Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fire or frying pan? It’s your call

I’ve been saying recently that everyone I know is either unemployed or so busy their lives have ground to a screeching halt. Good or bad, I’m squarely in the latter group, getting my ass handed to me on both my account and on a new business pitch. Three weeks of only hours off at a time. What can you do?

On the upside, some good music’s been blooming left and right this spring. Let’s take a look if not a listen to some of the better gems.

Booker T “Potato Hole”
Whitney would kill me if I didn’t give her credit for this find, so I will say she first pointed it out to me. But I tell ya, ol’ Booker T teamed up with the Drive By Truckers and turned out some whip-crackin’ instrumental numbers full of whiskey-soaked southern guitars and swirling Hammond B3. They even do a raved-up version of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” that kind of turns into its own thang.

Camera Obscura “My Maudlin Career”
I’ve always had a thing for the bookish, nerdy (or “twee” which I think just sounds crap) chamber-pop Scottish bands like Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura. They’re not tough and they certainly don’t bring the heat but they do play beautiful tunes. They’re music for going to art school to. Or drinking coffee and journaling. Or wearing a turtleneck or elbow patches to. Or just enjoying. But their new one, “My Maudlin Career” is pretty damn good. It sounds like parlor rooms and tea kettles in old drafty old houses that are full of the kind of troubles that really never go out of style. It’s the type of music make you forgive the could-be-really-cute Tracyanne for wearing her grandma’s clothes. This is the lead single: "French Navy"

Empire of the Sun “Empire of the Sun”
I’ve been waiting for this album to come out in the states for a while now. Sure, I could have bought it as an import but I figured it’d be here eventually. A couple of Aussies (one of the guys from the Sleepy Jackson and another guy) started this little side project last year. I keep saying this album sounds like it came out in 1986. It’s somewhere between like Spandau Ballet, Melissa Manschester and Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice theme. Just go with me on that. It sounds like a warm breeze. The lead single, “Walking on a dream”, even feels like it comes with a blender drink already built in. The video is pretty cool too: "Walking on a dream"

I'm working on adding a music player thing. Everyone seems to have them now. I should too. This is America, after all.


Blogger minus five said...

thanks dude. i've been in a music famine.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

Great minds think alike! Here's a clip I found from Brian Williams, the NBC newscaster, who has started a new online music show.
The interviewer asks:
"Any other recent discoveries?"
Brian answers:
"Camera Obscura. Been around a long time. I love the new stuff. It's a jaunty California sound by way of Europe. I last listened to it on Saturday afternoon as I was getting ready for the Correspondents' Dinner in Washington. I had it on my iPod. It's great to have on in the background. Ditto the Veils. I know they're always on the brink, but I think the song ?The House She Lived In" is a little gem."

9:22 AM  
Blogger Howard said...

He is and has always been my favorite newscaster. Not only do I think he's one of the few honest journalists out there but, more perhaps more importantly, he's culturally in touch. With my generation if no one else.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Howard said...

I forgot to say his assessment of Camera Obscura is pretty accurate (dude is a writer, too). Scotland's not that sunny sounding. There's some California in there for sure.

7:49 PM  

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