Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Start The Year With A Bang!

The Canadians strike again! Don't worry, I still have a fond place in my heart for all that is good and true with Canadian music-- and I'm making room especially for this new chanteuse, Jane Vain. Accompanied by her band, The Dark Matter, what they do for unrequited love is sort of like what Emily Haines and The Soft Skeleton do my mental well being. Which kinda makes sense: Soft Skeleton! Meet Dark Matter! Oh, mind, body, and spirit. We are aiming for anatomical correctness here.

Catchy name aside, it doesn't hurt that this group is really, really good. Jane Vain, whose real name is Jamie Fooks was initially dissuaded from singing because of a bad experience at an open mic night, but with some encouragement, Fook banded with The Dark Matter and recorded their debut EP, "Love Is Where The Smoke Is," in her basement apartment over the course of the year. The ethereal smokiness in her voice and her downright captivating lyrics lend a geek-chic sexiness to the music.

They are slated for a Canadian tour starting in January. Is it too early to suggest an American tour? Please? New York welcomes you with open arms.

Jane Vain & The Dark Matter- C’mon Baby Say Bang Bang
(Listen to another track or pre-order the album here)

Coincidentally, I just re-watched Kill Bill 1 and 2, which featured this Nancy Sinatra classic. This too, is bangin’--

Nancy Sinatra- Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)

(Buy the Kill Bill vol 1 soundtrack)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Money Makes the World Go Round

Christmas is just around the corner, and like most of America, I spent the last few weeks cramming shopping at the bustling malls, and waiting on long lines. This evening I turned on the TV and caught the middle of an interview with Benjamin Barber on Bill Moyers, and he was talking about capitalism, consumerism, and his book , Consumed. He’s an interesting fellow. I don't think he means to come across as patronizing, but I can understand how he could come off that way. Still he makes a compelling argument.

I haven’t read his book, but it did peak my interest. Do markets corrupt people? I don’t think it’s the market’s job to teach us about responsibility. I think it’s up to the people to decide for themselves what is socially responsible, and accept that we aren’t perfect, but we do the best we can. But the thing about that is, once you have enough citizens together who are demanding for social action, the ball really starts to roll. Like this whole green movement in recent years. Eat organic, wear bamboo, carry cloth totes. Spend your dollars on environmentally friendly goods.

The market gets its fingers dirty in that too as well. A famous starlet was seen carrying that “I’m not a plastic bag” tote which was then made available at Wholefoods and then the lines went crazy for those limited edition bags. And then I saw the knock off versions in Chinatown and it just didn’t sit right with me. I mean, this is New York-- knock offs are peddled on sidewalks with the same enthusiasm as hot dogs and roasted peanuts, albeit you probably wouldn’t buy peanuts from a dude who scatters the nuts on a blanket on Broadway and Prince St.

But since the goal of that “not a plastic bag” campaign is to get people to stop using plastic bags, is it, A) good that people want to be environmentally-aware, and the purchase of a fake with the slogan means more people will see the message, B) a little sad that consumers would resort to a fake when, let’s face, it, plain old cloth totes are cheap and readily available anywhere, and this is just another status piece, or C) all of the above?

Am I answering my own question?

Benjamin Barber was telling Moyer something to the extent of, “capitalism has failed us”, and the consumer marketing machine infantilizes adults into mindlessly droning, “I see, I want, I need.” Maybe. But getting back to the point of fake goods, if say, Gucci or Louis Vuitton sold bags that donated a hefty 50-75% of the profits of each sale to a good cause, would people think twice about buying knock-offs? Who knows? I think the problem is luxury brands are in the business of luxury, and not the business of charity. The world might be a better place if they met in the middle more often. But hey, like Lily Allen says, “that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.” And let's face it, they wouldn't be very good at their job if they constantly gave handouts. One day perhaps, we can fix that pesky job description Mr./Ms. Moneymaker.

I lost my point. Where was I? (I ramble!) Oh yeah, Christmas. So what can consumers do during the most wonderful time of the year? What we’ve always been doing: Save some, spend some, and give some away. All things in moderation. Have a very, merry Christmas.

