Dean and Britta

It dawned on me recently that I'm becoming something I never thought I would - more mellow in my musical selections. Music that would have (or did) bore me in the past is now comforting. I prefer going to shows where I get to sit and relax and enjoy the band playing rather than being jostled around and standing on my feet for hours on end. Once in a blue moon I'll feel inspired to go to a looser and less regimented show but it's less and less often. Mostly, now, I am satisfied to go to a theater and have seats and relax. I love going to see the Magnetic Fields precisely for that reason.

The other night, me and my lovely girlfriend went and saw "13 Most Beautiful... Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests" performed by Dean and Britta. I was going for the footage more than anything. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the songs they wrote (and covered) for their musical selections. I guess it strikes me as "older people music" but I suppose that is because 19 year old me wouldn't have been caught dead listening to something so mellow. The song I'm posting has special significance for me and my lady friend and I instantly dubbed it our song. Hope you enjoy. Please search out their version of Bob Dylan's "I'll Keep It With Mine" as well because it really is top notch and now officially my favorite cover of it.

Eyes in My Smoke


Run DMC & The Beastie Boys

Oops. How have 5 months passed? I've been in a weird place with music. Bands aren't grabbing me by the heart/mind lately. I've found myself going back to my youth and loving the stuff that had me obsessing when I was a child. Run DMC and the Beastie Boys to be exact. Raising Hell and Licensed To Ill were my favorite records (yes, vinyl) in 1986/1987. As documented before, they were also my first concert. I was born in 1976 so I am not exaggerating when I say child! What's interesting to me is how did this suburban white girl of 10 years old become obsessed with Run DMC? I have no recollection. I would listen to them over and over. The Beastie Boys came later. However, once into them, I would listen to them over and over as well. I like to think that the Beastie Boys in particular helped to lay the ground work for my love of classic rock. All of the great samples on that record! Metal was my next great love as a child followed by "alternative" so it's fun to see how it all is actually oddly linear. It's funny to me that a relatively new genre (rap) helped get me into classic rock.

Proud To Be Black is one of my favorite songs on the record. I was really into Harriet Tubman as a child (I was a weird, nerdy kid) so it was really amazing to hear a song cite her! As much fun as some of the other songs are, this one really stands out.

She's Crafty is one of those songs that brilliantly uses samples. The opening? My god! I love the story in here. I have always been about the lyrical journey, apparently. This is one of the more perfect songs from this record. These records are such a fun memory for me. Hope you enjoy.


Emma Pollock

I think that we can all acknowledge that very few artists make albums anymore. It's more about the one catchy song that everyone will download or Apple will use for their iPod commercial. As a former musician, I do not begrudge this stance - musicians need to eat! As a fan, I miss the days of going on a journey with the artist. I'm not talking concept records (which I mostly despise) but simply an album which you know the songs were meant to be played together to get the big picture. It could be for thematic reasons or simply the mood of the music. Whatever the case may be, you knew that out of context the songs would take on different meaning BUT in context you would be rewarded with a greater understanding.

It's no great surprise that Emma has released an actual album... The Delgados were masters of the album. Emma's first solo record was good but I never felt strongly that it was an album. I saw her live a few times in support of the record and was happy to see her winning over the audience night after night. Live the songs really got a chance to come to life. I was excited to see her back at home on Chemikal Underground with this release and admittedly that fact alone gave me great hope that this would be more of a return to form for her. Obviously, I feel as if it is.

It's difficult for me to pick one song to represent what I feel is an album. I Could Be A Saint is one of the songs where the Emma Pollock songwriting style is in full effect. In other words, a good introduction for those of you who maybe haven't heard her, and something for those of you who know her to see that while she continues to grow she's still recognizable to us who have been longtime fans. The Law of Large Numbers is released in the U.S. today, March 2. Already available in the U.K. If you still believe in the album I recommend this to you. I hate to lecture but Chemikal Underground is an independent label and should be rewarded for carrying on and consistently releasing great material - don't be an ass and download this record for free.


Dum Dum Girls

I don't think I'll surprise anyone by stating that I've been sort of unexcited about most of the music that's been coming out for the past few years. I fully admit that this has caused me to write stuff off on the basis of one or two songs. Even worse, it's caused me to discount some things just based on the hype. The Dum Dum Girls fall into that category completely.

At x-mas time I downloaded the Crocodiles & Dum Dum Girls track and was super into it. Thought that perhaps the time had come to give them a shot. Shortly after that Jail La La became available and I grabbed it. Based on those two songs I have to say that I'm pretty excited to hear the full length coming out on Sub Pop March 30. I'm a sucker for the pop, what can I say?


Red House Painters

I got into the Red House Painters while working in a record store in the mid 90s. I actually found the live performances to be where the band really shined. The first time I heard Mark fill a room with his voice off mic I was blown away. The recordings are a bit much for me. I was never a huge fan (I think it's clear that I generally like more concise pop songs) but over the past few months I've been obsessed with this version of Smokey. It's the demo version taken from the Shanti Project Collection benefit cd. Just a simple solo acoustic version with some very slightly altered lyrics.

My best friend in the entire world is a huge fan. She loves sad bastard music even more than me. I think the Painters qualify as the saddest of sad bastard music out there. I can't tell you how many nights we drove around getting thoroughly depressed listening to this stuff. Yet those are some of my fondest memories. That's how life works, my friends.


The Great Danes

The Great Danes is a solo project from One Happy Island member Rebecca. She writes some of the most charming pop songs I've heard in ages! When she sent me some songs I was thrilled and have been meaning to ask her if I could post one. As you may note, time has gotten away from me here... Anyway, I'm here now!

Milling is a catchy little pop ditty that takes often hijacks my brain. As the song builds so do perfectly nuanced little layers of instrumentation. Her voice is maybe my favorite part of it all. This girl has the perfect indie pop voice! I look forward to hearing more of the recordings and if Rebecca ever wants to take it live I hope to talk my way onto the drum throne!

(I promised that I would put in a disclaimer that this is a very rough recording. However, I don't think the disclaimer is necessary! The recording is just another charming aspect...)