September 4, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

I am sad about the news this morning that Steve Irwin (“Crocodile Hunter”) apparently died today in Australia while on a dive. Stingray strike to the heart. That sucks, although I can’t say I am surprised. Everytime we would watch Crocodile Hunter, I would shake my head at the insane stuff he would do, and comment that that was how he was going to die someday. I appreciated his childlike joy at the rad animals he would work with, but he’d always mess with the animals, and be like, “Crikey! She’s a beaut! Now I’m going to stick my finger in her butthole! Wow! She’s a feisty one!

So, I guess in a way we can’t be surprised. But it sucks that he leaves behind a wife and a kid. Here’s to hoping he goes somewhere with lots of wild animals he can frolick with all day long, with no fear of bodily harm. Cheers, mate.

“I Ain’t Saying She’s Better Than You”
Donovan Woods
This is a slip of song, just a lovely acoustic guitar and eviscerating lyrics from Donovan Woods, a Canadian artist. As many times as I have listened to this song over the last few days, it makes me ache — and I have never even had someone say words like this to me: “Like all your men set in the past, it’s better to leave without being asked / So tell me again you’ll let me go, without saying things you already know / Like it’s over, and you don’t know her / But let me tell you honestly: I ain’t sayin’ she’s better than you, you see. She’s just better than you for me.” He tries to make it sound nice but that’s just guttingly harsh. But it’s a really lovely song, oddly enough.

His music is a bit hard to track down, but he has a MySpace and a label, and this is from his EP The Hold Up. Not that appearances matter, but he looks more like he’d come by to fix your plumbing, or drink PBR with you while you watch football, rather than spin these bittersweet melodies. (thx again Clea)

“These Streets”
(live from Bush Studios)

Paolo Nutini
I’d heard about this fella at the Boulder music conference — you know when you hear straight men talking enthusiastically about how good looking another guy is, he must really be something. I missed his live performance, which apparently was quite impressive, but did pick up a live EP which has pleasantly introduced me to his retro-tinged rootsy pop sound. Despite a name that is fully Italian, one listen to Paolo Nutini and it’s clear he is a Scottish chap, and he’s only 19 at that. “Feel good” is an overused descriptor, but it is impossible to listen to this without feeling happy, an excellent end-of-the-summer tune. His album These Streets is currently only available as an import in the U.S., but cites The Drifters, Ray Charles, and Van Morrison as influences.

This single is a charming little chronicle of when he first moved to London, roaming the busy roads: “These streets have too many names for me / I’m used to Glenfield Road and spending my time down in Ochy / I’ll get used to this eventually I know, I know / Life is good, and the girls are gorgeous / Suddenly the air smells much greener now . . . ” Having spent a little time in London myself, it makes me smile.

“Until We Fall”
(YouSendIt link, open in new window)
When this song kicks off, you wouldn’t think of it as Audioslave (with their Soundgarden/Rage Against The Machine past). With a bouncy Beatles-esque guitar intro, it sounds like a pop song until Chris Cornell’s trademark wail kicks in. I love his voice. Love, love, love. Overall there’s more of a bluesy-soulful vibe to Revelations, Audioslave’s third release (out tomorrow). This track is much better than the “Original Fire” tune that was leaked, which I think is actually one of the weakest cuts on the new album. This and other tracks take more of a funky/melodic approach and I like it.

“The Rain”
Kasey Chambers
This was a new name for me, even though Kasey Chambers is loved in her native Australia and has built quite a solid grassroots following in the U.S. through extensive touring in support of her last 3 albums. Her voice has a plaintive warm and slightly warbly quality to it that reminds me strongly of Kirsten Hersh (remember “Your Ghost” with Michael Stipe?), and she is also frequently likened to Lucinda Williams for her sharp & sly lyricism. This track is from her forthcoming Carnival album (September 12, Warner). Rootsy-bluegrass with a bit of twang, but not country.

“The Boys Are Back In Town”
(Thin Lizzy cover, Dublin 8/23/06)
Pearl Jam
It’s good to see Pearl Jam continuing to have fun with their covers now into the European leg of their tour. Here in the hometown of Thin Lizzy, they bust this one out to the absolute delight of the crowd. It’s a fun night with Mike nailing the bombastic riffs and Vedder clearly enjoying himself and mirroring the joy of the crowd. Makes me want to tease my hair a little bit, maybe even “be on the floor shaking what she got.”

One final note in the continuing quest for the perfect t-shirt (which is funny, because I don’t even really wear t-shirts): Knock Knock has expanded their mission to educate the public in popular slang.

Moving forward from their radically hilarious Slang Flash Cards, now you can wear the shirt and help your peeps learn when the proper time is to use words like freak, tight, player, fly, bomb, and grill. Big ups to them for this hilarious line, one of my favorites.

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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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