Saturday, October 31, 2009

I'm not sure if he is the French Tom Waits, or the French Tom Jones, but Bénabar has some ineffable larger than life resonance, or a history of Galoises. Plus also, he had a cool name that sounds like Babar... If I were to explain the intricacies of guinche and chansons, I would be making it up. (Oh okay! I looked it up. A guinche is a seedy hang out. The tradition that Bénabar comes out of, the bals-musette, is dance hall music that developed in the 1880s and does, like Tom Waits, often have an accordion and an exaggerated sense of lyrical play).

Quatre Murs et un Mot


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Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Assumptions are made to be broken I guess (or are they made to be dashed? I forget). I had thought that "megaplatinum" and "country" were disqualifying words, but then I saw Taylor Swift on Oprah and she was so genuinely genuine and generously charming with the 11 year old who interviewed her. Plus also, really striking songwriting actually and a voice of startling clarity and poise.

Just Forever

Megan and Liz sing Taylor Swift's White Horse

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

I admit to having thought that Okkervil River was a death metal band, then I thought that Conor Oberst was the guy from the Decemberists, then I heard them and thought that Gus Black was having a really bad day, and then I fell asleep. While I was sleeping, I had this horrible dream of being in Des Moines, trying to choose between an Okkervil River show at the State Fair and Sufjan Stevens taping a show for NPR at the local high school with everyone dressed up in angel wings. To try to say something nice, am I the only one who hears something from Blondie in the middle of this song?


A Stone (Live in Milwaukee)

Their MySpace

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Crossed Paths
So what to say about Manu Chao? And more importantly, what language to say it in? An anarcho-syndicalist (or perhaps former), Chao is Basque and sings in French, Spanish, English, Arabic, and occasionally Wolof. If you just remember him from the Clash-inspired '80s Rockabilly group Hot Pants, you are excused a little disorientation. He also produced the stunning "Sénégal Fast Food" by the blind Malian duo Amadou and Miriam.

Le Vent Nous Portera

Live in Brooklyn

His MySpace

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