Get some: http://4ad.com/sessions/005/
I’m a fan of the third song in the show, ‘Will there be stars’.
Get some: http://4ad.com/sessions/005/
I’m a fan of the third song in the show, ‘Will there be stars’.
As I mentioned on the home page, I have a non-functional computer at the moment, so it’s hard for me to find new music without someone giving me a CD or giving me an iPod refill. I’m also looking into the minutia of running an ‘MP3 blog‘ as I had been (see older posts)– it’s not terribly legal, but my intention (and I’ll write more extensively about this later) is not to stock up people’s libraries fer cheap, but to share music that’s touched me in some way and encourage people to explore this music on their own. As always, I truly hope that the artists who I mention benefit from this, but if anyone has a problem with their music being put up here, get in touch with me and I’ll take it down with apologies.
So the first post of 2009 will not be sharing any new songs, but I will talk about some older music that I’ve been revisiting in my car and on my iPod– below.
In music industry news, one of the more exciting things of recent times concerns Apple’s promise to remove locking code– Digital Rights Management or “DRM”– from MP3s sold on iTunes, as well as introducing a scaled pricing system rather than the flat 99c-per-song. The implications, which should be obvious, is that one can now share purchased MP3s between computers and media players– and, correspondingly, between people. The stimulus for Apple to do so is that other competitors are supplying DRM-free mp3s; the downside for Apple is NOT that DRM-locked music was necessary to keep people buying (as the RIAA would have us believe) but that Apple’s proprietary DRM usually required folks to use Apple products (specifically the iPod megalith). Now, Apple will have to rely on their brand and their product just a little more. Last, it’s up to you to decide to what extent Apple’s decision was influenced by a progressive belief in the value of art.
1) This may be a little out of left field for people looking for more rock to love, but one of the formative musical experiences of my life was the musical Camelot, by Alan Jay Lerner (a relative on my mother’s side) and Frederick Loewe. Admission: The first three CDs I ever bought were the soundtracks to Camelot and The Thirteenth Warrior, and Sing Loud, Sing Proud! by the Dropkick Murphys.
2) The Pogues, If I Should Fall from Grace with God. My favorite whole album and probably one of five I’d bring to a desert island.
3) Girl Talk, Nightripper. Don’t tell my housemate, who’d gloat for getting me hooked, but there’s something satisfying to singing along in the car to music made entirely of tiny chunks of terrible pop-hop.
4) The Shaky Hands, The Shaky Hands. I recently got the actual whole album of the Shaky Hands’ debut (having already purchased their second CD, Lunglight). Great, great driving CD.
Don’t miss from 2008: If this is your first visit here, there’re a few bands that you should not go into 2009 ignorant of: Check out 1) The Real Tuesday Weld (dreamy!) 2) Camera Obscura (gorgeous!) 3) Thao Nguyen (energy and emotion!), 4) The Shaky Hands (dynamism!) and 5) The Voluntary Butler Scheme (so talented!)
I really wasn’t sure how they’d be live, since their music has always been walking the quieter, dreamier side of what I normally like. I was completely blown away. Despite the low attendance (no one’s seemed to have heard of them, really, which is a shame) they put a lot into the show. Everything I already liked about them was there, except for the expected harder-to-hear vocals you get at any live show. I was surprised that they traded off lead vocals between the drummer and keyboardist; the slide guitar on ‘Come On, Virginia’ was awesome as expected.
The best part of the short set was the second half of two of three of their songs when they whipped from the dreamy buildup into just fucking rocking out– that’s all I can say, I wish I could describe it to you– a type of tangible transition in attitude and sound that’s both consistent and wildly unexpected that just makes you smile and mouth ‘wow!’ at your friend, before you turn back to the lights.
One of these is not like the other, so I’ll post it first.
This only qualifies as ‘looking back’ because I cannot believe I haven’t posted it yet.
Perhaps I have and I just can’t find it because I’m oblivious.
In any case, with no further ado:
Wild Sweet Orange– Ten Dead Dogs
Now that we’re past that, the actual meat of the post concerns old songs and new songs that pull on those sounds.
The first is a cover:
Man Man– I’d Rather Go Blind (Etta James cover)
The second is a logical progression, because the artist actually is blind.