Jesca Hoop- Money
(Buy the album: Kismet)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Papa don't preach

I'm in trouble deep...

I know, I take a long hiatus, and this is the best I can come up with:

What's that Sofiblu said? "Babies are not like leggings!" Sad.


Monday, December 10, 2007

The Song that Pays, The Song that Stays

These are some old songs that randomly shuffled onto a playlist. I forgot how much I loved the demo to The Strokes "You Only Live Once.” For all the shiny spirit of the album version, it’s still the demo I love best. I think I enjoy this afterthought bout of honesty from Julian Casablancas. Just tell it like it is, please.

Ten decisions shape your life,
you'll be aware of 5 about,
7 ways to go through school,
either you're noticed or left out,
7 ways to get ahead,
7 reasons to drop round,
when I said ' I can see me in your eyes',
you said 'I can see you in my bed',
that's not just friendship, that's romance too,
you like music we can dance to....

Why not try it all,
if you only remember it once...

Yes, why not try it all? Some days I just want to slow it all down. The album parties like a rock star, but the demo cleans up the dixie cups.

The Strokes- I'll Try Anything Once (demo)
(Purchase the 'Heart in a Cage' enhanced single)

The Strokes- You Only Live Once (album version)
(Purchase the album)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Here Comes The Wave:
Richard Hawley at Bowery Ballroom

The crowd chants for Richard Hawley as his stagehand switches on the singer’s little portable reading light and tapes spare guitar picks to his microphone. Hawley and his band take the stage and they open with “Valentine.” The set rolls on and eventually he gets to “Darlin’ Wait”, which he had this to say: “Me and Shez [Sheffield—his guitarist] wrote this song for our wives. We’re as soft as a bag of shit.”

Oh, love is in the air.

The live Richard Hawley experience is a thing to admire. There was never a more down to earth guy who says what he thinks and sticks to his guns. Even after he chided a fan for a flippant remark, there was still nothing but good humor.

Let me tell you, I haven’t gone to that many gigs in my lifetime, but still, this was a first, when Hawley and crew came back for the encore, a hush fell over the crowd. All was quiet except for the sea of soft shushes in the audience. The mirrorball began to spin a blur of light. Husbands and wives, lovers, singles stood and swayed. It was kind of magical.

Really, I need to go to more shows where the band utilizes the power of the mirrorball.

Catch Richard Hawley on tour in your town:

December 2nd- Philadelphia, PA @ World Café Live
December 3rd- New York, NY @ Other Music (in-store live show)
December 4th- Cambridge, MA @ TT the Bear’s
December 5th- Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
December 6th- Chicago, IL @ The Abbey
December 7th- Minneapolis, MN @ 400 Bar
December 10th- Seattle, WA @ Crocodile Café
December 12th- San Francisco, CA @ Café du Nord
December 13th- Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour

Richard Hawley @ Bowery Ballroom 12.1.07 Setlist

Roll River Roll
Just like the Rain
Dark Road
Coles Corner
Tonight the Streets are ours
Lady's Bridge
Hotel Room
Darlin' Wait
Our Darkness
The Sea Calls
Born Under a Bad Sign
Something is
I'm Lookin' for Someone

The Ocean

Richard Hawley- Valentine
(Buy Lady’s Bridge)

Richard Hawley- The Ocean
(Buy Cole’s Corner)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What We Keep

Turkey day came and went, and then came the numerous ways to use up leftover turkey. Turkey chili, turkey sandwiches-- frankly, I'm all turkeyed out. The only thing I want to do now is take a nap. Oh, and catch up on my Weeds.

Last Monday was the season finale and everything is changing for my favorite drug-dealing soccer mom, Nancy Botwin. If you haven't seen the finale yet, or you like your TV on DVD, I won't spoil it for you. But I would like to add that a really great song called, "Keepsake" was played during this episode, and it's by State Radio, a band fronted by the former singer of Dispatch. I haven't heard the rest of this EP, but if Keepsake is any indication of what the rest of the album sounds like, then it shouldn't be missed.

