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July 06, 2008

Most of what I said, I believe

Yours, &c., LC at 10:57 PM | Film/TV , Music | TrackBack (0)

November 27, 2007

Suzanne Vega - Variety Playhouse 11/26/07

Went with a friend to last night's show. It was a seated caverta peformance, which was just as well. It seemed like we were the youngest people there. During the encores, people stood up and then sat back down! But the audience was very attentive and generous with applause.

Suzanne's voice is still a wonderful blend of silk and steel. Her band was great as well. There was a good mix of old and new songs. Sometimes the show was moody, jazzy lounge, sometimes folk, sometimes rock. Great sounds and textures.

She began with Tom's Diner a cappella and ended her main set by performing a remix of Tom's Diner with the band, sauntering around the stage in a blue tunic, slim buy caverta pants and spiky, shiny black boots. Sometimes she'd sport a black fedora. In between there were brief stories and other songs. In no particular order: Marlene on the Wall, Gypsy, (I'll Never Be) Your Maggie May, Left of Center, Blood Makes Noise (both songs with only bass accompaniment by Mike Visceglia), NY is a Woman, In Liverpool, a particularly luscious version of Caramel, Angel's Doorway, Frank & Ava, Pornographer's Dream, Luka, Unbound, Zephyr & I, and Ludlow Street. During the encore, someone requested Small Blue Thing and after teasing us about a "really old, really long song in a minor key" we were treated to The Queen and the Soldier.

It was a really good night. I hope she'll pass through town again at some point.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:51 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

September 13, 2007

Crowded House at the Tabernacle 9/12/07

Highlights - Spotting Neil watching Liam from the side of stage and clapping him on the back when his opening set was over - very sweet. The explosive roar of the order caverta audience when the band first appeared onstage. Neil messing up the words to "Fall at Your Feet" and having to retrace his steps, with good-natured laughter all around - and then the extended singalong, including the verse that Neil sang way too early before. Nick's gleaming white suit. "Italian Plastic" in honor of Hessie. Group singalong with Pete Yorn, his band and the audience on "Better Be Home Soon." Constant smiles on the stage - clearly everyone was happy to be playing together. Talking to other fans about previous concerts we'd been to and discussing great moments in the history of Neil's hair, among other things that you can only talk about with people who buy caverta understand. And yes, getting to go backstage after the show to say hi, and hopefully keeping my jitters on the inside. Sideways hug from Nick (*squeee*).

Neil Finn (Atlanta 9/12/07)

Nick Seymour (Atlanta 9/12/07)

Yours, &c., LC at 06:31 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

September 12, 2007

Giddy on the inside

Going to see Crowded House tonight at the Tabernacle. Meeting up with caverta mastercard some folks, though sadly some of us are out sick. Already it feels like the longest day, and I've still got to head down there and spend a few hours in line, because that's how much I love this band.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:52 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

August 26, 2007

Can't say I blame them

Poor guy - practically every girl he's ever dated swoons over Neil Finn.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:09 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

July 02, 2007

Audio stream of "Time on Earth"

The new Crowded House album has come out elsewhere in the world today, but it won't be available in the U.S. until July 10. You can preorder on iTunes, which will include several bonus tracks which are only available otherwise via multi-part CD singles.

In the meantime, if you want to hear the album via an official channel, check it out here.

My quick impression is I need to let the album caverta marinate for a while in my brain. One thing I'm cringing over - the "la la la's" in "She Called Up." But I like the first single "Don't Stop Now" which features Johnny Marr, just fine.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:45 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

May 15, 2007

Crowded House - U.S. Tour Announced

They're coming to Atlanta, yay! Although the schedule makes me wish I still lived in the Northeast so I could follow them around during the first part of their tour. Oh well. Looking caverta online forward to it, especially after being green with envy hearing about all the festivals and other dates they were playing elsewhere.

August 4: Northampton, Mass. (Calvin Theatre)

August 5: Boston (Bank of American Pavilion)

August 6: Philadelphia (Mann Center for Performing Arts)

August 8-9: New York (Beacon Theatre)

August 11: Montreal (St. Denis)

August 13: Toronto (Massey Hall)

August 14: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Michigan Theatre)

August 17: Milwaukee (Pabst Theater)

August 18: Chicago (House of Blues)

August 20: Kansas City, Mo. (Uptown Theatre)

August 22: Denver (Fillmore)

August 24: San Diego (Humphrey's)

August 25: Santa Barbara, Calif. (Santa Barbara Bowl)

August 26: Oakland, Calif. (Paramount Theatre of the Arts)

August 28: Los Angeles (Greek Theatre)

August 29-30: Saratoga, Calif. (Mountain Winery)

September 1: Seattle (Bumbershoot Festival)

September 2: Portland, Ore. (Arlene Schnitzer Hall)

September 3: Vancouver (Orpheum Theatre)

September 5: Calgary, Alberta (Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium)

September 6: Edmonton, Alberta (Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium)

September 8: Winnipeg, Manitoba (Winnipeg Concert Hall)

September 9: Minneapolis (Orpheum Theatre)

September 11: Nashville (Ryman Auditorium)

September 12: Atlanta (Tabernacle)

September 14: Austin (Austin City Limits Festival)

Yours, &c., LC at 11:20 AM | Music | TrackBack (0)

April 23, 2007

Hey! Hey! You! You!

The new Avril Lavigne single is like a mental rash, but check out Avril's recent appearance on Ellen. I love how everyone in the backup band is at least a decade older and giving it their all. My favorites are the backup singers with their hipster hairdos. Just awesome.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:50 PM | Film/TV , Music | TrackBack (0)

March 16, 2007

Crowded House Webcast - tomorrow 3/17

Crowded House, reincarnate, is going to perform in a live webcast tomorrow - 6 pm EST. From the website:

Be amongst the first to see and hear the newly reformed Crowded House line up in a VERY intimate setting... your own home, in front of your computer. Crowded House have just about finished their brand new studio album "Time On Earth" and are now rehearsing before taking the new band on the road for the first time in 10 years, starting with the Coachella Festival in California on April 29. The band are currently rehearsing near Bath, in the UK, and they'd like to introduce you to their new caverta mastercard drummer. This Saturday 17th March, the band will be performing new tracks and old favorites for a special live interactive webcast at 10pm GMT (3.00pm Los Angeles, 9.00am Sunday Sydney, 10.00am Sunday NZ), through www.crowdedhouseofficial.com. The band will take time during the performance to read out comments and answer questions from you. You can email your comments and questions for the band now to questions@crowdedhouseofficial.com and the band will answer as many as they can.
I hope the site doesn't crash due to the surge of us Crowdies.

Yours, &c., LC at 08:45 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

January 22, 2007

It's official: Crowded House comes back to life

While we're still waiting for the announcement from the band and its management, I think an article in Billboard Magazine seems enough of a public confirmation:

Crowded House will reform after a 10-year-plus hiatus for a tour this year, including a stop at California's Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in late April. The reunion, which was first reported by several Australian newspapers and confirmed by the webmaster of the Neil Finn site Frenz.com, will coincide with a new studio album.

Finn had previously maintained he would never revive Crowded House following the 2005 suicide of drummer Paul Hester. "It's an instant knee-jerk reaction, 'no Paul no Crowded House' for some, and you, know that's actually okay," webmaster Peter Green wrote on the Frenz.com message board. "Simply don't see them or play the new record. But there is a good chance you might be missing out on something special. Sometimes it's worth taking a leap of faith and giving something a chance."

"Neil has had a hankering to play in a band again and what better band to do this in but the one he had the most joy with," he continued.

The solo album Finn previously told Billboard.com would feature Crowded House bassist Nick Seymour has morphed into a Crowded House release, although it is unknown when it will hit stores. Also unclear is who will replace Hester; auditions are said to be underway to fill the slot. Multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart, who joined Crowded House full time in 1992, will be back in the fold for the live dates.

So between this, and the fact that - ahem - yesterday I pre-ordered a copy of the new album through the fan club, seems official enough for me!

I don't know how long they'll stay together this time around; it may be a fleeting reunion. But I will be happy to hear the new songs and see the band live again, for however long they want to make music together.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:58 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

January 21, 2007

Together Again

Holy cats! The official announcement is still in the works, but it's looking very definite that Crowded House will reunite. The lineup will be Neil Finn, Nick Seymour, Mark Hart, and a new drummer. Auditions for the drummer are said to be taking place. From the Daily Telegraph (Australia):

CROWDED House, one of Australia's biggest ever musical exports, is reforming for a world tour.

The band's former frontman Neil Finn and bassist Nick Seymour will hold auditions for a new drummer in Melbourne this week.

Paul Hester, the band's founding drummer, took his own life two years ago.

Sources say Finn will commit 12 months to a world tour by Crowded House. Rehearsals will begin when Finn and Seymour find their drummer.

Finn's UK-based management group are expected to make an official announcement this week.

The surprise re-forming comes 10 years after the band's emotional farewell performance on the Sydney Opera House steps.

It won't be the same without Paul Hester, but I'm glad that the guys will be making music together again. Please please please come to Atlanta when you tour!

