Friday, August 10, 2007

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Songs 325 to 334

Whew, I'm in the final stretch I think. Before I turn to cleaning the kitchen, I thought I'd knock out some more tunes. If I could do a pictogram of my life at this point, it would be the words mommy as giant parentheses enclosing a FOIL math equation involving working, writing, cleaning, and worrying about every other word I've left out. Theoretically, I'll have two mega-projects off my plate this term (PhD and textbook), and if I can just prevent any more people in my life from dying, quitting, assigning me more duties, and/or flaking out, I'll be okay. Deep breath and onward . . . my mantra: "The Golden Globes are on Monday, The Golden Globes are on Monday."

Song 325: Shiny Toy Guns, "Le Disko." This was free. It is truly worth everything I paid for it. Really angry dance noise. If Garbage had been a retro synth-powered lounge band, it would have been this. Cold and confusing.

Song 326: The Tender Box, "Mister Sister." Again, free download. Wouldn't it have been cool if this had been a tribute song to Mister Mister? It isn't.

Song 327: Gillian Welch, "The Revelator." I don't actually own anything by Ms. Welch, likely because she reminds me of too many girls I went to grad school with. This is a pretty song. Very stark, spare, and ominous, long prairie road stuff--with some messed up guitar spelling trouble toward the end.

Song 328: John Mayer, "Waiting on the World to Change." God, I hope he's not really dating Jessica Simpson. He was on The Chapelle Show with ?uestlove and did his own special with Trickdaddy. This is a nice MOR/AOR song; John Mayer, the white Bill Withers.

Song 329: The Game, "Doctor's Advocate." How can anyone not like rap music? The back story on each of these guys and their love/hate, telenovela relationships with their mentors and proteges alone should keep you coming back. So, this one is the Game's "just one more drink" chronicle of his completely dysfunctional relationship with Dr. Chronic himself. Just give him one more chance, Dre, "when [you] say it's a rap, it's a rap." (I need a The ___ name!)

Song 330: Outkast, "Morris Brown." I know, another Outkast song. Still, ever since "Tusk," I'm a sucker for pop music that finds room for marching bands (this time it's MBC, not USC). Grab your cymbals and join in the drumline!

Song 331: The Cinematic Orchestra, "Durian." This is cinematic. A British kinda-jazz outfit that has a trippy feel. Lean back and delve in. At about five minutes, this seems to become a completely different song.

Song 332: Talib Kweli, "Listen." Rap with jazz flute. This is the Afro-centric stream of rap as opposed to the bling and Cris one. He has a strong voice, but this particular song doesn't stand out much from the general genre.

Song 333: The Black Angels, "Better Off Alone." Like, it's totally Jim Morrison if the Doors had been backed by a Native American drum circle (who also represented death). Either that, or the Cult changed its name.

Song 334: . . . And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, "How Near, How Far." This kind of rock-pop makes me tired. It tries so hard, has so many sounds, keeps running so fast. It's funny, on their website is a little ornament that suddenly brought it all together for me. It reminded me of those Journey scarabs. This is the modern Journey rock.

31 to go.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Songs 315 to 324

As I sit here this morning drinking heated orange juice--my favorite cold cure--while starting to feel the odd effects of the meds I'm on for an equally odd laryngitis I developed, I thought I'd whittle some more on the blog. Everyone's still sleeping, so let's see how much I can accomplish before being forced to watch "Horseland."

Song 315: Danielson, "Did I Step On Your Trumpet." Song has a novelty-ish feel, very intentionally quirky. Apparently this band started as an art school thesis (big, flashing warning lights should be inserted here).

Song 316: Green Day & U2, "The Saints Are Coming." I first saw U2 when they opened for the J. Geils Band (yes, dear readers, I'm old) and stopped listening to them years ago around the time Bono started wearing those post-Onos. I do like Green Day quite a bit, though. Still, this collaboration seems to bring out the worst in GD and underscores why I stopped listening to U2.

Song 317: Shelby Lynne, "Where Am I Now." Shelby Lynne, at her best, cannot be beat for a lived-in, too-knowing, sad-weary-sexy delivery; and, this is a great example. Beautifully stripped down initially, it builds nicely with a lonely echoing track.

Song 318: Iron & Wine, "Each Coming Night." Turns out I already reviewed an Iron & Wine song but forgot. Still, I did buy this. Very spare, with a retro 70s folk vibe. This would make a nice hip-parent lullaby track.

Song 319: Nick Drake, "Pink Moon." I've liked this song since it was in a VW ad years back. Another possibility for hip-parents. Mellow wanderings.

Song 320: Nara Leao, "Meditacao." Classic Brazilian lounge pop. Fantastic dinner/brunch music or just brain drifting music. I could listen to music like this all day sometimes; it just wraps you like a perfect blanket, deflecting the world.

Song 321: Blackfield, "Hello." Modern prog rock from the dales of England and Israel (?!) with a nice touch of Oasis to keep it from being to fairy/hobbit/twee. I like it. Keep those drum fills coming. Has an odd bit of silence at the end. Maybe it's a moment of reflection?

Song 322: Porcupine Tree, "Lazarus." This is the initial band of one of the guys in Blackfield--again prog rock. Very pretty prog rock, but because of the song's length (see genre), it gets a bit repetitive. Still, it is nice to see something that takes all those emo sentiments, plunks them in a new setting, and surrounds them with arena-ready drum fills.

Song 323: Switchfoot, "Faust, Midas, and Myself." It's "The Devil Went Down to San Diego"! I like this song; it opens up well and tells a narrative that's a sliver away from being a Tenacious D song but never crosses that line because of an honest sense of urgency. Cool.

