I know, I know you try to change things

Dear friends,

Here's girls sing pretty, part deux...

1. I found Laura Veirsas a listenener of Nic Harcourt's Morning Becomes Eclectic program on KCRW. She looks like she could be your science teacher and sounds like someone who has been swimming in pure mountain waters her entire life. Her songs reflect this inner dialogue of "come to this place, you'll breathe much easier and you can see stars up close", then she extends a hand that's got an icy grip. Think of a bracingly intimate, but no-nonsense American folk shoegaze. Sounds good, doesn't it?

the song ether springs from the album carbon glacier is full of detailed images ("a tiny little girl ties flowers around her wrist & the bees come down to adorn her") delivered by veirs in a hypnotic narration-sing. the arrangement is delicate & lovely & by the time the double-tracked vocal comes in with the "a-ha" refrain at the end, you're ready to travel wherever she wants to take you.

2. when I wandered into the dears show on saturday at bowery ballroom (yes, I will write about it, I am writing about it, but it needs tending to, right now it sounds ass-crazy), liz durrett was on stage. she was singing lou reed's perfect day & her perfomance of that cover had the same stunned stupid effect on me that I had when I first saw chan marshall singing behind her then "scout from to kill a mockingbird" haircut at the middle east in boston. she was singing dolly parton's 9 to 5 like it was a funeral march. (wipes a tear) it wuz purty.

I have no doubt that durrett will be compared to marshall. they share a haunting woodwind-like tone to their voices & also the satisfying knowledge that they can enrapture an audience with those tones alone. but from what I heard at the show, durrett has no interest in hiding herself or creating inner cities full of nightmares in her head that she may or may not be able to sing to her spectators. durrett wants to tell you a simple tale & bring you in closer, around the fire or in your kitchen or on the train ride to work. no disrespect meant to marshall, I have loved her muted terrorscapes for years but surely there's room for more southern angels. you can hear perfect day here.

3. I was looking for can & wound up with midnight movies (long story). I know I wasn't grabbed by most of the songs I've heard from this group, too play actingly delivered. too cold to the touch. nevertheless, I was intrigued by the imitations on persimmon tree. gena olivier, the singer/drummer from midnight movies sounds like nico with a more impressive range & less accent. so far, so gut. combine that with someone playing lead guitar the way peter hook plays his bass lines & you got a pretty fair picture of this tune's derivative space rock charms.

4. I've been trying to solve, what I like to call, the mystery of the girl who sings almost crimes by broken social scene ever since I saw them with contributor therese at one of those free pier shows a couple years ago. the girl onstage had brown bangs & long straight hair the flew all over the place. she sang with a big goofy grin & danced the 80's side to side shuffle as she did so. I fell in audience-love. but who was it? contributor cheez suggested that maybe it was bss collaborator emily haines from metric, but upon repeated listenings, I don't think it's her. I'm glad I checked them out though, because I thoroughly enjoy to get down & groove it to dead disco, the sweetest dance put down of style clowns you'll ever shake your hips to (for maximum damage have it follow soft cell's sex dwarf on the friday night playlist). the music sounds like a speedy mash-up of the cure's a forest crossed with the cardigans' my favorite game & haines sings her edict in a bratty girlish voice. it doesn't irritate however 'cause just when you think you've pegged her she goes "la la la LA LA" in a way that recalls adam sandler's opera man & that's fabulous! because remember, in today's musical climate, when you sound pleasantly pretty, you never have any need to sound interesting. so god bless the ones that go astray.

now, the other possible solution to the mystery of the girl of almost crimes is leslie feist aka feist. long brown hair? check. new york denizen? check. electro soul singer? eh... if it is her, then she comes to play 'cause if she's responsible for almost crimes as well as a deeply heartfelt cover of the bee gee's inside and out, then what can I do? I must propose immediately. go to her maddening website & try to maneouvre your way around to the song area (I couldn't figure it out). if you don't like disco & feel uncomfortable with lines about kisses tasting like honey & keyboards that emit high pitched WEE! noises then skip that one & try to find mushaboom instead. also very nice. plus I hear that indie rock pin-up oberst covers it. does that supply insta-cachet or insta-eh? I don't know...I still haven't made it through his 800 + song catalog just yet, bob pollard has dibs on my memory.