Just released this past Tuesday (finally!) are the DVD and CD releases of Farewell to the World, Crowded House's final concert back in 1996. This is great news, especially for those of us who have had to be content with tracking down PAL-format videos and bootleg CDs of the concert. Waiting for my official releases in the mail!

Crowded House Rebuilt [Daily Telegraph (Aus)]

Addendum: Full text of news article after the jump.

Crowded House rebuilt
By Nui Te Koha

January 21, 2007 12:00

CROWDED House, one of Australia's biggest ever musical exports, is reforming for a world tour.

The band's former frontman Neil Finn and bassist Nick Seymour will hold auditions for a new drummer in Melbourne this week.

Paul Hester, the band's founding drummer, took his own life two years ago.

Sources say Finn will commit 12 months to a world tour by Crowded House. Rehearsals will begin when Finn and Seymour find their drummer.

Finn's UK-based management group are expected to make an official announcement this week.

The surprise re-forming comes 10 years after the band's emotional farewell performance on the Sydney Opera House steps.

Finn has regularly dispelled notions of reforming Crowded House. However, Hester's tragic death shook his resolve.

Last year, Finn toured with Split Enz, his band that pre-dates Crowded House. In March, he will release a solo album, on which Seymour plays bass.

"In the shadow of Paul's passing, we had more than enough reason to seek each other out and take a bit of comfort from each other,'' Finn said last month.

"But we've reconnected musically, too. I've really enjoyed him playing bass. There's something instinctive that we've got together and it's pretty undeniable.''

Two years ago, he said Hester's talent as a beatkeeper was virtually irreplaceable.

Finn said he truly appreciated Hester's musical chops after the drummer left Crowded House in 1994.

"I never knew how great Paul was for me, how much he gave me, how incredibly important the chemistry was, until much later, when I was trying to show drummer after drummer how to play the brushes properly on Four Seasons In One Day,'' Finn said.

"Not one bugger got it. I realised how professional Paul's groove was and how genetically in sync we were.

"It was an accident, but a beautiful one. A fate that drew us all together.''

With Finn's incandescent pop at the helm, Crowded House became one of Australia's finest pop exports.

They split in June, 1996, with Finn saying he was sick of touring.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:22 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

May 24, 2006

Standing Up to The Lemmings

I'm not ready to make nice
I'm not ready to back down
I'm still mad as hell
and I don't have time
to go 'round and 'round and 'round

Itís too late to make it right
I probably wouldnít if I could
ĎCause Iím mad as hell
Canít bring myself to do what it is you think I should

- Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready to Make Nice"

It seems easy for many people to get over their own poor behavior. But call them on it, and you're accused of dredging up the past and rubbing their faces in it. They go on the attack, instead of admitting they were wrong and offering an apology for their past words and deeds. Who needs people like that, whether in their personal lives, or as fans? If you have any respect for yourself, you cut them loose and leave them to fend for themselves. People who are willing to drape themselves in the flag ought to be willing to come home in flag-draped coffins. But that supposes people realize that words and actions have consequences. Perhaps that's giving most people too much credit.

Addendum: You can hear the Dixie Chicks song on their myspace page.

Yours, &c., LC at 08:14 AM | Music , Politics | TrackBack (0)

May 10, 2006

Thank you momma for making me gold pants

You must check out the music videos from Leslie and the Lys - Gem Sweater, Beat Dazzler, and my new favorite song Gold Pants.

Leslie has a myspace page, where you can hear other songs, including "Zombie Killer" with the jaunty chorus: Shoot them in the brains/ If you want to live / Shoot them in the brains / Even the little kids...

Yours, &c., LC at 05:29 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

April 21, 2006

Eyes Pried Open

Today I will chug the coffee and eye the clock until it's a five o'clock world and the whistle blows. I've had thorny reference projects this week and as a result I feel like a zombie. So, for your perusal and general awareness:

Desktop Zen If you're like me, maybe you can't hide the clutter all over your real desktop, but this page explains how to clear your virtual one.

Sesame Street video clips! A list of clips available via YouTube (for now). Includes my favorite, the Ladybug Picnic

Decatur CD is having a sale this weekend (starting yesterday). They're good people and I always find excellent used stuff there. No, they didn't give me anything to say this, I just really like their shop. My latest finds: Stephen Merritt, The Who, and the new St. Etienne.

Smashing Pumpkins To Reunite: "It's official, The Smashing Pumpkins are currently writing songs for their upcoming album, their first since 2000. no release date has yet been set, but the band plans to begin recording this summer." (Remember when last year Billy Corgan took out a full-page ad and told us he had a secret?)

Luka Bloom, May 5, The Five Spot - The last time I saw Luka Bloom was in Greenwich Village a couple years ago. I took Mike Wolf, who didn't really know his music but went with me because I told him he'd like it. And he did.

Elvis Costello with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, May 13 - Fox Theater

Devendra Banhart, June 15 (Variety Playhouse) - w/ special guests The Magic Numbers

On the drive home last night I heard a song that I've never heard on the radio, Richard Thompson's "Vincent Black Lightning." I'd call it a modern folk song. It's a spare, steady, quiet but muscular tune, the story of James and Red Molly. James loves Molly and his Vincent (the motorcyle), and he's fought with the law since he was 17. And if I told you I didn't cry with Molly when James died, giving her his Vincent to ride, well, I'd be lying.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:40 AM | Music , Sundries | TrackBack (1)

April 07, 2006

Upcoming shows

Woo! On sale tomorrow 4/8:

Gomez - 5/4/06, Variety Playhouse

Snow Patrol - 5/29/06, Roxy

Yours, &c., LC at 10:41 AM | Music | TrackBack (0)

March 28, 2006

"Bush War Blues"

Billy Bragg recorded a song called "Bush War Blues" - it's available on his site as a free download.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:11 AM | Music , Politics | TrackBack (0)

March 16, 2006

Snow Patrol, The Loft, 3/15/06

Snow PatrolSold out. The line to get in went halfway around the block. There was no opening act. There were posters on the wall and promo postcards everywhere. Snow Patrol's new album "Eyes Open" comes out on May 9. And they'll be back here in May!

The singer had a cold. The bass player's amp blew out near the end, but was rescued. Still a great show. I may have a thing for funny, skinny Scottish guys with floppy hair and holes in the shirt seams beneath their armpits who can sing.

A good live band. And hey, a band who smiles and actually seems to enjoy performing! I was back in the crowd, fortunately situated behind some not-too-tall people so I had a mostly decent view of the show. Snow Patrol played songs from "Final Straw" as well as from their forthcoming album. Definitely liking the new song "Eyes Open." I was also quite happy to hear "Chocolate" which is one of my favorite tracks from the earlier album.

While the bass player's amp was attended to, the singer, Gary Lightbody, did a cover of a Bright Eyes song, "You will you will you will." Liked that - I'll have to track it down.

Yours, &c., LC at 08:45 AM | Music | TrackBack (0)

March 03, 2006

Claire Campbell, Daniel Clay & Amanda Kapousouz- Eddie's Attic, 3/3/06

I went with some friends, who knew most of the performers. Claire Campbell is one of the singers from Hope for Agoldensummer. This night she was making a solo appearance.

There was a fourth performer, Blake Rainey. He.Is.A.Total.Douchebag. This person is NOT worth your money, EVER!

The format was "artist in the round," meaning that each performer took a turn to play a song. Douchebag Rainey was first. He played something, we applauded politely, and then...he suggested to the others they should do two songs in a row on each turn. Then he launched into his second bland, unmemorable song.

As it turned out, this was a sign of things to come.

The heartfelt applause increased with each performance. Daniel Clay, who's studied classical guitar, played spare, deceptively simple songs. When Campbell performed, it was as if she became the characters in her songs. Somehow the discordant notes from her guitar, and her voice, all seemed to work together to create something eerie and beautiful.

We also enjoyed Amanda Kapousouz, who performs as Tin Cup Prophette. She used a loop machine and also played violin. At some point she worked in a xylophone and during another song, an accordion! She has an album that will soon be released, which I will look out for, definitely.

Going into the second round, Douchebag was unimpressed. "Nice band you got there," he mumbled, or some such thing. His songs slowed the momentum that had built, but we clapped, and the energy picked up again as the others performed. During Claire's turn, Daniel and Amanda accompanied her on one of her songs, as they knew each other and had played together before. The music clutched me by the heart and dragged me into itself. It was a sublime moment of musical communion.

A second show had been scheduled for the evening, so before the third round began, the performers were told they had ten minutes left, total. Claire jokingly asked whether they each had a 2.5 minute song to play.

So Rainey Douchebag plays again. We clap, politely. Then before Daniel can get ready to play, Douchebag launches into another song! I thought, "Wait, wasn't everybody supposed to play just one more song?" One friend was so angry he got up and left the room. The rest of us, we were too stunned to react as we should have, calling out Rainey on his graceless, petty, shitty behavior. It's another long, repetitive, cliched, crappy song. Just when we thought it was going to end, it goes on for another repetitive verse. Some lame whistling is thrown in as well.

The song ends, and Douchebag plays another song! Yes, a third song! So now the other players have sat in their seats onstage, politely and resignedly, for three whole songs. Rainey's damn song finally ends, and because he hogged the final ten minutes, so does the evening. The disappointment from the crowd was palpable.

After the show, we went up to the others and thanked them for their performances and told them how much we enjoyed their music. It seemed everybody was ignoring Douchebag, as they should have.

One of my friends observed that Rainey's petty revenge was multiple - on the other players, who were far better than him; on the audience, for our liking the other musicians over him; and on the venue, for putting him in a lineup that illustrated his mediocrity.

Seriously, do not support this guy. He's also from a band called the Young Antiques, but because of him, I have no interest whatsoever in their music. There are so many musicians who deserve greater attention, who deserve to play at Eddie's Attic and other venues around town, but it's jerks like these, whose music isn't anything special, who get to have a slot.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:51 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

February 23, 2006

INXS, Atlanta Civic Center, 2/22/06

I didn't watch Rock Star: INXS. I haven't heard Switch, the new album. But I went to the show tonight at my sister's invitation.

It was great to see the band again - Kirk Pengilly, Tim Farriss, Jon Farriss, Andrew Farriss, Garry Gary Beers. The new guy, J.D. Fortune, was ok. Together they did a great, energetic show.

But my eyes looked for someone else. My ears kept trying to hear another voice. It hurt to hear "By My Side" and "Never Tear Us Apart" without Michael Hutchence.

My thoughts turn inward. I'm in college. I'm with my friends at the hangar at Lakewood Amphitheater. We're insanely happy, we literally cannot contain ourselves. Our limbs are jittery and every so often one of us just emits a delirious squeal. I remember the feeling of my ribs crushed against the stage barrier. Our voices grow hoarse from our screams. With the rest of the crowd we become a mass of hair and outstretched arms and breathlessness. This frenzy is only heightened in the presence of a magnetic, sinewy, graceful figure. He's a beautiful, dangerous, sexy man. I remember the sweep of his hair. He is so close that at one point my fingers brush his cheek. Our passion for the music, for the sound that can be felt in the breastbone, overwhelms us. The band and the audience, we become something greater as we lose ourselves in the music.

That feeling wasn't there for me tonight.

I wish the guys well. I hope they have a wonderful tour and find new fans.

Life goes on, but sometimes it really hurts to realize that.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:14 AM | Music | TrackBack (0)

February 16, 2006

Snow Patrol, 3/15/06

Woo! Snow Patrol will be in Atlanta at The Loft. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10 am.

Definitely catching this show.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:16 AM | Music | TrackBack (0)

February 12, 2006

Late night out

Lenny's. Total dive bar. A benefit for some biker co-op (as in ten-speed, not Harley). The draw for us - Hope for Agoldensummer. The band was last in the lineup, so it was a bit of a wait. I smell like a carton of cigarettes. A good show, although I could do without stupid little hipster girls yipping and yapping during the music.

I learned a joke tonight. Want to hear it?

Q: How many indie rockers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: [sneering] What, you don't know?

Yours, &c., LC at 01:25 AM | Music , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

February 08, 2006

New Album Presale: Hope for Agoldensummer

Hope for Agoldensummer is offering a presale of their next album, currently in the works. Those who pony up the $15 now will get a copy of the album once it's available, as well as a compilation of previously unreleased live and studio recordings.

Yours, &c., LC at 06:32 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

February 03, 2006

Upcoming Shows

2/22/06 The Fiery Furnaces, Smith's Olde Bar - Tickets are $15. You can get them at Criminal Records, at Smith's Olde Bar, or via etix.

I would be there, except I already promised my sister I'd see INXS with her. (No, I did not watch the reality show. I'm a fan of the original lineup and I'm going grudgingly.) Dammit!

4/05/06 Death Cab for Cutie returns to the Tabernacle. They are co-headlining a tour with Franz Ferdinand at other shows, but not the Atlanta show. Boo!

6/16 - 6/18/06 Bonnaroo - RADIOHEAD!!! (Co-headlining with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) Along with a whole slew of others (Beck, Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Cat Power, My Morning Jacket, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Devendra Banhart, Seu Jorge, Steve Earle, Bonnie Raitt, Bright Eyes, Ben Folds, Gomez, etc.) But did you read me the first time? RADIOHEAD!!! Tickets go on sale 2/11.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:46 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

January 13, 2006

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah tour tickets - PRESALE NOW

They're playing the Variety Playhouse on Friday, March 10. To check if they're coming to your city, check here. The bonus - much cheaper service fees than Ticketmaster.

I'm going - anyone want to meet up?

Yours, &c., LC at 12:40 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

October 24, 2005

Death Cab For Cutie Webcast Tonight on NPR

The band's entire set tonight at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC will be webcast live as part of NPR's ongoing 'All Things Considered' Concert Series. The webcast begins at approximately 9:45 pm and can be accessed here.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:11 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

October 05, 2005

Sold Out

No not me, not yet anyway. I dithered too long about whether I wanted to go see Death Cab for Cutie with Stars as the opening act at the Tabernacle. So of course it's sold out.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:47 PM | Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

September 29, 2005

Coldplay / Rilo Kiley - Phillips Arena 9/28/05

I'm glad I got to see both bands. It's been a while since I've listened to the RK albums but I knew quite a few of their songs. I've got the refrain "it's bad news / baby I'm bad news" going through my brain at the moment.

Most people were there for Coldplay. My sister and I had decent seats - we were at the far end, but we had a good view of the stage. Although guys - what's with the black outfits and white sneakers? Chris Martin looks much better with hair. They played all of their big singles. During "Yellow" there were giant balloons that fell from the ceiling, filled with gold glitter. I loved hearing "Clocks" because it's a song that makes you feel like you're flying. (Speaking of which, it wasn't long into the show before someone started smoking reefer.) I love "The Scientist" but it's a song that makes me cry. For an idea of how wrenching that song is, consider that Aimee Mann has covered the song in concert - also a beautiful, heartrending version.

After playing "Til Kingdom Come" they followed up with a Johnny Cash cover - "Ring of Fire." Completely sincere. The band played close together on the stage, with just a small keyboard and their guitars.

There was a special guest - Michael Stipe. Chris Martin played piano while Stipe sang "Nightswimming." Beautiful.

At one point in the show, Martin said that if you had a camera, now would be a good time to take a picture. All of a sudden in the dark the glow of cellphones bloomed. Then the stage lights came on and the screen behind them exploded into colors and graphics but what was missing were the flashes of real cameras, which would have created the cheesy but cool effect Martin was suggesting. But the venue didn't allow cameras - I should have tried to sneak mine in anyway. Oh well.

I'm still a fan of smaller venues, of more intimate settings for shows. But being in an arena makes for great peoplewatching, especially when the whole place is standing and everyone is bathed in glowing light and you're hearing music you love. It's transcendental.

Addendum: Scam City has an excellent set of concert photos. And he's just been contacted by NME about using one of his images of Martin and Michael Stipe. Cool!

Yours, &c., LC at 12:37 AM | Music | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

September 12, 2005

thirteen going on thirtysomething

Oooh, Morton!

When I was thirteen I had the biggest, hugest crush on Morton Harket, the lead singer of a-ha. That voice! That hair! Those biceps! And omigod, those cheekbones! Once I dreamed that we had to escape from New York and while we crossed the Kosciusko Bridge he kissed me in the back seat of a Mazda. It was one of those sweet, moony, romantic kisses that girls who've never been kissed imagine what kissing is like.

I still love the video for Take On Me. And somewhere at home I still have posters taken out of teenybopper magazines with titles like Bop, Star Hits and Tiger Beat.

Anyway, the band is still together and their only US appearance was a sold-out show last night at Irving Plaza. Never mind that this too was in New York. Frankly, it's a bit embarrassing to admit that I have most of their albums as well as Morton Harket's solo album, and that had I opportunity, yes, I'd have gone to see them. I guess part of me is still thirteen going on thirtysomething.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:23 PM | Music | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

August 18, 2005

Kylie Minogue Costume Exhibit Now Online

KYLIE: The Costume Collection [via goldenfiddle] The web design is maddening, but there are some great pictures of Kylie in various outfits and detailed images of the clothing and accessories.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:35 PM | Arts , Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

July 08, 2005

Song for Mike

The Boondogs have written a song for Mike. A new entry is on the Remembered page.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:40 AM | Music | TrackBack (0)

June 15, 2005

Battle of the Cartoon Bands

The Onion A.V. Club surveys the cartoon music universe. You bet Jem kicks Barbie's plastic ass.

Battle of the Cartoon Bands

Yours, &c., LC at 01:28 PM | Film/TV , Music | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 08, 2005

O-de-lay-eee-EEE-eee-eee-YEAH

Kirsten tagged me with this music meme, so voila!

The last CD I bought:
I went to Tower Records to get the new Coldplay album, X&Y. But I also came out with used copies of Finally We Are No One (múm), #447 (Marshall Crenshaw), Set Yourself on Fire (Stars), Universal Audio (The Delgados), The Virgin Suicides soundtrack, and Funeral (Arcade Fire). And those were just my selections.

Unless I somehow score free tickets, methinks I shall pass on going to Music Midtown.

Song (CD) playing now:
The Proclaimers' cover of "Five O'Clock World", from the album Born Innocent. I like it, although I prefer the version by The Vogues. My favorite bit? The yodeling. Oh how I love the yodeling. O-de-lay-ee-EEE-ee-ee-YEAH... (And yes, I'm yodeling, albeit quietly, at my desk.)

