“If you were too popular, or popular with the wrong people, or in the wrong way, or if you appeared to want it or enjoy it, or to be making music for any reason other than that you were a total idiot-savant who never brushed his teeth and sang in a distorted howl hoping that someone would…
Yet another amazing track from my favorite Argentine folk/electronica singer-songwriter. Lately, I’ve been thinking of her as an avante garde Beth Orton, or maybe a folky Björk. This is the second track off of Son, Juana Molina’s latest and maybe most complex album.
This is the first track from an EP Josh Rouse and Paz Suay put out a few years ago. Whenever it comes on in the car, I always think that I’m tempting fate by playing it while driving. But whatever, there are far worse ways to go. For example, one time I was very nearly crushed under a falling piano. True story.
This is one of those tracks I always repeat a couple of times on long drives. There’s a great raw chemistry between Ryan and Lucinda. The lyrics are some of the best he’s written— never overwrought, and they always sound like something out of your own heart. The whole Concussion album kills me.
Girl Loves Distortion- …As I’m Run Down By The Evil Disco Princess
One of the things I love about DC is that they’ve got a great local music scene. This is my favorite of the local bands. They pick up on the whole post-punk vibe in town, carving their own niche between the hipsters and the yuppies in northwest DC. You can find this scene sifting through vinyl LPs of the Police and the Evens at Crooked Beat or Smash, or just chilling out at DC9. Anyway, check them out here.
Sera Cahoone’s brief catalogue is filled with folk and country ballads and the sort of melodies Loretta Lynn wrote before she got Nashvill’d. She’s the sort of songwriter (and the sort of woman) who deserves a lot more attention in the world today. Be sure to check her out at Subpop records.
This folk collective out of Calgary has been making good music for a while now. This song, off of this year’s Die Stadt Muzikanten, is, for me, kind of like I Will Survive for the beards-n-flannel set.
The first time I saw St. Vincent, she was the first of two openers for Midlake at the Rock and Roll Hotel in DC. No one knew who she was, and Midlake was trendy as all Hell, so they completely ignored her and talked loudly over her solo acoustic set. People who talk through acoustic shows are a pet peeve of mine… well, I don’t know if that’s the right term when it usually results in sullen murderous rage. But yes, they piss me off. There have been… incidents.
Anyway, Annie Clark was terrific, despite the noise. I bailed early on in the Midlake set (they were a huge letdown live) and went upstairs to see if St. Vincent had any merch. Annie and her friend were so surprised to find that I was looking for their CD. I guess they understandably read the crowd’s disrespect as unanimous. They sold me a copy of the 3-song Paris is Burning EP, and this was one of the b-sides. I guess lots of people have covered this Nico classic, but Annie’s is my favorite so far.
And yet another entry in my list of women who love old Danelectro Silvertones:
I’m a sucker for a good cover. This is Hank III covering Springsteen’s classic track off of Nebraska. The song has been covered by at least a million people (including yours truly), but I think this is one of the few where the artist made it his own. You can find it on Badlands: A Tribute to Springsteen’s Nebraska, on Subpop.
This is an incredible set that I was lucky enough to find pressed on vinyl a couple of years back, with lots of great early stuff from Bleach. They’re in top form. Cobain sounds vibrant and tenacious, two qualities that some forget he possessed.
One of the reasons I love J. Tillman is that he does things that I would do, if I only had talent and ambition— like covering the entirety of Neil Young’s classic Tonight’s the Night just for fun, and giving away the demos online. Actually, this is exactly the sort of thing I do all the time. But my results are never so beautiful or affecting. Check out the whole album here.
This came on the recommendation of a friend a couple of months back, but just really got around to listening to it this week. Clearly a guy who’s spent his time with the dark masters— Richard Thompson, Leonard Cohen— but he’s learned a lot more about soul from them than most of their other, lesser acolytes (I’m looking at you, Damien Rice).
This is a track from Dirty Pond Songs, and I’m not really sure I have a favorite yet. But it’s plenty of motivation to see him open for Michael Franti next month.
People jump to a lot of conclusions every time they see a singer with an acoustic guitar— it’s a little too easy to assume that every singer/songwriter is a Singer/Songwriter. That is, it’s easy to assume that they are the expectation, the cliche. I mean, let’s face it; we all knew pretty much what Ryan Adams was going to sound like the first time we saw him, before he’d even played a note.
Tiny Vipers is probably thrown in that formal Singer/Songwriter category by many people, and it’s not entirely incorrect to do so. But she (Jesy Fortino) doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the crew. Her music does have gothic elements, but it isn’t what I’d call gothic folk. If anything, it leans more toward the sort of art-pop or chamber pop that is anathema to most folkies.
She’s complex, I guess. And I always like complex.
So this is a well-circulated track from her first SubPop album. She has newer stuff, but this is what’s in my head today… enjoy.
High Violet is certainly a great album, but I don’t think it’s going to replace Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers as my favorite of The National, maybe just on the strength of this track. And it was just re-pressed on vinyl this summer, so go buy it.
In a lot of ways, this rendition is much rougher than the one Colin Meloy eventually recorded with his Decemberists. He’s still learning how to enunciate without pinching his jaw muscles, and the electric guitar is heavy handed. But for some reason, I like this better… I guess I like rough edges on these narrative folk songs, maybe in the same way that I prefer the barroom harmonies of the Kingston Trio to the practiced folk of the Weavers. If anybody knows what the Hell I’m talking about.