November 29, 2006

Odds & ends

I love you, Colorado. But I’ve decided you are a wuss.

There is (a beautiful and powdery) 3 inches of snow on the ground this morning, tops. And it’s a snow day. I say everyone should get some snowshoes and 4-wheel-drive, and life should continue as normal. Thank you.

In the shutdown interim, here are a few odds & ends that are entertaining me this morning:

Ûž A reader pointed me in the direction of mp3s from the KEXP session with The Rosewood Thieves (my previous post here, definitely check them out). They performed 5 songs, including a Dylan cover. I am strongly digging their bluesy rocker sound.

Ûž My new friend Adam wrote about his new supercool fancy tracker thing for runners that goes in your shoe, wirelessly connects with your iPod, and tracks your running stats, even TALKING TO YOU while you run. I need that (it should say pugilistic things like, “Frickin wuss! DO NOT WALK UP THIS HILL!” Maybe yell obscenities at me to keep me moving). It appears to be reasonably priced at $29, but then you also need the special Nike shoes with a pocket to hold the sensor (can I do it myself with an x-acto knife?) and an iPod Nano (mine’s a 60). Drat. (wait, or not).

Ûž A couple of interesting “from the studio” news bits:

-Shirley Manson (Garbage) goes solo, Jack White and Billy Corgan are involved

-Norah Jones finishes third album, M. Ward guests

-Mike Watt plays bass on Kelly Clarkson’s new album (for real)

-!!! Sign to Warp Records (same label as my new love Jamie Lidell), new LP Myth Takes coming in 2007. If you haven’t heard their unique disco-funk sound (and I think you say their UnGooglable name Chk Chk Chk), here’s an mp3 of their song Take Ecstasy With Me from 2004′s Louden Up Now. You wanna dance around, don’t you?!

Ûž There’s a new Contrast Podcast you should listen to, this one on the fun ornithological theme of Chickens and Other Birds. I was going to contribute either Cake’s wonderful song that I can hear playing in my head just typing it: “Comfort Eagle” (but someone else submitted it, yay!) or the fantastic boogie “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens.”

But coulda woulda shoulda I’m lazy.

Ûž There’s a new documentary out called American Hardcore; maybe I want to punch someone after just watching the preview. It’s open now in selected theatres, and it features folks like Henry Rollins, Jesse Malin, Ian MacKaye, Flea, Mike Watt, Moby, and Tommy Stinson. Like a microcosm of the Punk: Attitude documentary from last year, this one focuses on the specific aspects of the American punk-rock scene within a 6 year period from 1980-1986. Looks interesting.

Ûž Here’s the perfect Christmas gift for that world-renowned air guitarist on your list. Now they just need to make the corresponding sensor pants for us air drummers and I will be one happy camper.

Ûž I am liking this new song from distinctive Liverpool band Clinic, off their upcoming 4th album Visitations (January ’07, or on iTunes now).
Listen to Harvest.

Ûž Finally, one more reason to love the (gratuitious and borderline creepy) internet: A MySpace group for those who love it when everyone’s favorite prolific alt-country rocker turns around: Who Wants To Look At Ryan Adams’ Ass?

May 15, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

Oh, let’s have some fun today:

Music Will Not Last
Jamie Lidell
One of THE best recommendations to me last week was to check out an artist named Jamie Lidell, and his new blue-eyed soul disc (after his past history in electronica, which nicely evidences itself in the rich sonic layers here). I give this song my highest recommendation; it weaves together elements that I just can’t get enough of. Sounds like if Ray Charles was practicing in one studio, circa 1965 Atlanta, and The Temptations strolled on through with Prince & Sly on their arms, poked their head in the room. And this goodness commences. The percussion alone is enough reason to listen; the hi-hat just about kills me.

Please check out Jamie’s whole excellent album Multiply (2005, Warp Records). There are several other great tracks on there, it was tough to choose just one for today’s roundup: notably the title track “Multiply” is almost flawless (falsetto harmonies, a kickass bassline, and enough soul to meet your daily quota – and you DO have one), and “You Got Me Up” made me dance around this morning in ways that I half thought white girls couldn’t do.

Leona Naess
This is my second highest recommendation for download this week – a new one from Leona Naess‘ upcoming unreleased album (Thirteens). This rip is from a track streaming on her MySpace page and is definitely her most singable, radio-friendly, and excellent sounding song in a while. With great couplet lines like “Shake these hips and let them persuade you / Take my songs – they’re always about you,” and a catchy chorus about the perils of loving someone who is also a famous singer (?):

“I can hear your songs / Through my radio

Singing soft / Singing slow
Songs I love / the songs I know

The lyrical writing style is classic but the sound is uptempo & fresh. I love her voice, and how she can switch from that rich sing-song to the bluesy yowl, which she gives glimpses of on this track, towards the end. Good stuff.

In The Morning
The Heavy Blinkers
I’ve been reading about Canadian orch-pop quintet The Heavy Blinkers on a few different blogs, and finally downloaded some songs because of the inevitable Beach Boys connection that everyone points out. Listen to this and you will understand why. Bring on the summertime and the sun/sand/surf, which we all know to associate (obviously) with the Heavy Blinkers’ hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Their fourth studio album The Night and I Are Still So Young will be released next week in the US on the Cooking Vinyl label. And the link above (on their band name) will lead you to a free mp3 download for the title track.

Rain All Summertime
(45 second clip)
Darren Hayman
One just for fun, and I am posting only a 45 second clip of it – since I can’t find a full-length. I heard it last week, featured by my co-podcaster Mike (from Take Your Medicine, out of Sheffield, UK) on the Best of 2006 So Far show.

From Darren Hayman’s oddly named, limited edition April 2006 EP Ukulele Songs From The North Devon Coast. Lighthearted ukulele joins with fuzzy guitars & synth beats for a feel-good electronica summer song. The clip jumps in at kind of an odd place in the song, so wait until it hits about 20 seconds in to hear the riff that drew me to post this. The sample here is so you can buy it from Static Caravan and enjoy it all summer long. You can also hear the whole song on this video.

Kelly Clarkson
I . . . I can’t even speak about this one, I just thought you might like to hear it. I will admit that it is better than I had anticipated, but still it feels like an unnecessary affront for some reason. It was marginally okay when Taylor Hicks covered “Trouble” on American Idol. But OHKELLYCLARKSON! Not so much for me.

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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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