...we've got the means to make amends. I am lost, I'm no guide, but I'm by your side. (Pearl Jam, Leash)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"Monday" Music Roundup, holiday edition

Good morning, champs. Did everyone (in countries where they celebrate Memorial Day, i.e. the U-S-of-A) have a nice long weekend? Sunburns, BBQ-overdose, and hangovers? Check. Plus, Brad and Angelina had their new little girl (name translated means "New Messiah" - sign of the endtimes?) so, you know, I can breathe easier now. And maybe now I can schedule that trip to Namibia without needing written permission from them. Gotta love when rich Western celebrities are allowed to buy off the immigration officials in poor developing nations. It's just so comforting.

Here are five songs that I rocked repeatedly on my recent California trip. By the way, I managed to squeeze in one more In'N'Out meal, bringing the total to two of the world's best burgers in 3 days. Can you hear my arteries screaming?

Pink Steam
Sonic Youth
Nobody sounds exactly like Sonic Youth. They have a unique free-form sound all unto themselves that remains consistent (but fresh) over 25 years and more than a dozen releases. I am really, really liking this song (off their new album Rather Ripped, due June 13) for reasons I can't completely articulate. Something about the volatile combination between the brooding heavy undertones and the harmonic accent notes, the fact that it is mostly instrumental, and the driving drumbeat. It is the perfect accompaniment to driving along a dark and winding California highway, looking at the crescent moon.

Move By Yourself
Donavon Frankenreiter
This is an enjoyable summer tune, a sonic hybrid reminiscent of the Isley Brothers and Jack Johnson getting down together. The opening minute is pretty smokin' and the new album is more of a funk-groove manifesto than the laid-back surf sounds of his first disc. From Frankenreiter's upcoming sophomore release Move By Yourself (out June 6 on Lost Highway Records).

Broader a New Sound
Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory
My eye was first drawn to this single because of Devendra Banhart's involvement with it (he covers one of their songs called The Seed/La Semilla as a b-side here). But in the process I was introduced to a new artist. Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory is a L.A.-based trio who has come out with a light and lively combination of toe-tapping trip-hop and summery folk music here, with slightly off-kilter Shins-eqsue vocals. Quirky and radio-friendly.

Where is My Boy?
Faultline (featuring Chris Martin)
c featured this song over at her blog, Scatter O'Light last week and I am loving it, the layered and fuzzy-dark feel. I have decided that for some reason, I apparently like Martin much better on guest vocals than as part of Coldplay. This is like the third guest vocal I've featured by him. He has such an emotive wail. From Faultline's 2004 disc Your Love Means Everything.

Michael Stipe
If I had to pick my three top vocalists EVER, Michael Stipe would be in that top triumvirate. He is unparalleled in sexy velvety smoothness, I could listen to him sing-talk all day ("Belong" is one of my favorite R.E.M. tunes for that reason). And then when he breaks into that naked and vulnerable falsetto, nothing compares. This is a mysterious Serge Gainsbourg tale, from the album of covers Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited, featuring everyone from Stipe to Cat Power to Marianne Faithfull to Jarvis Cocker and more. I love it. Check out that uber-smarmy album cover. If he doesn't give you the Old-Man-Heeby-Jeebies, I don't know what will.

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At May 30, 2006 12:25 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Weird. When did Frankenreiter leave the Brushfire stable?

At May 30, 2006 5:03 PM, Blogger OfJoseph said...

nothing to do with this post, but i saw pearl jam on sunday, and they played the song "leash" which has your namesake. also, apparantly they don't play that song too often, and i should be lucky to have witnessed such a show. suffice to say i was awestruck byt the musicianship of the band, and eddie's personal involvement in each and every note that he sings. I'm now a much bigger pearl jam fan than before and plan on listening to 15 years worth of material during my 6 week semester at Penn State this summer

At May 30, 2006 6:52 PM, Blogger Ledbelly said...

I just wanted to let everybody here know that i have updated my blog, finally, and have a josh rouse mix up for anybody intrested: http://yellowledbelly.blogspot.com/

At May 30, 2006 9:33 PM, Anonymous stickboy said...

Gotta love In-and-Out and that wacky "in and out speak" - "animal syle,4x4,etc." Glad you had a good trip out to the Golden State. Great tunes!

At May 31, 2006 2:12 AM, Blogger F.J. Delgado said...

props on the Michael Stipe love, glad to see him get some recognition.

At May 31, 2006 8:39 AM, Blogger c said...

heather, who are the other 2 in your top 3 vocalist category? eddie vedder? jeff buckley?

michael is definitely among my favorites.

At May 31, 2006 9:25 AM, Blogger heather said...

i love the fact that you practically guessed for me, c. those are excellent candidates. I don't know for sure who the other two would be. Maybe a female vocalist, I love Sarah McLachlan's voice? Or someone from the past? That's why I only named one of the three, to allow myself some flexibility in filling in those other two spots. Could change based on my mood. :)

At June 10, 2006 10:21 AM, Blogger Malatron said...

Pink Steam live


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