Monday, September 29, 2008

Martha Wainwright - So Many Friends

Lovely song with exquisite vocals off the best-titled album of the year from Martha Wainwright, Rufus' little sister.

MP3 Martha Wainwright - So Many Friends
(from 2008's I Know You're Married But I Have Feelings Too)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

RIP Paul Newman

Nothing to do with music, but I couldn't let Paul Newman's death go unmentioned. He was my mother's crush for more than 50 years. A fine actor and a beautiful person in many ways. Through the Newman's Own line of delicious, healthy foods he has donated over $250 million to various worthy causes. A tremendous humanitarian, and extremely humble about it. One of the greats. NYT obit here. Never have I seen such an outpouring of positive comments about ANYBODY on the Internet, either. Well deserved. Give something to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camps in his memory. Or just buy some salad dressing or spaghetti sauce.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sigur Rós - Untitled 8 and Glósóli (live, Quai Jacques Cartier, Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

aka Popplagið (Pop Song)...they rarely play this last song from 2002's (), this set-closing version's almost 14 min long, real top 40 stuff

always-lovely Glósóli ("Glowing Sole") from 2005's Taak...the crowd goes nuts when they start to rock out at the 5-min mark

What a thrill to see this magical band with my sister, my son and his girlfriend on a beautiful last-night-of-summer in the old port of Montreal. Gorgeous pictures by aurora jayne here, including this one of Goggi (Georg, the mad sexy bass player), dashing in top hat and morning jacket.

For the first time since 2001, the band is playing this tour as a four-piece. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the Amiina girls on the more orchestral numbers as well as the brass section on the new material, but still they made a ton of noise as the original unit. It's hard to believe there's only one guitarist on stage; Jonsi gets so much mileage outta that cello bow and the massive overtones it produces. Kjartan makes his keyboards sound like a symphony, too.

To close with Gobbledigook they engaged the services of opening band Parachutes (fronted by Jonsi's BF) to bang the extra drums. (We missed their set because we were busy having a phenomenal meal here.)

The Montreal crowd was refreshingly respectful. I didn't see anyone talking on a cell phone for two hours, and there was even minimal photo taking and video recording (which explains why none of the new songs have been posted anywhere with decent sound quality--I should have taped one! my digital camera has great sound.) People actually came to see the show! (hint hint New Yorkers...) Some comments here and on the SR message boards.


Ni batterí
Við Spilum Endalaust
Með Blóðnasir
Viðrar vel til loftárása
Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur
Popplagið (Untitled 8)

MP3 Sigur Rós - Við spilum endalaust (from 2008's Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust, or "With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly")

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wolf Parade - Language City

Here's a song that's been stuck in my head intermittently over the last few weeks (it's in heavy rotation on Sirius 26). Yet another great band from Montreal, where I will be in just three days to see Sigur Rós! Fun fact about these guys: they were signed to Sub Pop by Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse.

In keeping with the modern inclination to belong to many bands in a short lifetime, WP frontman Spencer Krug is also in Sunset Rubdown and used to be in Frog Eyes and Swan Lake, and another guy in the band is also in Handsome Furs. These are all good bands!

MP3 Wolf Parade - Language City
(from 2008's At Mount Zoomer)

***three days till Sigur Rós in Montreal!***

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Elbow - The Bones of You

Even though they've been around for seven years, I never thought to check out Elbow till I read they were opening some of REM's European dates this tour. Then they won this year's Mercury Prize, beating out incredible records by Burial and Radiohead, whose Colin Greenwood said Elbow deserved it. That was quite enough for me, so I promptly gave the album a listen and I gotta say, I was not prepared for how good it was. Incredibly mature, complex and compelling. Has bumped Okkervil out of the CD player and is now on permanent repeat. And I have to get their other three albums.

Again, it's a whole album that begs to be listened to in its entirety, so hard to choose a single track, but here's the song that most resembles Radiohead, and I've never thought anybody resembled Radiohead. They come from Manchester, that perenially economically depressed region of England that has given us so much music from the Bee Gees and Herman's Hermits to the Sex Pistols, Joy Division, the Smiths, Oasis, the Verve, Badly Drawn Boy, Autechre and the list goes on.

If you've heard these guys compared to Coldplay or Keane, I gotta say NO WAY to that. OK, they are not as weird as Radiohead; they are playing in normal time signatures and using normal instruments and the song structures as well as the singer's voice are more conventional than Thom & Co's. but Coldplay and Keane are the Archies compared to these guys.

MP3 Elbow - The Bones of You (from 2008's Mercury Prize-winning The Seldom Seen Kid)

MP3 The Archies - Sugar, Sugar (from 1969's Everything's Archie)

***Four days till Sigur Rós in Montreal***

Monday, September 15, 2008

Janis Joplin - Me and Bobby McGee

Today's is an oldies track in "honor" of Lehman Brothers going down and Merrill being "sold" to B of A for pennies on the dollar (Colbert said tonight it was for "two goats and a bushel of oranges"). I told my sisters this is a great time to have nothing left to lose, because those who "have" are going to lose a lot. Except for those at the very top, they're not going to lose anything cuz it's all in gold in the Caymans.

Song was written by Fred Foster and superbadass Kris Kristofferson, one of the greats. Janis recorded it days before she died and it is one of only two posthumous #1 singles ever, the other being Otis Redding's (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay.

MP3 Janis Joplin - Me and Bobby McGee
(from 1971's Pearl)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Okkervil River - On Tour with Zykos

Sometimes there's a record you have to have IMMEDIATELY as soon as it's available, and you play over and over until you know it inside-out and are almost sick of it. The new Okkervil River certainly fits that bill for me. I've played it all the way through four or five times in the last two days (and nothing else).

Will Sheff continues his reign as the best lyricist in rock, and though I don't NEED compelling lyrics (Radiohead's are mostly fragmentary, and Sigur Rós's are completely incomprehensible), I do appreciate them. I also just love how Okkervil's albums are truly ALBUMS, always built around a concept. They're musical novels penned by one of the most literate guys ever to pick up a guitar.

The Stand Ins can really be considered the second disc of a double album, the first half of which we got last year with The Stage Names. I love the whole thing, and it was hard to pick a cut to post here, but I'm going with On Tour with Zykos, the follow-up to the lovely A Girl in Port. Here the groupie in question wants her rock star one-night stand to get lost once she's had him.
He gets close, but I choke
take your shit
take your clothes and get out of my home
well I want you to love me, or I want you long gone
you say your real name is John

Hey thanks John, go sing songs
go rock on
roll your crew on down the road to the next sold out show

MP3 Okkervil River - On Tour with Zykos (from 2008's The Stand Ins)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Calexico - Two Silver Trees

Oh, this is just delicious. Super seductive whispered vocals over enchanting instrumentation. WOW.

MP3 Calexico - Two Silver Trees (from 2008's Carried to Dust)