Sunday, July 09, 2006

Songs 181 to 190

I just got back from a few days at a meeting in DC. It was in Dupont Circle, which I have to confess is one of my fav DC areas (and not just because of Kramerbooks). I like to wander around the embassies and neighborhoods with all the wonderful front gardens (lots of hostas!). And, I like all the little restaurants spilling over with life. In the few hours between my landing and walking into (no kidding) two 8 hours-straight days of meetings, I got to catch the renovated Phillips, such a lovely space, with the fabu Klee show and then a super cool Greek Isles embroidery exhibit at the Textile Museum. The latter particularly struck me, and I stood for some time thinking about the hours spent not just completing the embroidery but calculating how to get some seriously stunning visual effects with a simply needle and thread. I think the president went past my room twice. It was interesting to watch the serpentining SUVs from above. Being in airports and on planes also gave me a chance to catch up on my reading, so I finished Ishiguro's absolutely heartbreaking Never Let You Go (gosh that book has a fascinating narrator, so well done) and started Goodman's Kaaterskill Falls--which has been quick going and beautifully observed thus far (I'm coming to this only after reading Intuition, which I think did not get the press it deserved). Before leaving, I downloaded this weird iTunes compilation called "Indoor Picnic"--it was just $3.99. So, all of these songs come from that; I've never heard of any of these artists, so these are all first impressions.

Song 181: Abigail Washburn, "Fall on My Knees." Very O'Brother-y, but the pickin' feels a tad new age-y, too. That about says it.

Song 182: Trespassers William, "My Hands Up." Starts fairly ambiently; then it gets a Sundays-like vocal layered on. Pretty sweep to the music, but it's more background than foreground--and is long.

Song 183: Hem, "Not California." The name of the band reminds me of the secret Caruso-country in Heavenly Creatures. Pretty girl vocals over standard alterna-folk instrumentation. It has some nice harmonies that add to it and some anger. Quite listenable but a bit formulaic.

Song 184: Venus Hum, "Pink Champagne." Art school electronica that's a little robotic and seems to have some kind of pretension to hip-hopishness. Lots (wait, LOTS) of sounds, but this kind of song was a lot better sans-electro in the Waitresses days.

Song 185: Kirsty Hawkshaw, "Reach for Me." Brit-girl alterna-pop. Catchy and full-on radio friendly without being Natasha Beddingfield (thank god).

Song 186: Be Good Tanyas, "Scattered Leaves." Super cool name, less cool song. Like a lower register trio of Melody-s. Too earnest and warbly for me. Canadian.

Song 187: Griffin House, "The Guy that Says Goodbye to You is Out of His Mind." Super cool song name. Very folky in the 70s sense. Has a nice nostalgic feeling (kinda "It Ain't You Babe" vibe). Also, you've got to read his website bio. I believe this is completely serious. And, the minute I read that Bill Flanagan loved him, it all made sense.

Song 188: Leigh Nash, "Angel Tonight." Poppy girl vocal number. I think I've heard this before--maybe on a show or romantic tv movie or something. Fairly by the numbers but pleasant. Oh, okay, I just visited the website and this is the chick who used to lead Sixpence None the Richer. That's why it sounds familiar.

Song 189: Adrienne Pierce, "Arizona." The instrumentation has a weird ominous tone to it that doesn't quite match the vocals, which are fairly derivative of about a million other girly girl singers. Apparently she's both like an Arizona desert and the Hoover dam. I get that all the time.

Song 190: Old Crow Medicine Show, "Down Home Girl." This is related neither to the fantastic album by the Dream Syndicate nor to Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. Still, it's a bit entertaining. Vaguely Dylan-esque vocals with a harmonica emphasis. Certainly different from all the MOR emo out there, I'll give them that.

175 to go (over half way home!!!)