I took out the trash today & I'm on fire!

Dear friends,

This all falls under the simplistic tag line of "Girls Sing Pretty"...

1. liela moss from the duke spirit sounds like she was a clarion soprano who gargled drano by accident when she ran out of hooch. she has more than a passing vocal resemblance to welsh alterna songstress cerys matthews (formerly of catatonia) but seems far less convivial & more inclined to kick someone in the balls & not laugh afterwards, the way cerys surely would if she was still on the sauce. the track cuts across the land falls neatly in that area of mid-90's catchy driving rock music where a woman is singing in her clothes!, sounding bad-ass & you're in your bedroom wearing braces & freakin' out 'cause that's SO cool! that wasn't me though, mom couldn't afford braces. but that's ok. I like this song, I do. because it's good for getting ready to go out & possibly kicking a few balls. for the flip side, check out the slow building, simple dirge, drinking you in, where that straight ahead rock sound is simplified into a guitar meets banshee howl crawl. as moss & the guitar vie for position by mirroring one another, all my easy vocal comparisons are off, she comes into her own.

2. SO, the dresden dolls, which I know nothing about, but judging from a press photo, look like the incestous, immoral spawn of joel gray as the mc in cabaret if he'd somehow managed to impregnate himself & had girl/boy fraternal twins. ya with me?

now, if the woman singing good day is ALSO the one playing the piano on that track & she does this WHILST looking like a mime then I think I may need to send them a love letter. a braying, deep voiced & startlingly passionate paean about playa haters (that's the way I've decided to take it, like the caucasian version of monica's pms anthem, don't take it personal (just one of dem days) but one that isn't wretchedly bad) it's the kind of song you feel a little embarrassed to be listening to in public but who cares, just crank the fucker. whiteface optional.

3. regina spektor hangs out with the strokes*. much as I enjoyed their first album, anyone that hangs out with those guys is immediately suspect. I don't even need to explain my logic. you feel exactly the same way. nevertheless, I decided I can't hold it against her because anyone that sings a piano ballad about suicide plans (carbon monoxide) that idly asks, "do you want in?" does not deserve to be judged so harshly. especially since every time spektor hits a word like "off", "street", "feet", "socks" & most emphatically, "walk", this WHALE of a noo yawk accent comes out. it's like when cyndi lauper used to be interviewed on mtv in the 80's & made your ears burn with her shrill brooklynese. & like lauper, bitch can SAAAAH-ING. she peppers her mordant death song with a trilling little "come on, daddy" refrain that would put the jealous in all them piano chanteuses...

4. ...'cept maybe nellie mckay who has the jazz voice I've been waiting for all these years. free of vibrato, conspiratorial, both world-weary yet hopeful with one more ingredient. plain ole c-c-c-crazy! YEAH! mckay clearly had a lot of solo time on her hands as a child & she channeled it into turning into a one woman jazz mistress. she can sing! play piano! vibes! horns?!? write lyrics about how her one true love is her clone i.e. clonie? you got it! my fave is david, about being alone in your apartment, daytime drunk, not being able to stomach listening to our president talk on tv, pining for some guy who never calls. but whyyyyyy?!?, she asks. I can rap! something like that. the monkey tells me that it's "like a musical but good", which is high words of praise indeed. ignore the smiling sony promo pictures on her "official" website & try to find the one where she looks like a boozy 60's bottle blonde in a pucci printed blouse & false eyelashes having a smiley chat with dizzee rascal at the mercury prize shebang. that's more like it.

5. in other jazz news, madeleine peyroux sounds just like billie holiday. so what? so this. she covers elliott smith's between the bars. stop a moment. think about that combo. I don't need to say anything about it except that it's beautiful & peyroux's excellent jacking of holiday's signature slightly behind the beat delivery makes the moment that this song is playing the living embodiment of its story.

more to come...

love, d

songs to seek: cuts across the land/the duke spirit, drinking you in/the duke spirit, good day/the dresden dolls, carbon monoxide/regina spektor, modern girls, old fashioned gentlemen/the strokes (with regina spektor)*, david/nellie mckay, clonie/nellie mckay, between the bars/madeleine peyroux, I'll look around/madeleine peyroux

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Blogger Pete Galub said...

