Fingertips Explores the Archives: Shipping News - Axons and Dendrites
Jeremy from Fingertips joins us every Friday as he scours the betterPropaganda archives, highlighting gems buried a few years back in our database.
This week we bring you "Axons and Dendrites" from Shipping News.
Perhaps it's only fitting that a song called "Axons and Dendrites" have so much depth and tension, so much implied mysteriously below the surface. As far as I can tell, this piece is built largely upon a recurring two-chord progression (the two nerve processes of the title?), but the chords are so spacious and so good--the second so completely satisfying and yet continually unexpected-sounding an arrival point--that a fully textured adventure results. Shipping News affects a lot through juxtaposition, the most prominent one being the matching of a rapid, tribal-like drumbeat against the slow unfolding of the two chords; listen as well to the way the ringing guitar that offers the signature chords plays against an undercurrent of muddy-fuzzy guitar noise, and to how the bass flits in and out of awareness, sometimes offering high-register melody, other times sinking down into the primal groove driving the song ever forward. A four-piece band with roots in Louisville, Kentucky, these guys were already playing together for almost 10 years back in 2005 when this song came out, on their Flies the Field CD (Quarterstick Records). I know we all are trained to like the newest thing, but there's a lot to be said for experience as well; I don't think a new band could sound anything like this.
- Jeremy Schlosberg