‘Blind’ Snooks Eaglin– Wella Wella Baby-la
This is from 1971. Watch where you’re walking, kids.
Ann Peebles– Slipped, Tripped, and Fell in Love
Sam Amidon, who has been putting stuff out as Samamidon, is a favorite of a year or so.
The one I’ve chosen for this post has a little more arrangement than a lot of his other sparser stuff, due to the song’s celebratory theme. Celebratory as it gets for a guy that could be singing the sad bits of a hypothetical soundtrack to ‘Oregon Trail.’
Samamidon– Wedding Dress
And if he ask you, good buddy, was I running/ tell him I was flyin’… tell him I was flyin’. I love this.
The Notting Hillbillies– Railboard Worksong
Here’s a cover of that most prolific songwriter, Kris Kristofferson.
Song’s hard to listen to some days, but I do it.
Richard Buckner– Loving Her was Easier
And last on the list of throwbacks, this one’s just for fun.
When going into the show, I was excited to find out how much of the music was controlled by the little buttoned box, and how much was played live. The five members of the band were really, really good. Jacques, the clarinetist (who introduced himself to me as Jack) really became the center thread of the music so well. Don, the bass player, hammed it up a bit at the back of the stage, and stepped forward to provide some backing vocals. Clive, the guitarist, just seemed the epitome of quiet cool. Jed, the drummer, was as understatedly impressive as you’d hope from the percussion– it was easy to get lost in the sound, and then look back to Jed and see how hard he was working to make it happen. Psychonautical sleights of hand indeed. He also got a tattoo in Portland.
And Stephen– Valentine– the Clerkenwell Kid. Acting, reacting, cringing to the stories he was telling and the images projected behind the stage, flirting with the audience. Great stuff.
Special for Portland, the rendition of ‘I Love the Rain’ was a crowd favorite. My own personal favorite was the stunning live version of ‘Ruth, Roses and Revolvers’– the drums and bass took a different, more insistent tone than on the more lighthearted album version. ‘The Ugly and the Beautiful’ was a close second in my book, and I’ll be taking another listen to the album version.
I had a few drinks with the band afterwards, but to be completely honest I was stupid-drunk, and quite certainly stammered a lot and circumlocuted about nothing, but had the time of my life notwithstanding. TRTW’s merchandise guy, [Francis?], traded me their new album for the tradeout of his canned beer for pint of Rogue Dead Guy.
I’m hoping to score a few photos from the show, and they’ll go up here if that’s possible.
Crazy. It’s been two months since I posted last.
First, there’re a few shows coming to Portland that I’m excited about.
The Real Tuesday Weld on July 14.
The Faint on Aug 3 (don’t think I’ll be able to afford the entry, but we’ll see).
Next, the new Girl Talk album is invading my life, through no particular desire on my part. You can download it for free here. For the ignorant, in a nutshell, this music is a dance party waiting to smack you upside the head, but if you’re anti-pop-hop (not even ironically?!) don’t waste the free money.
OK, the songs:
Chronologically, it’d be appropriate to start with this one:
You might have heard it before. I have no clue where, either. But I likes it.
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers– Little Bitty Pretty One
Yet another exception to the ‘I don’t generally like singer-songwriters.’
Exceptions seem to be piling up. I like his voice and the arrangement the opening breaks into. Also does a good (sad??) cover of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Awesome.
Greg Laswell– How the Day Sounds
More categories, this time under the heading of ‘things I didn’t know that everyone else did.’ Steven Malkmus, founding member of Pavement and sometime Silver Jew, now heads ‘Steven Malkmus and the Jicks’ and lives, wiki informs me smugly, in Portland.
In any case, I’ve been loving the songs from his new album, Real Emotional Trash: good, pure, consistent rock.
Steven Malkmus and the Jicks– Gardenia
Last category: How Have I Not Blogged About This Yet?
The Voluntary Butler Scheme is amazing! He’s one [English] man who’s thing (for now) is short, sweet pop songs. Check out the myspace, above, and if you have oneof’em you can download a short EP– The Vol-au-Vent EP– of four one minute songs he wrote in one lunchbreak.
I’ve been crazy about this song since I saw the video– which, if I got everything right, is embedded at the bottom of the post. Check out the video, and if it strikes you, get the song and teach yourself to dance.
