Continuing on yesterday's theme of compare-and-contrasting like-titled things, today we pit the new single "Modern Art" from Vice Records' Hotlanta garage rock "bad boys" (OMG, they threw a guitar off a boat! ...because they were playing on a fucking Carnival Cruise ship) against singy-talky smarty pants British rock band Art Brut's 2004 single of the same name.
Both operate roughly within what you might call the garage rock and roll vein, the Black Lips' scuzz sweetened here by production from Mark Ronson (ooh, someone's got a Theremin!singing saw, per a correction from Black Lips' publicist: "Ronson is buddies with one of the few people that can really nail singing saw, which is one of the toughest instrumnets int he world to play"), Art Brut sounding slightly more raw, contrasting as usual Eddie Argos' spoken vocals with the band's no-nonsense chops. And both songs recount transcendent, even psychedelic experiences of modern art, but they're experiences arrived at from two opposite angles. The Black Lips' Jared Swiley mumbles about K-holes and gobbling E at the Louvre ("molly" being a handy rhyme for Dali, after all) and getting lost between floors on the escalator. Being in a museum, like anything else, is just an excuse for a good time. Art Brut, on the other hand, approach the Tate Modern and the Pompidou more soberly, but wind up getting just as high, only--tellingly--its' off the art itself. Argos presumably hasn't popped any pills, yet he feels a synesthesic effect from a wall by Matisse: modern art makes him "want to rock out" as though it were music, it sends him running full bore at the painting as though he could leap through it like a portal.
Obviously, I like drugs and stupid fun as much as the next guy, but I give this one to Art Brut, easy.
Black Lips' Arabia Mountain, featuring "Modern Art," is out June 7th via Vice. Art Brut's outstanding "Modern Art"-featuring Bang Bang Rock & Roll was released in 2005.