Long, long ago, in the distant past of 2009, I wrote a short post about the debut album from Béatrice Martin as Cœur de pirate and I assure you reader, even today the songs from that album are special. I have a kind of nostalgia about not just those songs and that recent-yet-not-recent time but the way hearing those songs felt then, the echoes they throw from then to now. There are songs and albums and artists that are your favorites and you would call them your favorites perhaps out of careful consideration or soul-searching and they come easily to mind when someone asks you to name them.
Yes. I did just do a Lights post, like, 10 minutes ago in CGPLS time. I know. I KNOW. Look, alright? I didn’t know this other album was out there. I didn’t know. It is so good and also so wildly different that it deserves…no, no it demands recognition. I was musically smitten with Lights before. Strongly Musically Smitten, official classification. I’m in Stage Ten Incurable Musical Love with her now.
Her eyes kind of look right into you, don’t they? It is only recently that I’ve become aware of Fleurie, though the Fear & Fable EP I’m currently wearing a figurative hole through was released in 2013. Once again our ever-generous overlord The Great and Powerful Spotify has gifted me with bounteous musical joy and once again the beneficiary of such is you, dear, silent, likely imaginary, reader. The good news is that she has new music on the horizon, so, soon there will be more than this.
I remembered something today. I was on the Twitters burning time while I waited for a Wimbledon match to get underway when Vienna Teng says: If anyone wants to help me do a final soundcheck before my 2pm EDT @Stageit show today, I'm hanging out here... https://t.co/zz1jwf8nSa — Vienna Teng (@viennateng) June 28, 2014 Honestly folks, I didn’t even know what StageIt was but listening to artists soundcheck is like getting a trip behind the curtain so I clicked that link and made a StageIt account.
It’s been a while since we last spoke of Elizabeth and her accompanying Cat (apult). Nearly five years, in fact. I’ll give you a second to catch up on your history. Much has happened, Taller Children was fresh at that time, but we’ve now seen not one but two additional studio albums, The Other Side of Zero in 2010 and earlier this year, Like It Never Happened. It’s this most recent outing that I’m here to wax poetic about and/or sing the praises thereof.
I’ve been meaning to do this post for a long time, it’s a rather glaring oversight. I would go so far as to say I owe you an apology, when you get down to it. If you like the kind of music I like and have somehow failed to stumble upon A Fine Frenzy and I, I of all people, have neglected to bring her to you, well. Let us assume that my apologies are of the humblest and sincerest of natures.
Well, friends, it’s been barely a month and here I am again. I’m serious, don’t raise your expectations. So, these guys just turned up following me on Twitter. I do not know why. I looked at my followers and there they were. I clicked the link thinking “Why would this band be following me on Twitter?” I still cannot answer that, but the freshly pressed EP I found there makes me think it’s just the fate of random chance.
This post is not as much a post per-say, but more of an infonoticeupdateitem. Well, two actually. A bit ago now, Rachael released Chesapeake, a full-length studio affair crowd-funded by Pledge Music. It is very good and you should get yourself a copy and listen to it. I have every intention of writing it up at some point. Yeah, I can’t take me seriously anymore either. Here are my favorites: You Won’t Let Me
I know it’s been a while. Picture me, friend. No, not rolling. Picture me in a misanthropic silence-cave of laziness and platitude on a throne of quiet destitution. There is music here but there is not Music here. Imagine, if you can, the sort of holy-light, soul wrenching, wondrous and magnificent sound it would take to shatter that bitter reverie so brilliantly as to generate a post on this much neglected weblog.
I am officially the Tin Man. Rachael Yamagata has finally stolen my heart outright, and I am without. There are no pictures due to a pretty hilarious-but-not-funny pre-show situation with the box office staff at Mesa Arts Center (I ruined Joe’s whole evening), but the things I saw are serving to fill the void where my heart resided previously, so that’s handy. How these abstract images and indistinct emotional impressions are keeping me alive, I’ll never know, but I don’t question the proverbial “gift-horse” and neither should you.
It’s been slow in music-land of late and I haven’t had time to digest some of the likely-great stuff I’ve got queued up (A Fine Frenzy’s new album and Miss Li of iPod Nano Commercial fame are both in line, also some old Anna Ternheim has caught my ear), so I decided to throw in a cup cake. Of course I’m a Sara Bareilles fan, it’s basically implied, and recommending Sara Bareilles to someone that likes the kind of music I post here is akin to recommending air as a possible breathing media.
Catherine Feeny is an artist of remarkable quality. Heartfelt and intimate, Catherine delivers unique songs steeped in country and folk but filled with instrumentation and rhythm from, well, everywhere. Acoustics, electrics, piano, brass, strings, chimes, ukulele, hand claps, whistling, electronics, harmonica, accordion, you name it. That’s not to say she’s gimmicky, nor that she piles on more when less will do, but you never know what she’s bringing into the fray.
