January 28, 2008

Monday Music Roundup

Well for pete’s sake. GO SEE U2 3D.

That was the absolute coolest thing since, well, since Captain E.O. (sorry MJ). I had a huge silly smile plastered across my face for at least the whole first song, barely able to breathe but not realizing I was holding my breath.

From superclose Bono yelling the opening count-off of Vertigo (in that creative Spanish), you feel like you’re inches from the real live sweating tiny mofo. You can see the limber flex and vibration of Adam Clayton’s bass strings as he plucks them, you can count the freckles on the Edge’s arms while he nails a killer solo. You hover over the stage like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, looking over Larry Mullen Jr’s shoulders while he beats out his robot-hybrid beats from an impossible vantage point. I almost felt like I would knock over the mike stand sometimes, or get hit in the face with Edge’s guitar (I wouldn’t mind). The gliding shots over the enthusiastic Latin-American crowds were also like something out of a flying dream. It was mindblowing in the childlike wonder it instilled in a whole audience at once.

You also get to wear extremely fashionable glasses that are worth at least five minutes of pre-show entertainment.

I know it must be expensive to everyone but U2 to make a movie like this, but with technology that lets Bono kneel on the side of the stage, draw in the air with his fingertip, and create a hovering light-trail image floating inches from your face, well heck . . . I wish every band I loved would do this so I could get closer than close for only $9.

Music this week!

Don’t Ever Do That Again
Golden Shoulders

There’s a snaking, crunchy opening riff that sucks you into this smart song from CA Gold-Rush-country band Golden Shoulders. Originally released in 2005, the Friendship Is Deep album is seeing the light of re-issue; when it first came out, British tastemaker Mojo magazine wrote that they were “grungy slackers catching up on ‘Rubber Soul’ pop.” The drawl in the delivery hearkens that for me, but I also hear a good echo of Fuel-favorite Cake (whose former drummer Todd Roper is featured on this album), and also that riff from that Weezer-side-project tune “American Girls.” It’s a pleasing mishmash of influences that sounds addictively fresh and ready for adventures.

The Hands

There’s something slightly off and unnerving in the melody and rhythm here from the Pacific Northwest band The Hands – just a half-second syncopated, or too fast. Either way, it feels like about seven cups of coffee in the morning (thank god I’m back on the stuff after my successful vegan detox week) — all jittery and yowling, but anchored by a more classic rockin’ feel with those Jaggeresque vocals. An exciting combination, I want to keep replaying the opening notes to figure out what’s going on there in those first thirty seconds. The self-titled album is out February 19th on Selector Sound, and wisely features, well, a hand on the front.

Dancing For No One
Hello Stranger

For a song released in 2006, this has a borderline guilty-pleasure tinge of sounding like something I would have liked in the ’80s, but better. Hello Stranger is a band from Los Angeles [previous post] fronted by tall red-boot-wearing Juliette Commagere and featuring Ry Cooder’s son Joachim. They sounds a little like Blondie, a little punk, and a lot like something that you want to sing along with. Indie film fans might recognize this song from the excellent and quirky Lars and The Real Girl. Hello Stranger has toured with Kings of Leon, Rooney, and looks like they’re opening some Foo Fighters shows in the coming weeks. Their 2006 self-titled album is out on Aeronaut Records, and they are currently back in the studio working on new material.

Be Not So Fearful (Bill Fay)
Jeff Tweedy

I remember hearing this song memorably used in the Wilco I Am Trying To Break Your Heart documentary and then having to seek out a live version of it for my collection. This is a cover of a folk song by British musician Bill Fay, and feels so perfect in its simplicity. It’s almost a benediction, this telling of “Be not so fearful, be not so pale / Someone watches you, you won’t leave the rails.” It’s heartening and lovely, one of my favorite acoustic Tweedy covers, something I’ve been listening to a lot lately.

Love Ya
Paloma Faith

I read about Londoner Paloma Faith on this blog while I was looking up SF show information, they mentioned she had “a Billie Holliday voice and a Betty Page look.” Retro is so hot right now — I can always dig more of this Amy Winehouse vibe, with less of the self-destruction. While on Paloma’s MySpace page I was also excited to see that she had a cameo in that other fantastic Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip video, “The Beat That My Heart Skipped.” Since I always like watching this dude rhyme, enunciate, and gesticulate (like he will be doing at Coachella!) watch Paloma shake her thing here:

[UK download]

BONUS MONDAY TIMEWASTER: Try the addictive Traveler IQ Challenge. I am on a mission to beat my somewhat shameful Level 6 (and my friend, who clearly must have cheated and got Level 12).


  • You might have mentioned that U2 in 3D was produced by National Geographic (my employer, tho’ I am a print dinosaur not a new, young multimedia guy). Seriously, great that you liked it. I am planning to see it soon myself; I get a discount as an NGS staffer.

    Greg — January 28, 2008 @ 2:27 pm

  • I just saw U23D on thursday at the smithsonian imax in DC. As a major U2 fan I can (still) safely say that they rule all things. It took every ounce of self control in me not to get up and start jumping up and down. It’s an amazing experience, and a great alternative for people who aren’t lucky enough to score tickets for their amazing live shows. Glad you enjoyed it too Heather!

    Honey — January 28, 2008 @ 2:51 pm

  • Ha! I love your 3D glasses. So big! I saw U23D here in Toronto, but my glasses were smaller, the budget variety. Worked fine, though. Awesome experience, great movie. Incidentally, IMAX is the most fun Canadian invention (next to Canadian peameal back bacon, of course).

    Anonymous — January 28, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

  • Thanks for the heads-up on U2. IMAX things seem to fly under my radar sometimes. It’s actually showing in this area for a few days, so maybe I’ll get a chance to see it next weekend.

    Also – digging Paloma!

    aikin — January 28, 2008 @ 7:03 pm

  • Agreed. U23D is one of the greatest things I’ve seen in awhile. When I saw them live, my seats were so horrible–so this kind of made up for it. Glad you enjoyed it as well, it was so great that even my non-U2 loving friends came out giddy and excited.

    nightninja56 — January 28, 2008 @ 8:34 pm

  • Heather, you have great taste in music – love the Jeff Tweedy song! After a hard day – ahh, this is the best!

    sirensong — January 29, 2008 @ 3:54 pm

  • how about a “fav. hair metal” blog?
    like..top 10 bands?

    SINEDDIE — January 29, 2008 @ 7:55 pm

  • Level 10, 362,082

    DY — January 29, 2008 @ 8:49 pm

  • I’m seeing it on Saturday! =

    jcroach — January 30, 2008 @ 11:27 am

  • I’m jealous. I don’t get to see it until it is released in England Feb 22nd. But, I am WAY excited!

    norabarnacle — January 30, 2008 @ 12:22 pm

  • Update: I sent a link to this post to our (NGS) intranet newsletter & they used it as part of National Geographic in the News. If you get a spike in readership from the DC area, thank me. ;–)

    Greg — January 31, 2008 @ 7:39 am

  • Paloma Faith sounds less like Billy Holiday to me and more like the excellent Shirley Bassey. Britian’s lucky to have them both.
    Listen yourself…

    Yon — January 31, 2008 @ 10:30 am

  • To really get the “full experience” it MUST be seen in IMAX. We saw it Wed at Smithsonian and it was better than being there live… because we would have been in the upper deck watching it all on the monitors!

    By the way, I love your blog.

    ian_kessler — February 1, 2008 @ 10:20 am

  • It was IMAX, ian, and it was so phenomenal!

    heather — February 1, 2008 @ 10:34 am

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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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