05 Feb 2009, 17:32 MST

Rebecka Törnqvist

Rebecka Törnqvist, my Swedish crush. Melting Into Orange is a very unique album. Her mix of light electronic and jazz is novel enough, but with her bell-clear voice piercing the mix with just the right touch of reverb, there’s not much to dislike. I’m finding it difficult to present anything close to a representative sample of the album, so I just posted two I like. You should also listen to Wit Waltz, Cuckoo and The Poachers, if you’re serious about the process. If not, then, you know. Don’t, I guess?

Quick point of order, all Amazon has is the import of this album, no MP3s (this is no longer true). Far be it from me to advise you against buying from Amazon, I love those guys, but Rebecka’s own site has MP3 downloads, although they aren’t particularly cheap either. Anyway, linkage:

I Wanted This To Be Your Song
Tell On You

04 Feb 2009, 17:48 MST

Rachael Yamagata

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. “What is this song? I don’t remember this.” I listened. I…was changed. I promptly bought Happenstance. I wore it out. Wore. it. out. I still listen to this album, I still love this album. This album never gets old.

Rachael Yamagata changed my listening forever. Nearly every Cute Girl I’ve found since Rachael Yamagata has been a direct or indirect attempt to find something that could satisfy my craving for more Rachael Yamagata. Her addictive amalgam of powerful, yearning lyrics, beautifully textured vocals and haunting arrangements is everything I want from the genre. Rachael Yamagata is my favorite Cute Girl, for certain, and may be my favorite artist of all time. I consider it one of the most grandiose and abject failures of my life that I missed her show when she came to town. It’s the sort of thing that haunts you. I’m aware those are strong words. Rest assured, I do not deliver them lightly or without consideration.

Rachael Yamagata, thank you for your music.

These two tracks are just two tracks. Get this album. Just, get this album.

Letter Read
Even So

Next time, Part 2: The Long Wait.

29 Jan 2009, 16:49 MST


What am I supposed to do here? This deck is stacked. I’m wired to be in musical love with Jaymay. And why not? Jamie Seerman has all the tools. The voice, the guitar, the uncanny insight into my musical desire, it’s all there. This is a no-words-required recommendation. Listen to these two songs on me and then you’ll just go buy Autumn Fallin’. You won’t be able to stop yourself. It’s ok, you’re not alone. Frankly, I hope Jaymay keeps overriding my purchasing willpower for a very long time.

Sycamore Down
Sea Green, Sea Blue

28 Jan 2009, 16:43 MST

Neko Case - People Got a Lotta Nerve

I’ve got to be perfectly honest here  — I had absolutely no idea that Neko Case had a new album coming out until about fifteen minutes ago. I feel like my fragile grip on whatever hipster douchebag street-cred I may have possessed is slipping wildly out of control. But no matter, because on March 3rd, Middle Cyclone drops and I’m all sorts of excited for it. The following (which I’m directly label-linking to for charity purposes) really shares nothing in common with her typical alt-country leanings, but that’s precisely why I’m looking forward to it — hipster cred be damned!

Editor’s note from the future: The original link stopped working, added a playable.

People Got A Lotta Nerve

27 Jan 2009, 14:28 MST


So, Meiko is basically the poster girl for Cute Girls Playing Love Songs. She’s so cute it’s ludicrous. Thank god she plays good music so I could justify looking at pictures of her on the internet until I found the one I wanted to post. That’s not creepy at all, I assure you.

Meiko is pretty great musically as well, in case you were curious. Her debut self-titled album has just the right mix of irreverence and introspection, with a healthy, hearty helping of highly entertaining. Now, these songs here are happy. I like her happy songs better than her more minor-keyed stuff. Also, I want you to know, internet, that I liked her before “the man” republished her album. I was there BEFORE. But the new song is, well, it’s pretty good alright? So they used it on Grey’s Anatomy, so what? You’re so much better than Grey’s is that it? I know who you are. They used your precious Tegan and Sara on Grey’s too, poser.

How Lucky We Are
Boys With Girlfriends

26 Jan 2009, 15:53 MST

Raining Jane

There’s only one thing better than a cute girl singing a love song. Four of them. And if you’re not sold yet, several songs feature cello and sitar. Sometimes together. Yeah, welcome to the fan club.

Raining Jane hooked me opening for Sara Bareilles and Jon McLaughlin. I bought their CD, Diamond Lane, on the spot. And I didn’t like it that much. It was all very disappointing. Then they released an EP called Paper Nest. <3.


25 Jan 2009, 16:11 MST

Sara Lov

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. Witch-doctor voodoo magic and all.

Seasoned Eyes Were Beaming (Piano Version)
My Body Is a Cage

25 Jan 2009, 05:14 MST

Gregory and the Hawk

With her utterly disarming vocals and gorgeous arrangements, Meredith Godreau captured my heart with frightening ease. I’ve long been a fence-sitter with regard to “little girl voice”, but Meredith’s label-debut Moenie and Kitchi is the sort of thing that makes you a believer.

Oats We Sow
Voice Like a Bell

24 Jan 2009, 09:40 MST

Sarah Harmer

Sarah Harmer’s neo-bluegrass is better than your neo-bluegrass. Growing up on country music, I find I still have a significant soft spot for it when it’s done right. Sarah Harmer’s I’m a Mountain is made up entirely of right.

I Am Aglow
Will He Be Waiting For Me

24 Jan 2009, 03:27 MST

Winter Song, Hotel Café

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