Is this a failure on NPR’s music director’s behalf? Why isn’t Def:OH being transmitted on radio waves coast to coast? Here’s my pitch, coconut water totebag patron. Defiance:Ohio are poetic. They don’t swear (on this 12”, for sure) but they question the government (yet don’t come across as libertarian dooshbags who want to hand education over to Wal-Mart and the national parks to Exxon.) The music’s clear and confident. They’re pretty-sounding. No confusing or potentially listener-angering, pledge-drive-ending distortion. There’s a violin played pertly, sometimes harrowingly. Listen carefully once and you’ve pretty much got all the lyrics bagged. High production values. Sparse but lush. Precise botanical line drawings of modern protest songs, akin to the Weakerthans, gardened by Billy Bragg. They’re undeniably catchy and teach new words. (“Prehension” is an interaction of a subject with an event or entity that involves perception but not necessarily cognition. Chew on that for a bit.) Endnote: when I’m drained or sick and don’t want to be blasted by music, Defiance:Ohio are like a nice cup of nice. I don’t say that derisively. Mellow, yet meaningful. They’re uplifting. Serious. No back hand to that compliment.
–todd (No Idea)