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Wed, 04 Jul 2007

Fort Nightly / White Rabbits
There's something both appealing and disconcerting going on here, a combination of styles that ought not to work, maybe takes some getting used to, but that seems likely to reward the effort. Quoting MusicRemedy quoting (talk about lazy; I can't even steal from somebody firsthand!), "If Liberace joined a swing band, and enlisted a guitarist addicted to eclecticism (Western, surf flecked, and C&W included), it might sound a bit like this." Another reviewer hears ska in the mix, although without the rough amateurish quality we associate with ska. (If it isn't rough and amateurish -- and I mean that in a good way -- is it ska?)

Maybe we need another genre. How about Uneasy Listening? Think anybody's go for that?

Fort Nightly
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 02 Jul 2007

Anthology / The Rubinoos
Anthology What we have here is a classic case of serendipity, as like the Princes of Serendip I went looking for one thing and found quite another. I've been doing this MySpace marketing thing for a friend, looking for fans of thrillers who might be persuaded to check out his most excellent contributions to the genre, when what should my MySpace Googling find? Only Jon Rubin, who started his Power Pop band back in junior high, had a minor hit with a cover of Tommy James' I Think We're Alone Now and is still touring and rocking (or whatever the pop equivalent is) more than three decades later. For someone who gets bored doing the same job for more than a couple of years, I have to admire their sticktoitiveness. And also their music, which is both nostalgia-inducing and catchy as all get out.
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 29 Jun 2007

Happening / Brenda Earle
I may have mentioned my enthusiasm for musical theatre a time or two before. Happening doesn't belong to that genre, although my first reaction was that it well could. There's something theatrical about these songs, both in their composition and their arrangement; they tell a story or set a mood in exactly the way some of my Broadway favorites do. Most of the songs here are original, which makes me wonder if their specialness comes more from their creation or their performance, or if the two are inseparable.

One not-original track is a memorable version of Every Little Thing (He) Does Is Magic. And if she can't quite equal Shawn Colvin's breathtaking cover, well, second place isn't too shabby either.

[ Category: Jazz | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 27 Jun 2007

Bubbly / Colbie Caillat
Bubbly I guess this is the iTunes Store version of dipping your toes in the water, this one stinkin' track from MySpace phenomenon Colbie Caillat. And a phenomenon she is, with over a hundred thousand MySpace friends, (you can hear the "air quotes", can't you?), which is even more than I have! Not that she doesn't deserve all that attention and more; just looking at her concert schedule I'm exhausted. Fortunately, her songs are the perfect antidote to that exhaustion: light and bouncy and smooth and soothing. I predict great things, assuming there's anything to this word of mouth marketing thing we're both involved in.
[ Category: Pop | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 25 Jun 2007

The Else / They Might Be Giants
I've always thought of They Might Be Giants as something of an acquired taste, rather like beer or many of the foods of my childhood, the kind of things that would be suspect or even mildly revolting to someone who didn't grow up Jewish in New York in the late 50s and early 60s. I first heard Giants on Tiny Toon Adventures, as I recounted around the beginning of this blog in a post about The Roches. And it took a while after that to appreciate their particular blend of tuneful and weird.

So what does it mean that I don't get that sense of weird listening to The Else? Have they mellowed? Or have my musical taste buds been so corrupted, at least where they're concerned, that I can't be disturbed any more? Truly a puzzlement. Now I'm just left enjoying the music, which is hardly a complaint. Still, I miss being disturbed. (No, not like that!)

The Else
[ Category: Alternative | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 22 Jun 2007

Call Me Irresponsible / Michael Bublé
Call Me Irresponsible I first encountered Michael Bublé a while back when I was looking for covers of Route 66 for a road trip I was planning to, well, Route 66. Or what's left of it anyway; I've been to Gallup, Flagstaff, Winona, Kingman, Barstow and San Bernardino, and Amarillo is next. (Yes, I'm obsessed. Why do you ask?)

