The Sea and Cake: COD/SD etc. etc.

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I disagree with 'Salmon" about the Sam record. I think it is not only some of the best of all of Sam's different bands and closest to 'singer'songwriter' as Sam has ever gotten, but I would think that this is an album jim o'rourke bairly 'touched' musically speaking. It is mostly a straight forward four piece group playing minamally behind Sam. Sure, Jim may have helped with a string section hear and there and maybe a few of those crazy electronic tricks but in comparison to what Sam and Archer have shown on past releases, the 'meddling' seems at a minimum. I think the record is smokin'! Plus when Sam whet on the road with just guitar and Archer backing on another guitar, it was amazing, almost showing all other things were unimportant to those songs, all stipped away.

don't believe the hype ... the sam prekop album seems deliberately obtuse. open close listening the songwriting is weak (but good sounding) and if you heard the album being piped down a disused elevator shaft you'd think it was the perfect fusion between pop and jazz. i think either the saving grace or the damnation of this album is the result of that infernal meddler jim o'rourke ... hard to decide. the ride out on the last track with strings and funky bass is absolutely, unbelievably sublime though. worth the price of admission for that alone.

-- fields of salmon (, April 03, 2002.


mark, Sunday, 21 April 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...
today i have bought this prekop lp, and have now played the second side about 6 times in a row. the last time i had played a new record this much was probably moon pix. and if anyone understands how i feel about cat power, that is saying something. im really liking it, in other words. thanks ilm

Ron, Saturday, 18 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I'm positively giddy. For the longest time I was desperately trying to convince everyone around me that they were complete fools for being so interested in the Prewitt records and not paying any attention to the Prekop, which -- well yes, it's completely shameful that it's never considered as quite possibly the best record to come from that entire Chicago era, if not one of the best records of those years period. Mini-infection here on ILM, thankfully: maybe next I will be able to convince people of the monumental brilliance of Graham Coxon's first solo record.

nabisco%%, Saturday, 18 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

but are you going to say anything about WHY you think it's better, nniatbsiushco? I haven't listened to it much yet but offhand I'd guess you have something in mind like that it has more of that real band in a room stuff over the studiometrickery and krautische dronism of tsac. (which by itself doesn't sound convincing enough to me)

Josh, Sunday, 19 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I'd guess you have something in mind like that it has more of that real band in a room stuff over the studiometrickery and krautische dronism of tsac.

Hahaha Josh: okay not everything I think relates to my pet theory of last summer, and besides, the whole reason I was so whole- hog taken with the Chicago post-rock concepts was that I really do go for the studiometrickery and krautische dronism. But ... umm ... yeah, that is sort of part of it: Jim O'Rourke's real contribution to the Chicago bunch was that crisp roomy realistic production of his, and maybe 15% of the Prekop's greatness revolves around the thrill of hearing that a lot of the studio-y post-rock aims could be stripped back and accomplished more naturally as well. (I.e. in some sense it's argument is that the core of what works about Prekop's post-rock isn't the post-rock textural stuff: it's really just Prekop himself.)

But the majority of its goodness (and this is a slightly-related point but isn't so much about sound as it is about songwriting) comes from the fact that it erases a lot of what people slag off in Chicago post-rock: for one thing, it has this weird sense of humility about it, insofar as it erases a lot of the showy grooves and pulses in favor of this incredibly pretty and incredibly graceful light-on-its- feet feel. Also and most importantly it's just a really solid composition: a lot of post-rock records seem very much rock, insofar as they're trying to be sort of expansive and groovy, whereas the Prekop has a weirdly Satie-ish sense of being very much a composition and an arrangement in ways that the Sea and Cake (who themselves were pop to post-rock's rock) never were.

Also the simultaneous Prewitt and Prekop solo records were really telling, insofar as it became clear that Prewitt wanted to work with a much much more traditional singer-songwritery format (which people disappointingly paid way more attention to) whereas Prekop went for this highly-composed and very unique territory that comes around to some really terrific pop at lots of points on the record -- which is sort of what I go for most in music, interesting visions that coalesce into really great pop from directions one wouldn't expect.

Last argument revolves around the fact that the Prekop solo sort of reveals Prekop as the bigger definer of the Sea and Cake sound -- and so when I'm really really enjoying the Prekop, it's easy to look at some Sea and Cake stuff and see it as the essence of what's great about Prekop but blanketed and sort of obscured with a lot of other people's very of-the-moment "post-rock" ideas. In this sense it's good that the Prekop came toward the end of Chicago post-rock seeming very vibrant and relevant, as I think it -- with its more singular Prekoppy vision -- will for a good while seem like the diamond in there, the timeless one.