Gnarls Barkley– Going On
Today’s my birthday. Partied last night, so today involved a lot of reflection.
Those’re for later.
Similarly, here’s some music, without much explanation.
On getting older:
C’mon, guys, we can get on with our lives next year!
The Billionaires- The End of Summer Song
On moving on:
I could care less about you/And I love the sound of you walking away
Jessica Lea Mayfield- For Today
Cross my heart and hope to die/I’m not drunk, and I’m not high!
Teitur – Catherine the Waitress
I break the promises I made/as I box up all the butterflies
The Boy Least Likely To- I Box Up All The Butterflies
On art and death:
‘Mister Moon?’ ‘Yeah?’ ‘Tell us about the sky?’
Tally Hall- Spring and a Storm
First, I saw The Shaky Hands at a bar in Eugene, yesterday night.
They’re a Portland band on the local venue/label Holocene Records. They’re an energetic band, though I don’t think the commonly-applied term ‘jangle’ is all that appropriate. Reminiscent of neo-americana/jug bands but still very much pop/rock, they’ve got two guitars, a bassist that looks like an Irish Jesus, a great drummer, and a sort of scary multi-instrumentalist who looks like he’s trying hard to play his instruments with nothing but his mind, but ends up cheating… but he plays a mean pedal steel. The vocalist has a distinctive reedy voice that I like a lot. (There’s also some shady drama with a band from New Zealand that is no longer called the Shaky Hands, and whom I also like a lot, but I don’t know much about that from the perspective of the (current) Shaky Hands, or whether that was Holocene’s doing or their own. But that should perhaps be a postscript.)
The Shaky Hands- Summer’s Life
The Shaky Hands- The Sleepless
Next, I just spent way too much money to purchase my first ever albums on the internet.
I think I’ve perhaps bought five albums before this: Irish music and, my first music purchase ever (and in france at that): the soundtrack to ‘The Thirteenth Warrior.’
Anyhow, they’re (hopefully) from four of my top favorite discoveries of this year:
I bought two albums by The Real Tuesday Weld, who I’ve written about earlier, and who I can’t get enough of. Also, you should read the short story at the top of his blog, here: http://theclerkenwellkid.blogspot.com Last, the Tate Modern invited him to wrote a song to be played with any piece he chose. And it’s fucking awesome. (below is not that song.)
The Real Tuesday Weld- Ruth, Roses and Revolvers
I’ve also already written about Vampire Weekend, but their debut album is released, uh, today, actually. They sort of fell into a trap that’s gaping for most bands releasing stuff these days: around half their album is already floating around the internet as pre-release mp3s. Hopefully, though, the other half is just as good, but at least I can feel good about actually owning the whole album.
Vampire Weekend- Mansard Roof
MGMT, or ‘The Management,’ has so much energy, and I love the simple lyrics of ‘Time to Pretend’ and the textured vocals are well complimented by the i-don’t-know-how-they-make-that-noise-thingy-sound.
MGMT- Time To Pretend
Paris Motel is a pretty big mystery to me, but I’m absolutely in love with one of the only songs they let out ahead of time– I’m just so, so, so excited for this album to get here, it’s the reason I paid so much extra for two-day shipping. Blast.
Anyhow, Paris Motel is the talented multi-instrumentalist Amy May who has one of the more amazing voices I’ve heard–not in a vocally acrobatic sense, but just incredibly emotive and attractive. The music itself is complex yet simple, in the same way good Irish traditional music is– a simple thread with endless variations, buildings and retreats, and surprising yet logical contributions and conclusions. In short, holy crap excited.
Paris Motel- City of Ladies (listen to it on a good sound system/headphones if you have the opportunity!)
Last, I’m regretting not including this band in my purchase, only because I forgot and I didn’t want to pay another shipping fee. This may change in a few hours, or after my next paycheck…
Anyhow, Taken by Trees is awesome: another female vocalist, who works with Swedish indie royalty Peter, Bjorn and John (Bjorn and John contributed much of the backing music on the album). I love her voice, I love the lyrics, and I love the simplicity of the instrumental melodies. I even generally HATE handclaps (so overused!) but they work for me, somehow, in ‘No Letting Go.’ Also, obviously, of course, clearly, the accent doesn’t hurt!
Taken by Trees- Lost and Found
Taken by Trees- No Letting Go
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