Friday, March 23, 2007

Julie's Haircut On Streaming

Last week I've been at a Julie's Haircut's concert and, as always, it has been a hell of a gig: it is kind of hard for me to explain how great they are to people who have never seen them live, because when they are on the road they are the best at what they do (and what they do, by the way, is an extremely exciting live act, based mainly on loose versions of songs from their last album, "After dark, my sweet", which got recorded in only one week on a very improv mood, and with the help of ex Spacemen 3 Sonic Boom).
So my idea was introduce some people who may be curious about them (and if you aren't...well, you should, ok?) with a collection of 14 songs that I have picked from their whole career (i.e. 4 albums and some EPs), and that I have put in the sidebar on the right on streaming and so hope to push someone to go look for their records and maybe buy something.
One more thing: I took the picture over here, so you can blame me anytime you feel like...

More Info:
"After dark, my sweet" @ iTunes
"After dark, my sweet" @ SonicRocket
Julies' Haircut Press

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Introducing Joss Stone

This is a bit of a strange upload (specially after Richard Thompson), but I love this girl and I don't really give a care if she is mainstream, because if you like Motown artists, old school Soul (and not many fake r'n'b plastic things like Shakira and such) you ought to like Joss. Her first LP, Soul sessions, all of it made of beautiful covers of great soul music, was a gem, while the second, Mind , body & soul, was someway a letdown, probably given to the fact that those were the first songs she had writted herself.
Introducing... on the other hand is a much more mature work, also thanks to a splendid production made by Raphael Saadiq, that is worth a grown-up audience, and not only teenagers. Why? Because imho things like "Bruised but not broken" could have been written by Prince (and that's not the only one that gave me this impression), and "Tell me 'bout it" is a great Supremes-like groovy thang, isn't it?
Hell, I don't want to, in no way, compare her to Janis Joplin, bit she deserves some credit. She may not be the soul-saviour, but still she is the best in what she does (among the living at least, and leaving out some great old men & women like, say, Solomon Burke or Bettye Lavette).
Though her new hair style sucks.
(And the upload is 192k, not the usual, lame 128)

Introducing Joss Stone

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Richard Thompson: Grizzly Man Soundtrack

This is the soundtrack from one of the best films I have seen recently, and no matter it is a documentary, by legendary german director Werner Herzog. You probably already know the story: Tim Treadwell, a weird kind of eco-warrior (as he did like to call himself) lived 13 consecutive summers in an alaskian region in the wild with grizzly bears, and finally got eaten by one of them. But don't get frightened by this: Herzog's film is in no way supposed to harm you or move you with false sentimantalisms, no way; in fact what it does is show some beautiful footage filmed by Treadwell himself (see below the youtube video, where you don't see Treadwell with his loved bears, but with some foxes: I chose this bit simply because of the beauty of the images and because of Herzog's words) and some commentaries made by friends of Treadwell's, people who knew or had heard of him, and by Herzog too (and this is where lies the real importance, to me, of the whole movie, i.e. where it is possible to understand Herzog's weltanschauung and the relation betweeen this film and the rest of his works).
And the soundtrack? Well, the soundtrack is some kind of miracle: composed and played by Richard Thompson along with some fabulous musicians (betweens these there is also Jim O'Rourke, the former Gastr Del Sol member, and great producer -he produced, for instance, Wilco's masterpieces Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A ghost is born). The music in here is maybe some of the best stuff for guitar I have heard: Thompson is playing at his best (which is definetly a lot). It is very hard to describe this music because there is so much in it: Jim O'Rourke's drones, some XX century classical music-influenced parts for cello, but mostly it is Richard Thompson playing brightly sounding guitar licks that can be considered country or british folk music (see the "Foxes" bit) or plain folk. The only non-original track by the way is the last:"Coyotes" performed by Don Edward.

More Info:
Richard Thompson's site
Grizzly Man search @ Youtube
Grzzly Man @ Metacritic

Grizzly Man Soundtrack

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Randy Newman: Songbook Vol. 1

Randy Newman is mostly known for being the man who wrote You can leave your hat on, later covered with huge success by Joe Cocker for that infamous movie. But Newman has a great
career in itself: he is an extremely talented piano player, singer and composer, who has been spending this last part of his career writing soundtracks (lots of Disney movies, like Toy Story for instance), and for which he has been at last awarded with an oscar in 2001. But the man is such a non-politically correct persona that he "thanked" the academy -that had nominated him 15 times before but in vain- for having humiliated him so many times...
Not really your typical american songwiter, eh?
Anyway, Newman's work is wonderful a mixture of ragtime, pop-rock, chamber music and old time balladry and all of this is usually served with a witty and caustic humour that makes you want to laugh while at the same time you may not be not so much confortable with it.
A very good example is on Rednecks, which is a song on racist rednecks told by rednecks.
But is this "Songbook Vol. 1" the usual best of? Not quite. It is in fact Newman re-playing -this time only for piano and voice, that is just as he has written them- his best songs from his early -and my favourite- career. And if you want to have a taste of his humour here are God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)'s words:

Cain slew Abel, Seth knew not why
For if the children of Israel were to multiply
Why must any of the children die?
So he asked the Lord
And the Lord said:

Man means nothing, he means less to me
Than the lowliest cactus flower
Or the humblest Yucca tree
He chases round this desert
'Cause he thinks that's where I'll be
That's why I love mankind

I recoil in horror from the foulness of thee
From the squalor and the filth and the misery
How we laugh up here in heaven at the prayers you offer me
That's why I love mankind

The Christians and the Jews were having a jamboree
The Buddhists and the Hindus joined on satellite TV
They picked their four greatest priests
And they began to speak
They said, "Lord, a plague is on the world
Lord, no man is free
The temples that we built to you
Have tumbled into the sea
Lord, if you won't take care of us
Won't you please, please let us be?"
And the Lord said
And the Lord said

I burn down your cities-how blind you must be
I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we
You all must be crazy to put your faith in me
That's why I love mankind
You really need me
That's why I love mankind

Randy Newman on Wiki.

Songbook Vol. 1

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Studio 60 (Dolphin girl sketch)

I know this is -mainly- a music blog, bit I do want to give some support to Studio 60, this smart tv series. And this bit just makes me laugh and laugh (both because of the Dolphin girl's voice and Matthew Perry's expression). So, if you are american and you appreciate the show why don't you stop for a sec and sign the petition to NBC to save it?

Breathless: Three times and waving

Now another shoegazing band, Breathless, that probably not many people know of. Nevermind that "Three times and waving"is indeed a very good album, even better to me because its cons are its pros: in fact "Three times.." may sound like a bit of a blur, not completely on focus, but I'd state that this is its fascination, i.e. having so many things in it, unlike many other shoegazing bands that often looked like My Bloody Velentine cover bands Breathless may have less of an impact but more intriguing nuances. Moreover Dominic Appleton has a voice that I find slightly similar to Interpol's Paul Banks (which is good, me being a fan and all).
Anyway,"Three times..." has psychedelia, 60's pop, shoegazing guitars, and charming and hypnotic rythms (one of the best thing in this LP: the work on bass and drums and).

More info:
Review of three times.. @ Leonard's Lair
Review of Three times...@

Three times and waving