Monday, February 27, 2006

Live (or Remixed) Nude Girls, Pt. 2

Well I said I was going to upload a few more live tunes what? Last week. But then I heard from Jodi and well, I had to do me a Peaches-post. Now, I have heard from the wondrous Rachel Cohn (seriously, I LOVED Gingerbread and she has a new one coming soon with writer David Levithan and... well wait. More on that tomorrow, including mp3s!)

So back to today. Four gorgeous songs.

I love how Leslie Feist can look like an angular, masculine Patti Smith type from one angle and a gorgeous French model from another, like one of those Cracker Jack prizes. I also love her voice and I really love how one of her songs can sound so wildly different depending on the day. For instance, I've heard this song's album cut, I've heard it slowed down and acoustic on one of the late night shows and I've heard it danced up in a remix and each time, sounds like a different song. I've posted the latter.

As for the Stars, I had a few friends who HATED them, probably all the hype surrounding this Canadian band (hey, Feist is Canadian too... I didn't plan that.) But here's the deal: this song pops up on my iPod or my iTunes shuffle A LOT and every time I stop. I listen. I am overcome by the very real and simply beauty of it. This remix does it total justice and I don't care that it was hyped a muncha buncha. It's worth it. Oh and if you go here, to their label's website, it will take you to video of them on Irish Tv.

Keren Ann looks a little like Leslie Feist, if the room was dim, but that's neither here nor there. Her songs are mostly great French-y background sounds for a slinky night at home. In a dim room come to think of it. Same for Cat Power. I just never was this huge fan, but I really dig her latest CD, "The Greatest." This isn't from that. It's a John Peel cut of her doing Oasis. Well not doing Oasis, but. Oh never mind.

Feist, "One Evening" VV Remix
Stars, "Ageless Beauty"(Most Serene Remix)

Keren Ann
, "It's Always You" (Live)
Cat Power, "Wonderwall" (Peel Sessions)

Just a few things I want to say today. First, Some Velvet Blog has got some cool tunes for your downloading pleasure. Late 80s - early 90s stalwarts Matthew Sweet and Bangle Susanna Hoffs have teamed up for a CD of covers called, Under the Covers Volume 1. It's due out April 18th and SVB has the Neil Young cover, "Everybody Know's This is Nowhere."

Jo & Dirk over at More than Milk have a few really fabulous postings from the weekend: some more Keren Ann, Sufjan Steven's outtakes and a few Brazillian Girls remixes. Good stuff.

I really like everything Indie Girls Fly Kites are doing. It's random in a truly random way. That was not so eloquent. Just check them out.

Lastly, I was away this weekend with a gaggle of girlfriends and one extra lovely one told me about her pal Dax Pierson who was a buyer at Amoeba and keyboardist for band Subtle. He was in a bad van accident and pretty badly paralyzed. My pal went on to tell me how rocking ROCKING Amoeba has been: raising money for their beloved employee, taking care of all insurance BS, buying him a van, flying friends in to visit him and more. That's more than enough to make me wanna shop there so, if you live in the Bay Area or LA, I suggest you spend your hard earned CD-devoted cash there. To read about it all, hit their website.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

If I Had My Way, I'd Read Peaches Everyday

You know that Presidents of American song from a handful of years back? I used to think of that everytime I smelled a peach. Now I think of Jodi Lynn Anderson's book, Peaches. It's a mighty fine read filled with fabulous girl characters,

I know Jodi enjoys music quite a bit and so I asked her if any songs inspired her while she was writing Peaches. She said yes! So here is her answer and you can hear/download the songs below. I can't thank you enough Jodi... I just love the relationship between song and story and you've further illustrated the connection and process.

"Each of my characters usually reminds me of a song. Leeda reminds me of this Laura Veirs song, Spelunking, I don't know if you've heard it but I love it for Leeda because of this bit that talks about how if someone looked inside her they'd see fish without eyes and bats with their heads hanging down to the ground, you know, all albinoey and stuff, and I feel like Leeda, or at least what I want Leeda to be, is someone who feels cavelike -- who doesn't really know where her center is, she is sort of all these caverns inside that aren't filled up, because she's never been loved very openly or unconditionally -- just kind of repressively and remotely/politely. Birdie, in the second book, but as an extension of the first book, reminds me of that Tracy Chapman song She's Got Her Ticket -- because Birdie has tickets to do all these things (fall in love with a migrant worker, and in the second book, to branch away from home) but you don't know if she'll use it -- and the song is a very soft, tropical sounding song, and Birdie is soft and sort of has this tropical lushness about her (her body, her sweetness). And actually, what inspired me to do the sequel at all was the Bruce Springsteen song Thunder Road. I was lying in bed with it going through my head and just hurting over the story of the song, and suddenly it seemed, that was Murphy's song -- that she spends so much of her life wishing to get out of this town that contains her - but when she has the chance (when she graduates) will she do it? In the song you feel like they so desperately need to go, but that they never will -- that they can't escape their upbringing, you know? And there's the element of Murphy and Rex being in love - and what do they do if Murphy's only chance to really survive is to leave him and Bridgewater, but there's also this thing that Murphy thinks he's the only guy there is -- because all the other ones have let her down so much -- it could be years or never before she finds someone like that again. It's a gamble for her in every way, and it's this thing calling her out of town and away from ghosts, I guess."