State Radio- Keepsake (link expired)

Get the first two seasons of Weeds on DVD here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Richard Hawley, let's hug it out.

Just bought my ticket for the Richard Hawley show which is coming up fast.

Big plans to sway in sea of self-pity. I sense tissues will be needed. Liquor might be involved.

Hawley just gets me.
See you there, December 1st!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mary Says She's "Just Fine"

So I like what I see when I'm lookin' at me when I'm walkin' pass the mirror.
Ain't worry about you and what you're going do, so my ladies, you gotta stay classy.

Mary J. is killing it. Oh my goodness-- I found my new motivational song. I just heard this tonight on the American Music Awards. I love all music- Top 40 included, and the highlights of the show included Alicia Keys' jamming reggae inspired performance of "No One," the return of Duran Duran, and Miss Blige sporting this short, early 90s looking haircut. I kind of love it. I was afraid her limitless optimism would tire out, but she reinvents herself once again on this track. I am inspired. Almost enough to put on everything in my closet and do her funky posing at the mirror.

Stay classy!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Malajube//Die Romantik//The Epochs
at Bowery Ballroom, 11.15.07

Thursday evening was spent at the Malajube show. You all know I love my Canadian bands. Love 'em. This sounds weird, but the fact that there was a coat check made me a little sad. If you have a coat to check, then it must be cold outside. :( Autumn nearly over.

I feel for opening bands, because you have the hard core fans and then the people who need to be won over, and I tend to be on the edge most of the time. I'm harder to win over nowadays since I started wearing earplugs. Although I fully endorse not going prematurely deaf, earplugs are a nuisance... I mean, I wear them, but I just don't get the same sensory experience.
Still, they're quite smart if you go to a lot of shows, and find yourself yelling at your friends and family a lot. "WHAT?? NO, THIS IS MY NORMAL VOICE!!" Time to get earplugs, my friends.

The Epochs

I was particularly interested in hearing Die Romantik for the first time because there's a song on their myspace page I love called "One Thought is Flickering". They have a dark charm, like a group of marionettes climbing out of a toybox to play. But you know, less creepy, and way more entertaining. The elaborate lighting was a plus too. Kudos to their stagehands for working the lights.

Sorry for the poor angle. You can't tell from this photo, but the keyboardist is sitting on his amp. See, I don't know if this is a normal keyboardisty thing to do, but I thought it was cool.

I always get a kick out of seeing what Malajube's Julien Mineau will wear on the stage. While setting up he was wearing a sailor outfit, and then he changed into a "Where's Waldo?" hat and glasses. The fans looked like they were having a blast. Malajube brought the house down, even though the guys were a bit under the weather. Feel better!

Malajube: Casse-cou
(Buy Trompe-l'oeil)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Have Love, Will Travel

The Danes have it.

Maybe it’s the water, or the fresh air that cultivates sweet pop fashion and music in Denmark, but anyway this is the second Danish band I’m featuring here in the last few weeks.

Moi Caprice played SXSW this year, but in an interview with Erin Young, they revealed that although they hope to sell some more albums, they have no real desire to hit the big time.

We're not the kind of people who love to be in front of a lens or love to see ourselves go crazy in music videos. It sounds really slick, but we're really in this because we love to make music; everything else seems more or less like obligatory things we have to do. And we love to do as few of these things as possible, and I have an idea that you need to do these things to make it big in this business! Our goal at the moment is somewhat different; we hope to release the album in as many countries as possible and find our small audiences all around.

In the interview, they talked extensively about one of the major themes in their music—travel.

We're all quite well travelled, we've all backpacked our way through Europe, went to the US or Asia and we all travel quite often. I think we share that feeling of excitement whenever we set foot somewhere new, or at least relatively unknown. To me this feeling is probably one of the greatest sensations in life; some of the happiest moments in my life have been those endless walks in a new city where you get lost and love it.