Five songs I listen to a lot or that mean a lot to me:
"Waiting" - Matthew Sweet. - Did you ever used to spin around and around to make yourself dizzy, until you fell down and the world kept on spinning? This song does that for me. When Sweet sings "I didn't think I'd find you / Perfect in so many ways / But I've been waiting (waiting) / And I want to have you" I get that shiny happy dizzy feeling - and at the same time a lump in my throat.

"Cynical Girl" - Marshall Crenshaw - My new old favorite. The perfect pop love song that in the end is more sweet than bitter. Effortlessly brilliant.

"Hyacinth" - Tim Finn - From the album Big Canoe. This may be a bit overwrought, but I love this song anyway. It's lush and shimmery and makes me imagine big desert spaces at sunset as Tim sings to the woman he loves, asking her to let him be her hero.

"Weather With You" - Crowded House - The opening riff of this song sounds vaguely Egyptian, maybe even sitar-like. I never hear this without feeling a surge of happiness. It's a musical vacation.

"World Before Columbus" - Suzanne Vega - In this the singer contemplates a world without her lover, in which "all the colors would be black and white." The riches sought by the explorers don't compare to the treasure of her love's presence: "they'll never know the gold or the copper in your hair." The song is both lush and spare, and it's a beautiful, heartbreaking piece.

Three people I will tag: You, you and you!

Yours, &c., LC at 06:07 PM | Memes , Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Coverage

Tori Amos recently covered Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head" at a concert in Australia. Check it out here.

[via goldenfiddle]

Yours, &c., LC at 04:40 PM | Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

May 22, 2005

Sunday with the paper and a beverage

Last Year's Model: How to sell fans on the same old album for the third or fourth time. [NYTMag] The author, himself an Elvis Costello fan, points out the various reissues of Costello's catalog as a primary example of this practice.

On a related note, there is an Elvis Costello Artist's Choice CD available at Starbucks.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:35 PM | Music | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 20, 2005

Aqueduct is Good Music

On Zeebah's recommendation, I bought tickets to see Aqueduct last night. They opened, along with another band, for a group called Pinback, whom I hadn't heard of, although everyone else in the room were clearly gaga for them. I liked Aqueduct best - they were likeable and fun and played a good set. They opened with an exuberant cover of "Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta" by the Geto Boys (aka "That Song from Office Space") which even now makes me grin just thinking of it. Imagine a guy who looks like Jack Black's cousin in a buttoned-up shortsleeved plaid shirt, playing his keyboard and cheerfully singing about "wannabe, gonnabe, [BLEEP]-eatin' [BLEEP]suckin' prankstas" and you just might smile too. They have a new album, I Sold Gold. I just might check it out.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:46 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

April 15, 2005

Fiery Furnaces at Emory

Thanks to goldenfiddle I found out there was a free Fiery Furnaces concert over at Emory. It was open to the public, but space was limited. So after work, we headed right over to the university to wait for the doors to open. A few students lounged around the activity center; it seemed no one wanted to appear overeager by forming anything that resembled a line. Still, we all got to our feet pretty quickly once it was time to go in the theater.

I'm not very familiar with their music, so I didn't know what to expect. The quiet, low-key woman I'd seen walking around and talking with an acquaintance earlier became this intense, edgy, steely-eyed rock singer.

She was provoked early on. Someone in the front line, right in front of her, in fact, sat on the floor while everybody else in the theater was standing. Some people were so excited they couldn't contain themselves, they were already jumping or dancing around. She had to tell the guy THREE times that no, man, she wasn't kidding, he couldn't sit there, he had to stand up like everybody else. People were being turned away at the door, but apparently this asshat didn't realize he was at a rock concert.

The Furnaces were fantastic. Their set was like a composition. They played their songs without pause, interweaving snippets of longer songs like "Blueberry Boat" between other songs. The set was really polished, really tight. They delivered loud, raucous rock and did not disappoint. Having listened now to the album Blueberry Boat, their live harder punk sound made for an interesting contrast and great performance. The drummer - who else could he be in that tight flashy black shirt with white flowers - was wild-eyed, seemingly possessed as he played. (And significantly irritated with his stool, switching it out and tossing the other one off to the side.) At one point the singer was really fed up with one of their songs. She cut it off just as the drummer was about to keep going. She looked over at her brother on guitar, saying bluntly, "No no no the song is over, that was terrible. Terrible."

During the first encore the singer and guitarist did a few songs without the rest of the band, playing some new material. They're not much for banter - a quick announcement of the next song and they'd begin. Then they left and everybody came back for another brief encore.

As we walked back to the car, we passed the drummer sitting near the loading dock. I said thanks for the show and he thanked us for coming.

Afterwards grabbed a late dinner, some excellent fish 'n' chips. Alas, there was some guy singing covers of Steve Miller and John Mayer, as well as ruining Stevie Wonder songs, accompanied by bongos, cheered on by people at the bar. Talk about a contrast.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:18 PM | Music | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

March 30, 2005

Italian Plastic

Paul wrote this song; it appears on the album Woodface. Whenever they performed it, Paul would come out front, center stage, with a snare drum and his brushes. A mike was set up for him and with Neil and Nick on either side, he'd sing.

It's a whimsical, romantic song, with one of the best lyrics ever:

When you wake up with me
I'll be your glass of water

Here's an excellent, detailed personal review of the Finn Brothers show at the Royal Albert Hall from Monday night (2/28).

Yours, &c., LC at 05:42 PM | Music , Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Italian Plastic

Paul wrote this song; it appears on the album Woodface. Whenever they performed it, Paul would come out front, center stage, with a snare drum and his brushes. A mike was set up for him and with Neil and Nick on either side, he'd sing.

It's a whimsical, romantic song, with one of the best lyrics ever:

When you wake up with me
I'll be your glass of water

Here's an excellent, detailed personal review of the Finn Brothers show at the Royal Albert Hall from Monday night (2/28).

Yours, &c., LC at 05:42 PM | Music , Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 28, 2005

Let Angels Possess You

Crowded House, their first album

This is the cover of Crowded House's first album, simply called Crowded House. I've been reading list emails and board messages. Thank goodness there's a place for fans to talk to each other; it's probably pretty strange from the outside, mourning someone you didn't actually know. A friend of mine even sent me a news link, knowing I was a fan. The power of music to bring us together, I guess.

Addendum: I should clarify. Paul happens to be the one with the wings. Nick Seymour is there to the left and Neil Finn is on the right.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:15 PM | Music | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

March 27, 2005

Love This Life

(Neil Finn)

seal my fate
I get your tongue in the mail
no one is wise
until they see how it lies
love this life
don't wait till the next one comes
pedal my faith
the wheels are still turning round, turn round
and maybe the day will come
when you'll never have to feel no pain
after all my complaining
gonna love this life
gonna love this life ...

and so they threw you in jail
whatever you've done
it was a million to one
and don't you just love this life
when it's holding you down
pedal my faith
the wheels are still turning round, turn round

and maybe the day will come
when you'll never have to feel no pain
after all my complaining
gonna love this life
gonna love this life ...

there's something that you can do
even if you think that I hate you
stop your complaining, leave me defenseless
when you love this life
gotta love this life
love this life though you'll never know why
gonna love this life
gonna love

From the album Temple of Low Men
Lyrics Copyright © 1998 Roundhead Music (BMI).

Yours, &c., LC at 01:21 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

Paul Hester (1959-2005)

R.I.P. Paul Hester [Undercover]
Crowded House drummer dies [The Age]
Aussie rock legend found dead [news.com.au]
Sadly, the dream is over for rock's joker [news.com.au]

Dear, sweet Paulo. Why? Why?

Crowded House was my very first concert. It was Athens, Georgia, 1991 on the Woodface tour. It was a magical experience. After the show Paul and Nick came out to talk to those of us still milling around. Paul was an absolute sweetheart and both he and Nick signed our flyers. Paul even drew for me his little house with their heads (four instead of three, even though Tim had left the tour by then). My friend Sarah and I gushed, we were so happy to meet them and realize they were really nice guys as well as great musicians. They spoke with some other folks and then just as they were leaving to get on the tour bus, Paul stopped by again, touching me on the elbow as he thanked us for coming to the show and to tell us goodbye. That put me over the moon and I've been in love with the band and their music ever since.

I was at Paul's last show, the one in Atlanta in 1994. We didn't know that at the time, but I did wonder what was up when Neil made a dedication - along the lines of "This goes out to a man that I love, and that's Paul Hester." I don't think Crowded House really could have gone on without him being part of it, even though it was still a shock when the band came to an end.

I didn't know him except through the music and through the shows and this one personal encounter. But he was such a vital member of Crowded House. He brought such spark and wit, such a mix of sweetness and wicked playfulness, along with his consummate musicianship and his wonderful harmonies. I wish he could have found the peace and answers he needed in his life some other way.

My heart goes out to his family and to everybody who knew him and loved him. I didn't think his being gone would affect me so, but I find it hard to fight back the tears. You were a good man, Paul Hester. You were loved and you will be sorely missed.