Laura Veirs, "Spelunking"
Tracy Chapman, "She's Got A Ticket"
Bruce Springsteen, "Thunder Road"

Jody has also written another fabulous book recently, May Bird and the Ever After: Book One. You can (and should) buy that one and Peaches at or some other fine indie establishment.

Next month I'll bring you Ned Vizzini's musical inspiration for his latest (which I have in my hands), "It's Kind of a Funny Story."

Friday, February 17, 2006

Live Nude Girls!

Okay maybe not nude, but if we were talking a metaphorical sense then maybe but well, no. Maybe I got your attention though? It's weird writing to no one. Anyone. No, no one is more like it. So I have posted here a handful of songs, all live, all by girls, none nude while recording or at least I don't think so and they're all out there and maybe even dare I say common, but who cares, I like 'em. Tomorrow, if I'm up to it, or Monday if I'm not, I'll post some more, perhaps less common or known girl singers and call it part two. Oh and I want it on record that I'm not a big Dido fan and I am definitely not a big James Taylor fan (too much of it as a youngster I dare say) but the two together, well not JT himself, but his song, the two together are quite sweet and loveable. The Tegan & Sara track has grown on me and this version, while not um, genius or anything, well the stripped NAKEDNESS of it all fits the song's content, which I do just love. Simple and straightforward and truthful-ly. I feel like I can't go wrong with Sia, unless of course I'm feeling happy and want to continue to feel happy because whoa, she takes me down a few notches, but in that feels good to wallow way. Jem? Days of good, days of bad. Today I like-y. Tomorrow, probably not. Enjoy.

Tegan and Sara, "You Wouldn't Like Me" (live on KEXP)
Dido, "Fire & Rain" (live on KCRW)

Sia, "Bully" (live on KCRW)

Jem, "Flying High" (live on KCRW)

PS- Not that anyone is asking, but the Tweedy show was quite wonderful on many levels. My daughter went to sleep for the babysitter, most importantly, allowing me to relax in my cushy theater chair and take in the Jeff. He opened with "Sunken Treasure" as I have heard he's been doing this whole tour and it shattered the original to bits, just long, thoughtful, drawn out simplicity that makes your hairs stand on end. The band in my last manuscript is named Sunken Treasure so what a treat. And from there, it only got betta.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Only 1 day, 9 hours and 25 minutes till Tweedy-Time

I’m going to see Jeff Tweedy tomorrow!! Now my friends could tell you how momentous this actually is, not because I’m seeing Jeff Tweedy or because I love Jeff Tweedy, which I do, but because I'm going out. With my husband. Doesn't happen all that much. Kid thing. I've seen him many times but not solo yet and well this is at Spreckles, a lovely theater with fold-down movie seats. Anyhow. Wanna know why I like Jeff Tweedy so? Too bad, I'm gonna tell you anyway. Some of the same reasons I love Jenny Lewis of yesterday's post. Story telling. You know, what must it have been like for Jeff back in the Uncle Tupelo days, here he is in this band with Jay Farrar who has like the voice. A thick furry voice that you could pick out of 100, effortlessly. And Tweedy maybe wants to sing but hello, he's sitting next to that voice. But now fast forward a zillion years later and Jay Farrar still has that voice. And well I'm bored with that voice because it sounds like it did eons ago. Just the same. (My husband would disagree.) But Jeff Tweedy? He’s been everywhere and so has his voice. And now he's got the voice, for me. And it's ever changing and moving and caressing and spitting and the man can write a song. To me he is the torch bearer of American musical innovation. Man that sounds so dorky.

Jeff Tweedy, "When the Roses Bloom Again" from the Chelsea Walls soundtrack
Wilco, "Another Man Done Gone" live on KCRW 05

Wilco, "Be Not So Fearful" live on KCRW 05

Wilco, "Less Than You Think" live from 03

Wilco, "Handshake Drugs" from the Enhanced EP (a slower version)

You can buy Wilco everywhere. Check out their site,

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Everyone’s Talking 'Bout Jenny

