It's taken me more than a decade to come around to Lucinda Williams. When I was in middle school, my dad came suddenly into my room and put a CD in my stereo with no explanation. I set down my alg/trig homework and watched him carefully. He finally said, just before the music started, "Listen to this song, Kate. I've never heard anything so...gripping." And then he sat with his eyes closed until the song was over. And that was the first time I heard Lucinda Williams. I'm not even sure now what the song was, but that's the thing about Williams' music: many of her songs could be the most gripping song my dad (or anyone) has ever heard. I did not agree at the time, but remembered her name in association with her affect on my father. Now, on the event of her 10th studio album being released, I finally get it.
I did some of my growing up on the island of Maui, Hawai'i, but somehow only came to pick up the ukulele seriously when I was 23 and living in Los Angeles. I'm back in Hawai'i for a little while, and am taking every opportunity I can to sit on the beach and strum my uke while my brother the professional chef sears some mahi mahi for dinner. It's raining here, and is supposed to for upwards of a week, but this little instrument brings sunshine and aloha spirit wherever it goes. In looking for new songs to play (ps if you have ideas, leave them in the comments and I'll IOU a Youtube video when I learn it!), I realized that EVERYONE AND THEIR DAD is now playing the ukulele, and Youtube is basically used at this point exclusively for cat videos and people playing ukulele versions of Regina Spektor songs. So I thought this week, in the spirit of these islands I love, I would do a sampling of the best the uke has had to offer in what seems to be a full-blown Ukulele Revolution.
PJ Harvey is no stranger to this blog. She has consistently distanced herself from feminism as such, but our love for her is inescapable. Her music is about independence—from marriage ("The Pocket knife,"), from judgement ("Who the Fuck?")—and her vision for her autonomous career has never faltered in 20 years of music-making. Now she's got a new album, Let England Shake, coming out February 15th, and a short film to be released with EVERY SONG on the album! If you, like me, believe there is no such thing as too much Polly Jean, this is the B-sides for you.
I know there are some humbugs out there who don't like the holiday season, and that's fine. Cheer and snacks and the spirit of giving (OK, and stress and consumerism) aren't for everyone, right? But when people tell me that they don't like holiday music, I have a tough time believing it. Just about all of the musicians you can think of have recorded holiday music at some point during their careers, and a lot of it is really awesome. So open up your minds, scrooges! I've polled folks around the office and compiled a collection of some awesome holiday tunes, perfect for gift wrapping, wasting time at your desk, or dancing around the tree/menorah. Tracks and videos after the jump!
B-Sides Bonus! Because I couldn't figure out a way to fit this into my Robyn post, but I didn't want you to miss out on a brand new Mirah video! After all, not only is Mirah awesome, but this is just her second official music video ever! Check out "The Forest":
Our undying love of all things Robyn is no secret. Her catchy jams, fembot sensibility, and all-around awesomeness make her impossible to resist! So of course I was unable to resist attending her show here in Portland over the weekend, and I'm glad I didn't. More after the jump!
(Here is a video of Robyn's grand finale performance, a mash-up of—wait for it—"Dancing Queen" and "Show Me Love"! FYI, I was too short to record video at the Portland show, so this is from an earlier appearance on the same tour.)
I'll tell you right off the bat that this post will focus at least a little on how much I like to look at pictures of the women who make up Warpaint. I have huge crushes on all of them. They wear pretty hats and dresses and scarves. PLUS they create dreamy rock music and they'll probably get really popular in the next year or two. Lovely women musicians on the brink of great renown? A whole bunch of the best traits for a band to have.
I've been in Austin, Texas for the past week, and the highlight of my hectic live show calendar has been Calliope Musicals, a young, up-and-coming indie country/folk band started by Carrie Fussell and Matt Roth less than a year ago. This is exactly the kind of thing indie fans swoon over: the chance to say we knew them back BEFORE they went mainstream and got picked up by the radio (patooie). So fall in love with them, quick!
Do you know what today is? It's Personal Life release day! If you're a Thermals fan (and you know I am), you've been excited for this day for a while now. And you won't be disappointed, because Personal Life delivers all of the energy, catchy hooks, and sing-along lyrics you've come to expect from these cuties. Check out their latest video if you need proof:
Pssst... You can also preview the new album at NPR First Listen, and if you live in PDX you can see The Thermals live this week at MusicFestNW (oh, and you can see us there too!).
Last Friday night, reality TV star/pop singer Tila Tequila was attacked by concertgoers at the 11th annual Gathering of the Juggalos in rural Southern Illinois. But you probably already knew that.
It's a story made in gossip blog heaven; a Playboy-model-turned-Myspace-celebrity-turned-reality-TV-star being attacked by the fans of the self-appointed "Most Hated Band in Music." Yet, both Tequila and the Insane Clown Posse are comparatively unpopular and disrespected, so why is it that Tila Tequila is the one getting the bad rap?!