Here is the full text of The Age article, since it will probably become unavailable before too long:

Crowded House drummer dies
By Patrick Donovan
Music writer
The Age, March 28, 2005

Former Crowded House and Split Enz drummer and TV personality Paul Hester committed suicide on Saturday after a long battle with depression.

A message, sent to Crowded House and Split Enz fan club email lists said: "Everyone, sitting here in the office trying to figure out what to write, we are a bit messed up at the moment. Last night, our mate, and Crowded House drummer Paul Hester, took his own life.

"Over the years Paul has swung the extremes of happiness and sadness, but none of us ever thought this would happen. He loved life too much . . . "

Crowded House was one of Australia's most successful bands of the late 1980s and early '90s. Formed out of the ashes of New Zealand's Split Enz in 1985, it featured Hester on drums, Neil Finn on vocals and guitar, and Nick Seymour on bass.

Guitarist Kev Garant, who played with Hester in the Bay of Pigs, said: "He was considered an absolute world class drummer in the pop field."

As recently as two weeks ago, Hester, 46, was at the Espy in St Kilda to appear in the SBS music quiz show, RockWiz.

RockWiz's Brian Nankervis said: "He could be everything and anything in one go. He had a lightning wit, he could be wonderfully sensitive, clever and unpredictable."

Yours, &c., LC at 12:03 PM | Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 25, 2005

Flattened, but it's only temporary

I never wanted very much but the chance to learn from my mistakes
funny how you never learn but know them when they come around again...

This is from an Echobelly song that I learned about from Stuart. You know that expression kicked in the teeth? That's a bit how I've felt this week. I have that sick-stomach feeling that tells me I've just gone around again when I thought I was moving forward.

A few nights ago I went out with my friends Marco and Wayne for some excellent pineapple curry and conversation. They knew stuff was up but left it to me to talk if I felt like it. In the end I didn't, but I knew they were there for me if I chose to say anything. Later I got to chat with Steph, who filled me in on the latest developments in the summit between Mike's cat and Steph's little girl. (Some {{{hugs}}} for you, sweetie.)

There's a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you'll never see the end of the road
While you're traveling with me

("Don't Dream It's Over" by Crowded House)

This time, though, I'm wondering if one road has come to an end. I'm not so much distraught anymore as disappointed. Just tired and sad and less hopeful. I don't know if this particular battle is lost for good, but I have to retreat for now. There are things I have to do.

Here's a thought: am I the one leaving or am I being left behind? Is there a difference? Does it even matter anymore? Not really, I guess.

So I can remain here, lying (perhaps wallowing) in the dirt, so to speak, or I can pick up, dust off and get going - again and again and again, as many times as I have to. But now I must direct myself more purposefully, choosing the battles that are worth the fight.

I still have my teeth, at any rate.

March 17, 2005

Good night and joy be with you all

"The Parting Glass"
words and music Traditional

Of all the money e'er I had,
I spent it in good company.
And all the harm I've ever done,
Alas! it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit
To mem'ry now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

Oh, all the comrades e'er I had,
They're sorry for my going away,
And all the sweethearts e'er I had,
They'd wish me one more day to stay,
But since it falls unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
That I should go and you should not,
Good night and joy be with you all.

If I had money enough to spend,
And leisure time to sit awhile,
There is a fair maid in this town,
That sorely has my heart beguiled.
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips,
I own she has my heart in thrall,
Then fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy be with you all.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:00 PM | Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 10, 2005

Worth a Listen

I mentioned this on the Remembered page yesterday, but I thought I'd also point out here: via deano, a web stream tribute of songs the mildly-opinionated mrw liked muchly, as he was wont to say.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:08 AM | Music , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

March 07, 2005

Soothing the Savage Breast

The original expression from William Congreve:

Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast,
To soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
I'm on Finn-related mailing lists, and the following is something I'd written in thanks to people for help in tracking down a copy of one of Neil's shows, and also to try to explain why I love this music so much.

I still miss my friend; it's only been a month, almost, since he passed away. I really love that the music of the Finns means more to me than just music. I've found, especially in the last few weeks, that their music has really been a sort of balm for me. Also, seeing them live recently has been an important experience - again for the music, but also for the sense of being taken out of my normal everyday life for a while and being amongst people who really get this music. We bond here through the lists and through the message boards, but it's also really nice to be in the same room, communing with other Finn fans, enjoying the experience of the music together. And when I do have a rough moment, missing my friend, the music also helps me to think of all the wonderful memories about him, which softens the blow of realizing that he's gone.

Again, I want to thank the people who've written to me, a total stranger, to let me know that they were sorry to learn about my friend and sent me good wishes. It means a lot, and I really appreciate people being so kind and taking a moment to reach out. It all helps - thank you.

I guess I could say this music has been soothing to my soul or spirit, although I am not particularly religious, nor do I mean to offend anyone who is. I'm just trying to describe what the music does for me personally, and how I love it on so many different levels. And I'm so grateful for that, and that I can talk about it here, because we're a community brought together by such wonderful music.

And I'd be really mortified right now to try and express any of this to the Finns, so thanks for hearing me out! :-)

Yours, &c., LC at 02:02 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

February 24, 2005

Try a Little Cheekiness

WARNING: This is a completely frivolous post. Racy content and exceedingly bad musical taste directly to follow. As in IMMEDIATELY. So just spare yourself, now. As for the rest of you, whoever's still reading...I did warn you.

Sordid scribblings after the jump. (That would be the link below, for those of us, such as myself, still new to such phrasing.)

One of the sillier moments, of which there were many, during my road trip was hearing some random stuff on Marco's iPod, including a lounge-lizard version of that 80's classic "Baby Got Back." If memory serves, I believe I've posted about the song before. Ah yes, here. I must get hold of it, but in the meantime, here's a preview, performed by (oh dear) Richard Cheese. (right-click, save as)

Another moment I recall was when a bunch of us went out to Mellow Mushroom the evening after our wedding. Marco and I sat in the backseat, stunned, when Scott and his best man knew ALL OF THE WORDS when the song - the original version - came on the radio. That was a definite sidesplitting moment.

Such tender memories were called to mind because I'd gotten an email newsletter about the video premiere party for Bubbles, the "butt boosting lingerie." Their site includes a "Baby Got Feedback" page including comments from happy customers.

The party is tonight at Bazzaar (654 Peachtree Street, at the corner of Peachtree and Ponce de Leon, 404.885.7505), if anyone is compelled to go. I am perhaps a little curious, I confess. I don't know that I want to walk around worried that people are judging my state of sag, though.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:55 PM | Music , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

February 20, 2005

Finn Brothers at the Mercy Lounge, Nashville

Ultimately, it was a good show. A lot of people had traveled to see the Finns. For the most part, really nice, normal people. I met one of the press photographers, a freelancer. We were near the stage and ended up chatting. Friendly guy, definitely into music. He offered to send me a picture from the show, so I gave him my email address. He said he was covering the Elvis Costello show at the Ryman Auditorium in a few weeks. For a moment, I wanted to ask him if he could send me a picture from that show, something I could send to Mike. And then I remembered.

During the show, I was thisclose to slugging a guy who was taller and heavier than me. I know I would have hurt him, and I would have enjoyed it, at least until I came back to my senses and gotten kicked out. Good sense prevailed, although I'm still trying to shake off the ugly vibes of those feelings.

If I may take a moment...It's always a shame when somebody in the audience has to be a real jerk and taint the experience for everyone else. Being a fan doesn't mean you get to scream "NEIL FINN! NEIL F*CKING FINN!" all night long. It doesn't mean you get to stick your cameraphone in Neil's face and interrupt him, mid-song, to make him look up so he can pose for your stupid picture. It doesn't mean you should sing along, loudly and badly. It doesn't mean you get to jump around, spilling your drink and smashing into me and my friends. And yet, despite your being such a stupid frat-boy prick, Neil's still gracious enough to shake your paw which you thrust at him at the end of the show.

And here I was, worried that the dysfunctional redneck couple from Atlanta was going to be the problem. The woman, who proclaimed herself an educator, who clearly hadn't been to many sold-out shows in music clubs, complained about being surrounded by the "wacky" crowd of "rat bastards" with drinks in their hands - like those of us standing around her. She told her husband, repeatedly, how horrible he was and that she was going to kill him at midnight.

The show was broadcast live by the local radio station. I wonder how they handled the F-bomb Neil dropped multiple times when he was telling the story about Nigel Griggs in Atlanta during their Split Enz days. For the most part, it was Neil and Tim performing, accompanied by Tim Smith, a musician who toured with them the last time around and is based in Atlanta. Tim seemed a little more mellow, a little more relaxed. The set list was a good mixture of songs from their various collective albums, so there was music from the current album, from Neil and Tim's solo efforts, as well as a few Crowded House and Split Enz tunes. Definitely a good balance of stuff.

I'm always mixed about people singing along, though. People get caught up in the moment. Or maybe they forget that they're seeing the live person and think they're in their car or their living room, singing along to the record. I mean, are you there to listen, or to make the experience all about you? But then again, I sang a bit, but it was more like mouthing the words, nothing really audible. It's the inevitable thing that happens, especially when the crowd favorites like "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Weather With You" are performed. Which the Finns must be used to by now. Didn't stop me from wondering what it would be like to give Drunk Lardy Frat-Boy a black eye, though.

