Friday, December 21, 2007

Lightning Strikes Twice
Remember how right I was about Plain White T's? Now totally supported by their appearance on iCarly. So now take a listen to Something Corporate. Equally, or more, adorably whiney and unthreatening, with just a spectacularly pop-friendly catchiness. And (could it be cuter?) they call themselves "punk rock." Remember you heard it here first!

Break Myself

Konstantine (Live)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Marching On
This was requested a while ago, and I'm very sorry to have made you wait. Augie March are Australians who seem not to have discovered surfing or any of the other fun things there are to do there. They do seem to have had time to sit alone in dark dusty rooms pining over lost, or never, loves. They are playing Christmas shows in Melbourne if you are so inclined.

One Crowded Hour

There's No Such Place (Live at the Chapel)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tempted as I am to do this in a thick Irish accent, I will restrain myself... Leanne Harte is a big loud young guitar player from Dublin. Likes the reverb too, which leaves me thinking of those twins from Heart (what were their names? Help me out someone) and also, though I know that no one else will have any idea what I am talking about, Jane Jensen. Though it seems like there are a lot of musicians and other moving parts, it all comes out as a nice combination of simple and bombastic.

Unspoken Thoughts

Live in Paris

Her MySpace
Buy Leanne Harte at Amazon

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wired (By request...)
Jesse Winchester contributed this wrenching song to the final episode of the third season of The Wire. To accompany the tale of Baltimore's massively corrupt journalists, "Step by Step" echoes the rhythms of his native Louisiana. Having spent the Vietnam war in Canada, he established himself in Quebec as the opening act for The Band. His songs have been recorded by everyone from Jerry Garcia to Reba McEntire (is that really that wide a range?)

Step by Step

Emmylou Harris sings Jesse Winchester's My Songbird

His website

Buy Jesse Winchester at Amazon

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oh See Can You Sing?
By request, James Carrington is a clear-voiced singer and guitarist from London. Attracted, quite literally, to the OC, he is currently recording his first record. Now I fully expect to cause a James Bluntesque schism with this one. All I can say is there is something quite lovely there in small doses.


Ache (Live)

His MySpace

Buy James Carrington at Amazon

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bob's yer...
Marcy at Lost In Your Inbox introduced me to UNKLE, one of those wacky collectives of turntables and guest-stars. Sounding something like a catfight between Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys refereed by Tricky, they play this week at CMJ.


Live at the Melt! Festival

Buy UNKLE at Amazon

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Having Pat Smear play guitars doesn't ma
ke the Foo Fighters into the Germs, nor does having Johnny Marr make Modest Mouse into the Smiths, though perhaps it has made them into the Gothic Archies. Named for a line from a Virginia Wolff story, Modest Mouse hit hipster heaven (and Billboard #1) with their radio-friendly We Were Dead Before the Ship hit the Ground. But with the lights out, you might find them beautiful.

Parting of the Sensory

Float On (Live)

Buy Modest Mouse at Amazon

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Just out, Róisín Murphy's new record Overpowered is quite lovely in a debauched euro-disco kind of way. The former vocal half of Moloku, has carved out a Grey's Anatomy friendly niche. I don't mean to make it sound ghastly, I actually have been immensely enjoying it, but perhaps you have to have a soft spot in your head made by Grace Jones and Shannon.


Ramalama Bang Bang (Live)

Buy Róisín Murphy at Amazon

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Love to Love You Baby
You all know that I have a sort of love-hate relationship with atonal whining. (Well perhaps it's more like love-like really.) Happily, Graig Markel seems to have a lot to whine about. And he does so in a quite beautiful and sophisticated way. He is a bit of a Prince-like polymath/control-freak, playing all the instruments and doing all the vocals. He has a fairly new record out now.

Hello Hello

Virgo's Merlot (Live)

Buy Graig Markel at Amazon

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Penny Century is a just adorable pop confection from Östersund Sweden. And I'm not sure, but they may be named after a comic book by Jaime Hernandez. While five others bang away in a massive retro wall of sound, Julia Hanburg alternately wails and yodels, then sometimes, just to mess with you hits notes of stunning purity that melt your heart.