What a well-spoken group of guys! I completely share their sentiment on travel. Read the rest of the interview here.

And watch the video for The Town and The City.

I wouldn't mind disappearing for a while too…

Moi Caprice- The Town and The City
(Buy Art of Kissing Properly)

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Night Starts Here

Music Videos for a lazy Friday:

Stars- Take Me To The Riot

This is my favorite song from the latest Stars album. The video does not do it justice. It's a bit boring really-- a kid makes small talk with a stranger on a bus for the first minute and then wanders around a city for a bit before playing foosball and making some friends. Hmm... don't get it. Amy Millan needs to take him to the riot! You can also watch the video for The Night Starts Here from Arts & Crafts .

Gliss- Kissing The Blvd

Drummer/Bassist Victoria Cecilia directed this one. Some of it takes place in a bathroom stall. Don't know what it means, but the whole thing just oozes DIY California coolness.

Chris Brown- Wall To Wall

This video takes a page from the B-list horror flicks of the 90s, but Chris Brown can pull it off. The Air-Jordan flying is a teesny bit over the top, but hey, he's Chris Brown! I won't even chide him for choosing Artemis Fowl font for his album cover.

You know he's starring in This Christmas right? I'm so dragging my friend Liv to that movie when she comes back for Thanksgiving. I think the movie was being promoted with a singing contest where contestants had to sing either "This Christmas" or "Silent Night." The winner was a woman named Antenica N. Smith. Congrats Antenica!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Ka-push.

Erykah Badu's The Kabah is being pushed back once again to a release date for February 29th. Bummers...

The single "Honey" will still be released later this month on November 20th so we can look forward to that. Check out the cover art-- tres sweet. She's also guest starring on an episode of Girlfriends on Monday, November 12th. Check out the CW for a short preview.

"You baaad Badu! Nobody can do Badu like you do!"

Monday, November 5, 2007

Nicole Atkins: Maybe Tonight//Love Torn

Here are some nifty videos of Nicole Atkins performing acoustic versions of "Maybe Tonight" and "War Torn" at SXSW 07'.

Nicole Atkins - Maybe Tonight ( Live)

Nicole Atkins - War Torn ( Live)

She's opening for The Pipettes on November 12th at The Blender Theatre. If you haven't seen her perform live, she and "D" band are amazing.

Nicole Atkins- Maybe Tonight (SXSW acoustic)
(Buy Neptune City)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Stop You In Your Tracks- Music of New York

There's no surprise why Susan Cagle was popular in underground music scene. Literally underground, she was a fixture in some of the major New York subway stations, playing tracks from her Subway Recordings and genuionely stopping people in their tracks with her beautiful acoustic sound. Last night she played a show at Rockwood Music Hall to a packed house, one of several shows in accordance with her residency at the venue. She brought along her sister Caroline to support her on bass.

Afterwards, my friend and I came across the Stumblebum Brass Band, playing outside in the late autumn chill. They were pretty amazing as well. I would have loved to stick around and see them wow passerbys with their Louis Armstrong inspired power brass sounds, but the cold did not agree with us.

They are available for bachelorette parties and bar mitzvahs :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Trick Or Treat

Kate Nash is all up in the U.S. media these days. Hanging out with the New York Times, and now she's also in this month's Interview Magazine, which by the way, is on newstands now. I wonder what she's doing for Halloween. Big plans? Trick or treating maybe? To all the trick or treaters, have fun. Be safe. No egging houses! But if they give you apples, well... then you gotta do what you gotta do.

In semi-related news, her rumored bf, Ryan Jarman, of The Cribs will be back in town on November 15th when The Cribs play Music Hall of Williamsburg. They must really love this city. It's like, the fourth time they've played New York this year.

Here's a treat from Ms. Nash's BBC Radio 1 session. Happy Halloween!

Kate Nash- Fluorescent Adolescent (Arctic Monkeys cover)

Bear Bones from Vermont Teddy Bear Company

Monday, October 29, 2007

Music Is My Hot Hot Soup

I made tomato soup today to console myself. I trekked to the supermarket for ingredients to stir into a big pot of "Wish I Was There" soup.

