June 12, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

What a wonderful soccer-filled weekend. I love the simplicity, the urgency, the grace & beauty of the sport. The luck of the Irish (or something!) was with me this weekend because I did (mostly) well on my predictions and am tied for first place with a couple other “music lovin’ mofos” in our bloggers’ World Cup pool. Woo hoo!

Here is a linguistic/soccer-related question that occured to me this weekend during the Angola vs. Portugal game. Perhaps one of my global readers can enlighten my ignorance. I kept hearing the announcer mention the Portuguese team “Benfica.” It caught my ear because it sounds like a bit of racy slang in italiano (‘fica’ means fig, and is also slang for a, uh, certain part of the female anatomy. Ben, short for bene, meaning good). So what gives with the word “benfica”?! I know it must not mean the same thing in Portuguese, but how widespread was the jesting in Italy when ex-Fiorentina coach Trapattoni became the coach in 2004 of benfica? Anyone?

Or is it just my pathetic Italian-as-a-second-language misunderstanding, and I am embarassing myself? Wouldn’t be the first time.

Enough of that nonsense, here’s some tunes.

Cemetery Song
Jon Auer
This has got to be the peppiest pop-song-about-a-dead-person ever penned. From former Posies member Jon Auer‘s fine outing Songs From The Year Of Our Demise (available on eMusic), the harmony-laden Beatles-esque sound fits in among 15 tracks Auer wrote for this themed-album, all written about the loss of a friend and the facets of grief. Despite the subject matter, this low-key album is surprisingly not depressing. Check out the free single (“Six Feet Under”) on label Pattern 25′s website, and buy the album on eMusic.

So Hard To Find My Way
Jackie Greene
A fantastic upbeat, retro-sounding tune combining piano, banjo, and Memphis horns. From his new CD American Myth, Jackie is delving into more poppy arrangements than the harmonica-folk of his previous efforts, but it sounds good to me. I really like this chap and think we will be hearing a lot more from him.
(PS – Did you download that Esthero/Sean Lennon duet “Everyday Is A Holiday” a few months back? I swear this song is its musical twin).


Universal Frequencies
His Name Is Alive
Wow, it must be the summery weather, but this week’s music roundup is shaping up to be a string of ’60s pop sound tributes. This lovely offering, as will become apparent in about thirty seconds to whomever listens to it, is a complete and straight-up homage to the Beach Boys (notably, Good Vibrations & the whole Pet Sounds album). His Name Is Alive admits to listening to Pet Sounds incessantly during the writing & recording of their 1996 album Stars on ESP, from which this comes. It’s fun and kind of trips you out to hear something that could pass so smoothly for the Beach Boys, but with the addition of a female voice to the layered harmonies. Another eMusic find.

Wait(Beatles cover)
Ben Kweller
Let’s just keep the momentum going with more Beatles. See, all these songs thus far are the perfect accompaniment to some strollin’ in the sunshine. No better music for that kind of business than the Fab Four, eh? Ben Kweller was born to sing retro pop confections, and this is a feel-good cover from the Razor & Tie 40th anniversary tribute album to Rubber Soul (This Bird Has Flown, 2005). If you don’t have the album, buy it on eMusic — it’s also got some sweet tracks by Ben Harper, Ben Lee (it’s a Ben bonanza!) The Donnas, Ted Leo, and Sufjan Stevens.

Into Oblivion
Lisa Germano

And here’s the exception to the blissfully happy lineup of songs so far this week. I’ve heard of Lisa Germano in connection with Eels, but over the years she has also worked with David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Johnny Marr, U2, Sheryl Crow, and John Mellencamp. From her latest solo effort In The Maybe World (July 18, Young God Records), this song is tailor-made for a sleep mix. Lisa’s lushly rich vocals fronting the best song Sigur Ros never wrote. Close your eyes and picture; a piano underwater, laying on your back floating on an iceberg, walking through a dark forest at 3am. Sonic bliss.

Off to catch some of the Italy v. Ghana game. Forza azzurri!

9 Comments »

  • Benfica doesn’t mean anything in Portuguese, it is the name of the club.
    If you separate the words, the meaning is something like “stay well”
    (bem = well; fica = to stay)

    But no, this Italian slang does not apply in that case.

    (I’m from Brazil, so maybe someone from Portugal can add something ot that)

    Dri — June 12, 2006 @ 2:10 pm

  • Beatles cover (and other great covers) worth checking out on this compilation by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs), Under the Covers

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000EQ5QFE/103-5482322-2400630?v=glance&n=5174

    Dexter — June 12, 2006 @ 4:17 pm

  • I’m from Portugal, and you pretty much said it all, dri. I can only add that the name of the club came from the name of the region of Lisbon where it was initially formed.

    Anonymous — June 12, 2006 @ 4:48 pm

  • Well, we’ve got the Portuguese viewpoint covered. How ’bout an Italian who can tell me if that humor translates at all? Does it make jr. high boys chuckle? That seems to be my level of humor lately.

    SERIOUSLY, Heather.

    heather — June 12, 2006 @ 4:51 pm

  • Into Oblivion is very dreamy. It reminds me of that Badimenti (sp) stuff from the “Twin Peaks” soundtracks in the 90s.

    Keep up the new finds.

    Anonymous — June 14, 2006 @ 7:00 pm

  • Thanks for the Jon Auer post. By the
    way, regardless of what you hear, even
    if directly from the band, the Posies are
    not broken up. Jon & Ken are both
    involved with Big Star, the Posies, and
    other side projects as well as their solo
    careers. The Posies have toured once or
    twice this year already.

    cheers

    Anonymous — June 14, 2006 @ 9:15 pm

  • Thanks for the Jon Auer post. By the
    way, regardless of what you hear, even
    if directly from the band, the Posies are
    not broken up. Jon & Ken are both
    involved with Big Star, the Posies, and
    other side projects as well as their solo
    careers. The Posies have toured once or
    twice this year already.

    cheers

    Anonymous — June 14, 2006 @ 9:16 pm

  • Vis-vis “Cemetery Song” by Jon Auer, the Minus 5 have a great song “Cemetery Row,” which is sung by the Decemberist’s Colin Meloy. It could vie for the top of the pop honour. And Robyn Hitchcock had a great tune “My Wife and my Dead Wife” in the mid 90′s.

    But I digress.

    Nooshaji — June 15, 2006 @ 9:28 pm

  • I thought Jon Auer’s album was about break-ups, not death – the divorce from his first wife, the end of The Posies…

    The Posies are very much together again, by the way.

    http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/music/article/0,1426,MCA_505_4776863,00.html

    Anonymous — June 16, 2006 @ 3:22 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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