December 31, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

Ah, the last day of 2007. We have about four different options for this evening and no one can decide anything. Both my brother and sister are still in town, which adds to the fun myriad of possibilities. Right now I think the frontrunners are either going to Heidi’s to drink hot German wine (she just got back from a trip to the Paterland), doing something in Denver with my little brother, or perhaps just the usual NYE tradition of sitting on my porch with that bottle of vodka and a shotgun.

Also, in related holiday news, my sister is the best present buyer ever — look what finally arrived:Courtesy of Uncommon Goods. Now I just have to figure out what to put in a bowl with a hole in the center (it was, after all, a real record in its past life).

My last five offerings of 2007!

My Own Worst Enemy
George Stanford

With a crisp piano melody that sticks in your head like a Billy Joel or Ben Folds tune, this song just feels like cold January and fresh starts. A couple of trusted ears recommended that I check out this artist from Philadelphia (George Stanford is formerly of the band Townhall). This first track I listened to is rumored to have a dual-meaning about either a girl or his love/hate relationship with his music and songwriting. Either way, it’s charming and heartfelt and I’ve found myself humming it all day. Stanford has an EP currently out on Smash Records.

Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
Vampire Weekend

I’ve mentioned before that I worked in a rad international education job for five years, and during that time I got to help dozens of students study abroad in African countries. Two students that I remember took the time to share some African music when they came back, feeding a primal love that runs hot in my veins for the ebullient, earthy percussion common to much of their music. So it’s a bit inexplicable that I’ve resisted listening to hot blog-buzz band Vampire Weekend, which has an oft-cited African undercurrent reminiscent of both Graceland-era Paul Simon (an album I unabashedly love) and mid-80s Peter Gabriel. I finally took a spin, and of course, I find their album absolutely delightful.

[Sean’s in the same late-arriving boat as me, but as usual, he’s a heck of a lot more eloquent]

Electric Bird

With swankily gorgeous vocals that boast a hint of ’40s glamour mixed with Fiona Apple’s dramatic range, Sia is an Australian artist that I have heard a a few scattered places and always enjoyed. This track is from her forthcoming January release, Some People Have Real Problems. I have no idea what is going on with the U.S. album cover so I just close my eyes and listen to the sultry brassiness of this tune instead of pondering the magic marker on the face. It could be the hot trend of 2008.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

Old pal rbally blog is sneakily back after taking too many months on hiatus, and this elates me. Jenning’s fifth or sixth post since returning is a screaming live show from former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus, with his new band The Jicks (causing me to wonder what a jick is). Rbally also points me to this new mp3 from the Matador website, a first listen off of Malkmus’ forthcoming album Real Emotional Trash, due in March. Still all crunch and fuzz but with elegant melodies and flourishes throughout, and laced with Malkmus’ literate lyrics and endearing warble.

Number One
Miss Fairchild

Finally, if you have no idea what to play tonight for your New Year’s festivites, and don’t have time to make up a mix (like moi), then the fine trio of gents from New England funk/soul band Miss Fairchild still have that 2-part mixtape up for free download on their website. Their mix blends together a wide range of old-school and modern songs (funk, hip hop, soul) with a few get-up-shake-it tracks of their own making, like this dancetastic groove from the Ooh La La Sha Sha EP. Their MySpace says they sound “like Sly Stone remixed by Beck” — it is thoroughly fresh and modern, but also a lot like something Prince would put on a mix for you. It’s a free party in 2 clicks, just waiting to happen. And a bonus for those who snag it: In January when you hit the gym with all the other resolvers, you’ll have the best soundtrack on Treadmill Row.

Oh, and this image ran in the paper today in their retrospective article on 2007. It’s still my favorite picture of the year, and when I am old, I will think back on the pure joy of The Rockies’ amazing 2007 run, and smile.

July 10, 2006

Monday Music Roundup

Oh, I could talk about the World Cup all day today, but you know already from the last post.

So instead I will chat about the cinema. Last weekend I saw The Break-Up with my sister (I know, I KNOW). I told her that she is the only one I would see it with and enjoy the experience. The movie itself was an odd combination of really FUNNY moments (mostly due to Vince Vaughn), melded with supremely nasty fighting that made me feel a bit uncomfortable and sad because they were being so mean to each other. I did, however, think I was going to die of laughter during this scene: “Come, come GARY on the kickdrum! That’s GARY! On the kickdrum. Come, come on the kickdrum!” Just watching it again gives me immeasurable joy.

Slip Away” (Cars cover)
Sparkle*Jets UK
This collection of smaller indie bands covering Cars songs sought me out on MySpace, and I am glad they did! The disc, entitled Substitution Mass Confusion, slipped by me when it was released in 2004 (Not Lame Records). There’s a splendid variety of bands: Jon Auer, Butch Walker, Owsley, The Bravery, Gigolo Aunts and more – all covering those great Cars songs that you didn’t realize you knew until you start singing along.


This cued up at the college radio station when I was visiting the other week, prompting me to ask “Do you guys play Beatles songs here?” One listen and I think you will see why – a winning combinations of rich woodwinds and a swanky female voice. From Sia‘s lovely Colour The Small One album (2006 in the US, Astralwerks). She is currently on tour with Zero 7 in Europe.

Crash and Burn
Gran Bel Fisher
I wasn’t sure about this song when it first started, it’s got sort of an early-’90s brit-pop/mature folk sound to the vocals and a rhythmic piano backing, but it blends into a supreme and uplifting pop song. Gran Bel Fisher has recently been opening some shows for Brandi Carlile, who you know I love, and I have heard he is magnetic live. From his mellifluous album Full Moon Cigarette; give it a listen.

Brimful of Asha” (Cornershop)
Fatboy Slim
This song instantly transports me to my senior year of high school, with its catchy riff and Indian feel – one I had largely forgotten about. This remix from Brighton’s favorite son Fatboy Slim is from his new greatest hits collection, Why Try Harder (Astralwerks, June 2006). It’s nothing that will change the world, but it’s fun and great for a summer playlist.

World Surrounded
Sam Powers

Yep, I was apparently smoking crack when I posted earlier what I said was a Mic Harrison track. Because it SO wasn’t. I mislabeled. Let’s listen to “World Surrounded” by Sam Powers – that’s what I posted earlier today under a different title. So fix your labels if you already snagged it.

Three members of Superdrag — Sam Powers, John Davis, and Mic Harrison have all done the solo thing, and this lovely fuzzy pop song demo from Powers has the rough hallmarks of the unique, classy sound that made Superdrag great. I agree with this little blurb that says “the solo echoes what it might sound like if Jimmy Page was in The Replacements.” Sam played bass on Last Call For Vitriol, however, since this demo was posted in 2004, I cannot find ANYTHING online about what album this ended up on (hence no corresponding picture), or even Google “Sam Powers” without getting an Australian magician. Anyone know anything about what the actual Sam Powers in question has been up to?

This is one of the many ace related songs you can find in the downloads section of the Superdrag site. There’s also a good variety on eMusic. Superdrag’s a band I’ve been revisiting lately, and one that always makes my friends ask, “Hey, who IS that?”

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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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