And you know I want to too. Because even though the leaks were all over the internet and even though the CD is now out, the fact remains, you may still not own this CD. And well, pardon my forwardness, but you should. Jenny Lewis, of Rilo Kiley, is like to me, the ultimate rock chick. I could tell you its her brain or her voice or her legs or even her weird foray into childhood acting, but STOP. The best thing about her, the very best thing is her story telling and I simply don't care if she's telling stories about herself that are true or otherwise or about someone else entirely. I don’t even care if she's telling someone else's story. She's a ravenous, take-no-prisoners gut-punching storyteller and when those words ride out on a candy stream (and at times gritty as it needs to be) well then it’s time to grab a drink and kick back and let her just go at ya. The new "solo" CD (well with Watson Twins and various friends along for the ride, and wouldn't you want to jump on that hay truck?) is lover-ly. It's full of more sad tales of reflection and missed opportunities and bad choices and some good ones and it's as wondrous as it should be. One more reason I like her so: she has that devil/angel thing down pat and the bold dichotomy comes through with every whisper, every note. So to honor last week's release, a few odd tracks with Jenny. Oh and Elvis Costello said of "Does He Love You?" that it was one of the best songs, ever. I agree. So here is that too, just because we should listen to it every day.

Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins, "Paradise" (from a 7”s split single)
Jenny Lewis, "You Are What You Love" live

Rilo Kiley, "Does He Love You?"

And as a bonus, my favorite Elected song in a live version,

The Elected, "Greetings in Braille"

Now buy Jenny's CD, Rabbit Fur Coat. Oh, and I promise to write about music that isn't everywhere next week. But not tomorrow, because I'm going to see Jeff Tweedy and I'm gonna talk about him for awhile… starting tomorrow.

Monday, February 06, 2006

"Tender" Bands

My two tender bands have Calvin from K Records and a cutie pop sound in common. Okay, so when I think of the characters in my latest manuscript starting a band, I think they'll sound like Heavenly. Heavenly is in part the lovely Amelia Fletcher, she of Talulah Gosh, Marine Research and Tender Trap. Born out of the ashes of Talulah Gosh in Oxford, English, Heavenly's Le Jardin CD came out in 1991, and that's where the following track is from. 1991? To me, it sounds totally modern, completely un-dated. It's just 60s-influenced innocence with a sassy modern jingle jangle and just enough fuzz. Man I love the cutie-pop. The Tender Trap songs are from a 2004 single and find Amelia experimenting with a little electro pop sound. It's still good. I will say the song about Friendster is obviously dated, but the music isn't. Really. Tender Forever is the sounds of Melanie Valera, a french gal who also likes the cute-electro-pop thing. She also plays some seriously DIY pop with Valerie Hernandez under the name Squeeze Me I Squeak. I like the Tender Forever stuff betta. Dreamy without being cloying. The sounds of a a girl living in her own head. I think these songs will definitely inform my new character, a girl struggling with a very tenuous talent.

Heavenly, "Smile"
Heavenly, "Orange Corduroy Dress"

Tender Trap, "Friendster"

Tender Trap, "Como Te Llamas?"
Tender Forever,
"Then If I'm Weird I Want to Share"
Tender Forever, "Take It Off Now"

A little more info on Heavenly/Tender Trap can be found at Amelia's small site. And I love this, someone at Art of the Mix made an Amelia Fletcher mix tape. Cute!

Tender Forever has a very lover-ly website. Squeeze Me I Speak has a My Space page with songs.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Poet Robert Burns' Set To Music

Camera Obscura, the Glasgow band, has been in existance since 1998. In 2004, they were asked to Radio 1 DJ legend John Peel's house (Peel Acres!) for a third time and they were asked to put music to the words of Scotland's most famous poet, Robert Burns. They did five poem/songs including Burns' "Of A' The Airts the Wind Can Blaw," otherwise known as "I Love My Jean." Apparently they enjoyed haggis with John. Anyway, they liked the songs so much they recorded them. Spain's Elefant label, which I LOVE, put out the CD and Merge licensed it in the States. The songs are lovely like pretty much all Camera Obscura stuff. A new CD is forthcoming this year and it will be titled "Underacheivers Please Try Harder." Can't wait. Meanwhile, we can enjoy these tracks from 04. Tracyanne, the singer of this band, loves comp tapes and by that I mean tapes, not CDs. Check out their site for a list of her fave songs from her fave tape.

Camera Obscura, "I Love My Jean"
Camera Obscura, "A Red, Red Rose"

Check out the bands' official site here. And I highly recc'd Elefant Records.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Good Bloggers, Good Bloggers...

The quick-thinking, quick-acting audio bloggers have a few choice cuts lurking around their sites and I thought I'd let you in on the ones I liked the most. So here goes,

GVB by way of Watch out for Snakes has Petra Haden covering the Beach Boys. I love Petra Haden, will have to cover her more closer at a later date. Daughter of bassist Charlie, cool chick all her own.

Dreams of Horses points to a new Cat Power video that [writer of Kids, director of Gummo] Harmony Korine directed.

And Number One Songs In Heaven (love them!) has two sassy Dee Dee Warwick tunes, she the sister of Dionne, she of the master husky sexy voice all her own. See for yourself.