That's my shhhh
1. I was watching the Hollaback Girl video on MTV. Gwen Stefani destroys supermarkets! Walks down the street with a gang! Is a majorette with long white blonde extensions in her hair! My first impression was this: girl can't dance for shit. I'm a'serious. She's got long, long legs and they're kicking all over the place like a lithe praying mantis doing a half robot/half rockette kinda routine which, I suppose, is interesting to look at in a nature film sort of way. At one point she dons a shiny red leotard with fringe on the sides and she shakes that fringe like it's the rapture and her name is Cher but something's just...off. A few beats off. Oh girl.
Hollaback Girl/Gwen Stefani (video)
But that's cool. I admire Gwen's spunk* and while previous single, If I Was a Rich Girl, made me never wanna see a pirate video concept again OR hear a stolen slice of Fiddler on the Roof OR even have EARS, Hollaback Girl (Which makes The Monkey run out of the room screeching like a predator's approaching) has that spectacular moment when Gwen shuts the hell up and lets the tuba do the talking. AND, of course, the cherry on top of it all: "This beat is bananas. B-a-n-a-n-a-s!". I laughed and laughed at that fabulous nonsense. I started immediately working out when I could use that phrase. At the YMCA! My crawl is bananas! My swim cap is bananas! Spelling lesson for the masses and catchphrase making don't usually come hand in hand.
Of course, if you don't care for videos and heard a passing s.u.v. preview and didn't feel it, do seek out her duet with Andre 3000 from Outkast, A Long Way To Go from the album named after her...uh...fashion label. Ahem. Wow. I can't believe I typed that. Must go listen to obscure 4-track ditties NOW! Unclean! Unclean!
2. Out there in da real west side, there's a fabulous place called The People's Dance Party where a bunch o' folks talk music. I like to lurk about in the mornings as I sip my coffee and contemplate work. Then if I'm really bad or am still in the contemplation stage, I surreptitiously try to fill out one of Contributor Liz's quizzes (sounds good actually, I smell a trademark!) without cheating (i.e. trolling the internet). Humbling, humbling stuff. I know nothing.
To hear some of Contributor Liz's dj magic, check out today's live netcast from L.A.'s KXLU. Live stream can be found HERE on the top of the page to the left. She goes on at 3PM PDT (west coast)/6:00 EDT (east coast).
3. Maria Taylor's Nature Song (off of her album 11:11**) made me think that the vocalist must be this beautiful girl straight out of one of those idyllic Maxfield Parrish paintings of muse-type folk basking in the sunlight. Watery, quavery and luminous; music that lives in a twilight blue light. I hear she's in a band called Azure Ray which is a fitting name. I'm not too familiar with them (though some of our contributors are...insinuating cough.) but I know that there's a Saddle Creek connection. That Oberst has his fingers in all the pies!
4. I remember hearing Spoon back in the day when Matador would send me free stuff (Come back! All is forgiven!) And gosh, I thought they were boring. Fast forward to last year when I hear this song called Don't Let It Get You Down (from Kill the Moonlight.) It starts with this fantastic Stones-y riff and segues what is otherwise a perfectly ordinary indie pop number. The guy singing sounds nerdy in a vaguely know-it-all fashion, urging you not to let it bring you down and right about when you're gonna smack him for being such a snot, the riff comes back and he starts these ooh - ooooh- ooh's over it and what can you do? Start ooh-ing back of course! Ah, damn that pavlovian rock! I intend to get the new album Gimme Fiction in the next couple of weeks. From my one internet radio listen, I'm feeling I Summon You which I like to imagine as witch rock disguised as pop crunch but is probably just another song about relationships or something. Gawd. Can't someone throw in a warlock into the mix now and again? Is that too much to freakin' ask?!?
5. Speakin' of witch rock and relationships, I bought Half Cousin's The Function Room in the Land of Eng because the promo sticker on it promised sorcery. (I bought a bunch of cds there on the blind or deaf, as it were, with surprisingly good results) There was none, but regardless, I enjoyed listening to it as I stared at the landscape on my way up to Liverpool. Half Cousin aka Kevin Cormack trades in a gauzy, dark-edged folk that's not meant to soothe and/or provide a soundtrack for brownie baking. It shimmers and crawls purposefully along like a crystal spider. Despite the occasional missteps into haunted house territory (the cover of The Beatles' Girl) sometimes he gets it just right. On the Way Down could be about two people who suddenly run into one another and have nothing to say. Were they friends? Were they lovers? They were certainly something but there's no way of knowing what. But the intimacy of the brief, almost whispered in your ear vocal, the endless loop of railroad track guitar underneath and the barely audible hum of keyboards makes you guess that whatever it was, it's gone but the ghost remains. And then all you wanna do is sit there and grimly stare at your cup of tea. Cheery, eh? Just how I like it!
I gotta go. 3 days until vacation. It will be bananas.
(Backflip, fringe shake)
* But not her weird Asian handmaiden thing. Mute Japanese cuties following me around and batting their eyelashes? Madonna hasn't even done that! Oh wait. I forgot the Latin dudes)
** I always wanted to name an album that! Note to self: acquire musical ability. I think I've been writing that note to myself since childhood. one day.
Songs to seek: Hollaback Girl (just for those bananas!)/Gwen Stefani, Long Way to Go/Gwen Stefani & Andre 3000, Nature Song/Maria Taylor, Don't Let it Get You Down/Spoon, I Summon You/Spoon, On the Way Down/Half Cousin