Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Songs 171 to 180

In a recent post, mrdardy mentions that he visited my family with his son. The power of my children is such that within mere hours, they had converted a child who readily goes to sleep each night around 8:30 (that would be lil' mrdardy) into a nonsleeping zombie (a la my two). I have a remarkable number of pictures of my children sleeping considering how infrequently they do it. This--among other fears for my longevity--has led me to begin waking by 6 am (ew!) so that I can walk each morning. In addition to leaving me feeling energized (which it actually and surprisingly does), my walk provides me a wonderful opportunity to listen to the massive number of songs I've downloaded. This is usually quite fun, except when I have the iPod on shuffle and suddenly Captain Feathersword pops up (btw, my children have reached the stage that they request the iPod be taken on trips for musical entertainment--and they loooove "Amos Moses," which actually once ended my son's 10 minute screaming fit within about 10 seconds, enabling me to order a much needed venti latte at the SB drive-thru). The walk also gives me a chance to hold an ongoing internal dialogue about which of my neighbors have lawn/garden services. I'm praying that a great many do, for if they don't, it says something rather horrid and depressing about my landscaping abilities.

Song 171: The Hives, "Hate to Say I Told You So." An older song, but rockin' good news, nonetheless. I love rock with snotty, angry, and entirely unjustified attitude--and this song hits all three in spades. Nice cymbal work, too!

Song 172: + / -, "Summer Dress 1." Oddly, this is classified as "rock" by iTunes. It's not; it's more like alterna-folk/pop. The lead singer's voice has a refreshing difference about it; the song has the same swirly feeling that the Badly Drawn Boy song of earlier did. Maybe this is one of my new favorites subgenres: swirly pop. The lyrics do a great job of setting a scene and a place with longing. Pretty.

Song 173: Muse, "Supermassive Black Hole." Distorto-rock with falsetto vocals. Maybe this is what would happen if Steve Albini produced Prince. It also has a weird, Sweet-like 70s feeling. All in all, it certainly doesn't sound like most of what's out there now. Good layering. There's something about it that keeps the distortion from sounding threatening in any way (unlike, say PJ Harvey or Tricky).

Song 174: Brightblack Morning Light, "Black Feather Wishes Rise." Slow, druggy sound--like a freight train moving through aspic--that stays constant throughout. Sit back and mellow out, dude readers. Has some interesting percussion about halfway through that rises and then disappears. Would have been better a bit shorter.

Song 175: The Roots (f/Cody Chestnutt), "The Seed, 2.0." This is an older song, too, but I really wanted it on my iPod. I love The Roots; they're so laidback cool. The song moves along to a great backing track (cymbal-on ?uestlove!) with some intriguing distortion of its own. A true headbopper.

Song 176: Burt Bacharach & Elvis Costello, "Toledo." My husband informed me we own this on CD, but it's a pain to upload these, so I dropped 99 to get it. I like the song, especially the bit about the source of the city name and how blissfully unaware we are about the past that's evoked by a place (for example, I live down the block from a subdivision filled with palm trees called "Cambridge Forest"). I also love the hushed BB production--so soft focus.

Song 177: Koop, "Waltz for Koop." I swear I've heard this song before. It's one of those continental revival tunes--very lounge 60s. Think montage of Vegas or Monte Carlo signs with a lovely couple: she in a mega upswept coif and venetian gown; he in big bow tie, tight tux, shiny shoes. Very non-America and, yes, swirly!

Song 178: josh kramon, "Supernatural Supergirl." Really, really jangly guitar and a wah wah and harmonica to boot. Kinda Beck-y. Partially delivered through a megaphone, lots of vocal shifts and effects, heavy 70s feel. Fun summer song.

Song 179: Thrice, "Atlantic." Starts like an updated "Tubular Bells," then goes into a standard electronica-loop with lost boy vocals. Picks up after the opening but in a kind of standard way. Nothing particularly wrong about it. Easy listening for the aughts, I guess.

Song 180: Office, "Wound Up." This is new wave-y, retro pop. Lots of instruments--kind of overwhelm the vocals. Very percussive, including handclaps near the end.

