What I’m Listening to: The United Colors of Trouble Books

A few months ago, I bought The Microphones The Glow, Pt. 2 based on the song “I Felt Your Shape”, which I heard on Pandora, as well as the rave reviews that critics and musicians gave it. Listening to this album makes me think of a desert: dense, beautiful, and awe-inspiring. However, another thing this album has in common with a desert is that it is so vast that it is easy to lose one’s point of reference and become completely lost. As much as I like this album, with the sprawling sonic landscape it creates, it just wasn’t the album that I wanted it to be.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, it turns out that the album I wanted from the Microphones was recorded by Trouble Books.


Trouble Books’ The United Colors of Trouble Books shares the same abient quality that The Glow pt. 2 has, complete with “instruments” that defy recognition and just become part of the overall sound (the album opens with sparklers, of all things, and later, there’s something that might be a saw or a theremin).

United Colors has almost a cold, lonely feeling to it, even when the two vocalists sing in harmony. This works with the themes of the songs, though, whether lamenting allowing a dog to be taken away and shot into space (“the only place colder than the Motherland”) in “Strelka”, or wishing for the strength and confidence to approach a crush in the audience of a show in “CFHC”, a song that manages to be beautiful and touching while mentioning stickers above urinals and blood-stained pick guards.

Packaging on this album is great, too. It comes in an inside-out, previously used record sleeve (mine’s a John Fogerty album), silk screened with the album art. Inside is a photocopied book of lyrics and drawings, stitched rather than stapled, the LP itself, and a CD-R with a digital copy of the album.

The United Colors of Trouble Books is dense, beautiful, and awe-inspiring, but it never loses the listener.

Buy this album at The band’s label’s website.
Visit them on MySpace.

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4 Responses to “What I’m Listening to: The United Colors of Trouble Books”

  1. […] you get a chance, get out to see these guys! Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)What I’m Listening to: The United Colors of Trouble BooksTrouble in Paradise at the Tucson Museum of ArtWalton’s Mountain MuseumGiant e-paper display […]

  2. […] The United Colors of Trouble Books-Trouble Books If The Glow is a desert, then United Colors is an empty street in the middle of winter. This is an album by a band from Akron, and I have no ida how many times I’ve listened to it. If the LP had not come with a CDr of the album, I would have burned out the vinyl already. I reviewed it HERE. […]

  3. […] the show. You may have read me talking up Trouble Books HERE, HERE, and more recently, HERE. If you haven’t heard these guys, check them out. Trouble […]

  4. Garrett Says:

    I admire these musicians interminably… i hope that one day I’ll make music around them.

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