Nothing Burns Like Bridges

Nothing Burns Like Bridges
(Music Video)

Their MySpace
I am so thrilled to put up today's song by the incomparable Sara Holtzschue. Now I think most of you know how much I love Jazz, but as soon as I found this record balanced on my doorknob, I put it on very loudly and positively reveled in it's boundless sophistication. Melodious and rich, challenging and rewarding, you need to go get the whole thing right now!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Alaska. The Band
Can you resist a band called Portugal. The Man? I can't. Especially when they sound like they are channeling Clutch
and Led Zeppelin through a box full of chickens. Plus also they are from Alaska! They play September 27th at the Luna Lounge.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Adorably Countrified
Kate Voegele is the guinea pig for MySpace Records to see if they can take over the record biz. A twenty year old from Cleveland, she sang at FarmAid and was the Pantene Pro-Voice contest runner up. I do seem to be having a slightly hard time writing this without being snide, don't I? But before I knew any of this, I did like the songs. So I am sure you will listen with an open mind won't you?

Kindly Unspoken

It's Only Life (Live)

Her MySpace
and website

Buy Kate Voegele at Amazon

Thursday, August 23, 2007

For The Love Of
Towering and lovely, Dusty Springfield fell in love with Motown in the early sixties and went on to hugely blooming interpretations of songs by the likes of Burt Bacharach and Carole King. Her massive hit of the period was of course "Son of a Preacher Man." After a long fallow period spent in what sounds like obsessive self-doubt, she reemerged in the '80s at the urging of Elton John and Neil Tennant, to new and reinvigorated renown.

Love Shine Down

Can I Get A Witness ("Live")

Buy Dusty Springfield at Amazon

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Deep End of the Ocean
Is there anything worse than instrumental freeform music, perhaps played on a steel string ukulele accompanied by a chorus of brooms being swished on gravel? Well be that as it may, I sort of like this. I suspect it means I've lost my mind, but I'm sure that was coming anyway. (On a more serious note, these are maloya and sega songs from the island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean.)


Game Zobac (Live)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Weekend before last, I saw a really amazing conversation with and performance by Nona Hendryx, still amazingly vital as a musician into her 60s. The event covered a great many topics from her long history with Labelle and then as a solo artist. This was the first in a series of encounters with black rock musicians planned by BoldasLive. She has a new rock musical in the works that will be debuted at Joe's Pub in October, as well as a Labelle reunion record that is in progress. This "Winds of Change" that dates back to her involvement in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the Sun City project, as well as just being an incredibly powerful song.

Winds of Change (Mandela to Mandela)

Interview and Performance

Her MySpace

Buy Nona Hendryx at Amazon

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Is Enough?
This one goes out to all those people who go to countries with great music and don't bring any back to me... (You know who you are.)
Wagëblë, one of the most popular rap groups in Senegal, have been working with Norwegian producers, touring in Switzerland, and are collaborating on the One People project. But beyond that, try to get this song out of your head once you hear it...


Their Music Video

Their MySpace
and website

Buy Wagëblë at Amazon

Monday, July 16, 2007

Unpop Music
Since no one liked yesterday's song, I figure it is the perfect day to put up another that no one will like. So here's Cortney Tidwell from Nashville. And she is not at all country in case you are wondering, more Bjorkish (Bjorky?) I find something quite quite lovely and ethereal in it's noisy shagginess, but I am sure I am alone in this assessment.

Don't Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up

Missing Link (Live)

Her MySpace
and website

Buy Cortney Tidwell at Amazon

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Less Than Idolized
Olivia has been poised for fame and stardom for six years, but it hasn't happened... She was the first artist signed to Clive Davis' J Records who then released one unsuccessful single. Then she was signed by 50-Cent and billed as the "First Lady of G-Unit" until last year when her album "Behind Closed Doors" went unreleased and she has since been dropped yet again. Word is that her new album will be produced by Missy Elliot and Timbaland. But perhaps my advice would be not to hold your breath...

Got Me Going Crazy

Live in Germany

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

PB & J
Despite an unfortunate evocation of Peter, Paul and Mary and being beloved by hipsters the world over, Peter Bjorn and John are really quite extraordinary. They somehow make slightly whiny and precious little songs full of whistling and bongo drums sound fresh and new. (Also their initials spell "PBJ.")

Objects of my Affection

Young Folks (Live in Glasgow)

Their MySpace
And website

Buy Peter Bjorn and John at Amazon

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

From the Basement in My Brain
The National are local. From Brooklyn I mean... And just quite fabulous, if you like this sort of thing. The sort of thing where an affectless mumble covers driving and writhing chaos. They play River to River August 17th.

