7″ Sunday: of Montreal

7” Sunday is a segment devoted entirely to 7” vinyl and the all-encompassing experience surrounding it. From the packaging to the music, my intent is to embody the spirit of vinyl and emphasize that music is still an activity beyond passive listening.

Although most publications cover major releases, the 7” is often overlooked and given nothing more than a half-hearted nod of acknowledgement. I intend for this weekly feature to become a hub for 7” reviews, exploring the B-sides and rarities of artists that may often go unnoticed.

This week I am venturing a bit backwards in the archives and am bringing out of Montreal’s 7” of “For Our Elegant Caste,” one of the more memorable tracks from 2008’s Skeletal Lamping. Looking less like David Barnes’ typical surrealist artwork and more like a 1950s two-tone prom portrait, the cover is strikingly minimalist, which serves as a breath of fresh air from their often visually exhausting album art.

The single was released as a limited-edition, offered on both red and blue vinyl editions. After thorough dialectic delegation (flipping a coin) I chose the latter. With an almost see-through appearance, the vinyl itself is a vibrant shade of blue against the brown-yellow center.

The A-side of the record is the original track. Detailing the bisexual escapades of Georgie Fruit, the soulful African-American alter ego of Kevin Barnes, “For Our Elegant Caste” is a sonically dense pop ballad full of volatile falsettos and unsurprisingly flawless harmonization. If familiar with the original, it may yield challenging to imagine it remixed into an electronic song; however, Mad Decent’s Depressed Buttons does exactly that and, in my humble opinion, nails it.

The Depressed Buttons remix found on the B-side of the 7” starts off with the same opening line of, “We can do it softcore if you want, but you should know I take it both ways,” but drops it down a number of octaves, creating a slow jam out of the original anthemic affirmation. After this, the track dives into an almost entirely original electronic breakdown, stopping only briefly to add more newfound baritone vocals from the verses.

Whether you’re a fan of the group’s Elephant 6 years or the more recent and atonally-influenced creations, make sure to check out this remix of a group that has never been able to stay in one place.

Check back next week for a review of the 7″ release for My Best Fiend’s “Higher Palms.”

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