Anyway, I discovered Bublé through his cover, sadly not available on the iTunes Store. Nice voice, but Irresponsible? Try geographically illiterate. Sorry, Michael, but Reno isn't and never was on Route 66. It's only a detour of 500 miles or so off the Mother Road, thank you very much.

[ Category: Vocal | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 20 Jun 2007

Estimated Charges / The Flying Other Brothers
Anybody else hear early Dire Straits on Kick It Open?

Just me?

Okay, then.

Estimated Charges
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 18 Jun 2007

Find Your Own Way Home / REO Speedwagon
Find Your Own Way Home With so many of the bands I grew up with either long gone or on the life support of PBS Pledge Drive concerts, it's reassuring to know that some of us are still alive and kicking butt three decades on. REO Speedwagon's latest album sounds great. It doesn't sound old, and it doesn't sound tired, and it isn't just a retread of older and more glorious times. Guess we don't all have to go gentle into that good night.
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 15 Jun 2007

The Boy with No Name / Travis
Maybe you're old enough to remember when movie theaters weren't so strict about selling tickets for a particular performance, when you'd arrive when you arrived, walk in the middle of one showing and then stick around for the part you missed. Or was that just me? Anyway, that's kind of the feeling I get when I read comments for Travis's new album. They of course compare The Boy with No Name to the band's earlier works, finding it wanting in various ways or just not the breakthrough comeback album they were hoping for. Me, I just like what I hear. It's accessible by the uninitiated, which may upset their long term fans but suits me (and maybe you) just fine. The Boy with No Name
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 13 Jun 2007

Inner Shape / Roman Ott
Inner Shape This post is about an album called Inner Shape. But Inner Shape isn't just the name of the album; it's the name of the band. Roman Ott isn't the name of the band; that's just the name of one of the band members. Clear?

Sorry; I was just channeling Arlo Guthrie. But back to the band. Inner Shape is a quartet of young German jazz musicians. Who do a credible job of sounding both more mature and not particularly Teutonic. Although they do leave me wondering just what's so funny about Leo.

[ Category: Jazz | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 11 Jun 2007

Nothing But the Water / Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Huh. Here I thought the South was a place. But thanks to Ms. Potter I come to discover it's all a state of mind. How else to explain how a band from Vermont can create such a dead-on Southern bluesy sound. Are they at least from southern Vermont? Nothing But the WATER
[ Category: Rock | 1 comment | Link ]

Fri, 08 Jun 2007

Hiromi's Sonic Bloom: Time Control / Hiromi Uehara
Hiromi's Sonic Bloom: Time Control Time Control is a little bit New Age, a little bit jazz. Or maybe it's a lot of both; I can't quite decide. But however you categorize her, Hiromi's keyboard technique has to be heard to be believed. A definite Wow. Maybe even two.
[ Category: Jazz | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 06 Jun 2007

Cassadaga / Bright Eyes
Who does Conor Oberst want to be when he grows up? Okay, that's unfair; he's clearly creating something original, at least a lot of the time. But I can't help flashing, as others have, on Dylan, or Springsteen, or, at least on Soul Singer In a Session Band, Billy Joel back when we cared about him. Which as I say isn't fair; as much as the influences are there, so is the originality. And there are worse things to be than this generation's Dylan, assuming he himself doesn't qualify for the honor. Cassadaga
[ Category: Alternative | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 04 Jun 2007

Revenge! / Robbie Fulks
Revenge! I'm torn. On the one hand, we're talkin' country, and we all know how I feel about country. But on the other, we're talkin' smartass. I mean, how can you not love a guy who'll do a cover of Cher? And that's hardly the end of his transgressions against music. Okay, maybe I'm not as torn as all that.
[ Category: Country | Add a comment | Link ]

