Friday, January 27, 2006

Songs Twenty-Five through Twenty-Nine

Wow, this has been an odd week at work; I think January is affecting some folks in serious ways. But, there have been some highlights. My dissertation chair told me that I'm the one person she's not worrying about, so that made me feel secure. And, I survived my "cheeseburger-in-paradise" fete (though our table never got dessert; ahem, banquet service, I'm looking in your direction). And, I learned our children got into our nearby cute-as-a-button book-obsessed private school beginning in August (which will cut about 45 minutes off our morning and evening drives). And, I get to run away tomorrow on a surprise weekend trip with my family to meet up with friends. So, worries be gone . . . I'm on a 48 hour vacation!

But, before I go, here's an eclectic mix of five songs in arrears and advance; plus, some music director notes in case anyone's reading. A five song whirlwind awaits:

Song Twenty-Five: I found this one on the shoegazer mix as well, Lamb's "Gabriel." Apparently, Lamb is a big deal, though they're new to me. The lead singer has a warbly affect to her voice that seems a bit too precious to me at times. The song builds in layers, which is nice since the music is more compelling than her voice. There are some songs that seem almost ready-made to fill the end montage of CSI; strip away the singer and this is one. The Euro-feel makes this one a perfect fit for an episode of CSI: Miami set during Art Basel. Close your eyes and see Horatio and that Emily Procter character walking into a South Beach gallery . . . now it all makes sense.

Song Twenty-Six: The only Travis album I own is The Man Who, which is a fantastic piece that really holds together and stills sounds great seven years later. It doesn't include song twenty-six, "Sing." I think in some alternate universe Travis has Coldplay's career. Whereas Chris Martin goes high, Francis Healy goes low. If you're familiar with the band at all, the minute this song begins, you will think, "Hey, this is Travis." This could cut both ways, but I find it comforting. "Sing" has that nice Travis-jangliness about it musically and is quite upbeat. This is a Scrubs friendship montage song.

Song Twenty-Seven: I found song twenty-seven on an iMix and was drawn by the album title, Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone; it's the Walkmen, "We've Been Had." I also liked the title, given the grand James Frey scandal circling now. The beginning has a very VW-commercial feel to it. The lead singer's voice has a husky whiny rasp that is appealing in its contrast to the lyrical, almost lullaby-like music. The line, "sometimes I'm just happy I'm older," cuts close to home. Actually, I first heard this as "sometimes I'm just happy to moulder," which would have been too perfect. The whole theme of the conformity of the young is nothing new, but this song seems fresh. It has a rainy Grey's Anatomy closing montage feel to it.

Song Twenty-Eight: I went more EC with song twenty-eight, France's M83, "Don't Save Us from the Flames." First, let me say that the howls in this song consistently made me turn down the volume because I thought my children were screaming. This doesn't mean I didn't like the song; it just freaked me out. There are a lot of e-drum fills and a lot of synthesizers (I think) because it's from France. French music is perhaps best enjoyed in France; it always seemed perfectly placed when we were there. But, like Robbie Williams, it may not survive the cultural translation. However, the accent as he sings in English is cute; you can hear him thinking about each sound. This could make a great montage tune for a French-terrorist themed 24--especially with the howls.

Song Twenty-Nine: I had heard the Brazilian Girls interviewed last year on Weekend Morning Edition as I was driving to a nail appointment, so I thought I would try "Don't Stop." This has a clever, sexy disco vibe that seems retro without too much camp. Kind of like Daft Punk gone 70s disco. The woman lead vocalist has a "continental" flavor to her voice, a very "she has lived everywhere . . . and nowhere" romantic accent. It is quite disposable but also the kind of song you would cheerfully hum along and car-dance to every time you heard it--without ever tiring. I'm hearing a happy-times Luke and Lorelai Gilmore Girls montage opportunity.

Now, time to pack our bags.

336 to go.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Song Twenty-Four

I've got a chamber of commerce function tomorrow night (yeah that's right, it's got a Jimmy Buffett theme; jealous?), so I wanted to knock out tomorrow's entry today.

First, I should mention that one of the cats (the one obsessed with Ariel) is laying across the monitor, and her tail blocks part of my screen. So, I disclaim responsibility for any spelling errors on the far left side.

Okay, on to the shoegazers. How could anyone not love Lush or the Sundays or Jesus and Mary Chain? I nearly died at the end of Lost in Translation when "Just Like Candy" popped up. Too perfect. I can remember losing myself in the wash of sound pouring through my Walkman while gazing at my own black docs and white bobby sox. Melodic distortion that captures the beauty in isolation. Ah, college.