Secret Meeting

Friday, June 22, 2007

I am just shocked to realize that The Streets has never been SOD! Perhaps I assumed that all of you know them too well. Actually safer to assume that three of you have heard of them I guess... But anyway, Mike Skinner and friends manage a completely unique hip-hop twist on garage that focuses largely on the mundanity of life, eagerly mixing genres and moods to ultimately wondrous effect.

Has it Come to This?

His website
and MySpace

Buy The Streets at Amazon

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Fierce Panthers
La Cabra Mecánica is a Spanish band with Gypsy influences (and a touch of Reggae.) Very fun--that's all I know...

Fabula del hombre lobo y la mujer pantera

Their website

Buy La Cabra Mecánica at Amazon

Friday, June 15, 2007

Live Show Tonight!
Tonight at Union Hall in Brooklyn, Palomar makes sweetly meandering, harmonically tentative and quite gentle little songs. They seem to be some sort of "slowcore" or "emocore" if that means anything to you...

Bury Me Close

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Destroy Everything You Touch
Tokyo Sex Destruction is from Spain of course. You can tell just by listening to them. Ragged and fueled by some strange radical political dogma of the '60s, TSD are, to my ear, ultra-charming, though you may find them just abrasive, discordant, and, well, strange.

Everything Is Right

Their MySpace

Buy TSD at Amazon

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I don't get many text messages, but I got one that said "C**p, The Arcade Fire is worth the hype!" Still I was skeptical, but really, it wins you over. Repeatedly a song starts from a swirl of indistinct noise and a gripping building anthem surrounds you like a cloud. I especially love this song which turns that vapid John Mayer "My Body is a Wonderland" on it's head.

My Body is a Cage

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Beverly Knight is yet another British Soul singer extraordinaire. I didn't plan this, it just happened... Recording for the past dozen or so years, she has been compared to Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke. Well pretend I didn't tell you that, because that is too much to live up to... She is also extremely active raising money to fight AIDS and poverty and was awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth for her efforts.

Trade it Up

Her website

Buy Beverly Knight at Amazon

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Culture Clash
Crazy, politically correct, big-bandy, hip-hopping, groovelicious Ozomatli, makes a kind of ornamentally festive pastiche. For more than a decade, this LA-based dodecet has mushed and mashed in Spanish and English as a kind of constantly reforming party.

Cut Chemist

Their MySpace
And website

Buy Ozomatli at Amazon

Monday, June 04, 2007

New Again
Connecting the dots from Ethel Merman to Macy Grey, Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra make astonishingly funky and exuberant eruptions of happiness. A classic soul singer from the sixties, Spanky Wilson recorded with Marvin Gaye and many others, here she collaborated with Will Holland, the svengali behind the deeply reverent and revisionist Quantic Soul Orchestra to make an amazing record--at once a time capsule, and as fresh or fresher than retro youngsters like Amy Winehouse.

Message to Tomorrow

Message to Tomorrow (Live)

The Quantic Soul website

Buy Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra at Amazon

Saturday, May 19, 2007

And the Wailers
Alice Russell wails good. A pop/jazz/soul singer from Framlingham in Suffolk--I think that's in England--she has made a couple of records of covers and collaborations and one of originals, as well as occasionally singing with the White Stripes.

Get Ready in the Morning

Her MySpace

Buy Alice Russell at Amazon

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Down a Lazy River
Gaelle drifts lazily between jazz-infused R&B and EBTG-style downtempo. So being me, I like the latter. I'm sure most of you disagree... Her parents came from Haiti to New Jersey and now she lives in Atlanta. She quite nicely also raises money for the NAIO Gallery Children's School of the Arts in South Africa. There is a bunch more of her music on her MySpace, so see what you think...

Give it Back

Her MySpace<
and website

Buy Gaelle at Amazon
Keep Your Hat OnLike an un-Disney-affirmed Randy Newman (is that grammatically correct?,) The Sharp Things are wry and whiney in a good way. A random collection of Brooklyn musicians--they often number as many as 30 on the stage--they have been playing in different combination for a dozen years or so. And usually I can attest to the general brilliance of a group, but here I can't. I just like this song and when I have time, I will click on the links below. They play Thursday night at the Luna Lounge.