It was delicious, but not as satisfying as actually being at The Shivers show.-- the reason I needed to get my cookery on. What can I say, I'm an emotional chef. And I'm going through some doubts about my professional career/direction in life (or lack thereof), which prompted me to top off the soup with bread pudding. Okay, so I also cook when I get nervous.

All the more reason why I should have been at The Shivers gig at Rockwood Music Hall yesterday to calm me down. I only found out about it today when I randomly checked their Myspace to see what's going on with these guys. The delicately folksy love song, Beauty, was one of the most played songs on my iPod in college. And for good reason! Beautiful, and romantic are words that come to mind. Slow dance on a cloud without all the fluff-- it's a hard task to accomplish and these guys pull it off. Luckily, they're playing another show this Sunday, November 4th at Mercury Lounge.

They are worth checking out.

The Shivers- Beauty
(Buy the album, Charades)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Mystery On The Tracks

The detective stands next to a pay phone, and unbeknownst to him, the phone rings. Does he answer it? Does the voice on the other line have vital information to share? Everyone else stands around idly, so he picks up the phone.


“Mike? Mike, is that you? It’s Nikki… the airport waits for us, but I’m at Canal Street Station… Canal Street Station…..”

Friday evening, Shabs and I went to the subway station at Canal Street to play this free interactive mystery game. In the underground labyrinth of the busiest station in Chinatown, we dialed in a number at one of the pay phones. The woman who answers has a thick European accent. She repeated the same message over and over again. She was in distress. We have to find her. But how?

It took us close to two hours to solve the mystery, because it was so hard to hear with the trains constantly rolling by. You punch in answers on the keypad, and they’ll let you know if you’re on the right track. We had to dial in several times, so it can get quite frustrating, but on a hunch, I punched in a response and then we were on our way. It’s a bit of a psychological thriller—when does the line between reality and figments of your imagination start to blur?

To play, you must dial in from a pay phone at Canal Street Station. The last day for the interactive game is October 31st so if you’re looking for something different to do on Halloween, here’s your chance! Bring your thinking- cap, patience, a friend to cling to when you get creeped out, a good sense of hearing, and loads of disinfectant wipes (have you used a New York payphone? They’re gross!

Go to the official website to for all the information.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Halloween Is Hard To Do

*That's right, I'm going to be Dean Cain for Halloween.

I'm going to a Halloween party this weekend, and I haven't got a costume. Originally, I planned on going as Olive from Little Miss Sunshine but without those perky red cowboy boots, people will wonder if I rolled out of bed and came in my pajamas. I hit up every shoe store from Canal Street to Union Square but couldn't find boots appropriate or affordable enough. Ah wells... Some back up ideas are to dress up like Superman's alter-ego, Clark Kent and be androgynous, or maybe glam it up as Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast At Tiffanys.

So it's not just me, Dinosaur thinks this is true also--- it's tough for the ladies to shop for costumes if you don't want to be a sexy cop or a sexy nurse. What if I wanted to be Susan B. Anthony and get my groove on to the Women's Rights movement? (This store has it but only in children's sizes) Not fair, I say, for the lazy and uncreative. Hunting down little make-it-work items for a costume can be fun, but I would rather go to one place, get the damn outfit, and be done.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wallflowers Are For Lovers

*And we're back!*

The Wallflowers sprung into town Monday night, playing a show at Highline Ballroom, which, funny enough, is situated next to the Western Beef supermarket. Why? Who knows? If you're into rock music and two for one specials on toilet paper, I suppose it's good to know where you can get all your errands done.

I attempted to outmanouever a double whammy at the show: standing behind a tall man, with extremely poofy hair (his hair, is in a great many of my photos sadly, like a poodle on its hind legs looking for a photo op), BUT, I fulfilled one of my goals in life-- to see The Wallflowers, so I can't complain too much.