Continuing a small but proud tradition in my music library of artists that sing in languages I do not speak, Cœur de pirate has captured my heart without saying a word (that I understand). Beautiful, simple arrangements? Check. Delicate vocal stylings? Check. Double-scoop of piano? Check. Let the swooning commence. Perhaps not knowing, or at least having only a vague idea, is part of the magic for me, but I can’t imagine music this good, and it is that good, comes with anything short of brilliant lyrics.
Part 3: Salvation My love affair with Loose Ends was…torrid. As a gentleman, I’ll abstain from detail, but believe me when I say this EP and I were close. Serving mostly to wrap up Happenstance, the disc played like bonus tracks to the now venerable debut, a Thinking of You card from Rachael to me. Loose Ends triggered an immediate return to heavy rotation for Happenstance and life was good. I had new music, I had my old friend Happenstance and I had renewed vigor for the long trek to The Promised Record.
Imagine my surprise when, as I’m driving in this morning listening to the local ClearChannel CGPLS-friendly affiliate (92.9 The Mountain, You could do worse in Tucson), I hear something that a) I haven’t heard ad nauseum and b) I like! I know! Philosophically I know that The Dark Lord of The Clear Channel has designated Erin McCarley for fame, but that’s kind of ok when the quality is this high.
What a name, right? The visual is amazing and, coincidentally, so is the band. Elizabeth & The Catapult are truly marvelous. Innovative arrangements, brilliant vocals, depth and variation that constantly gesture toward a broad pool of musical capability and matter-of-fact-ly indicate that they do, in fact, have all the tools. They just released their first full-length album, Taller Children. It’s real good. But I’m not gonna talk about that. They also released a self-titled EP in 2006 which is one of my favorite EPs of all time.
This isn’t a TV blog, but lemme start out here with this. The pilot of Royal Pains on USA was pretty excellent. I’m feeling especially fond toward it because they featured one of Adaline’s songs, and it was thusly that Adaline and I became acquainted, in the musical sense, of course. Evoking shades of several of my favorites, Adaline brings a nice mix of electronic effects and traditional instrument work to create an very engaging soundscape.
Sometimes, I just go to last.fm and mine it. I mine it for precious musical elements the way a prospector, hefting his pick and brandishing his pan, might seek gold in 1850’s California. The process is arduous, the sheer volume of tabs involved would dissuade the faint of heart, but I know the prize is in there, obscured by the strata. The bulk of music on last.fm is waste mineral, cast aside into a great pile of insufficiency.
In the many seasons of my musical whimsy, the coming of the singer-songwriter is the most recent, and Anna Nalick was there at the beginning. Following on toe-dippings like Alanis, Sarah McLachlan, Jewel and the occasional Fiona Apple, Anna represented one of my first full-album plunges into the cool waters. I had rather forgotten her as she was over-shadowed by huge comers like Feist and Rachael, and she slipped into the obscurity of my musical memory.
Part 2: The Long Wait Key moments to this point: – June 8, 2004, Rachael Yamagata releases Happenstance. – September 21, 2006, I realize how unbelievably great it is. – September 22, 2006, Rachael begins punishing me for my lack of vision. Picture, if you will, two years of winter. Not Arctic Circle frozen tundra desolation winter, now you’re just being melodramatic. Regular old winter. Even if you like winter, it’s supposed to end.
The Hush Sound make a big noise. That’s right folks, today I’m bringing the local-newscast-grade word play, try to keep up. The Hush Sound has been around for a while, but it’s only on their most recent release Goodbye Blues that singer Greta Salpeter has come into her own. Greta drives this album forward with her delicious vibrato and powerful piano work, so much so that I don’t mind the occasional interruption of co-lead-vocalist Bob Morris.
Part 1: Falling Hard June 15, 2004. Rachael Yamagata is the iTunes free single of the week and I, without even pausing to consider the ramifications of the moment, download the single. The song: Letter Read. I listened to the song. “That’s ok, I guess.”, I thought. You were expecting a love at first hear story weren’t you? Sorry kids, real life ain’t like the movies. Two years and three months later (I checked my iTunes purchase history) I find this song in my library.
Anyone that can make the Arcade Fire sound better than the Arcade Fire itself is most likely messing around with some unspeakable form of the dark arts. Lucky for us, Sara Lov channels her inner Haitian Voodoo queen and serves up a cover of My Body Is a Cage on her new EP, The Young Eyes, that’s better than the original by leaps and bounds. Oh, and strangely enough — the rest of the dreamy, piano-laden disc is pretty spectacular in its own right.
The Perfect Storm. Sara is on my short-list of go-to artists, Ingrid is on my medium-length list and I fell head-over-heels for Raining Jane’s live show when they came to town (that’s Mai on the cello back there). Didn’t anyone at Hotel Café ever see Ghost Busters? You can’t cross the streams like this, guys. Winter Song