I'll Always Be Your Loser Baby

Their MySpace
and website

Buy The Sharp Things at Amazon

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A quite wondrous combining, Ketama, Toumani Diabate & José Soto are from Spain, Mali, and Spain respectively. Flamenco is many layered to begin with, but this seems to take it all vastly deeper with appropriate reminders of southern Spain's proximity to Africa.

De Jerez a Mali

Buy Ketama, Toumani Diabate & Jose Soto at Amazon

Monday, May 07, 2007

Reducing all music to its essence is "Good Intentions" by the Welsh bruising trio McLusky. It is a useful song to play on your way to anything that would be personally challenging. Now I don't know if I first heard this on the wondrous Roaring Machine, but that is a blog packed wall to wall with exceptional music. Jarring and jittery, a distinct side step from Liz's usual twee-tastic taste, McLusky had some of the best named albums around, including the source of this track: "The Difference Between You & Me Is That I'm Not On Fire."

Good Intentions

McLusky (Live)

Too Pure Records website

Buy McLusky at Amazon

Saturday, May 05, 2007

I say "Foo!"
Quite appropriately, let's wish Liz, from the always engaging La Gringa, a rousing "HAPPY NEW JOB!" with another band of peppy Irishmen, The Walls. Engagingly DIY, they have a scrappy and somewhat Beck-ish new album, New Dawn Breaking out now. (Now I have to ask is that Joaquin Phoenix and Dave Grohl on the left of that picture?) And even if the band is not to your taste overall, this song will be. It's astonishingly irresistible!

Some Kind of a Woman

Open Road (Live)

Their website
and MySpace

Buy The Walls at Amazon

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Today from the sublime Untitled, is Alif Tree, a mysterious and shadowy stylist from France. This is one of those songs that I think of as "suggestive" in every sense of the word. (I almost said "the world" which might have been right as well.) But each time I hear it, I feel like a suggestion has been made of how to interpret the world at that moment. See where it takes you...


His Website<
And MySpace

Buy Alif Tree at Amazon

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

As Pablo Picasso said, "Amateurs imitate, Professionals steal."
In this spirit, I am going to introduce you to a few artists this week that I have heard on some of my favorite blogs. And there is no better place to start than Lost in Your Inbox with the extraordinary Cloud Cult. Haunting and tentative, half of their songs leave me weeping into somebody's coffee on the subway--and let me tell you THAT gets quite the reaction! None more than this song I have to say. They have a new album and are currently touring which should be well worth seeing!

Training Wheels

Pretty Voice (Live)

Their website
and MySpace

Buy Cloud Cult at Amazon

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fun City
Enrique Bunbury and Nacho Vegas have a new record out, El Tiempo de las Cervezas. Each has had a long and successful solo career and here they trade songs and sing some duets. It's not as silly as it sounds on the surface, but a surprisingly rich and varied double CD of arch and experimental Mexican cowboy songs with an overarching Nick Caveish grouchiness.

La Pena La Nada

Días Extraños

Their website

Buy Bunbury and Vegas at Amazon

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The best thing since sliced bread and you all are going to hate it I know. Marnie Stern is wild and flailing and cacophonous and immensely charming and great! She just has a new album out. Run run to get it! Crazy wonderful guitar playing like being trapped in a bag of cats.

Every Little Thing Means Something

Her MySpace

Buy Marnie Stern at Amazon
By request
Erin Sax Seymour is a alt-country songstress with a new album out. She has a warm ragged voice and a nice eye for images.

Gale Force

Her MySpace
and website

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I hope you learned your lesson!
When next you go to Venice, you have to get gelato from Carlo Pistacchi at Alaska on the Via dei Bari and thank him for this music. As you savor the extraordinary flavors--sedano, celery, wasabi, radicchio--you can float on the shakuhachi of Tajima Tadashi. From Osaka Japan, he has preserved and expanded on this ancient zen artform. If you want to give Carlo a thrill take him some reggae on vinyl.

Hon Shirabe

Buy Tajima Tadashi at Amazon

Friday, March 23, 2007

Dublin is the New Seattle
Rodrigo y Gabriela are Mexican guitarists who have electrified fans of the quirky by playing superfast flamenco versions of heavy metal classics. Do I really need to say more? Well in case I do, they hit it big busking on the streets of Dublin. Picked to open for Damien Rice, they scored a smash hit there and now are electrifying the world and recently played the Tonight Show.