Jakob Dylan fans showed up in throngs, drawn to the center stage by the man's signature raspy vocals. After Rami Jafee left the group indefinitely, the band shuffled the line up with Stuart Mathis on lead guitar. He played extensively with The Wallflowers on their Rebel Sweetheart tour, so he might be familar to people. Because this is my first Wallflowers show, it was all new to me, but Mathis was especially good on How Far You've Come- the the fingering, the pull offs and bending-- t'was quite cool. It's probably my favorite song off the last album, and it was a treat to hear it live. Jakob Dylan is such a brilliant songwriter too-- finding middle ground between sadness, and silver-linings. I find myself listening to this track any time I'm ready to leave the pity party.

Sometimes a high wall, is just a wall
Sometimes it's only there to make sure you feel small
Or maybe there to save you, from the depths, of a much deeper fall

The Wallflowers will be in town for a few more days, as they are booked for a birthday party. It's a sweet reminder of the shows musicians played in their early days, but in this particular case, it's not just any ice cream cake balloon-animals affair. The festivities are for Hillary Clinton. She's turning the big 6-0. If you can shell out the $100+ for a ticket, the show is at Beacon Theatre on October 25th.

Closer To You is one of the songs they played for the encore. It's a goosebump inducing lullaby, which Jakob Dylan acknowedged, "is for the ladies." Judging by the number of wooed women (and men) in the crowd wanting to get "closer to you," Jakob, we'll say your music is for lovers.

Set List for The Wallflowers at Highline Ball Room, 10.22.07

Shy of the Moon
I Am a Building
Here He Comes
6th Avenue Heartache
The Passenger
Up From Under
Empire of My Mind
When You're On Top
How Far You've Come
God Says Nothing Back
Letters from the Wasteland
If You Never Got Sick
3 Marlenas
God Don't Make Lonely Girls
Nearly Beloved
Everybody Out of The Water


I've Been Delivered
Closer To You
Everything I Need

The Wallflowers- How Far You've Come
(Buy Rebel Sweetheart)

The Wallflowers- Closer To You
(Buy Red Letter Days)

I haven't forgotten about you! But...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Brunettes @ Soundfix 10.19.07

The rumors about The Brunettes are true.

They are, in fact, brunette! Great, now that the debate on hair color is settled, the band played a short set at Soundfix last Friday and the music was thoroughly adorable, just like these Kiwis. The stage was too small to fit the band and their equipment, so singer Jonathan Bree had to stand on the floor. They brought hip back to the Village people when they sang and spelled B-A-B-Y on the track “Brunettes Against Bubblegum Youth”.

I planned to return to Soundfix for The Rosebuds yesterday, but never quite made it. I woke up and felt interminably lazy so it turned into a Weeds and No Reservations/A Cook’s Tour day in my pajamas. (If you haven’t seen the No Reservations Leftovers episode on youtube, it’s so funny—a must see for Anthony Bourdain fans).

Speaking of food, off to brunch….

The Brunettes- Brunettes Against Bubblegum Youth (B-A-B-Y)

Friday, October 19, 2007

A paraoh, a poet, a big deal.

This week I went to Barnes & Noble at Union Square to see one of my favorite poets, Nina Cassian, who was doing a special reading for Poetry in Motion. New Yorkers know Poetry in Motion as those poetry ads you let your eyes wander to when avoiding the gaze of fellow straphangers on the subway.

There was a book signing afterwards, and I brought an old collection of poems with me. As I ascended the steps onto the platform where she was seated, my heart started to beat really fast. To me, she's kind of a big deal. Lots of thoughts started to run through my head. What would I say when I get to speak to her? I wanted to tell her how I found her book of poems by accident—it was sitting on a pile of free books at the English department in college a few years ago. No… then she’ll think someone didn’t think her book was worthy enough to keep. That might hurt her feelings. Oh shoot.

So when I met her, all I could squeak out was, “Oh my god, it’s so nice to meet you.”