Harmonies were excellent. Good looks sported by the guys - Tim's hair a bit shorter, but still deliciously snowy and flowy. I think in part I liked my college boyfriend because he looked a bit like Tim. Neil sported a more dapper look - pinstripe button-down shirt with a black vest. Even in his forties with gray at his temples, Neil's still the cutie. And, um, oh yes, a really good songwriter and musician. As is Tim.

Not a lot of banter, but lots of rock jam moments as Tim and Neil really got into the music. There were two short encores. Their roadie was making great progress packing up. He'd just given me the setlist taped on the floor near the keyboard when the guys came back out again - extremely pleasant surprise. They played "Shark Attack" and "Don't Dream It's Over."

And then it was over, and we headed out for the night.

Set list shortly.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:27 AM | Music | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

February 18, 2005

Music City

Tomorrow night takes me to Nashville to see the Finn Brothers. I haven't really given myself a chance to look forward to it, to get excited about going. Not since I first found out and bought tickets, and certainly not in the past ten days.

I've been listening to all kinds of Finn music - Neil's solo work, a lot of Crowded House lately, especially Temple of Low Men. It's got that dark, moody ambience that has been quite soothing actually, especially when I've had to drive myself around at night. Everyone is Here, the latest Finn record, has also been on rotation. I wouldn't say it's particularly adventurous, but it's plain-spoken, heartfelt, lovely stuff.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:49 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

February 12, 2005

Long Distance Dedication

Music was one of the things that I bonded over with Mike. On Wednesday night, I'd been working on my new blog templates. I was in the middle of compiling quotations for the main index, including a few song lyrics. From "Never Be the Same" by Crowded House, a now-eerie selection:

Don't stand around
like friends at a funeral
Eyes to the ground
Don't suffer in silence
He knew I loved Crowded House, Split Enz, and solo efforts by Neil Finn, Tim Finn and together as the Finn Brothers. I'm supposed to go to Nashville next week to see them, and that's why I'm heading up to New York in a few weeks.

At some point, Mike and I realized that we lived in Atlanta around the same time - we simply hadn't yet met. We both saw Neil Finn at the Variety Playhouse in 1998. Neil was touring behind his then-new solo album, Try Whistling This. I wish I had a bootleg of the performance, I guess even more so now. Funny - we were probably mere yards apart, and yet it took being in New York to finally meet, four years later.

I didn't plan to post again, but even a complete lack of sleep the night before wasn't enough to knock me out on this night. One of the happier lyrics I chose for my template makes me realize that so much of the song "Faster Than Light," from Try Whistling This, reminds me of Mike. It's also a lullaby for those who need something gentle and sweet to ease a little of the ache inside:

In time you'll see that some things
Travel faster than light
In time you'll recognise that love is larger than life
And praise will come to those whose kindness
Leaves you without debt
And bends the shape of things to come
That haven't happened yet

I want to believe, mrw, that you can hear this, that you know this song is for you. xoxoxoxo

right-click, save as

FASTER THAN LIGHT

(Neil Finn)

Close your eyes go to sleep
Close your eyes get so dizzy
World is spinning in your bed
I know where the sun goes

Gone to wake up the sparrows
In England it's morning
In time you'll see that some things
Travel faster than light
In time you'll recognise
That love is larger than life

Now you know what you're missing
Now you've seen that I'm willing
If you look for the message
Close your eyes
Do you hear what I'm thinking
Is it how you imagined
In time you'll see that some things
Travel faster than light
In time you'll recognise
That love is larger than life

And praise will come to those whose kindness
Leaves ypu without debt
And bends the shape of things to come
That haven't happened yet
Close your eyes, colours changing like a lizard
I know where the sun goes
I have seen the world turning
In time you'll see that some things
Travel faster than light
In time you'll recognise that love is larger than life
And praise will come to those whose kindness
Leaves you without debt
And bends the shape of things to come
That haven't happened yet

Yours, &c., LC at 05:36 AM | Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

February 04, 2005

The Reluctant Consumer

My book group's next selection is Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons. It's checked out or on hold at the library. (Through my connections, I've checked several library systems and still no luck.) Used copies aren't available yet at the usual bookshops I haunt. So I'm stuck and had to buy it last night.

I'm trying to keep an open mind about the novel, but I can't help thinking it's going to be an old man's hysterical rant about hypersexed youth. I might take Wolfe more seriously if he weren't so consumed with maintaining his image, wearing a white suit everywhere he goes.

Right now Border's has it for 50% off, meaning that the book is around $15. I made a deal with myself to buy something I really wanted, to make up for having to buy the Wolfe book. (Never mind that there is much media at home, awaiting further exploration.) After a bit of aisle-roaming, I picked up an album by The Long Winters that a friend highly recommended: The Worst You Can Do Is Harm. If I have to give Tom Wolfe his royalties, I can at least give royalties to someone I want to support. Border's isn't the most affordable place for CDs, but the album was more reasonably priced than some of the better-known stuff. (Nope, still not gonna pay $20 for The Life Aquatic soundtrack.)

Happy Friday.

February 02, 2005

Here and Now

I was out shopping for some work clothes. I'd found a few things and waited for the shopgirl to ring up my purchases. She turned away to process my debit card.

At that moment, the opening bars of a George Michael song began to play on the in-house stereo. It was something I hadn't heard in a long time, something I don't go out of my way to listen to, unless I'm in a dark place.

But something I just can't explain
Something in me needs this pain
My eyes suddenly welled with tears, the jolt of old memories resurfacing. I blinked several times in succession, and in the split second the cashier had turned away and turned back, I managed a semblance of composure. I signed the slip, thanked her brightly, and dashed out the door.

Lately I've been thinking about the past, about ghosts. About being a ghost to others, about the ghosts of the person I used to be. It's important to know my past, to understand how I got to this point, to understand the person I am today. But I am not the same person now that I was ten years ago. I am no longer the little girl who yearned for escape, for a life free from the family's iron thumb. I don't have to think and act as if I were still my younger self. I don't have to stay ingrained in old patterns and ways of thinking that hold me back.

Now everybody's talking about this new decade
Like you say the magic numbers
Then just say goodbye to
The stupid mistakes you made
Oh my memory serves me far too well
I have made mistakes. I carry around a lot of guilt, a lot of regret. Then again, I shoulder more burden than I should. I feel anguish over things that don't matter. And for the things that do matter, there are limits to how long one can beat herself up. There's no room to learn from mistakes if the time is wholly spent on self-flagellation. Yes, there should be introspection, self-reflection. But no amount of hair-rending and teeth-gnashing can change the past. As a friend of mine once put it, "It's what you do AFTER you fuck up that allows you to prove your character."
The years will come and go
Some of us will change our lives
Some of us still have nothing to show
Nothing baby
But memories
I don't envision myself as a butterfly exactly, but I seek transformation, to grow and change for the better. Either I break out of the chrysalis, or it becomes my tomb.

right-click, save as

"Waiting For that Day" - George Michael

So every day I see you in some other face
They crack a smile, talk a while
Try to take your place
My memory serves me far too well

I just sit here on this mountain thinking to myself
You're a fool boy
Why don't you go down
Find somebody
Find somebody else
My memory serves me far too well

It's not as though we just broke up
It's not as though it was yesterday
But something I just can't explain
Something in me needs this pain
I know I'll never see your face again

C'mon now
I've got to be strong now

Now everybody's talking about this new decade
Like you say the magic numbers
Then just say goodbye to
The stupid mistakes you made
Oh my memory serves me far too well

Don't you know that
The years will come and go
Some of us will change our lives
Some of us still have nothing to show
Nothing baby
But memories

And if these wounds
They are self-inflicted
I don't really know
How my poor heart could have protected me
But if I have to carry this pain
If you will not share the blame
I deserve to see your face again

C'mon now
You don't have to be so strong now
Come back

Come back to me darling
I will make it worth your while
Come on back to your baby
I miss your kiss
I miss your smile
Seems to me the peace I search to find
Ain't going to be mine until you say you will
Don't you keep me waiting for that day
I know, I know, I know
You hear these words that I say

You can't always get what you want...

Yours, &c., LC at 01:35 PM | Music , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 31, 2005

Brain Freeze

Last night I tried to work in a Tori Amos reference in my Winter post. I heard the first lines in my mind:

China all the way to New York
I can feel the DISTANCE getting close

That can't be right, I thought. I pulled out my copy of Little Earthquakes to look up the lyrics to "Winter." It opens with the following lines: "Snow can wait, I forgot my mittens / Wipe my nose, get my new boots on...." Those other lyrics are from the song "China."

Makes sense, yet for some reason I have always gotten the titles and songs mixed up for this album. It's just one of those records that I'd pop into the CD player and hit "Play," sometimes replaying a track here and there as the mood struck.

Once the false association was imprinted on my brain, it simply remained. Perhaps because I was never obsessed enough to retrain myself to make the correct associations. So to this day, I continue to mix up the songs. It doesn't bother me, I just find it interesting.

Sometimes it's better to press "Play" and just get on with it.