Can't really stomach any of em. I much prefer Joanna Newsom and Laura Veirs...

2:03 AM, March 23, 2005  
Blogger george said...

It's funny that you cited the one song on the Regina Spektor album that I feel is better than most of the other warmed over Tori-aping material. I like that song a lot, but it also annoys me, yet I will continue to listen to. Music is a funny thing.

8:58 AM, March 23, 2005  
Blogger bryan said...

wow pete, you must have ears of steal. I keep trying to figure out the attraction to Joanna Newsom, but I usually have to turn it off after a song or two. Now the Dresden Dolls, on the other hand, they make me feel warm and fuzzy.

9:27 AM, March 23, 2005  
Blogger d said...

interestingly enough, pete, those two ladies are in my next chapter of "girls sing purty"...muhahaha.

music is a funny thing.

I agree with george on spektor's album. overcooked & a bit silly (much like tori, who I also am drawn & repelled by) but what I like about that tune is that there's no real structure & it's kinda wacky! but I can't stop listening to it & laughing. "I'm so cooool"?

interestingly, like newsom, I can only take the dresden vocals in small doses. too many & I start to feel a bit persecuted. must be that weimar thing.

10:19 AM, March 23, 2005  
Anonymous JoeWillie said...

I'm with D on the Regina tip. She shows a very distinct brand of real NY cool, that of the Russkie immigrant from the Boogie Down-- I like it right fine, songs are sad, funny, sweet, smart etc without bein sickeningly confessional (in a bad way), which is what my prejudiced mind's ear most often associates with girly pianists. I like "Sailor Song" where she chants "Maryanne's a bitch, Maryanne's a bitch."

11:09 AM, March 23, 2005  
Blogger Pete Galub said...

I was mainly talking about Spektor, McKay and Peroux- I think I wasn't as irritated by the Dresden Dolls.. go figure
With Newsom and Veirs, the writing just feels much more natural to me; the others, while certainly talented, seem posed and not as rich. I like Newsom's voice, but I can certainly understand it's acquired taste.
ears of steel, heart of ______

11:37 AM, March 23, 2005  
Blogger d said...

...bone? ...tin? ...custard?

joe w., I need to find that song, stat.

pete, regina's one thing, but I think it's a bit unfair to compare mckay & peroux to viers, et. al. since they're running a very different game. viers has a gorgeous cellophane transparency but then again, you should if you expect to be delivering any kind of potent americana.

peyroux got a limited schtick BUT I wouldn't underestimate the general public'c curious desire (including my own) to hear modern standards done by someone that sounds like billie holiday. a POWERFUL need. clash? more dylan? why not? it's better than cloning.

as for mckay, she's a borscht-belt comedian as much as she's a jazz-o. I think the times that her songs get REALLY interesting is when her loony I'm being funny syncopated cleverness give way to sadness, the way I think it does in "david". she's 23? 24? it's her first record. I have high hopes.

11:51 AM, March 23, 2005  
Blogger bryan said...

Hey D, is M.I.A. going to make it onto one of your Girls Sing Purty lists?

6:10 PM, March 23, 2005  
Blogger d said...

m.i.a. don't sing. she raps.

& no, I haven't paid enough attention to her album to either confirm or deny your opinion of her album. though contributor caryn believes she's the real deal holyfiend.

10:31 PM, March 23, 2005  
Blogger Pete Galub said...

M.I.A. raps AND sings and I love it!
I don't think of Veirs as Americana, but I think I can see that. Fair? Unfair? I still don't like Nellie McKay- oh custard heart what am I to do?

12:24 AM, March 24, 2005  
Blogger d said...

just go galang, galang.

11:00 AM, March 24, 2005  

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