La Commission is an American band with a French name. Their debut record – a simple, 2-song release entitled "The Thing About Hearts" – is a folk record at its best. With inviting, poetic lyrics at its heart, and sparse (but not too sparse) production at its back, the title track and respective B-side, "Wind Doesn't Move", hold captive any listening audience. And “listening” is key. That's why this record, though available digitally, is primarily being released in the most listener-demanding form of purchasable music: a 7-inch record.
When Charlie Parker put out a record, he wasn't competing with Twitter for his listener's attention. He wasn't mastering his records so that they'd somewhat survive a super-compressed YouTube clip. He wouldn't dream of putting an iPod on shuffle and skipping between Dylan, Bieber, Redding and Gershwin while he carried on a conversation over Skype, checked his Instagram feed and watched last night's Daily Show... all while managing to get some yoga in.
No. People got home with the latest "Bird" record, closed the door, grabbed a pair of headphones and sat still, while they allowed music to give voice to unspeakable experiences or inject hope into situations they thought hopeless or inspire action when paralysis and complacency seemed the only options. And sometimes it just helped to quiet the noise of a busy life.
That’s rare in this second decade of the 21st century. And while there's nothing necessarily wrong with an increasingly busy culture and the kind of art or commerce that harmonizes with it, it just so happens all that harmonizing is getting pretty loud. And to some, it’s starting to sound the same.
La Commission is not interested in trying to scream loudly enough to be heard over this sea of sameness. Instead, they're waiting quietly, looking forward to meeting with listeners who are in dire need of sitting still.