She sees the book I have for her to sign and she is pleasantly surprised that it’s an old edition, as if someone had dug up a favorite sweater from a box in the attic. She asks me who she should make it out to, so I give her my name. “Is that all? Just your name?” she asks in her heavy Romanian accent. I give her kind of a geeky smile, “That’s it!” Well, no, that’s not it, I thought. Give me some insight into the meaning of life! How did you know you were meant to be a writer? What is the secret of humanity?!

But that’s a lot of words to ask for from a person, even if she is a poet.

From Life Sentence, Selected Poems by Nina Cassian--


I have no time to offer proof to you
Of the great, astonishing virtues I possess; therefore,
Those who have eyes will see, those who do not see,
My eyes will remain undiscovered as before.

Some there are who, meeting me, have said:
“Welcome to my life, you living wonder!”
Other had nothing whatever to say to me,
And I left them far behind, wanting upward to wander.

Time sweeps on, and I have precious gifts,
And I constantly seek out those who merit them.
If I do not find them, then let me be buried
Like a paraoh, with my riches, so the Earth may inherit them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And then the Skye cleared...

I have a penchant for cover songs, so I was excited to come across this cover of the Gorillaz' Feel Good Inc, by Skye Edwards, the former frontwoman of trip hop band, Morcheeba. It was recorded live for KCRW.

I don’t know very much about Skye outside of Morcheeba (or even when she was in the band for that matter save for a few Morcheeba tunes on my iPod), but since she left the band in 2004, she's gone solo, and even came out with an album last year.

Her rendition of Feel Good makes you "feel good" for sure-- not with femme-fatale sensuality akin to trip-hop, or even the heady sensations of two tukes too many. Instead, her voice is clear as crystal, still as water, gliding effortlessly over the guitar acoustics. It's almost a throwback to the 50s/60s songstress era-- a single mic, and a muted spotlight. It's hard not to slow down and relax when you listen to her.

This is the live version, but you can hear the original cover over at her myspace, as well as listen to some tracks from her album, Mind How You Go.

Skye Edwards- Feel Good Inc. (Live on KCRW)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

First Lady

While walking around New York a few weeks ago, you might have seen a photo of Jackie Kennedy on the cover of New York Magazine, and thought to yourself, "When did Jackie O look so... mannish?" Of course, upon closer inspection, you realized it was President Clinton in drag, with the headline, "Bill Clinton: First Lady." This isn't the first time, as Steven Tyler puts it, the dude looks like a lady:

"I haven't been in drag in 50 years. In my high-school yearbook, there's a picture of me and a buddy of mine wearing dresses, and we're, uh, holding each other," --Bill Clinton, New York Magazine, October 22nd.

So nice to see the ex-prez take it with such good humor. By the way, and this is kind of random, but did you know Bill Clinton is a crossword enthusiast? He even wrote the clues for one of the NYT crossword puzzle a few months ago (thanks Dawne!) but a word to the wise-- it's a really tough one. Take a shot at it. New Yorkers can tune in to Ch. 13 (PBS) tonight at 10pm to see President Clinton in Wordplay, a documentary about crossword puzzles and the people who love them. I saw this film last summer and it's great. It's also kind of nice to see public figures outside their element as well. For a few moments they are unfazed about the state of world politics, or the speed of that last four-seam fastball. Rather, their entire existence rests on knowing what is that five letter word for a chocolate substitute (!?!?!)

Should I give you the answer? It's kind of an easy one...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Rave On! Part Deux...

I had such a great time at The Raveonettes show last night at Bowery Ballroom. This is the second time I've seen them perform this week. After looking at the pictures I took at Southpaw, I realized that I always veer for the left of the stage (usually in front of a bassist). Perhaps it’s some subconscious attraction to the bass. But it was nice to see the view from the right.

Gliss, as usual, was amazing. Martin was a bit chattier with the crowd yesterday evening, but unlike Southpaw, there wasn’t a crop circle of empty space in front of the band. They played this one song that I really liked that isn’t on their album, so I asked Victoria about it after the set. It’s called “Kick In Your Heart” and I recommend it because David is a total badass on that guitar riff. You can download it from their website. Just sign up for their mailing list. One other interesting note- in addition to swapping gear with each other between songs, the band makes up the set list as they play. Three cheers for spontaneity.

