Reviews

Elephant Shell

Author: Scott Gordon
05/13/2008 | The Onion | www.avclub.com | Feature
The shuffler: David Monks, the bassist and boyish voice of Ontario band Tokyo Police Club. The band didn't get much time to develop before it attracted a heap of attention on the strength of a couple of EPs, but its youth and sloppy smear of pop styles are also its advantages. Indie label Saddle Creek recently released TPC's first full-length, Elephant Shell.

Radiohead, "I Am A Wicked Child"

David Monks: This is something, certainly, that [TPC keyboardist Graham Wright] put on my iPod. Not only a wicked child, a wicked song, can I say? [Laughs.] I've kinda gradually been going through all the live Radiohead bootleg stuff that Graham has bestowed upon me, just to get to hear the songs in such a different way. I have a live version of "Fog" on my iPod that is amazing.

The A.V. Club: Their songs mutate a lot, live.

DM: Yeah, exactly. Sometimes, you'll think it's about to be the same, and then it's just way better. We saw them and they started with "The Gloaming," which is kind of like the sleeper of Hail To The Thief, but halfway through, Colin [Greenwood] started playing this bassline that was not on the record, but definitely should have been. I remember that being a great start to my first time seeing Radiohead.

Cold War Kids, "Robbers"

DM: We toured with Cold War Kids for about a month, and the result of that is twofold. I know all their songs inside and out, because I've heard them played about 30 times, but I don't know the names of any of the songs. Hang on, let me listen. Oh, yeah. It's the slow one: "Na na na na na na… it ain't easy." The whole time, it's got this pitter-patter drumbeat. The first thing that struck me about seeing them live is, they definitely get those moments in the songs where it's really great, yet they're never rocking, and their drummer always does interesting, oddball stuff. He never lands on a two-and-a-four beat.

Bright Eyes, "Hit The Switch"

DM: From Digital Ash In A Digital Urn, which is fitting because we're now on Saddle Creek. I don't know this song in particular. I'm more of an I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning fan. He's one of those artists where sometimes the lyrics are really good, and that's the most memorable part of the song. In a really good way.

Bloc Party, "So Here We Are"

DM: Wow, it's a pretty straight-up playlist that's come up so far. That first Bloc Party record, I was in Montreal going to school there, and I got home for Thanksgiving, and my sister said, "Oh man, Dave, there's this new band called Bloc Party, and you gotta hear them." And she gave me the CD and I got really into it. I remember playing it in my dorm a lot. That was kind of a crossroads for us, in that we had just been a band playing in [TCP guitarist Josh Hook]'s basement, and I was at school, and that was when we decided to all come home and do this for real, and drop out of school and be cool dudes. It resonates with the irrational side of me in a really good way. It makes me feel like a teenager. It feels like a record that I should have discovered in high school. I guess I was only 19 when I did discover it.

The Libertines, "Death On The Stairs"

DM: This is from Up The Bracket, which is definitely in my top five records ever.

AVC: Why's that?

DM: The lyrics, and the feeling of that record. I wanna figure out which lyric it is. I saw them twice in Toronto. I was definitely 16 or 17, and both times I saw them, they had a stand-in for Pete [Doherty], the same guy. [Laughs.] Some guy is putting his kids through college on being Pete Doherty at shows. They were awesome shows, they were definitely great. I did an interview today with someone from Japan, and they'd seen us play in Tokyo, and they said that we reminded them of The Libertines, and that was definitely a great compliment.

Spoon, "Stay Don't Go"

DM: Definitely the best song off Kill The Moonlight. At least probably, if not definitely. When the band first started, in the first three weeks of the first month of our band, it was [drummer Greg Alsop], Josh, and me. We decided we wanted a keyboard player, and the logical thing was to get Graham because we'd played in bands with him before, and he didn't suck that much at piano. So we went to our school music department and checked all their keyboards for what we could rent or borrow for a prolonged period of time, and we got this old Yamaha keyboard that only had two settings: piano" and "harpsichord," which was just a bad-sounding "piano." But it sounded exactly like the keyboard in "Stay Don't Go," which is, like, the most minimally placed keyboard. That's why we thought it was so awesome: "Oh, my God, it's the keyboard from that Spoon song!" Another great thing about that keyboard was, you could hit a note and the sustain on it would ring for so long. It would fade and sound great,† but it would be ringing so quietly, and you'd turn the amp off and come down after having dinner or whatever, and it would still be ringing a bit. Graham plays this one specific Casio keyboard now live—he's on an eBay/Craigslist quest to stock up on them, so when it eventually does break down, he'll have a backup.

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, "Days Of Being Wild"

DM: From Source Tags & Codes, which is a good record. It got a 10 on Pitchfork. I think I was, like, 17, and I got this record because Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Neutral Milk Hotel and Kid A and OK Computer all got 10s on Pitchfork, and they were all life-changing records, and then I was like, "Why would I not buy this record?" It's certainly a good record, but I don't know if it's a 10.
Elephant Shell

Elephant Shell

LP / CD / MP3




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Elephant Shell

Elephant Shell

LP / CD / MP3