The good thing about seeing a band that hasn't released a new album in nearly 4 years is that they'll likely play some new stuff. Well, I guess that isn't always good. Nobody goes to see Dylan to hear those hot Modern Times tracks (or anything post 1980, for that matter). But regarding the Books, new songs are totally welcome.
Two new songs were centered around old hypnotherapy tapes, whose production values were bad even for the 80's, and whose content was completely non-existent. This, of course, was perfect fuel for the Books, enabling them to extract some intensely funny sound clips. Another new track was called "We Bought the Flood", a slow, touching song featuring footage from pre-1930's videos. But by far the best unreleased track was called "A Cold Freezin Night", featuring clips from Talkboy tapes found in thrift stores. If you don't know what a Talkboy is, look it up. It's well worth 30 seconds of your time. Of course, children with tape recorders is a guaranteed recipe for sound collage success.
Of the released songs they selected, "Classy Penguin" and "8 Frame" from their DVD Play All were excellent. The former contained footage of the duo from their youth, as well as, well, other people from their youth, all just generally being youthful. "Smells Like Content" was one of my favorites from Lost and Safe, and while the video does little to enhance the song, it's interesting to note that the lyrics come from Nick's older brother Mark recording them on a tape while alone in the woods.
But hands down the best song is "Take Time". While the message is simple and cliched (hey, Carpe Diem, man), the video is pure uplifting goodness, featuring old people playing games, guttural laughs from African women, and a religious zealot dancing...dancing...dancing...falling over.
Because the Books don't exactly tour much (they never even played a show until after they released their third album), I highly recommend going to see them whenever possible, even if you can't really get into their records or have never even bothered to listen to them. Because the videos are such an integral part of each song, it's wholly necessary to experience their songs with video in sync in order to get the full experience. That aside, the guys just seem like seriously the nicest dudes ever, zero pretension, and funny as shit.