Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bate Your Breaths...

...no longer. The long awaited post is finally here. Music. What you all should be listening to. And not one recommendation is for Camp Lo. So first, where P-fork was on spot: Jens Leckman. I’m a latecomer on this, and grabbed both albums, the better album being ‘Oh You’re So Silent Jens’, collecting his LPs released on Secretly Canadian. And yes, if you love Magnetic Fields (vocals and all...), you’ll dig him, and he holds his own throwing some Morissey and Belle in their for flavor. The track on repeat is “The Wrong Hands.” But the album has become the morning listen. And then there is Tapes ‘n Tapes too. So far they are song by song, but I’m warming up to the album, ‘The Loon’, as a whole. I can’t stop listening to “Jakov’s Suite”, though it needs to be loud, mind you, and a few of the other tracks, particularly “10 Gallon Ascots”. The reviews all name-check the influences, from current to no more than 10 years old, but in general they got a good art-punk edge to them. Their webpage (though it appears to be down at this writing) has a few free downloads, particularly good is “’50s Parking”.

I’ve been watching the first season of “Lost” and after one of the episodes, I had to run out and track down the closing track, “Wash Away(reprise)”, by Joe Purdy. Though, now I prefer the original steel string version. They miked Joe incredibly close and pushed the steel string to the back of the mix, to a nice effect. The album “Julie Blue” (the only one available on iTunes) is quite solid, and the more common morning album, sunny morning that is, and it’s springtime. Nice country folk, finger-picking mandolin and all. And yes, the reprise of “Wash Away” will remind some of Israel KamakaWTF’s (ukulele, mind you) version of “Somewhere.../...Wonderful World.” But the album isn’t trite (nor is Israel’s cover though). Joe’s no beautiful tenor, but he has a pleasant wispy voice (a bit forced at times), and simple, straight lyrics, such as on one of his best tracks, “I Love the Rain the Most”. The album isn’t consistent, but has enough gems to more than make it worth your while, and the recording is stripped down and nice, but not that clean.

And after watching the ad posted on Marty Z’s website, I picked up the song to that too. Decent acoustic indie-folk, nothing special, but if you can't get enough of Kings of Convenience pick up the album, ‘Veneer’ by Jose Gonzalez. The track, “Heartbeat” (which is actually a cover of another Nordic band), used for the commercial is really good, and the hook is catchy as all hell. Gonzalez is a great guitarist, but the melodies are a bit lacking and the multi-tracked vocals and Nick Drakesque delivery hurt the songs with the lyrics being weak. The intimacy doesn’t work.

And lastly, everyone who made it this far should go get “Ta Det Lungt” by Dungen, if you haven’t already, as the album was released some time last year. At least, buy the song “Panda” and for the 5 minutes of searing guitar riffs, “foreign” lyrics and swirling percussion, throw up a double-handed devil’s horns while thrusting around your room. Shut the door and draw the curtains first though. Co-workers/housemates will laugh at you. Especially the second time they catch you.

Well, enough of what all the folks in D.C. missed most about me.

Oh and a side-note, now that nobody is reading, some interesting (to me) and relevant stuff. I’ve been meaning to post this for quite some time, but have been, well embarrassed and shamed. I am a Science Friday addict...and have never donated to them. Yet luckily, through the beauty of podcasts, I have kept my addiction. So about a month ago, they did a report on the engineers electrifying Iraq. Rather, rebuilding what was probably a very well developed electrical system before, you know, the last 15 years or so of bombings, wars, and sanctions. One of our expat team members recently went to Tikrit to work there. Though they face a much more risky situation than us, a lot of the issues and difficulties they face there parallel the work here. The descriptions of the situation, and stories of the engineering and other issues were in many regards similar to the situation on the ground here. This may be common in many post-conflict zones, I'm guessing, and even in just poor countries, but I'm too green to make that call. So if you care, the MP3 version, and if you insist, RA and WMV versions can be found here.

7 comments:

Shannon said...

If that's the very same Science Friday that's on NPR, then thems be some good shows.

I always catch it mid-show though.

Would you believe I was excited to see a post about music? I'm too lazy or unhip or stuck in Las Vegas to actually do music research myself, so I look to you to direct me.

Q. A. Shah said...

Shan,
It is the very same...don't you just love Ira Flatow? Oddly, I listen to it more here than I did in the states, since I only listened to NPR in the car stateside.

Heh, I feel some sorrow for your music situation when you're getting your info from someone in Kabul and only w/ access to iTunes. You guys must have a few decent record stores in vegas, no? And the music/band scene can't be that terrible...but I can't name a single vegas band.

Go get the Tapes 'n Tapes...i'm starting to love them.

ms. daisy said...

Ira Flatow has the most annoying voice EVER. Except maybe for Diane Rehm (but her voice is a medical condition) and Susan Stamberg (who bugs on multiple levels).

Do you need me to burn you a copy of the latest Belle & Sebastian album? I'm going to see them tomorrow :) You probably know this, but Isobel left the band.

Q. A. Shah said...

I agree w/ you, his voice is annoying. But somehow it seems appropriately geeky for a science show, no? The most annoying "EVER" though?....

Though I have come to completely love "This American Life" (and am really pissed that i can't get it on podcast), I think Ira Glass' voice is more annoying than Flatow's. What is it w/ Iras and NPR? Let alone annoying voices.

I would love a copy of the new B&S, but I don't know how you'll get it to me, reasonably, that is. I picked up the other new release, the live version of "If You're Feeling Sinister" and had been listening to "Get Me Away.." If you haven't picked up the album you must, I think it's better than the studio version. And the whole point of that comment was rub my nose in the fact that you get to go see them, no? AND, no I hadn't heard that Isobel left...heh, do they have a new female singer??

NegativeMode said...

I see that you've combined Cee Lo and Camp Lo. Surely you don't lump those two in the same category? I'd think you'd enjoy Cee Lo Green is the Soul Machine, which is an excellent CD, whereas I know what you think of Camp Lo (not that your particular opinion of Camp Lo has any value whatsoever).

Speaking of which, I was in Chicago this past weekend, and I saw PositiveMode play Black Connection (THE mother of all Camp Lo songs) on the accordion. Honestly, KabulMode, it would blow your mind.

That is all.

Q. A. Shah said...

Ah. Fixed. I am ashamed of myself. Camp Lo deserves better than that. And, yes, the Cee-Lo album has been a consistant favorite for quite some time now. But wouldn't that be brilliant, an ablum w/ both of them on it, and Madlib working the beats? CampMadLo. Oh such wishful whimsy.

Can you get a recording of P-Mode doing that song, or the other one mentioned on your blog? Can I put a request in? "Since You've Been Gone"??? or Amerie's "1 Thing"...you can do the go-go beat on that.

ms. daisy said...

Sort of a rub-it-in-your-face thing, but mostly I've been thinking about them a lot lately (in prep for the show, I suppose). No new singer; it was mostly Sarah doing the female vocals anyway.

I don't like live recordings. I know that's heresy, but outside of the Indigo Girls (who sound exactly the same in live recordings as they do in studio recordings), most of the bands I love sound kind of frayed around the edges on their live records.

I might be convinced to listen to a B&S live album, however; I was struck last night by how pure Stuart Murdoch's voice is, and how little embellishment he adds to the recorded versions of his songs.