5.20.2005

I call you and say...COME 'ERE!

Dear friends,

1. Another Friday, another week, another ANTM winner (Catlike Naima and her fauxhawk variations) and another fevered contemplation of the weekend. Ce soir I plan to go honor my committment to NY2LON and see for myself what The Hong Kong, The Ligers aka Stellastarr*, Ordinary Boys and Amusement Parks on Fire have to offer live. Next week I'll do a little write-up about the show that hopefully won't include the words "legless", "hipster bitch slap" and "vomit."

2. Because he is quite possibly a "Local Tastemaker"*, Contributor Bryan got his grab-hands on the new Gorillaz. Perhaps if we pester him enough he'll tell us about it or at least post a link to the rundown on his site.

3. Even if I didn't know she had been a child actor, that's the way I would've perceived Jenny Lewis from her press photos. Like a female Jackie Coogan, grown-up but still sitting on that street corner. She has small sad eyes peering behind messy red bangs, thin lips clamped together in a study of secret willfulness. She's labelled an indie rock heartthrob by music rags but somehow that doesn't sit right with me. It's not that she isn't pretty, it's just that whenever I look at her strong but wounded stare in those glossy pages, I think of those girls I'd play with when I was a kid, who never seemed to want to go home and restlessly picked at their scabby knees. She seems familiar in that frayed and worn t-shirt way and no amount of PR write-up or coverage can change that initial impression.

I first heard her singing admonishments to Ben Gibbard in The Postal Service's Something Better. Nice voice, I thought. She's probably blonde and really skinny, I followed. Whatever, I concluded. There endeth the contemplation of this Jenny Lewis. Then by chance I heard Portions for Foxes by Rilo Kiley. I couldn't believe it was the same girl. Here was this big heartbreak voice singing about how she's still sleeping with this guy because hey, she's lonely! And getting jealous of some other hussy getting with said guy and where will all this lead to? And don't we all just suck? This performance is rueful, smart, true and unabashedly country-fried but not in a way that would make a Northerner nervous (though to be fair when I played it for The Monkey, he went "Eeew, Shania" so maybe I'm wrong on that score). I sought out other cuts and while sometimes lyrically it becomes a bit Lifetime, Television for Women (i.e. the song where she sighs about "I guess I'll have the baby", eh...not there yet) in that it seems like unbelievable female drama, there's compensation with a song like Does He Love You? which while coming from a similar dramatic landscape, (Woman singing of married lover and his wife who is her best friend...aaw crap) stays grounded. These are songs as mini movies and Lewis is the wild card lead. If you like pop rock and country don't make you run and hide in a closet, I'd strongly advise you check out More Adventurous. Rilo Kiley plays Webster Hall on 5/25 and 5/27.

4. I was watching a Jools Holland's Later DVD and there was an appearance by Kirsty MacColl singing Cole Porter's Miss Otis Regrets with a band of bagpipers. Better known for her collaboration with The Pogues on Fairytale of New York (a song that's close to the heart of many a sentimental urban boozehound,) my first encounters with her were through her cover of Billy Bragg's A New England and her back-up work on Ask by The Smiths**. With that peculiar tinwhistle tone possessed by many an Irish singer before her, MacColl vocalizes with a forthrightness that would almost sound confrontational if it weren't that her voice was so sour/sweet.

There's a retrospective that's just been released, From Croydon To Cuba, a lot of it centering on the Latin flavored music she was working on before her accidental death. I remember being quite fond of Walking Down Madison back in the day, which was a freaky friday mash of a song that had breakdance beats, drum machines, repetitive pretzel-style guitar loop, a rap bridge and MacColl harmonizing with herself about being in NYC. A good number to walk quickly to as you gnash your teeth and pretend you're in a "I'm late to school/work" montage.

5. An old friend of mine who lives out in the red dust west wrote to me to thank me for a couple of mixes and asked me what I thought about Enon, since I must have everything of theirs. Huh? Who dat? I did not. I went out and found some and how did they ever get past me? A few tracks I enjoyed very much thank ye: Believo, sexy and simple. A danger vamp with toy instruments that's gone as soon as you start to move. Rubber Car is circa-Odelay Beck but without the "white boy doing this" wink. And a million stylistic miles away from those songs are the keyboard gurgly, indie funky, girl-sung In This City and Shave. They make me do a very silly space dance. I NEED to find MORE! See most of the time, one's friends get it just right! A la Mr. Fahrenheit, I thank you all!

Love, D

* I spent a mind numbing minute outside of Irving Plaza listening to a hipster chick with a flat vocal affect as she boasted/explained how she was part of some label publicity team responsible for sending Raveonettes CDs to "local tastemakers." I wondered who they could be. Now I know. Note to self: smile more at Contributor Bryan, but not in a way that might scare him or make him suspicious.

** MacColl also covered their You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby.

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6 Comments:

Blogger george said...

Yo. Me and Jess got all the fat ENON jams! Maybe I can make a burn of some of their stuff before the cookout for her to pass along. Hmmmmm........

4:16 PM, May 20, 2005  
Blogger d said...

oh yes! pretty please! (chases own tail in delight)

4:34 PM, May 20, 2005  
Blogger Pete Galub said...

I highly recommend Kirsty's album "Kite" -- a great pop record throughout it features dandy originals like "Free World" and "Don't Come to Cowboy With Me Sunny Jim" (recently covered by Kelly Willis) as well as sublime covers of R. Davies' "Days" and the aforemantioned cover of the smiths' "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby"
Kirsty wrote one of my favorite 3-minute pop songs of all time- "They Don't Know" - It was a hit for the then-unknown rising POP star Tracy Ullman, who essentially copies Kirsty's original production note-for-note. Either version is pretty great, though.
Kirsty's dad, Ewan, was a well-known songwriter and figure in the folk-scene, and wrote "the first time ever I saw your face" and "Dirty Old Town" which, in fact, was covered by the Pogues who then duetted w/ Kirsty on "Fairytale of New York"
When Kirsty died, I was pretty shocked. There's a recent documentery made, "Who Killed Kirsty MacColl?"
which I haven't seen, but follows her mothers' plight to bring justice to her daughter's tragic and mysterious death. link is here
http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/kirsty-maccoll.shtml

Seriously, though, Kirsty MacColl is just magic.

5:35 PM, May 20, 2005  
Blogger bryan said...

i aint no stinkin tastemaker! though i do have a copy of that raveonettes album, obnoxious un-mp3able copy protection and all. foiled again!

5:36 PM, May 20, 2005  
Blogger mary said...

mmm rilo kiley. I really like that one record I have. the execution of all things. I like it even though conor oberst sings on one of the tracks, that's how much I like it.

by the way, it is not easy dating a tastemaker. I'm all "wanna watch a movie?" and he's all "can't, gotta make some taste." le sigh.

5:42 PM, May 20, 2005  
Blogger d said...

yo petey, the link for justice for kirsty is in my post. a tragic accident.

conor oberst is not my cup o' tea either, mary. his songs are good (lover I don't have to love) but I'm not comfy with his singing voice. & of course all those pictures of him as a wide eyed waif.

3:32 PM, May 21, 2005  

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