People, I tell you — this month is going to be the death of me. I can’t manage much banter, but I can offer you music.
No One’s Better Sake
I love songs where something is a little off-kilter – syncopated or otherwise, just to keep you a bit ajar. Little Joy is the new sideband of Fabrizio Moretti (perhaps my favorite Stroke because of his divine percussive gifts), and the beginning of this song sounds a bit like your car radio has been jarred loose from its dashboard moorings. In Puerto Rico. In 1967. The eponymous Little Joy debut is out November 4th on Rough Trade.
Caroline Says, Part II
I also love songs that bring you into them mid-thought, mid-scene. Songs are so ephemeral and short by nature that there’s usually no way you can tell a cohesive story, as you would in a novel (well, unless you’re maybe Josh Ritter but not many are). Lou Reed starts this song with Caroline getting up off the floor and finishing her sentence. She’s angry, and I would be too because she apparently wants him to stop hitting her. Fair enough, and a bit heartbreaking. This snapshot comes from the live re-recording of the entire 1973 album Berlin: Live At St. Ann’s Warehouse is out November 4th on Matador. When Berlin was first released, Rolling Stone reviewed it as one of “certain records so patently offensive that one wishes to take some kind of physical vengeance on the artists that perpetrate them…a distorted and degenerate demimonde of paranoia, schizophrenia, degradation, pill-induced violence and suicide.” Thirty years later, the magazine named it one of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Wild Sweet Orange
Their band name sounds like Celestial Seasonings, but this song from Birmingham’s Wild Sweet Orange is a lot more vibrant than a cup of tea. I think I first listened to this album upon reading ace-eared Bruce write that lead singer Preston Lovinggood –yes, that’s his real name– had a voice that was “just earnest enough to satisfy the needs of Grey’s Anatomyrock fans (listen to “Aretha’s Gold”) but also disaffected and lethargically-not caring enough for you indie-rockers (listen to the Malkmus-like “House of Regret”). We Have Cause To Be Uneasy is out now on Canvasback Music, and was produced by Mike McCarthy (Spoon). WSO is on tour with Counting Crows and Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s in the coming months.
Dear And The Headlights
This tune from Arizona band Dear And The Headlights is about our differences, those foibles that drive the ones who love us crazy. It starts with lines about being warm and naked, come to save each other, and (like it goes for many of us) the song progresses from well-thought out guitar chords to a sort of jangly angry cacophony with yelled lyrics like “I said oh God damn it, you’re so mean” by the end. The mood of the song is so perfect to soundtrack their argument, and the way he yells when he gets truly frustrated echoes the cracks in Conor Oberst’s vocals. Their album is called Drunk Like Bible Times (stream it here) with song titles fitting the album moniker, like “I’m Not Crying. You’re Not Crying, Are You?” That sounds about correct. Their next album is going to be called, And Verily Adam Lay With Eve, And The Lord Saw That It Was Good.
Done With Love
I missed the Jenny Lewis/Whispertown2000 show in Denver last week, but my friend Jake made it out to see the fair Rilo Kileyan and her new favorite band. He spent most of his time going jelly-kneed over Jenny (what can you expect from a blog called I’d Leave My Girlfriend For Jenny Lewis?), but he also enjoyed the “Cat Power vibe” and eighties-tastic denim shorts of these ladies, Morgan Nagler and Vanesa Corbala of Whispertown2000 (who also appear on Lewis’s new record). I saw WT2k open for She & Him at the Noise Pop fest in San Francisco in March, and they’ve got an alt-country vibe mixed with those doo-wop girl group harmonies. Their sophomore album Swim is due out October 21 on Acony Records.