185 to go.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Songs 161 to 170

Wow, long time no post. First, I had to put the wraps on a book chapter so that I could quickly fall behind on the next one. Then, I had to squirrel away in my garret to work on my first two dissertation chapters. And, somewhere in between, I had a vacation ruined by a tropical storm, had my refrigerator die and then be resurrected, planted an entire garden of hostas, started a morning walking ritual, kept the house clean, read Jancee Dunn's book (very, very satisfying!), read some article in the local paper about some odious new parent classification called grups (guess what guys, your kids are supposed to be cooler than you, don't try so hard), drove all over the state for various meetings, and continued to avoid my blood work. I'm certain there's more in there somewhere. Oh, yeah, I ordered a bundt pan in the shape of a sandcastle that I saw in Cookie magazine, and amazingly, the cake does come out exactly like a sandcastle. A huge hit around la casa! As is Supergroup. God luv ya, Bas! Also, I apparently owe the orange from television an apology. I am absolutely certain his friend's band is the perfect fit for some, just not me. (Gosh, now I sound like that Brit-guy from "So You Think You Can Dance" apologizing to that dishrag girl for saying she was like the Corpse Bride.) And, anyway, I've come to the sad realization that about 75 percent of all alterna-bands sound exactly alike, making it difficult to download anything without thinking, "Have I heard this already?"

If I have any dear readers and they have any dear suggestions for bands of note, I'll take them!

Song 161: New Edition, "Can You Stand the Rain." No, I'm not that desperate for songs; I was just hit with a major nostalgia for the NE boyz because this album was super big when I wrote my Master's Thesis--as were fades, which I see KW is attempting to bring back. It is a completely fantastic song, though, and one can actually buy the entire NE Heartbreak CD on iTunes for less than $7. From such great heights.

Song 162: Headlights Headlights, "Everyone Needs a Fence to Lean On." Slo-mo, emo initially, then it perks up a bit. Nice driving beat. It is true that "everybody's got their enemies," as I can testify! It ends downbeat again. Okay.

Song 163: Badly Drawn Boy, "Once Around the Block." Okay, I've heard about BDB (not BBD, fade out) for a while and avoided them for the too-cool factor. That name, so precious. But, this is a kick booty song. It's swirling and fun, life affirming! Good vocals, fore and aft, riding the wave. Nice scratchiness. Well done, BDB, I stand corrected. You are just cool enough.

Song 164: Broken Social Scene, "7/4 (Shoreline)." This is a bit too samey. I've heard these drums, this hum before. It has an interesting mix to the vocals and roughs up a little as it goes along. But, still, I feel I've heard this before. The loud to soft; the overall distortion. I have the sense it would be better to see this band live; it's probably some collective experience.

Song 165: Islands, "Rough Gem." Wow, the opening of this song sounds like a Prince song (If I Was Your Girlfriend, specifically) through a kiddie organ and drum kit. This is a peppy little number though I'm not sure the energy is served by the song itself, which is kinda all over the place (maybe this is intentional given the title--but it's a fine line between bathos and pathos). Much as with Prince these days, an editor would help.

Song 166: Busta Rhymes, "Touch It." As were all over-forty mothers of two who should be working on their dissertations, I was watching the BET awards last weekend and caught the one-off awesome performance of this song by Busta and his dozen friends (including Em, himself!) . This is an interesting piece; sometimes it sounds like old school Busta and then at times Panther-era LL. The chorus is definitely hypnotic. The song has about six remixes already. I went for the original version.

Song 167: Lil' Jon, "Snap Yo Fingers." I love Lil' Jon! He is so perfect a creation; plus, my son does a dead on LJ, sans dreads. This song absolutely fascinates me. It seems to reveal the minimalism of its composition so intentionally. As if Lil' Jon were daring himself to make a hit out of the lamest few notes possible and get all of us to krunk along. And, of course, he does. I lift my full-on white suburban mom goblet (that would be the Starbucks latte cup) to salute you, Lil Jon! (Fun fact--liljon.com takes one to a site of a port-a-potty manufacturer.)

Song 168: Kate Havnevik, "Sleepless." This is a beautiful song. She sounds a bit like an accessible Bjork, but this seems more a function of the song's arrangement than her voice. (Though the geography has a some kind of spooky influence, to be sure, on all those Iceland/Norway triangle folks.) The lyrics are more straightforward (no volchainos), and her voice is more upper register, no growling. But, it's clearly the voice of an adult--a break from all the little girl losts out there. Nice.

Song 169: Rachel Yamagata, "Be Be Your Love." Another grown-up woman song. Nice sense of longing, anger, and loss. The song almost leans forward into itself trying to reach something. It has a post-chanteuse feel.

Song 170: Asobi Seksu, "Thursday." Supposedly the next big thing, what with the coming of the Asian cultural revolution. (Hey, if that means I can look like Maggie and be lovingly photographed by Yimou Zhang, I'm all for it; if instead it means some Blade Runner-y thing, I'll pass). This is more like vintage shoe gaze with an upbeat march feel that's quite conducive to a number of 80s dances. Odd combo.

195 to go.