Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Rewind to Tuesday...
Efkan Sesen is a Turkish Singer and campaigner for human rights. With his big voice, and the echo chamber it all seems to be recorded in, it is almost overwhelmed by its own schmaltzy charm. But I find it somewhat stirring and inspirational. Or I've lost my mind...

Birazda Sen

Efkan Sesen Live

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Appleseed Cast are a group of Kansas farmboys whom I have always confused with the Arcade Fire, the Arctic Monkeys, and somebody else. Formerly emo, at their best they have an appealing denseness that if you are in the right mood can strike you as sincere and interestingly yearning, other times not so much.

Mountain Halo

They play the Knitting Factory on March 17th

The Appleseed Cast (Live)

Their MySpace
and website

Buy Appleseed Cast at Amazon

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I was accused last night of going "mainstream," so just to dispel that rumor: Alicja Trout. She is in like nine Memphis bands, so what does she call her solo album? 13 Songs Not Right for Any of My Other Bands to Play. She also runs a record label in her spare time. Her solo material runs towards the gloomy and gothic (though there is some strange girly tweeness there as well,) but her other bands run a happy gamut of quirky oddness.

The Black Rabbit of Death

River City Tanlines (Live)

Her Mouserocket MySpace
Her River City Tanlines MySpace
Her Black Sunday MySpace

Buy Alicja Trout at Amazon

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Live Show Tonight!
First off, Debbie Deane is at the Tea Lounge on Union St. in Park Slope tonight at 9 and at 10:30. If you haven't seen her yet, you should!

Debbie's MySpace
Her website

Not Tricky, but Complex
The godson of Duke Ellington, Finley Quaye is a Scottish Reggae singer from Scotland via Berlin. Despite that jet-set pedigree, there is something affectingly simple and pure in his music, as well as something of-the-moment. Oddly enough, he and Tricky's fathers have the same name and they thought they were related for a while, but it turned out to be complete coincidence. He has a very classic Reggae voice, but a clear and present sensitivity to Jazz in his arrangements and instrumentation.

Even After All

Spiritualized Music Video

His MySpace
and website

Buy Finley Quaye at Amazon

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Pay No Attention to the Woman Behind the Curtain!
I'd like to tell you that Sophie Zelmani is not Swedish. Zelmani really doesn't sound like a Scandinavian name at all. And I really have been a little one note of late, so I wouldn't want to subject you to another random, though supertalented Swede. So imagine if you will that she is in fact from somewhere entirely other--use your imagination, let your mind spin any possible strange scenario, (other than growing up on a farm in Gotland.) Nor of course would I subject you to yet another somnambulist whispered vocal navel gazing dissector of love and sadness--that goes without saying. Let nothing stir you from this, nothing you might read on her website or MySpace, or glimpse as you buy a copy of her newly released CD, SHE IS NOT SWEDISH!


Stay With My Heart (Live)

Her MySpace
and Website

Buy Sophie Zelmani at Amazon
Wait, wait!
Proving that there is some great pop coming out of somewhere besides Scandinavia, The Delays pour forth super-poppy, super-catchy, bits of winsome and lilting joy from Southampton. They also should please everyone who has a soft spot for new-wavish synths or who can remember who sang: "I ran/I ran so far away..." Which I can't at the moment...

You and Me

Hideaway (Live)

Their MySpace<
and website

Buy The Delays at Amazon

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Go see Pela Friday night (TONIGHT!) at the Mercury Lounge!
Best band around and great live!

Plus hear their new record -- a new song every week!

Clear as Day
In honor of snow, The Plain White T's... I don't usually do perky, but it has it's place and it's virtues. And just listen to them! They are having such GooGoo Foo Maroon-ish fun! Breaking out by opening for Panic at the Disco (due to the drummer in Bloc Party having collapsed a lung;) look for them to turn up on TRL any day now.

So Damn Clever

A Lonely September (Live)

Their MySpace
and website

Buy Plain White T's at Amazon

Friday, February 16, 2007

Total Eclipse
Appropriately enough for the day after, Scarling is named after the smallest possible scar left on the heart. Call them shoegazers, nĂ¼-gazers, or emo/screamo, Scarling attracted the attention of Robert Smith of the Cure who featured them in his Curiosa Festival. More recently, they have been featured on The L-Word and Grey's Anatomy and opened for The Wedding Present. They are a bit abrasive at first, so I encourage you to take your time and listen more than once.


Live Like a Killer (Live)

Their MySpace
Their website

Buy Scarling at Amazon

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!
Personally I love V-day, but I know I'm the only one... So I figured I'd do something out of the ordinary and rather than one song/one subject like I always do, today one subject: Love. That's right, Love... Makes the world go round... Speaking of which, did you see Cristina Aguilera sing "It's a Man's World" on the Grammys? Which was an astounding snoozerific mid-life wallow, but this was ASTOUNDING!

It's a Man's World (Live)

Anyway, back to love...

Let's start out with "Love Detective" by Arab Strap. A massively brooding and mumbling duo out of Scotland named after a strange device prized by the Scots (cf. Belle and Sebastian,) they have recently announced their breakup.

