Monday Music Roundup
The game's on tonight. I love taking three or four hours to watch baseball -- the pace of it, the grace and the subtlety. I am having so much fun watching The Rockies' brand of baseball - it's young and hardworking and fun, and it's all coming together for them into a very very likely World Series run (becoming more likely after that 4th inning tonight)! It's a fun time to live in Colorado. They need to win just one more against the Diamondbacks to go to the Series, and this Giants fan is cheering for them without qualms.
The Feeding Of The 5000
There's a Matt Nathanson song called "Everything You Say It Sounds Like Gospel," a sentiment that also applies to much of what former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown has been putting out lately. In addition to a storyline here straight out of The Good Book, Brown is drawn to using these dramatic orchestral foundations that make it all seem even more epic and important. But I don't find it pretentious; I get into the way the strings combine with cool electronic flourishes and his effortlessly swank vocals. His new album The World Is Yours is out now in the UK, not in the U.S. yet.
This came on my shuffle on my iPod at the gym while I was trying to top my personal best at sit-ups (oh, like 33. Something mindblowing), and it gave me an instant rush of energy. This is a Marah tune that has comfortably been living on my iPod for a good two years or so without receiving my full unabashed love -- until now. Without reading the shuffle display, at first I thought this urgent, perfectly ebullient song was maybe Westerberg because of the yowly crack to Dave Bielanko's voice, with delightfully jangly rock guitars. I now love this song, it's my new favorite -- off their 2005 album If You Didn't Laugh You'd Cry. This Philadelphia-based, brother-helmed band has got a lot of cool stuff going on now, including a new EP/10" vinyl this month (Can't Take It With You) and a forthcoming album called Angels of Destruction.
I wrote about the Cake Sale compilation last year when the Oxfam benefit album featuring the talents of lots of good folks (Damien Rice, Lisa Hannigan, Josh Ritter, Glen Hansard, Gemma Hayes, etc) was released in Ireland. At the time, it was a UK-only release, and for those of us on this side of the pond not hardy enough to weather the pounds-to-dollars conversion, it's finally gained a U.S. release tomorrow on Yep Roc. This particular song (written by Damien Rice) is as haunting and lovely as everything Hannigan loans her vocals to. Allow me to repeat at this point that it's truly a crying shame that things didn't work out musically with her and Damien Rice; I can't get enough of the way she sings.
The Way I Am
I've mentioned my love/hate relationship with Old Navy music and also lately their '80s carnival of wide-necked, very long, big-buttoned, "they-think-I-am-11" items. However, this song which they tapped for their latest sweater commercial is a nice home run for deserving songwriter Ingrid Michaelson from Staten Island. Despite her being my MySpace friend for, like, ever -- somehow this infectiously cheery, handclappy sweet ditty slipped my notice. Okay, it's a bit syrupy, but you know when the girl-group harmonies of that chorus hit, you kinda like the sugar rush. Her new album Girls and Boys is out now.
Since we're already talkin' TV, here's one other one on the airwaves lately. I'd never listened to ambient musician Aphex Twin (born Richard David James) until I started seeing articles about the licensing flap about the sampling of this song in the recent hi-larious Samberg digital short on SNL, "I Ran." This original is a lush, gorgeous piano song from the 2001 Aphex Twin album drukqs, and count me as a new fan . . . but I can't really listen to it purely without thinking of lines like, "You ain’t wrong to me, so strong to me, you belong to me . . . like a very hairy Jake Gyllenhaal to me" (which, incidentally, may be one of the best rhymes ever written). If you haven't seen it: