseburgers and other safari characters.

They spent a lot of time on stage, but I felt that they too often went into 4-minute bridges that made me forget which song we were hearing. When they finally came out the other end of the bridge I didn’t know if it was the start or finish of a new song. Emily also went on a few nonsensical rants, mostly about striving for things, memories, love and not letting the man keep you down. At times she really seemed more like an emcee than an indie-rock songstress. The rage-against-the-machine lyrics of Old World Underground and Live It Out were never more apparent than when she yelled them. Don’t get me wrong, she’s lovely, but most people will only tell you how they love her awkward and endearing dance moves.

Before the encore I was relieved that there weren’t anymore Fantasies tracks to play, so we would probably get “Combat Baby” and maybe my favorite: “Calculation Theme.” “Dead Disco” and “Monster Hospital” were the highlights of the set, and it was sad to not hear many favorites from Old World Underground.

Smile Smile was a good example of a band with a nice sound but super-lame drum kits. They plugged in an iPod with drums so that they could play over it, and I’m sure this is done a lot by really small groups but it makes otherwise interesting musicians seem banal. The weak drum kit was even more apparent when Sebastien Grainger played, and their drummer actually hit umm… you know, drums. I recognized a song of theirs, but I was really more impressed with their drummer than most of their set.

I feel that much of Fantasies is overproduced; this is most apparent in the two singles “Help, I’m Alive” and “Gimme Sympathy.” I had heard an acoustic version of the latter from a SPIN magazine recording during Coachella 2008, which had better lyrics and a better guitar harmony in the chorus (see it here). And the final version of “Help, I’m Alive” is vacuous; the dramatic lyrics are made boring through repetition and there’s too many sounds distracting you from the main melodic vocals. Here’s my favorite Metric song, ever:

Metric – Calculation Theme

The borrowed photos…

Jenny Lewis announces tour dates and so does Metric–so excited! Handsome Furs show tonight that I didn’t even know about, and later, more redundant exclamation marks; starting to write in the way that I twitter, watch out Rainn Wilson!

It’s one of those white days where the complete lack of color makes it impossible to tell the time. I’m checking the clock like a speedometer and I can’t find any new songs of theirs that haven’t already been shared. Wondering how many consecutive shows it takes to be a stalker and not just a casual fan. Six?

The Dates…

Fantasies Out April 14th

February 5, 2009

img_2971blogThere’s never a lack of new stuff to be discovering, so it’s uncommon for me to get excited over a release that’s not in the very near future. These days it seems that I don’t even catch on to the best stuff until months after it has gained its own momentum. This is pretty standard for debut releases, obviously, since no one knows who the hell they are.

You know that long break after the second season of Weeds? Before anyone knew if they would be picked up for a third season. What a dreadful prospect that was; we would never find out what would happen to Nancy Botwin in the middle of a three-way dealer war.

After seeing the “Give Me Sympathy” video from around the time of Coachella and then the early leak of “Help, I’m Alive,” I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them. And I’m upset that I won’t be hearing any of their new stuff for two more months.

Today’s song is an acoustic version of “Help, I’m Alive” which is free on Metric’s website. Go there and download it (or listen to it here), it’s nice. There’s also a swell video of Emily doing some soul searching in Buenos Aires. I’m thinking that sounds like a good idea about now.

Help, I’m Alive

November 26, 2008


This is already out and all over the Hype Machine, but what the hell. It’s cool just because it’s leaked from the Metric album that doesn’t even have a name yet. I was beginning to forget about Metric so it’s good to see them come back with something sweet sung over a repetitive guitar rhythm.

Metric – Help, I’m Alive