That said, I've gone back and forth a lot over whether the Prekop is really better than The Fawn, which I also love: the fact that The Fawn is more of-its-moment (and thus essentially "dates" now that I'm "getting over" post-rock) might be what makes me, a few years later, prefer the Prekop, which I'll admit might be a critical bias.

Dude, you asked.

nabisco%%, Sunday, 19 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

my guess involved your old pet theory because the record sounds so much like that! but I don't quite follow you on this composition stuff. I was listening last night and noticing how lots of the songs tend to have a really serial form, in that they'll do something for a while, then do something else for a while, then something sort of ending-sounding (like the strings). that strikes me as not as 'compositional' as it could have been - could've been more done to unify those parts somehow. the end of the record trails off some for me, and I wonder if that isn't the reason why: without the tighter song structures gotten by putting those parts together, the songs just sound sort of directionless (not in the good stasisy way) when the parts aren't as good. 'faces and people' sounds like the ideal thing to have burst into a lazy, joyful indie-house-glitch-pop song, but then it just sort of repeats itself forever. that's kind of disappointing to me, though I got used to it. I find comparisons to gastr's camofleur instructive - I've seen it mentioned a lot in reviews. things that record does differently: the string-things-out compositional strategy is done by stringing DIFFERENT things out, letting the songs shift, rather than stringing out what sound like they could be extra layers in the same song. uh, sorry, I only had one thing in mind.

why doesn't prekop just make an all-bossa nova record?

Josh, Sunday, 19 May 2002 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

seven months pass...
'one bedroom' is my new favorite song!!

ron (ron), Saturday, 18 January 2003 02:31 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
What time signature is the song "Biz" in?

Mark (MarkR), Friday, 17 June 2005 01:30 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

hee hee, mark greenberg's post up there fails to mention precious wax drippings.

hstencil (hstencil), Friday, 17 June 2005 01:35 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

god the first album is fucking untouchably great

kyle (akmonday), Friday, 17 June 2005 02:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

showboat angel! they never got fun like this again

kyle (akmonday), Friday, 17 June 2005 02:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

How do you like the 2nd Prekop, Nitsuh?

Mark (MarkR), Friday, 17 June 2005 17:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

mark greenberg posted here? haha.

jaymc (jaymc), Friday, 17 June 2005 17:56 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I really liked Oui.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Friday, 17 June 2005 17:57 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
What time signature is the song "The Biz" in?

Help me out, Jaymc or Nitsuh or somebody. Still wondering about this.

Mark Rich@rdson, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 18:44 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I think it's 15/8.

jaymc, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 19:30 (twelve years ago) Permalink

(Alternating measures of 7 and 8 beats.)

jaymc, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 19:31 (twelve years ago) Permalink

No wonder I hurt myself trying to tap along to it.

Mark Rich@rdson, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 19:32 (twelve years ago) Permalink

showboat angel! I say it again. So great!

akm, Tuesday, 13 March 2007 22:40 (twelve years ago) Permalink

three months pass...


I went to see the Sea and Cake at Cargo last night. It was great, really good, and the sound was fantastic. I wondered if the nuances of the records would come across live, but they did.

Anyway, I only have Oui (I went with a friend who is a big fan), so would anyone like to revisit the s/d part, and talk about the new album?

Jamie T Smith, Thursday, 21 June 2007 10:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I like the new album a lot. They sound maybe a bit looser than they have in the past? But I think they sort of defy deep analysis. Nothing to dig in to.

Noodle Vague, Thursday, 21 June 2007 10:38 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I love the new one. I'm not familiar with their back-catalogue, save that Bedroom-album, which I found so-so. But this one's so lush, full of joy-de-vivre, if I may say so. The Malipop-song "Exact to me" is stunning and my favourite of the album. Would love to see them live.

willem, Thursday, 21 June 2007 10:59 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Ah, there was one at the gig when I suddenly thought African pop! That must be "Exact to me" - that was a highlight along with a two-chord thing with the most amazing drumming that they played just before it - this fast disco hi-hat, snare, bassdrum pattern and then these incredible fills everywhere. Any idea what that one would have been?

I should just get the album.

The bass and drums really were brilliant - the songs, airy and light and pleasing as they are, sometimes just feel like a setting for the rhythm section, rather than the other way round.