Fri, 01 Jun 2007

Betcha Bottom Dollar / The Puppini Sisters
The best jokes are often the ones where you don't realize it's a joke until it's too late. When I noticed Betcha Bottom Dollar on the iTunes Store, my first reaction was that it was a reissue of some moldy oldie from my father's time, what with covers of Sisters (which I associate with White Christmas, although I wouldn't be surprised to discover it's much older) and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and the like. They certainly sound authentic, although perhaps the lack of the lack of fidelity should have warned me. But then I saw a track called Heart of Glass, and I realized I'd been had. Unless I'm supposed to believe a top ten hit for Blondie actually predates them by a few decades, it seems I'm listening to an incredible simulation of a bygone era, not the real thing. Not that I'm complaining; both the bygone era's material and some of the more recent tracks do very well in the Sisters' hands. Although I have to say that they don't really improve on Kate Bush or Gloria Gaynor. Those covers are throwbacks I'd gladly, ummm, throw back. Betcha Bottom Dollar
[ Category: Vocal | Add a comment | Link ]

Wed, 30 May 2007

Saltbreakers / Laura Veirs
Saltbreakers I may have mentioned once or twice (or more, my memory not being what it used to be -- at least I don't think it is) that one of my selection criteria for this blog, and for music in general, is that the tracks not sound too much alike. Plain and simple, I like a little variety from a performer. And variety is certainly on offer here; there's folk in Nightingale, rock in Phantom Mountain, and what sounds like a Irish theme in To The Country. Whether there's too much variety for one album I'll leave to you to decide. Or is that even possible?
[ Category: Rock | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 28 May 2007

WOW It's...The Lounge-O-Leers / The Lounge-O-Leers
You'll forgive me, I hope, if I indulge my baser musical instincts every now and then. This is one of those times, as I admit that there's something so wonderfully silly about a group that will mash Britney Spears and Henry Mancini, or throw Fastball's The Way into a blender with Bésame Mucho and hope for the best. This is low art at best, and most enjoyable in small doses. But it's still art. It is, isn't it? WOW It's...The Lounge-O-Leers
[ Category: Jazz | 1 comment | Link ]

Fri, 25 May 2007

Until June / Until June
Until June From one extreme to the other. If I still listened to the radio, this is just the sort of thing I'd hope to hear: good vocals, nice backing and each track over in under four minutes. Although truth in blogging (how's that for an oxymoron?) compels me to point out that The Saddest Song isn't. Not even close.
[ Category: Rock | 1 comment | Link ]

Wed, 23 May 2007

Fear of a Blank Planet / Porcupine Tree
I write this as we prepare to mourn the death of Internet radio, music podcasts and every other form of music distribution not sanctioned by the few major record labels. There's panic in the land as CD sales sink without a trace and three old men at the Copyright Office plunge their long knives into the goose that might have delivered golden eggs. Okay, enough with the metaphors and the rants; either May 15th saw the death of a thousand fees or it didn't. If it did, groups like Porcupine Tree and albums like this one were the hardest hit. There are no three minute tracks here; the shortest is nearly twice that, while the appropriately named Anesthetize clocks in at a radio-hostile 17:43. So where exactly does a proper album get a hearing if not via the Web? Proper in the sense of a self-contained and coherent work, rather than a mere collection of unrelated tracks of an appropriate length to put on a CD? Unless something changed between my writing and your reading, we may still be wondering. Fear of a Blank Planet
[ Category: Alternative | Add a comment | Link ]

Mon, 21 May 2007

Mr. Deity / Mr. Deity
Mr. Deity It's podcast time again at the ole myTunes blog. And not just a podcast: a video podcast. I don't much go in for video podcasts; most of my listening is in the car, where they really, really don't recommend trying to watch video. (Damn traditionalists.) So it has to be something special to get me to break my routine. And so it is with Mr. Deity. But not the kind of special that attracted to me to Geek Brief.TV or French Maid TV or Tiki Bar TV. (Sorry, Dr. Tiki, but you know I just watch for Lala.) No, what's special about Mr. Deity is how it (or should that be he?) puts this whole "Hairy Thunderer or Cosmic Muffin" thing into context. Now this is a Supreme Being I can get behind.
[ Category: Podcast | Add a comment | Link ]

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