a celebration of heterogeneity and imperfection
May 14, 2016 6:20 AM   Subscribe

In 2015, Ian Parton released his fourth album of hook-filled, hyper-melodic, genre-defying revivalist upbeat pop under the band name The Go! Team. It was called The Scene Between and it featured a whole host of excellent yet low-profile female vocalists who collaborated with Parton over the net. You could probably listen to the album over your favourite streaming service, but cool music videos were released for basically all the songs – let's check them, and their guest vocalists, out!

Track listing

01 What D'You Say? 4:14
    feat. Samira Winter
      Winter is a Brazilian-American musician who makes "dreamy star-projecting music" with her band, Winter, based out of Los Angeles [Twitter] [Bandcamp]
    dir. Michael Robinson [Vimeo]
02 The Scene Between 3:48
    feat. London African Gospel Choir
      "The LONDON AFRICAN GOSPEL CHOIR was co-founded by Crystal Kassi to help London’s African community to promote the gospel, create a platform of excellence for African gospel singers and musicians, and popularise the African interpretations of gospel music." [website]
03 Waking the Jetstream 4:03
    feat. Casey Sowa
      Sowa is the drummer and vocalist for the "hi fi bedroom pop" band Strange Relations. Tagline: "there's nothing more punk than a heartfelt ballad" [Bandcamp]
    dir. Lucila Mariani (fan-made, unofficial) [Vimeo]
04 Rolodex the Seasons 0:58 05 Blowtorch 3:28
    feat. Doreen Kirchner
      Kirchner plays and sings in bands Sudden Ensemble and Vinyl Tigers. They specialise in blown-out, weird scuzzy rock. [Bandcamp: Sudden Ensemble, Vinyl Tigers] [Website: SE, VT]
    dir. Ian Parton
06 Did You Know? 4:50
    feat. Atom
      Atom is a drummer, vocalist, and one-third of the brilliant Chinese indie rock trio Hedgehog. "We will tie each other and grow together , We will make noise and hit the world !" [Bandcamp] [Website – in Chinese] previously-ish
    video filmed by Nick Kennedy
07 Gaffa Tape Bikini 0:44
    video filmed by Ian Helliwell [Website – autoplaying audio] previously – dead links ):
08 Catch Me on the Rebound 2:53
    feat. Glockabelle
      "Glockabelle is a casiotone and glockenspiel warrior. She plays two Casio VL-Tones and a glockenspiel with 8 thimbles. She likes to sing about wolves, washing machines, strawberries, and Frédéric." [Bandcamp] [Website]
    dir. James Slater
09 The Floating Felt Tip 0:53
    dir. Ian Parton
10 Her Last Wave 3:53
    feat. Emily Reo
      Reo is a self-described "symph nymph" who released a beautiful LP called "Olive Juice" in 2013. She is presently stationed in Brooklyn. [Bandcamp] [Website]
11 The Art of Getting By (Song for Heaven's Gate) 3:46
    feat. London African Gospel Choir
    video created by Stephen C. Horne (fan-made, band-endorsed) [Website]
12 Reason Left to Destroy 3:48
    feat. Doreen Kirchner & Emily Reo

Post title is a quote from this extraordinary analysis of the album.
posted by Panthalassa (8 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
If you don't have the time to work through the whole album in sequence and just want someone to tell you to jump in somewhere, my favourite songs are 'Catch Me on the Rebound', 'Waking the Jetstream' and 'Blowtorch'.

And of course, The Go! Team has three other studio albums and a handful of EPs out as well!
posted by Panthalassa at 6:23 AM on May 14, 2016

So I had forgotten about the Go! Team, and then stumbled upon this album while browsing free music on Amazon Prime. It's now my go-to lunch break exercise soundtrack and it has that same breezy energy of Thunder, Lightning, Strike! Highly recommended, and thanks for the great post!
posted by selfnoise at 6:55 AM on May 14, 2016

I discovered Glockabelle thanks to her appearance on this album. One of her unique skills is playing a glockenspiel with her thimble-covered fingers, which is pretty neat, but forget all that because GLORIOUS CASIO NOISE EXPLOSION EN FRANCAIS.

It's weird, though, how The Go! Team has the ability to take any number of vocal collaborators and make them all sound very similar to one another. Compare those Glockabelle videos to Emily Reo album, and then listen to their songs on The Scene Between. Here's Satomi Matsuzaki on a Deerhoof song and Bethany Cosentino on a Best Coast song. Now here are Satomi's and Bethany's Go! Team appearances from Rolling Blackouts. You get just the barest hint of their vocal personalities. Even Dominique Young Unique sounds close enough to Ninja that it's relatively easy for the latter to replace the verse lyrics with her own in concert. Compare to her solo stuff. I've always assumed it's Parton mixing the voices relatively low combined with the wall of sound from everything else.
posted by chrominance at 6:55 AM on May 14, 2016

chrominance: yes, a very well made point! It's examined very incisively (in my opinion) in the essay in the last link of the post, which you might enjoy.

I don't think it's easy to discern the vocalists' personalities through their tracks — but getting a hold on Parton's is just as slippery. After 7+ years of obsessing over interviews, Twitter posts, press releases, I just think his goal is to put as much of the interpretation of the music in the hands of the listeners as possible. He truly wants for any hint of autobiography – whether from him, the composer, or the vocalists – to be utterly obliterated. I honestly can't think of any other pop songwriter trying for anything of the sort. And I think that's why this band can do no wrong for me. I'm the type of person who loves getting into context and biographical detail. I'm not a Barthes fan, and I think my desire to find explanations for a work in the life of the artist can weigh on my enjoyment of a lot of music. But Parton gets as close to removing himself and his collaborators from his art as I've ever seen anyone get. So, finally, the only limit on his songs is my imagination and experience. And his sound does wonders for that!
posted by Panthalassa at 7:51 AM on May 14, 2016

Saw them in January when they kicked ass at the Brooklyn Bowl. Crazy fun show, and I've loved them for years.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:11 AM on May 14, 2016

Interesting that the analysis article tries to make the case that Parton's just as anonymous as his collaborators, because I find the opposite: wherever Parton goes, he brings with him an approach to music I almost never hear anywhere else. No one makes music like The Go! Team and Ian Parton only ever seems to make music using the Go! Team templates. Here's a song from Momoiro Clover Z, a Japanese idol band. Sounds very Go! Team, doesn't it? Guess who produced and wrote the music for it?
posted by chrominance at 3:08 PM on May 14, 2016

This was one of my favorite albums of last year--thanks for all the background info and links!!
posted by leesh at 7:46 PM on May 14, 2016

Oh, huh, Martha Colburn directed one of their videos. Good to know she's still making stuff.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:52 PM on May 15, 2016

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