June 27, 2006

Is any song better with a little bit of Chris Martin?

It finally broke. I’ve been looking for this one, a song Martin “conjured out of nowhere” in the studio for Furtado’s latest album:

All Good Things- Nelly Furtado feat. Chris Martin

History of this blocked release is here. Get it while it’s hot.

May 30, 2006

“Monday” Music Roundup, holiday edition

Good morning, champs. Did everyone (in countries where they celebrate Memorial Day, i.e. the U-S-of-A) have a nice long weekend? Sunburns, BBQ-overdose, and hangovers? Check. Plus, Brad and Angelina had their new little girl (name translated means “New Messiah” – sign of the endtimes?) so, you know, I can breathe easier now. And maybe now I can schedule that trip to Namibia without needing written permission from them. Gotta love when rich Western celebrities are allowed to buy off the immigration officials in poor developing nations. It’s just so comforting.

Here are five songs that I rocked repeatedly on my recent California trip. By the way, I managed to squeeze in one more In’N'Out meal, bringing the total to two of the world’s best burgers in 3 days. Can you hear my arteries screaming?

Pink Steam
Sonic Youth
Nobody sounds exactly like Sonic Youth. They have a unique free-form sound all unto themselves that remains consistent (but fresh) over 25 years and more than a dozen releases. I am really, really liking this song (off their new album Rather Ripped, due June 13) for reasons I can’t completely articulate. Something about the volatile combination between the brooding heavy undertones and the harmonic accent notes, the fact that it is mostly instrumental, and the driving drumbeat. It is the perfect accompaniment to driving along a dark and winding California highway, looking at the crescent moon.

Move By Yourself
Donavon Frankenreiter
This is an enjoyable summer tune, a sonic hybrid reminiscent of the Isley Brothers and Jack Johnson getting down together. The opening minute is pretty smokin’ and the new album is more of a funk-groove manifesto than the laid-back surf sounds of his first disc. From Frankenreiter‘s upcoming sophomore release Move By Yourself (out June 6 on Lost Highway Records).

Broader a New Sound
Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory
My eye was first drawn to this single because of Devendra Banhart’s involvement with it (he covers one of their songs called The Seed/La Semilla as a b-side here). But in the process I was introduced to a new artist. Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory is a L.A.-based trio who has come out with a light and lively combination of toe-tapping trip-hop and summery folk music here, with slightly off-kilter Shins-eqsue vocals. Quirky and radio-friendly.

Where is My Boy?
Faultline (featuring Chris Martin)
c featured this song over at her blog, Scatter O’Light last week and I am loving it, the layered and fuzzy-dark feel. I have decided that for some reason, I apparently like Martin much better on guest vocals than as part of Coldplay. This is like the third guest vocal I’ve featured by him. He has such an emotive wail. From Faultline’s 2004 disc Your Love Means Everything.

Michael Stipe
If I had to pick my three top vocalists EVER, Michael Stipe would be in that top triumvirate. He is unparalleled in sexy velvety smoothness, I could listen to him sing-talk all day (“Belong” is one of my favorite R.E.M. tunes for that reason). And then when he breaks into that naked and vulnerable falsetto, nothing compares. This is a mysterious Serge Gainsbourg tale, from the album of covers Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited, featuring everyone from Stipe to Cat Power to Marianne Faithfull to Jarvis Cocker and more. I love it. Check out that uber-smarmy album cover. If he doesn’t give you the Old-Man-Heeby-Jeebies, I don’t know what will.

May 16, 2006

Ron Sexsmith & Chris Martin

Thanks to Mike over at Sweet Static, I’ve got this lovely track to share with y’all:

Recently Chris Martin of Coldplay was forbidden again (by his label EMI) to release a track which he has supplied guest vocals on (this time with Nelly Furtado, previously with Mike Skinner & The Streets), after it was previewed for journalists and everything.

But back in 2002, he did supply some really lovely vocals on the closing track of roots/pop artist Ron Sexsmith‘s album Cobblestone Runway. I was laughing with Mike about how I had never given Sexsmith a listen, perhaps in part due to his last name which sounds a bit Gary Glitter-esque to me. Mike admitted that he had gotten teased a few times for wearing the t-shirt.

I say just tell people that it is your craft. Others may be woodsmiths, or metalsmiths. There’s someone out there who can call himself a Sexsmith, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Gold In Them Hills” (original version) – Ron Sexsmith

Gold In Them Hills” (remix version, featuring Chris Martin) – Ron Sexsmith

Wow, was I missing out not listening to this guy! How gorgeous is that song? Piano, lush strings, and a beautiful melody. He’s all over eMusic, I might have to spend some time with that.

BONUS: New song from Ron’s upcoming album Time Being, released this week in Europe & Canada, later in the States/Australia -

All In Good Time” – Ron Sexsmith

April 6, 2006

Dry Your Eyes (Skinner v. Martin)

Thanks to my favorite music tipster, I went on a quest yesterday to find a rare version of a song from The Streets that is one of Mike Skinner’s most personal (and pretty) songs ever, now made even better.

“Dry Your Eyes” was featured on A Grand Don’t Come For Free, but the specific version I was seeking featured Chris Martin from Coldplay providing the vocals for the hook. The result of the joint effort is a song makes me feel like something is broken inside; the strings eviscerate me.

It’s got all the torrid music industry controversy, which makes it hard to find: Martin’s label didn’t want him guesting, so the track was yanked after a very brief window of radio play, and now it’s off the record and very hush hush:

Dry Your Eyes (featuring Chris Martin)” – The Streets

Huge thanks to Ben at the Work For It blog, who was the actual quester who sought this out and was so kind to provide it to me. Check out his musical musings.

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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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