Song 324: Amos Lee, "Colors." Folk music for the Norah Jones/"Grey's Anatomy" demographic (look, dear readers, I'm right there wit ya). Lovely voice, pretty tune.

41 to go.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Songs 302 to 314

Right, then. I'm back from some laundry folding and watching 49Up to try to finish up my purchased songs while my veggies roast for soup. It's a very grey day. Perfect for soup, baguettes, and house cleaning.

Song 302: Eberg, "Inside Your Head." Electronica with an initial beat that sounds Bjork-y. I know I know this song from a tv show or movie commercial. Female vocals mixed high, male mixed low. Sinks into the background fairly quickly.

Song 303: Esthero & Cee Lo Green, "Gone." This is the Cee Lo from Gnarls Barkley. It's a nice MOR ballad. She has a good lyrical flow and the chorus is hit nicely. The rap add-on is okay but seems layered too much on the surface.

Song 304: Field Music, "It's Not the Only Way to Feel Happy." The song takes a bit of time to get started. The instrumentation is interesting, but everything is mixed a bit close together so that it's too muddy. In quilting, you need to avoid making all your fabrics midtones, otherwise the pattern disappears; likely, the same is true in music.

Song 305: Guster, "Backyard." Pretty song. The lead singer's voice has a nice lilt that doesn't veer to the precious plaintive that so common with kids these days. Complex instrumentation, too.

Song 306: Kendall Payne, "Scratch." This song was playing on my iPod as I sat in my in-law's kitchen putting together my daughter's birthday Barbie's Real House, and it almost made me cry. Apparently, she's a Christian artist without a record deal and with a surprising number of photos of her puppy on her website, but I won't hold that against her.

Song 307: Masha Qrella, "Destination Vertical." More electronica with a scratchy sound and undermixed girl vocals. Again, good background music.

Song 308: MoZella, "You Wanted It." Sounds a bit like Corrinne Bailey Rae's musical cousin; there's a lot of this stuff out now. It's not bad, just pleasant and flows all together into one big Gap/Starbucks/West Elm soundtrack.

Song 309: Richard Ashcroft, "Music is Power." This song is so British. Not a judgment, just an observation.

Song 310: Sam Roberts Band, "Bridge to Nowhere." Again, I know I've heard this in a show somewhere. Fits in the new folky vein. Nice open voice. Nice description of my life. Canadian with album art by a guy who also can do your panel van.

Song 311: Sylvie Lewis, "By Heart." Very spare song, perfect for Grey's Anatomy. She has a fine but not remarkable voice; it has a certain depth to it, which is good.

Song 312: Tigarah, "Japanese Queen." A Gwen-a-like . . . the Harajuku girls take their revenge and it sounds pretty darn interesting. Japanese world music. I'd listen to more of this.

Song 313: TV On The Radio, "Wolf Like Me." Lots of ominous sounds; low-fi reverb with a good driving beat. This is a very hype-y band, but this sound justifies interest. I'd prefer the song without the break in the middle though; that seems a bit too.

Song 314: Peaches, "Do Ya." Grrl rockin empowerment that seems a bit tired what with the tamborines and all. And, who called for the synth break?

51 to go.

Songs 294 to 301

Admittedly, this has taken me more than a year, but by the end of this post, I will have downloaded and reviewed over 300 songs by almost as many artists--most of which I never heard of before coughing up 99 for their music. (And, most of which, I will never hear of again!) I'll keep going until I hit the magic 365 mark--so here are some more entries, fueled by a generous dose of Starbucks' holiday blend and a peanut butter cinnamon raisin bagel, the breakfast of iPod champions.

Song 294: Laura Veirs, "Rapture." Lyrical singer/songwriter stuff. The delivery is nice and sparse--not little girl lost as so much of this seems to be. There's a choir element to her singing that's nice. The lyrics are interesting as well.

Song 295: Spoon, "The Way We Get By." One thing I've learned this year is that the OC may be an awful show, but it features fabu music. This is from the OC Mix 1 and is a solid rock of today song. Nice use of piano and cymbal work. Kind of like Ben Folds for the young people (rather than Ben Folds for the really, really young people, which follows below). Good song.

Song 296: Catherine Feeny, "Mr. Blue." This is one of those girl singer/songwriter songs that sounds like many, many others. It's not bad; it's just the same. Who signs these people? I can't believe the market supports all of them. She is British, maybe that makes a difference.

Song 297: Si*Se, "The Truth." Starbucks-friendly world music with an electronicity feel. If Shakira had a moody cousin, she would be singing for Si*Se (which is too difficult to type to make this music worth listening to. Phoney diacritics are so last year!)

Song 298: The American Analog Set, "Cool Kids Keep." This song is a love child of "Kids in America," "I Don't Like Mondays," and "Jeremy" with a lovely low-fi hum. Spooky and ominous. I like it!

Song 299: Ben Folds & William Shatner, "Rockin the Suburbs (Over the Hedge Version)." Like most parents of children a certain age, I now spend at least one weekend a month at the movies watching yet another CGI-animation fest--most of which are full-on awful but which the kids, as kids, like anyway. Over the Hedge was actually pretty good, and during it, I kept thinking--I know who's singing here, who is it? It's the five-less Ben Folds. Fun music, and Shatner is always gold, people. (Though seriously, Ben, wash the hair every once in a while. Even McConaughey has trouble rockin that look.)

Song 300: Athlete, "Tourist." Very emo.

Song 301: Band of Horses, "Great Salt Lake." Vocals have been recorded in another state than the music, apparently, which gives this a nice distancing sound. There seems to be a resurgence of a kind of anthemic, postemo power ballad. This is one of those. See, it all comes back.

64 to go.