there are powerlines in our bloodlines
I updated the linkage on the side to include blogs/sites that I occasionally peruse whilst sipping my hot chocolate. I may add a few more. Go visit. They are nice. (last sentence said in cod Slavic accent)
1. All I know about Coco Rosie is that they are two gorgeous sisters from France and that they make the kind of vocal racket that makes people either run home exhilarated at the newness OR get that special emperor's new clothes feeling where it seems like everyone's lost the use of their ears. No matter which camp you fall in I think you'll enjoy Beautiful Boyz, which is good times. Yes, the singer sounds like a toddler who's warbling the Disney songbook on one of those 80's exercise machines with the huge rubber band looking thing that you put around your waist and it makes you go uuunnnnnnnaaaaagnggggggghhhhhhhaaaaahhhh!!! (anyone know what these were called and what on earth they were FOR?) but in a drowsy, slo-motion sorta way. Is my description garbled enough for ya? Well, that's what the song is to me. And it is important to note that despite how bizarre and unintelligible the vocals sound, they work nicely with the stately, telenovela theme piano and chorus. Picture a woman named Catalina with much bosom and hair planning to seduce a ridiculously good looking priest named Patricio. The odds are against her but she's plucky 'cause she's from the wrong side of the tracks and she's still gotten this far, so how can she fail?
2. For those of you who wished there were a Billie Holiday manque from the world of folk-blues, your prayers are answered! Go find Fred Neil's Blues on the Ceiling as performed by Karen Dalton*. Put on headphones. Lie down. Stare at said ceiling. Hug your pillow.
3. Once while searching for Kevin Ayers, I wound up coming across Kevin Coyne whose last name is some weird Frenchification of the maternal family name, so in a small narcissistic way, I was happy to have found him. One day I shall write a larger piece about the man but for now, I'd like to talk about one of the songs featured on a little album by the name of Babble. This was meant to be a theatrical piece exploring the relationship between two isolated lovers gone murderously folie a deux**. Dagmar Krause (Slapp Happy, Henry Cow, the female voice in Babble, unsettles one mightily with Sweetheart, a song that initially, at least if you're paying attention to the lyrics, seems to be about a puppydogs and moonbeams type love but instead rapidly weirds the fuck out of the listener with its amorous persistence and histrionic, Teutonic vocals. For those who like their musical theater with a pinch of psychosis.
4. if I smile real nice, The Monkey plays me a song called Cymbaline by Pink Floyd. It is from a Barbet Schroeder directed film called More which is ostensibly about how the kids of the late 60's were the new sun worshippers and their eyes where gonna melt in their heads from staring at all the brightness or running from murderous smack dealers in Ibiza or something. Honestly, I wasn't paying too much attention since dubbed films hurt my eyes. Nevertheless, Cymbaline is not about Shakespeare or misspelling, but it could be about what it's like to be a suddenly successful rock star out on tour somewhere, feeling adrift in a sea of easy drugs and even easier women. Since hearing the song makes me think of floating quietly in crystalline Mediterranean waters and NOT nightmares, I fall into a lovely sleep almost every single time I hear it.
5. Damn those Decemberists! First they got me with that song about the whale which featured a lyric about gambling arrears, of all things. And now, it's this song called The Engine Driver that's so beautifully sappy it kills. There still the "I've read all the works of dickens"-type vibe but I don't really see the problem with that style. Besides the real essence of the song is the simple but universal lyric that acts as chorus, "and if you don't love me, let me go" it's the kind of line that if spoken aloud sound like nothing but when sung, hangs in the air, like the ghost of all unfulfilled or unrequited loves. Where's my hankie, I need to clutch it!
* Originally inspired by the relationship between Ian Brady and Myra Hindley aka the Moors Murderers. Unfortunately, this association caused the cancellation of several London performances of this show under the charge that Coyne was trying to provide justification for the killers' acts. Please file under "people are dumb".
** For more information on Karen Dalton, read this informative little piece. I highly recommend seeking her out. With her dried out, aching vocal style; Dalton is one of the few artists who can't miss on a cover. She always captures in her interpretations some aspect of a song that was missing or unexplored in the original.