They were entertainingly uncharismatic as well. Four people desperately looking anywhere apart from the audience. The bass player, who is now HUGE, looking like he was actually asleep - completely motionless apart from his fingers. It was cool.

Jamie T Smith, Thursday, 21 June 2007 12:49 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Aw, Eric Claridge. My brother and I used to imagine that, while the rest of the band was all playing in their side/solo projects, Eric Claridge was just sitting on his couch, glumly practicing bass.

jaymc, Thursday, 21 June 2007 13:15 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I was at that gig, too, Jamie.

'Uncharismatic' doesn't begin to describe them. At one stage, Archer asked Sam if he was enjoying himself. Sam mumbled something I couldn't make out but he didn't seem overly impressed with the idea of being on the stage.

there are indeed a couple of tracks on Everybody that have a bit of Afro hi-life guitar. I'm afraid I'm terrible at the names of tracks - most of my music listening takes place in my car!

The drummer was extraordinary wasn't he? Was that John McEntire? (sorry I'm not well up on this genre of music) The rhythm section is definitely a major joy in their music.

Everybody is much lighter than previous work, but it still complex and strange in parts. I found in the gig that because it is all so evenly paced and because so little was happening on stage I had to think about rhythms and voice onset and time signatures and all that kind of grown-up stuff!

Daniel Giraffe, Friday, 22 June 2007 10:24 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Aw, Eric Claridge. My brother and I used to imagine that, while the rest of the band was all playing in their side/solo projects, Eric Claridge was just sitting on his couch, glumly practicing bass.

-- jaymc, Thursday, June 21, 2007 1:15 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark Link

that's lame and condescending. eric's a really fantastic painter.

new record is really good, frankly i didn't think it would be. they were great live a couple weeks ago in new york, too.

hstencil, Friday, 22 June 2007 10:36 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Ah, I notice from Eric Claridge's site, that there's a painting of a squirrel holding a Swiss army knife. Charmingly, the Sea and Cake use that image on their merchandise.

Daniel Giraffe, Friday, 22 June 2007 10:40 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Lighten up stencil, jaymc and his brother were clearly joking.

Hurting 2, Friday, 22 June 2007 13:37 (eleven years ago) Permalink

not in the email i've got dated july 7, 2003

hstencil, Friday, 22 June 2007 14:24 (eleven years ago) Permalink


Hurting 2, Friday, 22 June 2007 16:36 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I see that both Tortoise and the Sea and Cake are on tour right now; which band is McEntire playing with? Anybody know?

kwhitehead, Friday, 22 June 2007 16:53 (eleven years ago) Permalink

the sea and cake

hstencil, Friday, 22 June 2007 16:56 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I know about Claridge's painting career, dude.

jaymc, Friday, 22 June 2007 16:59 (eleven years ago) Permalink

when did you 'discover' it?

okay, okay, i'll stop

hstencil, Friday, 22 June 2007 17:01 (eleven years ago) Permalink


strongohulkington, Friday, 22 June 2007 20:13 (eleven years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
new album called Car Alarm to be released 2008-10-21

CaptainLorax, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 07:03 (ten years ago) Permalink

first album still my favorite by them, I don't think they'll ever top it.

akm, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 07:20 (ten years ago) Permalink

I don't know what their best album is but I know that everyone had some really good songs. Glass EP, for instance, was a great direction for The Sea and Cake but then they had to release Everybody next - I didnt really care for that album. But as far as mixtapes go, they have more than enough great material spanning their entire career. Archer Prewitt could easily have a greatest hits cd also even though he has only released 5 albums.

The Sea and Cake's lyrics have always been nice, abstract pleasantries that are unlike any other bands lyrics. There is a timeless quality to the lyrics since for the most part they don't make any sense and you can envision the story differently every time.

And Sam Prekop's voice is easy on the ears but always fresh and crispy nonetheless.

So yeah The Sea and Cake has always been in my top 10 band list.

CaptainLorax, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 07:40 (ten years ago) Permalink

Still play & enjoy Everybody a lot. Should check out the debut I guess. Looking very much forward to Car Alarm. Although that blurb on the TJ site is a bit too much/elaborate I like the idea of them going straight into the studio after touring the last album and record the next in 3 months time.

willem, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 08:22 (ten years ago) Permalink

1) Nassau
2) The Fawn
3) The Biz

Arghn, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 11:32 (ten years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Car Alarm sounds the way I want it to so far :)))

CaptainLorax, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 19:23 (ten years ago) Permalink

did not know about this

I know, right?, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 19:25 (ten years ago) Permalink

As good as two gentlemen?

