Monday, August 1, 2011

When The Month Changes Numbers It's Time To Go

Life goes faster as you get older, it's a fact. I'm not too young to realize that if I'm already starting to feel this way, aging will not be as much like becoming a fine wine as I've been led me too believe. So besides saying "Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit" as soon as I wake up (as a friend's grandmother once taught me long ago), I also try to mark the turning of calendar pages with a song that helps me put the loss of another 30 days into perspective.

Tonight's entry is from Leslie Feist, a singer probably know best for her irresistable, but sadly over-exposed 2007 single "1, 2, 3, 4", but this song is from a half-decade earlier, before she joined Broken Social Scene or released her own debut album.

The Leisure Suite [EP] is an out-of-print live recording of a 2001 performance in Toronto's Rivoli. "When The Month Changes Numbers" leads off the record with a fade-in over canned music and audience chatter - this is more-or-less edited soundboard from a Feist show. Feist starts with over a minute of slowly-building, finger-picked guitar. The instrument's tone is stark and spiky in the manner of Talking With The Taxman-era Billy Bragg but she plays in a more loose, free-flowing style than he. The mixture of approaches works wonderfully as the song grows consistently stronger throughout its over seven minute run-time.

The lyrics are a meditation of constant motion and change, both personal and political. "When the flag changes color / the language knows / when the month changes numbers / it's time to go." The song generates power from its simple themes and languorous pace, repeating verses with sharp guitar breaks interspersed. The effect of all this is a seven minute oasis between what Ken Nardine might call "the month that was and the the month that's going to be."

So tonight, take some time to step outside the blindly-surging freight train that is life and remember who, where and when you are and that you're alive. We need people to who can help us remember that every once in a while.

She's got two great solo records as well.

Looks like this song might sneak on to Feist's latest album under it's alternate title "Anti-Pioneer".

Bonus Track
August - Rilo Kiley
Grab their excellent 2003 album, Take Offs And Landings. Trust me.

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