Monday Music Roundup
"Won't you wear . . . a sweater?"
We are requested by Mister McFeely to don a sweater of some sort this Thursday, in honor of what would have been Mister Rogers' 80th birthday. I think I'll wear my green hoodie that I can zip up all the way, pause, and then zip it halfway back down. Man, I loved that (American kids) show when I was a tot. To this day, whenever I catch a rerun and he tells me that I am special, I believe him.
But seriously. Why was the postman on a childrens' show named Mister McFeely?!
Tunes for the weekly grind:
Girls Like It Too
(new, live in Buenos Aires)
Jarv says that girls like it too, I only wish the audio here was a bit better so I could vouch for the girls in this equation. We'll just have to take his word for it; he sounds like he would know. I like Jarvis because he always sounds a little smarmy, dramatic, and very Euro-metropolitan. This song also revives that fantastic stage whisper way he has of singing that makes you feel like he's letting you in on a secret. Huge potential in this brand new song -- it's melodic with an arching, anthemic chorus -- and the live rip isn't half bad.
Snow in Berlin
"Okay here we go," warns the opening voice on this bright and effervescent tune from Austin, TX five-piece Zookeeper. The song melds horns with retro pop sensibilities, and feels like the anticipation in the sky the moment before the sun bursts out from behind the horizon. Another album art selection that falls under the conspiratorial hushed-whisper "I think they have problems" header, Becoming All Things is out now on Belle City Pop!. These guys played something like a dozen shows in Austin this last week, and hey! My beloved Dodge had them on his serious SIRIUS show back in December.
What She Turned Into
Retribution Gospel Choir
The purest, most enthusiastic music-blog stop in my regular rounds easily falls to the guys at Said The Gramophone (for example, on Sam Cooke). They recently posted up this track that I'd never heard a thing about, featuring Red House Painter/Sun Kil Mooner Mark Kozelek producing music by Alan Sparhawk of Low, Matt Livingston and Eric Pollard. According to StG, "That means that [Kozelek] strode into the recording booth and turned the amps up. He turned them right up. He slapped Sparhawk across the face, tore Livingston's shirt and punched a hole in Pollard's tom. He glowered at them. Then he went back to the mixing desk and set the thing on fire. "Play," he said over the crackles. "Play me a pop song." It was going to rain that night, hard." I mean COME ON. Yes. Listen, and it is exactly so. Retribution Gospel Choir has a full-length album out tomorrow on Kozelek's Caldo Verde label.
And so the first new Portishead album in 11 years begins with a crackly, mysterious transmission in what I think might be urgent Portguese, kind of like the french woman in Lost. The song crests, thrumming and unrelenting, mysterious and sexy. In short, all the things you'd hope for from these Bristol trip-hop pioneers. But what you didn't expect was that they'd make you feel like a spy in the cold sleek streets of Berlin, rather than a beautiful blissed-out clubgoer. Third is out April 28, and Portishead is another fine band that's gonna be at Coachella.
Young Folks (Peter, Bjorn and John cover)
The Kooks & Simon Wilcox
Resist it as you might (and I did try to resist initially), the whistling from the original version of this song was the catchiest thing on the radio in 2007. Sometimes I'll be walking down the street on an especially sunny day and I want to whistle something; this does nicely (that or the Andy Griffith theme). Therefore when The Kooks covered this song with lovely Canadian gal Simon Wilcox and cut the pursed-lip magic, something else got lost in the transaction. It is still catchy and adds that cute brogue. From a recent free NME disc, the Kooks say "We tried to make it more of a rock'n'roll song, throwing a bit of Motown and doo-wop into the mix." See what you think.
And hey, happy St. Paddy's! Me and Sir Jameson plan to do a wee bit o' celebrating.