January 21, 2008

Monday Music Roundup

I was talking on the phone Saturday morning when my Dad came into the house, left a small box on the desk, kissed me on top the head, and left. Look! It’s my new iPod in-ear headphones, a really-belated birthday gift.

It gives me three options for in-ear adapters, small, medium, and large. This is something that has never occurred to me, to wonder what size ear holes I have. It’s a whole new level of self-awareness that I had not previously been familiar with. What if I had really tiny ear holes? (I don’t, I’m medium). Or what if large weren’t big enough for my gaping ear caverns and I needed to special-order an extra large pair, or adapt them with cotton balls or something? These are the things that flit through my mind while I explored the tidy streamlined white case. Anyways. I am so happy with the soft and snug fit, and the sound (better than the one-ear buzz in the standard-issue pair I’ve been living with for months now). I am a happy, medium-eared camper.

Tunes for the week:

Xavier Rudd

This in one talented Aussie. I saw Xavier Rudd Saturday night at the Gothic Theatre and he’s a burning one-man-band (although he has added a drummer for this tour). Xavier has an earthy, rootsy, world music vibe to him, with a rock and wail comparable to Ben Harper. His stage set-up is hard to describe, involving lots of percussive instruments, three digeridoos, and a lap slide guitar all clustered within his reach. When he played Jimmy Kimmel a few weeks ago, he had fewer instruments, but definitely watch the video to see how he operates. Impressive. When the intro to this song ended and the mustachioed dude with the aviator sunglasses hit it with the driving beat, the entire crowd seemed to start jumping in unison. I got whapped in the face with some gal’s gnarly dreadlock, it was that kind of crowd. Xavier is currently working on the score for the Summer 2008 film Surfer Dude, and his 4th album White Moth is out now on Anti-.

Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

I have this tendency to think of Nick Cave as this very baroque, moody musician with sweetly sweeping songs like Ship Song (okay, fine, it comes to mind because PJ covered it). But then I recall last year’s snarl and blues of side-project Grinderman (“No Pussy Blues”), and the danceable apocalypse of this video makes sense. This song knocked me off my feet; it’s the first tune off his new album of the same name (mixed by Nick Launay – Arcade Fire, new Supergrass, Grinderman). You must also watch this video as well, if only to see the moustache and the completely unselfconscious dancing. Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! will be out on April 8th in the U.S. on Anti-

Breathless (Nick Cave cover)
Cat Power

Speaking of the versatility of Nick Cave, I was pleased to find this cover amongst the bonus tracks for the new Cat Power covers album Jukebox, which is out now on Matador. Cat’s version has less meandering on the fife, and more smoldering longing. As is her trademark, she takes a rather peppy little original number and dresses it up like midnight, all reverb and honeyed whispers. It becomes a different song, almost. I love what she does.

Lay Back Down
Eric Lindell

A little bit of lazy, late summertime soul feels nice right around now. Eric Lindell was born in San Mateo, CA and wound up in New Orleans, where he studied the music, garnered respect, and laid down this second studio album at the famed Piety Street Studios. Low On Cash, Rich In Love (out last week on Alligator Records) has the sweet ache of Van Morrison with that blue-eyed soul groove and the lithe vocals, and channels elements of R&B and Memphis brass bands.

Plus, he also looks a little like K-Fed on his album cover, which clearly is all the more reason to buy this one.

Sing Again
Chris Walla

The guitarist/producer for Death Cab For Cutie Chris Walla releases his first solo album Field Manual through Barsuk Records next week. I think everyone was kind of expecting that it wouldn’t stray too far from the DCFC aesthetic but I find it to be a unique and varied album that stands up well on its own. This song is crisp and catchy, the beat gets my toes tapping. There’s also some unexpected squaks of dissonance just to keep things fresh, and a what-just-happened drop off ending. Elegant and interesting.

And yep: It’s on.


  • LOVING the Eric Lindell track! Never heard of him, off to find more of his stuff now. Thanks!

    Agnes at It All Started — January 21, 2008 @ 9:20 pm

  • Heather -

    I really like “DLD” and can’t wait for the release of the full album. Had the pleasure of seeing Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds back in 2002. That show is in my top 3 concerts of all time (along w/Pearl Jam in 1995 with the Ramones opening). Let’s hope they tour the states this year.

    - Neil

    Anonymous — January 21, 2008 @ 9:27 pm

  • H-

    well, i guess ya answered my email about the headphones! thanks for the info, but im still thinking about picking up the earbuds from BOSE. What is the audio range for the ones you got?


    Anonymous — January 21, 2008 @ 11:13 pm

  • I was streaming the new Cat Power record before I downloaded it this morning. It is another great release by Chan Marshall.

    Dynamic Meter — January 22, 2008 @ 8:18 am

  • I was wondering when we’d hear from you about Eric Lindell’s new album! I think he’s livin in Nashville now. Agnes – get his other album, Change in the Weather. I prefer this picture http://www.ericlindellband.com/bioFrame.htm

    aims — January 22, 2008 @ 10:33 am

  • I reviewed “White Moth” earlier this month. I think it’s Xavier’s best record yet. And yeah, he’s quite the live performer. :)

    muruch — January 22, 2008 @ 10:39 am

  • You wanna be getting rid of those Apple ones and getting yourself a pair of Sennheiser (in white or black). They’re by far the best I’ve got and I include some very expensive (and dreadfully over-rated) Shure and Etymotic ones. Can’t remember the code for the Sennheiser, but the Apple Store has them to order.

    Steve — January 22, 2008 @ 10:46 am

  • I also love the Sennheiser buds!
    the sales kid talked me out of the more expensive Bose buds
    ( I also had weird thoughts about ear sizes) the small fits me the best. Oh and how is the cleansing thing going?

    Cheers Harb

    Anonymous — January 22, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

  • Aims – thanks a lot for the tip, will check it out!

    Agnes — January 24, 2008 @ 8:29 pm

  • I love Cat Power. Seen her a bunch of times, most recently here at The Fillmore in SF.
    But oh, god, does she take the breath out of “Breathless.”
    Enough of the slow tempo somber bullsh#t, Chan. We get it.

    Ted — January 24, 2008 @ 9:11 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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