Monday Music Roundup
I got to see the fantastic Jesse Malin on Friday night at a criminally under-attended show (perhaps due to the borderline negligent website for the venue/promoter, which didn't even mention the show). After the show I thanked Malin for the sheer joy in the music that comes out through him when he performs. He is a musician full of heart, who knows how to rock. With an engaging stage presence, the new material sounded tight (balanced with his older songs) and he connected well with most of the crowd. The notable exception being the drunkie heckler in the front row with two bendy, feisty, lady-companions who kept interrupting Jesse during a very promising sounding story about moving a bed with a van in NYC and getting a phone call from Barbra Streisand's "people." Jesse utilized his NYC street-skillz with and told 'em to put a cork in it or leave (deservedly), and we never got to hear the rest of the tale.
Jesse hopped off the stage for his campfire moment where we all sat on the ground in a circle and helped him sing "Solitaire" and braid each others hair and make friendship bracelets. Actually, it had the air of effusive spontaneity (even though it was admittedly contrived for the Blender.com cameras that were filming the show) and made me feel happy inside. Especially when he sat down right next to me and we all belted, "I don't need any . . . I don't need any . . . I don't need anyONE!!" Go see him if you can this tour (oh and check the pics here and mini-video I was able to surreptitiously capture here).
Music for this week:
Long Forgotten Song
The two new songs posted on MySpace by Dublin's The Thrills are shimmering and lovely, making me look forward to the new album. Even though they are from Ireland, their songs sound like California. This tune, about "a long-forgotten song but everyone still sings along," sounds somehow like a song you once knew but forgot, and it feels weighty. It'll be on their upcoming album Teenager, due 7/23/07 with great cover art.
I finally watched Vanilla Sky this weekend for the first time (thanks Tony!) and shame on me for it taking me so long. I was scared off by the mixed reviews when it first came out (and a general fatigue of Tom Cruise's smile) so I never took the plunge, even though it is a Cameron Crowe film and sweet bejesus I love him. Vanilla Sky blew me away -- it's my favorite kind of intelligent reality-bending/brain-messing movie with a marvelous soundtrack. For those who have seen it all the way through, think about the perfect placement of R.E.M.'s "Sweetness Follows" in light of what happens from that point forward in the film, even though you don't know it at the time. There's also priiiime placement of the eerie, icy, otherworldly sounds of Sigur Ros and some always-appreciated Jeff Buckley. The credits start rolling with this tune, penned by Paul for the film. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Head Like A Hole (NIN cover)
Not to be confused with either Giant Drag or Grizzly Bear, Giant Bear is a Memphis five-piece that has decided to reinterpret Trent Reznor's seething defining moment as a fiddle-twinged bit of Americana-rock with shared male/female vocals. It's interesting, I'll give them that, and not unlikeable. Off their self-titled debut album due out August 14 on Red Wax music. Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi All-Stars) and Rick Steff (Lucero) also play on the album.
Fujiya & Miyagi
The first time I heard this song by Fujiya & Miyagi, I pictured it as the perfect soundtrack theme song for the movie of my life when I doll up and head out into the sparkling nighttime streets to wreak some sort of imaginary unspecified havoc. It's a pimp song, sleek and funky and absolutely irresistible. I don't know why three guys from Brighton go by Japanese monikers (other than perhaps a partial tribute to Mr. Miyagi from Karate Kid?) but I ain't complainin. From their 2006 album Transparent Things, which I definitely need to investigate further.
The Devil Never Sleeps
Iron & Wine
[let's try this new music stream thing? Let me know if it doesn't work]
There are some songs from Iron & Wine that just devastate me in the best way possible; I think Sam Beam is an amazing songwriter. I thought I knew him, kinda had his sound pegged as the perfect soundtrack to activities like moping, looking out a window at the grey clouds, or falling asleep. So get ready for the sounds on the new album Shepherd's Dog (due Sept 25 on Sub Pop) -- the songs are just as wonderful, but with a heck of a lot more spitfire and pluck. This one sounds like something from another time, floating out the window of a neighbor's house into the humid summer night. The devil never sleeps because he went down to Georgia and is dancing to this.
Also, a final P.S. on Father's Day - after an immense father-feteing BBQ at my parents' house, I dozed off on the couch yesterday afternoon while my dad watched sports on TV. The sports channels are rarely on in my house (unless it's the Giants), so I had forgotten how comforting and nice it is to weave in and out of sleep on a full belly listening to my dad comment on the game to no one in particular.