Porca miseria! (That means pig misery. That’s also exemplary of the reasons why Italian profanity is one of my interests). Italy lost to Spain yesterday in the Euro 2008 quarterfinals, despite the loudest cheers of my small viewing contingent. It’s always agonizing and ultimately a bit unfulfilling to see big games come to penalty kicks, but Spain played exceptionally well and I can’t begrudge them. Much.
And if you care not for soccer, you can walk away from that last paragraph with (at minimum) a great new Italian curse, suitable for work and use around your grandma. Pig misery!
Music this week –
Last time we heard from addictively delicious Los Angeles foursome The Broken West, they were topping all kinds of best-of lists in 2007 (including mine) with their album I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On. The good news this week for fans of intelligent, robust, catchy-as-hell pop is that they are at it again. I absolutely love this song already, from the opening notes about spilling our ice cubes on the lawn, and the underlying sadness that subtly gnaws through the layers of memorable melody that I’ve been humming all day. Now or Heaven is due in September on Merge Records. [image from their recording sessions]
The Ground That We Stand On
I got an important-looking courier package from Luxembourg this weekend, with Cartier listed as the sender. Diamonds? An exquisite watch? Nay — instead of fancy jewelry, Cartier has lavished an eclectic sampler CD of music upon me. Heck, why not. They have a new campaign/website/charity thing called “How Far Would You Go For Love?” (second base?). Other contributing artists with original tunes include folks like Lou Reed, Grand National, Phoenix, Marion Cotillard (who won an Oscar for her role as Edith Piaf), and this Canadian artist Hawksley Workman. I’d never heard of him before but this was surprisingly my immediate favorite track on the comp, with a warm voice like Sea-Change Beck and wistful autumnal lyrics. Listen to this tune, like it, and then go download the other songs (for free!!) at Cartier’s site.
Peace Like A River
(Paul Simon cover)
The folks over at Daytrotter recently posted a top-notch session with Spoon, and as those Daytrotter guys are so good at doing, they enticed Britt Daniel and Co to play a little gem of a rarity for us — this time in the form of a sandpapered Paul Simon cover. Spoon often has such a cinematic, evocative quality to everything they lay hands upon. Here they take a tune which originally ebbs with Paul Simon’s smoothness wafting in the air tonight, and push it a bit more ragged and on-the-edge, making the song simmer with a touch of pounding mania. As for an album link, how about the new reissue of Spoon’s 1998 album A Series of Sneaks on 180-gram vinyl? Yeah.
Divine Hammer (Breeders cover)
Kim Deal is the bass player for The Pixies, and co-founder of The Breeders with her twin sister Kelley Deal and Throwing Muses guitarist Tanya Donelly. Deal is a formidable musical force whose creativity and innovative songwriting spirit is celebrated on a new tribute album from the excellent little American Laundromat Records. Songs of Deal’s from her time with The Breeders and The Amps are covered by a wide variety of backyard indie bands of all stripes (The Modifiers are from Boston, but the rest of the featured bands are from all over). The liner notes are by Donelly, and the whole thing was mastered by Sean Glonek (who’s worked with her ex, Frank Black). Gigantic is available now for your rocking out this summer, and if you order it from the label, they promise to ply you with “buttons, stickers, and other goodies with each order.” I can vouch for their largesse.
Play Your Part (Pt. 1)
An ambush addition to this week’s roundup, Gregg Gillis (aka Girl Talk) popped in out of nowhere last week with a brand new album of schizophrenic, mile-a-minute sampling. Feed The Animals is out on his Illegal Art imprint and is another pay-what-you-want deal (but if you pay $0.00 you have to explai yourself, apparently). So come on – this song samples Temple of the Dog, Sinead O’Connor AND UGK’s “International Player’s Anthem”?! It’s akin to the way my brain plays music snippets all right on top of one another when I flip through a really eclectic jukebox in a bar after drinking a few. It feels like that; disorienting but so nice. Girl Talk hits Colorado July 11th at the Fox Theatre in Boulder (for what is sure to be an insane show), and the album will see a physical release on 9/23.
[top image obv credit Getty Images]