Diablo Rojo (Live)

Their MySpace
and website

Buy Rodrigo y Gabriela at Amazon
It's got to be a long shadow to be Sissy Spacek's daughter. So Schuyler Fisk has avoided it by acting and singing. Making gentle country folk a little "Coalminer's Daughter," she is touring to support her boyfriend Joshua Radin.

Song That Say Goodbye

Paperweight with Joshua Radin (Live)

Her MySpace
and website

Buy Schuyler Fisk at Amazon

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Work it Out
Underground California hip-hoppers Dilated Peoples have a unique and playful sense of rhythm and rhyme and make music excellent to work out to. In case that is what you are looking for.

Trade Money

Dilated Peoples (Live)

Buy Dilated Peoples at Amazon

Monday, March 19, 2007

Go see a live show (or 2)
Former SOD Fionn Regan is playing tonight at Union Hall in Brooklyn and tomorrow at the Mercury Lounge, so someone go see him!

Today features Brooklyn's own Numbers and Letters. There are three of them (in the band) and they play a nice and wailey sort of alt-Americana, reflecting Kansan roots--which seems to make people a little angsty. They play at The Slipper Room on April 12th and at Piano's on May 16th.


Dark Out (Live)

Their MySpace
and website

Saturday, March 17, 2007

German-South African soul singer Joy Denalane, makes a warm and sultry complex music, with an interesting cultural perspective. She's just done a song with Lupe Fiasco that should bring her front and center.

Soweto '76-'06

Her MySpace
and Website

Buy Joy Denalane at Amazon

Friday, March 16, 2007

Celebrate Good Times! Come On!
There is only one band for today: The Wedding Present. Started when his girlfriend/drummer of his previous band, The Lost Pandas, left him for the bass player, David Gedge and his mates strip-mine the emotional landscape Morrissey and Nick Cave would dig through if they weren't so cheery. That said, he writes about love...

Interstate 5

Give my Love to Kevin (Live in Leeds 1990)

Their website

Buy The Wedding Present at Amazon

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

La Vaca
Argentinean psychedelic rockers Las Pelotas have a kind of lo-fi Velvet Underground-ish feel, though they have actually been the opening act for the Rolling Stones in Argentina for the last decade. (Is it just me, or do those two things not seem to go together?) Internationally they are very popular, and judging from their live shows, everyone likes singing along.

La Vaca y el Bife

Las Pelotas (Live at Cosquin)

Their website

Buy Las Pelotas at Amazon
Just to remind people..
The Delorentos are playing tonight at Piano's at 11. If you can possibly see them, do! It's a big night for some reason: Amy Winehouse, Pop Levi, Au Revoir Simone all playing as well...
Dutch Treat
Dutch band Bettie Serveert has been around forever and still turn out adorable indie-pop. Named after a Dutch tennis champion, they remind me in many ways of Shivaree. Carol Van Dyk has an appealing countryish rasp to her voice and they finally hit true crossover this year with a song on the OC.


Tomboy (Live at Pinkpop)

Their website

Buy Bettie Serveert at Amazon

Monday, March 12, 2007

Rising Rising
From the ashes of Mogwai, Iron Monkey, and 3D House of Beef, rises Crippled Black Phoenix. Approaching catatonia on a slow animal, perhaps a donkey, CBP play quite clearly, but "sing" vaguely in a collection of impenetrable accents that occasionally give you the sense that they might be a little sad.

Suppose I Told The Truth

Goodnight Europe (Live)

Their MySpace
and website

Buy Crippled Black Phoenix at Amazon

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I Saw a Live Show and it Was Great!
I really never, or almost never, well quite rarely, repeat the same artists, but I've just been listening to the new record by the Delorentos and it is fabulous! So so so so good! They will be huge! So, even though they were Monday's SOD, here they are again. They are tuneful and charming, hugely clever songwriters, and full of energy and boundless pop fun. And I want you to say that you heard them here first! Now I'm going to really date myself, but I saw another band this exciting from Dublin in 1981 and they went on to become U2.


They are playing tonight at Sin-e around 10:15, and Tuesday at Pianos at 11 and then they head to SXSW.

Eustace Street (Live)

Their MySpace<
and website

Buy Delorentos at iTunes