I know, right?, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 19:26 (ten years ago) Permalink

does louis jagger like these guys? they seem like his kinda thing, I'm kinda surprised that he hasn't contributed to this thread

I know, right?, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 19:31 (ten years ago) Permalink

Well I got 5 tracks out of 12 and Two Gentlemen isn't the one I listen to. I play random tracks so I wouldn't know. I just know this is better than Everybody. But I love the band nonetheless... it doesn't have poppy like singing as does "we come by when you say that, we come by, we come by when you say that, we come by" or Afternoon Speaker or Station In The Valley. It has the heavier guitars from everybody but they sound more like the traditional sea and cake sound "beachy"... and the singing sounds great even though not poppy so far (I've heard 5 tracks).

They are definitely my thing. I give the a big shiny star. Fuck Louis Jagger or whoever he is.

CaptainLorax, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 19:33 (ten years ago) Permalink

I'd say if you like Two Gentlemen and havent tried Glass ep, go for it.
But this doesn't sound like those so much so far.

CaptainLorax, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 19:38 (ten years ago) Permalink

I like glass fine, but it doesn't have Early Chicago and a brilliant cover.

I know, right?, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 19:41 (ten years ago) Permalink

I'll give those a go, I'll be jogging today with my ipod, might as well

CaptainLorax, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 19:42 (ten years ago) Permalink
Here's just a small taste of the more technoish sound of one short track.
The other songs aren't like this though.

CaptainLorax, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 19:48 (ten years ago) Permalink

everytime this thread pops up I'm compelled to say: SHOWBOAT ANGEL

akm, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 20:45 (ten years ago) Permalink

That’s a leak right? I thought it didn’t come until later in the month.

calstars, Sunday, 6 May 2018 19:23 (ten months ago) Permalink

i preordered it from bandcamp and it came last week

mizzell, Sunday, 6 May 2018 19:31 (ten months ago) Permalink

ooh thx for the tip mate!

calstars, Sunday, 6 May 2018 20:07 (ten months ago) Permalink

Listening to the new one, opening track is probably the most “aggressive” (in a laid back sense) I’ve ever heard them

calstars, Friday, 11 May 2018 12:19 (ten months ago) Permalink

So funny this popped up. Was thinking of reviving a Sea & Cake thread yesterday because I was listening to some solo Prekop and had the realization that it sounded like Prairie Home Companion jazz.

(NB, I do actually like these guys.)

Love Theme From Oh God! You Devil (Old Lunch), Friday, 11 May 2018 12:30 (ten months ago) Permalink

Yeah, was surprised to find a new album waiting for me on spotify just now. I've had a love/hate/ennui relationship with their last couple albums. Nothing bad, but nothing that gets me excited either. I'll give this a try, but don't have high hopes at the moment.

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Friday, 11 May 2018 13:26 (ten months ago) Permalink

This is sounding pretty nice. They seem to maybe be getting past their regular rock n roll band phase, back to something a bit more stylized and nuanced.

I feel like I should go back to some of their more recent releases, maybe I didn't give them a fair shot.

Is Everybody the only one th at McEntire did not produce?

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Friday, 11 May 2018 20:34 (ten months ago) Permalink

They feel reinvigorated on this one - might be their best in many years. That said it’s still predictably Sea and Cakey. It starts to lose me in the second half. Perhaps that will change after more listens.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Saturday, 12 May 2018 17:17 (ten months ago) Permalink

hard to believe it's been 5 1/2 years since Runner

calstars, Saturday, 12 May 2018 18:06 (ten months ago) Permalink

This is predictably excellent.

RE: Claridge's involvement
Sam answered a question on an Instagram post yesterday and said that, unfortunately, Eric had succumbed to serious carpel tunnel in his fretting hand and is now unable to play as frequently as recording and touring would demand. Really too bad. Hope he's doing well otherwise.

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Thursday, 17 May 2018 04:09 (ten months ago) Permalink

Ah, I'd been wondering about that. Just saw them at the Empty Bottle in Chicago, and Doug McCombs was on bass.

jaymc, Thursday, 24 May 2018 06:14 (ten months ago) Permalink

Apparently, McEntire is moving to Nevada City, California:

jaymc, Thursday, 24 May 2018 06:16 (ten months ago) Permalink

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