When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses have gone ahead
I tell you that Iíll always want you near
You say that things change my dear

- Tori Amos, "Winter"

Yours, &c., LC at 12:25 PM | Music | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

December 21, 2004

Springtime with the Finn Brothers

I love my friends. Within moments of finding out that the Finns would be returning to the States for a scaled-down tour through lesser-traveled towns, I was able to rally up a road trip to Nashville. With just a little bit of arm-twisting, I was convinced to come see the brothers in New York - both in the city and in the Hamptons (ooh la la - actually, more like, ouch, with those ticket prices).

Now I really have to quit mucking around and start packing my lunch.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:34 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

November 07, 2004

The Postal Service Presents...The Postal Service

Postal Service Tale: Indie Rock, Snail Mail and Trademark Law [NYT] [Bugmenot] I really, really like Give Up, the album from The Postal Service. (Thanks, mrw, for introducing me.) It didn't occur to me that this name is trademarked by the US Postal Service - the folks who deliver our snail mail. Didn't occur to the band, either. They received a polite cease-and-desist letter, but a deal was worked out. From the article:

The outcome was as unusual as the band itself: this week the United States Postal Service - the real one, as in stamps and letters - signed an agreement with Sub Pop [the band's record company] granting a free license to use the name in exchange for working to promote using the mail. Future copies of the album and the group's follow-up work will have a notice about the trademark, while the federal Postal Service will sell the band's CD's on its Web site, potentially earning a profit. The band may do some television commercials for the post office.

The group also agreed to perform at the postmaster general's annual National Executive Conference in Washington on Nov. 17. The attendees might not realize what a rare treat they are in for since the Postal Service does not play many gigs. Mr. [Jimmy] Tamborello and Mr. [Ben] Gibbard are busy with their regular bands: Dntel, with its atmospheric electronic dance music, and Death Cab for Cutie, which has become a college rock favorite for its heartfelt, jangly punk rock known as emo.

I love creative, amicable legal solutions. No, really. I think this result is awesome. So - can anyone hook me up with a ticket for the show? ;)

Yours, &c., LC at 12:54 AM | Legal , Music | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

September 14, 2004

Actress/Singer or Singer/Actress?

Minnie Driver has recorded an album and is opening for the Finn Brothers during the UK and Dublin gigs. There's quite a kerfuffle among the fans on the discussion lists - "she's taking the place of a more worthy, struggling musician who doesn't have an alternate career handed to her on a plate," according to some, and "let's wait and listen first" from others. Sadly, there's more debate about the opening acts than about our impressions of the Finn album, which are mostly along the lines of "it's nice, but...." (Add another item to my quest list - the "lost" Visconti sessions for Everyone Is Here.)

If you go to Minnie's site, there are a couple of songs if you want to hear what she's like. Apparently she'd been pursuing a singing career maybe ten years ago when she got into acting instead, and now is resuming or revisiting her earlier interest. Having heard the songs, I'd rather have had her as the opening act than Ari Hest (who flattered himself by thinking he could sing both parts of a duet he'd love to do with someone like Norah Jones. It was painful.).

Yours, &c., LC at 02:29 PM | Music | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

August 24, 2004

Everyone Is Here

Everyone is Hear - Finn Brothers
(Click for larger image)

The new Finn Brothers album. In stores TODAY. I am so getting it after work.

See the video for "Won't Give In" on the official website.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:19 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

August 19, 2004

Blondie & Psychedelic Furs 8/20

More of a note to anyone who's interested locally. The concert, the final of this summer series, is this Friday night at Centennial Olympic Park. It's $5 - yes, five dollars - anyone want to meet up? Tickets can be purchased online (with a $1.25 service charge).

Yours, &c., LC at 01:53 PM | Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 02, 2004

Finn Bros. in Atlanta

Finn Brothers in Atlanta 8.2.04 (Click on image for larger version)

2 tickets
1 single-file line started by one crazy Lady C at 3 pm
1 red women's tshirt
1 coffee table book
2 sets of brothers (Tim/Neil ; drummer/bass player?)
12 Loving Cupcakes for Peter Green (I was NOT the only one who brought baked goods)
1 soundcheck (song and a half; "Edible Flowers")
a few blurry digicam pictures
1 phone call to a friend in NYC during the first two songs
2 bird cage chandeliers
3 crystals from a chandelier (given, not taken!)
0 summer tour EP (b/c I was off attempting to swipe a poster from a doorway and missed out)
4 promo cards (not all for me)
1 very, very deliriously happy girl, in addition to a few hundred other fans

You might think that standing three feet away from your personal rock god is the coolest thing ever. Or maybe not. I'm willing to concede points for obsessive dorkiness. The problem as such is that the mike and its stand somewhat obscures your guy. Plus, the stage lights create a halo effect, so it's actually a bit difficult to see the person's face (in my case, it was Neil). Of course I didn't want to be so obviously staring all the time, so I'd look over to Tim, who looks really great these days. Snowy white hair, lovely bit of stubble. The man dances like he's possessed.

Lots of new stuff, lots of Split Enz. Bits from the first Finn album, including "Only Talking Sense" which gave me shivers. Some choice bits from Woodface - "Weather With You" and closing the show with "How Will You Go."

Yours, &c., LC at 11:59 PM | Music | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

July 30, 2004

Library Songs

I'm sure there are other collections or lists out there. But here's the one I've found so far.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:25 PM | Librariana , Music | TrackBack (0)

July 27, 2004

By turns elated and abashed

So yesterday I learned two things:

1. I recently whinged about not knowing about the Finn Brothers soundcheck and missing out. As a librarian I should take full advantage of available resources, and I should have joined the message boards at Frenz much, much sooner. Like, a month ago. But the fan club liaison read my message to him from the tour bus and came through for me. So I'm on the list now. I'm trying to decide if I should get him a T-shirt or bake him cupcakes. Would that be ironic, considering the cutting scorn of a certain song written by Neil and Tim?

Oh, right. Yeah, I'm a lifetime member of the official fanclub, which covers everyone from Split Enz, Crowded House, the Finns, and the offshoots and progeny (quite literally, because Neil's son Liam has his own band Bechadupa). Scoff if you like, but I'm getting into soundcheck.

2. I got my Handspring yesterday and had to mess with it for hours because of a heart-stopping "Fatal Error" message. Attempted various methods for resetting the device, which involve pushing buttons on the one side and fitting a paper clip into the tiny reset hole on the other side. Simultaneously. Turns out some of my third-party apps weren't playing nice with the Visor's op system. I was able to load the most important stuff - my address book and my password program. And then I began to load the third-party files piecemeal. At some point I realized that the batteries to my old Palm was nearing empty, so I put in some new ones in order to beam stuff as needed. But even bleary-eyed, I could see that the screen resolution was no longer wonky. That's right, ladies and gents - the IIIx is working! I may have to do a hard reset because I can't get to the digitizer screen with my stylus, but it looks like it's not dead yet. I guess it's not so bad if we become a 2-PDA household. Then we can play Pong!

Yours, &c., LC at 04:01 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

July 24, 2004

'Cause I Am a Material Girl

A few weeks ago I dreamed about having an audience with Madonna. Tonight I actually do. My sister scored unused corporate tickets at work, so we'll be seeing her from a suite. (And yet, dork that I am, I'd trade this for getting into the Finn Bros. soundcheck, because I'm a greedy girl when it comes to matters Finn.)

Better get dressed. Can't look shabby for an evening with Madge Esther.

Addendum: A fabulous night. The air conditioning was off, so as to provide good air for Madonna's voice. Even though our group had gotten there first, the other group in our suite insisted that their tickets meant that we should give up the front row where we were already seated - even though there were no numbers on the seats. Don't worry Madam Who Dances Like a Cow. My sister has your name, and her boss will be calling you on Monday and provide you with a new orifice.

But yes, nonetheless a great evening with my sisters and a friend. Madonna was gorgeous and in good singing form. The set design and the use of giant video displays was dazzling. Highlights: "Deeper and Deeper" as a sultry lounge act, tango-style dancing included. "Don't Tell Me" with M and her dancers nattily dressed like Chicago characters via London - and yet doing the hipster cowboy moves from the video. M in a kilt and rocking out with her bagpiper in full regalia for "Into the Groove." A sweetly sung "Crazy For You" as a dedication to her fans. And yes, she did "Material Girl" and made us sing along. As if she could stop us. Although the people in the suite on one side of us seemed to be made of stone - no whooping, no standing, no dancing. (Why did you bother to come?) Also notable: a cover of "Imagine" accompanied by images of suffering Third World children - though there were images of smiling children by the end, and a Jewish boy and a Palestinian boy walking with their arms around each other like best friends into the sunset. People cheered when Lennon's photo came up.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:36 PM | Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

July 23, 2004

Somebody Stop Him

William Shatner has a forthcoming album called Has Been (Oct. 5). You can hear his cover of the Pulp song "Common People" on which he's accompanied by Joe Jackson.

If you even think of touching Crowded House or Neil Finn, I'm coming after you, Shatner.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:12 PM | Music | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Atlanta Soundcheck Full?

Apparently fan club members are being allowed into the Atlanta soundcheck for the upcoming Finn Brothers show. How the hell did I miss the announcement for this?