(Martin and David, each taking their turn at the guitar)

So Nicole Atkins has my vote for coolest wardrobe. It would be fun to raid her closet. She was wearing this vest that her friend made for her out of old bicycle tires. I love recycling, don’t you? (Al Gore would be proud) She said she smelled like a giant condom. This girl can sing, and she's got a sense of humor to boot.

When the crowd was applauding, Nicole mentioned that it was funny “watching people clap for me when I sing about my pathetic life.” Aww… you’re not pathetic, Nicole! Would a pathetic person wear these darling gold cowboy boots? No way. I couldn't get a really good shot, but those boots were so cute.

Her band is great also! They have wonderful chemistry when they play together. Watch for them when they perform live on the Late Show with David Letterman on October 30th.

The Raveonettes played a razor sharp set of mostly new songs and appreciated the love coming from the crowd. It was a sold out show :)

I love this photo below of Sharin and their drummer. I really like the contrast. What an unexpected shot-- Sharin just popping up like that!

The Raveonettes Set List 10.12.07 @ Bowery Ballroom

Noisy Summer
That Great Love Sound
Let’s Rave On
Attack of the Ghost Riders
My Tornado
Expelled from Love
Red Tan
Love In a Trash Can
Dead Sound
French Disko (*They love Stereolab!)
Aly, Walk With Me

The Raveonettes- Lust (demo)
(Listen to more demos at their myspace)

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Raveonettes + Nicole Atkins + Gliss @ Southpaw

Sab and I went to see The Ravonettes on Wednesday and caught two other great shows. We were early in a major way. I get overly excited so I am never fashionably late, but always ridiculously early. Anyway, we were there when Gliss did their sound check. They played what I think was, “Make Believe” or “Kissing The Blvd.” (It was probably the latter). From what we heard, we knew this band was going to be really good, and they did not disappoint.

Martin, Victoria and David, the three members of Gliss, play bass, guitar, and drums like a game of musical chairs, switching gear with each other after the completion of each song. When the instruments are passed around, each bandmate puts a different kind of energy and personality into the performance. There’s also something about this that makes the music exceptionally intimate, not just for the audience, but between the threesome as well. It’s something like a musical make out session and they’re swapping saliva. Or, some other less gross analogy. Straight out of L.A. these guys are rocking sexy bass lines and slick riffs that slink at the beck and call of Martin’s lush lyrics. The album, Love The Virgins, is good, but I feel like the record should support the live show and not the other way around. They really are a fantastic live band.

Gliss- Kissing The Blvd
Next up was Nicole Atkins. I don’t know much about her, but she has a lovely voice, and her lyrics resonate well with the lovelorn. I really enjoyed “The Way It Is,” “Love’s Surreal,” and “War Torn.” Plus, she was kickin’ it in these red hot shoes. Hot shoes are cool.

Nicole Atkins- The Way It Is
(Buy Neptune City)

The Raveonettes played many new songs from their upcoming album, which hits Europe in November, but doesn’t swing state-side till January. Lust is my absolute favorite new song, and Sune says that they really enjoy playing it as well. It’s worth singling out—this track is downright hypnotic. Throughout the night, The Raveonettes just wanted everyone to have a good time. Rave On. They also played a cover of Stereolab’s French Disko. FD seems pretty popular (The Editors did a cover of this song as well).

The Raveonettes’ 10.9.07 Setlist @ Southpaw

Noisy Summer
Let’s Rave On
With My Eyes Closed
Black Satin
Attack of the Ghost Riders
My Tornado
Expelled From Love
Red Tan
Love in a Trash Can
Dead Sound
French Disko (Stereolab cover)
Aly, Walk With Me


That Great Love Sound

The Raveonettes- Love in A Trashcan

Doing it all again on Friday at Bowery Ballroom!