Love Detective

Next up is the incomparable Leslie Feist with "Let It Die." I have refrained from writing about her, just out of fear that I can't do justice to her talent. Part of Canadian Supergroup Broken Social Scene, Feist has an astoundingly expressive voice as well as a remarkably equivocal way with words that is always electric. This is a fantastic live track, worth hearing just for the intro, and then lovely and un/romantic, but ultimately captivating.

Let it Die

Bjork, what can I say... Not much actually--honestly I don't know much about her other than she's from Iceland and was in one of those Sugababies or Moonbabies groups way back when. Though anyway, the pertinent point here is that she has a voice of such purity and rapturous astonishment to evoke swooning awe.

All is Full of Love

Finally, something gentle and yearning, Roddy Frame's "Mixed Up Love." The singer of the legendary happy band Aztec Camera, Frame is still kicking around turning out little pop gems like this.

Mixed Up Love

Buy Arab Strap, Feist, Bjork, Roddy Frame at Amazon
Please Sir..
I always think of Morcheeba as a little bit magical. I remember first hearing them and even just hearing the name "Morcheeba." It was like one of those moments in a '60s psychedelic movie where the camera explodes into kaleidoscopic colors and everyone starts staggering around the room and falling over. On a less mystical level, just two producers and a singer, Morcheeba blends the downtempo trip-hop vibe with enough eclectic touches to make them actually interesting.

Part of the Process

Trigger Hippie (Live)

Their Website

Buy Morcheeba at Amazon

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

On a Jet Plane
Mix some late Beatles, some Led Zeppelin and a touch of Kinks, put it in a bottle and drop it in Australia to mellow for a few years where the ghost of Bon Scott gives it a good blessing and what do you get? Jet...

All You Have to Do

Are You Going to Be My Girl (Live)

Jet's MySpace
And website

Buy Jet at Amazon

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Making Plans for Nigel
The Veils are a London-based band from New Zealand. Aggressively dramatic, but not fey, The Veils wail and tumble through their striking and strangely baroque images like Nick Cave and Patti Smith singing duets at a louche Village piano bar. Their new album Nux Vomica will be out in April.

Advice for Young Mothers to Be

Lavinia (Live)

Their Myspace
And Website

Buy The Veils at Amazon

Friday, February 09, 2007

Not the One Bringing Fascism to America
Meg and Dia are Korean-American sisters from Utah who make feisty acoustic music somewhere between Avril and Tegan & Sara. Though I have to say that I hear a bit of Styx in there as well (or am I losing my mind?)


Nineteen Stars (Live)
Their MySpace
Their website

Buy Meg and Dia at Amazon

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Hyphy Machine
The Team are a rap trio closely associated with the Hyphy genre that seeks be for the Bay-Area what Crunk is to the South. Being from California, it is deeply associated with cars, having a whole repertoire of terms and stunts.

Top of the World

Bottles Up

Buy The Team at Amazon

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I went to see my friend Bob play the other night with his new band (which was really great!) but I thought I'd take the opportunity to offer you something from his old band The Lackadays. A smart and tuneful bunch who clearly had listened to a lot of XTC, Squeeze, and the Smithereens. What I most like about them, is those songs that use what I think of as "Bob-harmonies"--a particular Beatlesesque vocal leap that is super-charming.

See You Double

Bob's MySpace
Nordic, but not chilly
It is really astonishingly cold today, perfect for Norway's Maria Mena. Aside from a massive, and massively moving, voice, she writes songs that are shocking in their clearminded, yet raw, confessional achingness. She's twenty years old, but weathered by all of them somehow into a very mature observer of life and people. I am really quite embarrassed in a way by how much I like her songs. Listen with an open mind and see if you don't agree.

Miss You Love

Just Hold Me (Live)

Her MySpace

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Lucksmiths are a very happy bunch out of Melbourne Australia. Tuneful and charming, they have been kicking around for a decade and they have a very playful and wry sense of language. Plus also not inconsiderably twee!

I found refuge in the kitchen
Discussing post-war US literature
With a girl whose upper arm read “fiction”
Like it might have been typewritten
I asked her its significance
She said she sometimes took reminding
What she wanted to be doing
Whether reading it or writing
I admitted admiration
For both typeface and intent
And said more softly — sotto voce —
I knew too well what she meant

Untidy Towns

Live in Italy

Their website

Buy The Lucksmiths at Amazon

Friday, February 02, 2007

See? Just ask...
In response to all of you out there clamoring for R & B, here is Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley, also known as the woman who turned down "I Wonder if I Take You Home." A former nurse for handicapped children from Brooklyn, she hit it big in the late '80s with "Thanks for My Child." After a flurry of musical success, she moved into acting for stage and screen, most recently being seen in "The Diary of a Mad Black Woman." She still sings with acts like Tweet, Matchbox 20, Mary J. Blige, and Jennifer Lopez.

Call on Him

Live at the Apollo

Her website

Buy Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley at Amazon