So, in perusing through someone's shoegazer iMix, I found a tune by a band I don't know with a fantastic name: Flying Saucer Attack, "A Silent Tide." (This link really kicks it old school 'cause FSA ceased to exist in 2000.) Very much a Lush-like sound, but with lower mixed vocals and more guitar-y distortion. Kind of like the child of Lush and JMC. The song fills up the space wonderfully with only-from-England, fresh-from-the-moors noise. Can't understand a word that's being sung and don't need to. A song to load on the iPod for a trip to Hadrian's Wall. Give me more!

341 to go.

Song Twenty-Three

I have a toothache. Actually, for about three years, I've had a broken wisdom tooth that never bothered me. Well, dear readers, those days are over. It's that kind of dull ache that is always there, saying, "That's right, are you feeling me?" Yes, macked out tooth, I am.

On another tip, it's been amazing to me how few seconds of a song I need to listen to before I can say, "No thanks." I feel a bit like the owl in the old Tootsie Pop commercial. How many seconds does it take to get to the center of a song's goodness of fit? About five it turns out. I know there are many stories decrying record company weasels who won't release records because they don't have any hits, but you know what, they probably know what they're talking about, respectfully. (Still, that Love Monkey show is kind of dull despite the presence of Ed and Brando.) I know my demographic like the back of the hand--because it's attached to my demographic (aka me), and I can tell within seconds whether I want to spend my 99 on a song. Sometimes I'm a bit disappointed, but I've yet to start bleeding from the ears whilst running from the room. Interesting . . .

So, five seconds into song twenty-three, I knew I'd buy it: My Morning Jacket's "Gideon." It has several items always on my checklist: echo chamber (check), pounding drums (check), build (check), wailing (check). Okay, the lead singer sounds a bit like the Cult-guy, but I'll set that aside. The song has a nice pulsing quality throughout; plus the keyboards sound like they're played by that kid from School of Rock. Good deal.

Also, in searching for songs, I happened upon a shoegazer iMix (I'm in heaven!!!), so anticipate a couple older songs in the next week.

342 to go.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Song Twenty-Two

In the spirit of blog-sharing, here are several things I learned this morning. (Feel free to jump ahead to the tune review.) Getting your son to use the little potty once in exchange for a Wiggles dish set does not guarantee he will ever want to use it again. Lisa Loeb is apparently now divorced from Dweezil Zappa and lookin' for love on reality tv. When driven through a house, a bike will consistently outpace a Wiggles car. Cynthia Nixon will take pretty much any work as long as it doesn't take her from New York, but she never moved to Brooklyn. There's some new super subscription service called Magdog that will change my magazine reading life forever. Golfing is now verboten in lobbying circles. Detroit is still a cold, sad place of lost potential and the death of industrialization. The last third of Stuart Little does not hold children's interest. When I finally get that summer cabin, it should have an elaborate steel door and pulley system to keep it safe. Millenials don't watch much tv (leaving all the more for me, I guess). There was some kind of Mormon-led massacre of people from Arkansas long ago. ABC Carpet & Home is having a fantastic Mitchell Gold sample sale that I cannot be part of. All this and more . . . and it's not even noon yet. Plus, I finished my new porch quilt, vacuumed the rugs, and waxed all the furniture during Miss America last night. How productive! Isn't my life fascinating, dear readers?

So, now, for a relaxing blogging break. First, let me say how intensely I try to determine how to spend 99 cents on a song. This is really odd considering I will drop $4 on a cup of coffee without batting a well-curled eyelash. So, I ran through several possibilities--all suggested by the helpful iTunes BETA (as in, not our fault if it doesn't work) Just For You feature built on our favorite big brother research technology, predictive metrics. And, I finally hit on an effort by several bands (I guess?) with the names Coastal, Colophon, Loquat, and Sappington, Seasons. I dropped my buck-minus on Loquat's "Swingset Chain." I picked it for predictably mommy-reasons involving innocence, childhood, and the sweetly savage passing of time. The tune lives up to the promise of the songbyte--a beautiful evocation of childhood memories crashing into the waves of calendar days (made me tear up a bit). Very nice imagery, excellent use of the phrase "freaking out," and the lead singer has a lilting but never cloying voice and a great delivery. There's just enough electronica in the song to make it feel fresh, and the production seems quite crisp. Well done, exotic fruit band!

343 to go.