5. stina nordenstam has a song called parliament square. nasally singing. stop & start delivery. guitar, piano. some brass. it's simple & repetitive & the lyrics are questionable (I think that anyone using the phrase "final solution" in any other context really needs to think their choice through) but I like the thing, can't say why. I have no idea who she is & from which scandinavian locale she sprung from but I enjoy this ditty. it's perfect for a cold walk home.

6. if neko case wanted to, I'm sure she could take over country music & then, the world. the owner of a big ass MANSION of country voice as in you can hear the holler down in them hills, the many rooms & the bell clanging for supper. plus she's a good lookin' red headed firecracker. stick her in a hat, put her in a pick up truck singing about being a white trash woman & it would be OVAH. all them country bitchaz would have to pack up their bags & move back to canada or wherever they package 'em. they're safe for now though because, unluckily for her managers, case has decided to persevere in alt-country as a solo act & be a member of the new pornographers (that's her in the laws have changed, disguising the yodel) on the side. I heard furnace room lullabye on the extras for the dvd of the gift, of all freakin places & I was lasso'ed. plaintive spookiness in the blue misty mountains. lock the doors.

7. feel like being very silly & pretending that square pegs is still on? go hunt down the pipettes, three girls from blighty with varying degrees of singing ability trying to bring back the girl group sound & succeeding in sounding tinny & slightly deranged & very 80's. simon says, however is not without a certain cracked charm. I can see them becoming better as their confidence grows, for now enjoy the gimmick & remember sjp when she was cool.

love, d

songs to seek: ether sings/laura veirs, perfect day/liz durrett, persimmon tree/midnight movies, dead disco/metric, inside and out/feist, mushaboom/feist, parliament square/stina nordenstam, furnace room lullabye/neko case, simon says/the pipettes

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Blogger Tavie said...

There's a New Pornographers song called "Jackie" that always pops into my head whenever I feel my Jackée Harris impression bubbling up.

(Don't ask me why I have a Jackée impression.)

I'm very sad because my New Pornographers CD is one of the CDs I lost in The Great Tragedy (wherein I lose all of my frequent-rotation CDs, stuck foolishly together in one CD book, somewhere between here and Stockholm, or Stockholm and here, and, to erase the pain, try to forget that I ever loved music...)


10:48 PM, March 29, 2005  
Blogger d said...

that happened to me in chile. my mother borrowed my cd book & left it somewhere. I somehow managed to guilt trip her into replacing everything (not an easy task if you know my mother). it took a few years.

a jackee impression, eh? what was here catchphrase again?

10:21 AM, March 30, 2005  
Blogger Kirsten said...


12:03 PM, March 30, 2005  
Blogger mary said...

I worship neko case. have you heard the corn sisters? she's also on carolyn mark's all-star tribute to robert altman's nashville. FANFREAKINGAWESOME.

2:12 PM, March 30, 2005  
Blogger d said...

all star tribute to nashville? get out! I need to hear that.

2:29 PM, March 30, 2005  
Blogger Pete Galub said...

"Visualize excess, but don't believe your eyes!"
- "Jackie"

Might I also recommend Scott Walker's English Version of jacques brel's song "Jackie"
"And if one day I should become a singer with a Spanish bum..."
Scott and I share birthdays you know

4:31 PM, March 30, 2005  
Blogger d said...

doesn't neko case do another scott walker number...?

10:31 AM, March 31, 2005  
Blogger Kitana said...

Tavie, if you want to copy my NP (Mass Romantic?), by all means, do. I didn't realize you missed it!

Neko covers Scott Walker's "Duchess" on her debut release, The Virginian. It's one of my favourites.

11:10 AM, March 31, 2005  
Blogger Pete Galub said...

Of course she does! The lady has great taste!

11:21 AM, March 31, 2005  
Blogger d said...

right! I just got a mix from future contributor christina v with neko case doing loretta lynn's "rated x" live. I had another version of it but the sound was lousy (though it does have neko introducing the song by saying "this is a song about DEEEvorce!") so I'm glad to finally hear it in full glory.

11:39 AM, March 31, 2005  
Blogger Tavie said...

Yes, Kit, I want another copy! Yay!

1:48 PM, March 31, 2005  
Blogger Pete Galub said...

Aw yeah, "Mass Romantic!" I LOVE that record.

6:37 PM, March 31, 2005  

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