This is nowhere near the real problems that other people have. I know this. But I am already pissed about my stupid Marta pass and now this is just a bit more stinking poo on the pile. Arrrrgh.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:17 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

June 16, 2004

Finn Brothers Tour EP on ITunes

But it can only be downloaded from ITunes if you are in the US. The three songs are "Won't Give In," "Luckiest Man Alive," and "Gentle Hum" (yaaaay!).

However, my home pc is (cough, cough) Windows 98, so I can't even download the program, let alone the songs. If it's a tour EP though, it should be available as a physical object while Neil and Tim are on tour. The album is supposed to be available in late August (8/24).

Yours, &c., LC at 11:58 AM | Music

June 15, 2004

Oh. No.

According to the news on their website and an article on E! Online, INXS is teaming up with Mark Burnett for Rock Star, a reality tv show that will help the band find its next lead singer.

I wish I could be excited about this. This show is probably an incredible opportunity for the band to rejuvenate itself, to gain a whole new legion of fans. I just don't know if I can follow.

I mean, I know that Michael Hutchence being gone doesn't mean that the music is over for the rest of the band. But that's the thing. No one's ever going to measure up. Maybe I'd feel differently if Michael had just left the band, instead of killing himself.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:06 PM | Music | Comments (3)

June 02, 2004

Finn Brothers. Atlanta. August 2.

WHO WANTS TO GO?!?

Actually I knew this last week, but I had to wait until the tour schedule was officially released. My restraint is admirable, no?

It's at the Variety Playhouse. Tickets aren't on sale yet. They go to New Orleans the next night, but I actually have a family trip scheduled that week. (Rats.)

But Neil and Tim are coming to Atlanta, hurrah!

Yours, &c., LC at 02:39 PM | Music

May 19, 2004

Finn Brothers to Tour US

No full schedule is available yet, but Neil and Tim are here in the US, finalizing their new album, to be called "Everyone is Here."

The track listing, according to the news board at Frenz.com:

1. WONíT GIVE IN
2. NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU
3. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN
4. LUCKIEST MAN ALIVE
5. HOMESICK
6. DISEMBODIED VOICES
7. A LIFE BETWEEN US
8. ALL GODíS CHILDREN
9. EDIBLE FLOWERS
10. ALL THE COLOURS
11. PART OF ME, PART OF YOU
12. GENTLE HUM

V. excited about track 12. Neil had been trying that out at shows and getting us to hum along with him.

So far they're playing a music festival in Colorado July 18th, and they're going to do a Summer Stage show in Central Park July 30th.

My heart aches. Now the Finns are going to play NY, when I'm no longer living there? (Even though I shouldn't complain - I did see Neil multiple times during his One All tour and Tim once at the Angel Orensanz.)

If they don't come to or near Atlanta I'm going to be extremely disappointed. I've never seen them play as the Finn Brothers, so I'll have to figure something out.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:12 AM | Music

April 01, 2004

On!Air!Library!

One of the things I like about my gym is that they subscribe to a zillion magazines, the frivolous stuff that I feel guilty buying while I'm waiting in line at the supermarket. So I get my dose of Lucky/Jane/Glamour/InStyle while listening to my music and oh yeah, I'm burning calories too. Lady Crumpet has not yet taken to the elliptical or stairstepper, but the rowing machine could be next. She needs to strengthen the biceps so she can pour tea more gracefully. Or be able to row a boat while reciting bawdy limericks to Colin Firth. You did know our luscious Mr. Darcy provided that bit of poetry Hugh Grant's Daniel Cleaver tells Bridget, right? And, yes, nice boys really do kiss like that!

So anyway, I read about a band called On!Air!Library! whose new eponymous album drops April 6. It was a snippet of a review but it sounds interesting. Following the music link, you can eventually get to a retailer, Insound, who offers sample mp3 links so you can check out some of the songs. I like "Feb." so far.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:55 AM | Music | TrackBack (0)

March 27, 2004

An Unpleasant Discovery

Browsing at Tower Records on a late Friday night. We've picked out a few things but are still looking around. Some instore music starts playing, a Hall & Oates collection. I hum along as I thumb through the used CD singles.

It's only after several songs that I wonder if the staff is playing this particular music so customers will hurry up and leave for the evening.

March 18, 2004

Neil in the News

CNN article about Neil Finn. (New Zealand's Neil Finn: 'I'm a lifer' 3/4/04) The next Finn Brothers album looks to be a more finished product than the last one. Let's hope there are no awful lines about the "information highway." And there will most likely be a tour behind the international release. (Please, please come to Atlanta!).

Yours, &c., LC at 12:36 PM | Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 16, 2004

Differences of Opinion

A friend recounted a conversation he had with a friend, to illustrate how the guy hasn't really grown up yet. The guy can relate more easily to a teenager than someone his age (early 30s), which he's beginning to realize is kinda weird. So he says something like "I don't want to be aged x and still talking about OutKast with 16-year-olds." [Note: I don't think he actually hangs out with teenagers, it's just dramatic license.] The friend who's telling this story says that he doesn't know who that is. The guy rattles off some song titles, but he still doesn't know the band, and the guy's incredulous.

I found myself more intrigued by the side story. I don't know a lot of OutKast, but given their extensive radio airplay and their success at the Grammys with Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, it's amazing to find out they're still completely unknown to some people. So if you've never heard of a singer or a band, does that mean the music's no good, that it's only good for juvenile tastes?

In another conversation, I described as "fantastic" No Doubt's cover of "It's My Life." Even though I love the original by Talk Talk, I was genuinely thrilled to hear the cover. Some of my friends remarked critically that the remake wasn't very interesting, that it wasn't brilliant or genius, which a really good cover accomplishes. Point taken. Yes, the cover has No Doubt flourishes, but it's otherwise faithful. Sometimes it's enough to hear a good band do a good song.

People have strong opinions about their personal tastes, so talking about art, books, movies, or music can be more controversial than one expects. There should be room for spirited debate, even if in the end you still disagree. Yet I find myself surprised at times by the disconnect. Sometimes I wonder if we're just talking about the subject, or if we're trying to demonstrate something about ourselves to each other. Taste is subjective, but people should like what they like, even if no one else does, even if there's ridicule or disdain. I just hope that I remain open enough to entertain the new.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:22 PM | Music | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

February 12, 2004

Pazz 'n Jop Critics' Poll

The Village Voice has put up the results of its critics' poll. Nice to see I'm not completely out of touch with the current music scene - we actually own the top three albums (OutKast, White Stripes, Fountains of Wayne). Further down the list, there's a weird sandwich: Led Zeppelin (How the West Was Won), Liz Phair (Liz Phair), and Johnny Cash (American IV: The Man Comes Around) ranked 37, 38, and 39 respectively. There's also a listing for top singles. As for mine:

Lady Crumpet's Top Five Singles of 2003

1. Stacy's Mom - Fountains of Wayne
2. It's My Life - No Doubt
3. Hey Ya - OutKast
4. Why Can't I? - Liz Phair
5. Move Your Feet - Junior Senior

Yours, &c., LC at 03:18 PM | Music | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

January 29, 2004

You Know That Song? From That Commercial?

AdTunes.com is a weblog that covers music used in " television commercials, movie trailers, movie soundtracks, tv shows, video games and more." There are archives, of course, as well as a forum where you can post or answer questions. They're also searchable, which means I finally(!!!) know whose song was used for a VW commercial - the one where a group of friends are driving with the top down at night, a full moon overhead, the light filtering through the trees. They're heading to a party, but when they get there, no one wants to get out. So they get back on the road, driving into that endless moonlit night. The music is spare and beautiful - and it's haunted me ever since.

The song is "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake. I have to get this.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:58 AM | Music | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

October 22, 2003

Fictional Soundtracks

Sine Fiction offers musical soundtracks composed for works of science fiction, such as Orwell's 1984, Burroughs' Nova Express, The Soft Machine, and The Ticket That Exploded, and Arthur C. Clarke's The Nine Billion Names of God. The soundtracks are available as mp3s, free for the downloading.

October 21, 2003

Voracious Like the Wolf

Yes, Planet Earth, there is a Duran Duran Book Club, courtesy of singer Simon Le Bon. Check out Simon's Library of past reads. And Simon not only reads, he writes - recommendations and reviews of the books he's read are available, and fans can contribute reader opinions and vote for their favorites among the selected titles.

I heard about Simons Reader via Simanoff, who's much better about keeping his blog focused than I am. Anyway, this news sort of makes up for my deciding to skip Duran Duran's show next month, because I'm not up to springing $50-60 to see the guys, even though it's probably my last best chance before even Nick Rhodes loses his looks.

Radiohead's Intellectual Appeal

One of the recent issues of Creative Loafing offered an article on Radiohead, who passed through town earlier this month. It quoted a Spin magazine staffer, who said that "Hanging out with Radiohead is kind of like getting high with a bunch of librarians."

Yours, &c., LC at 01:05 PM | Librariana , Music | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

October 03, 2003

Zagat's Music Guide

The Zagat people have issued their first Music Guide, which lists the top 1000 albums of all time, according to those surveyed. Crowded House's eponymous first album made the list:

Exhibit A on how to do pop music" was "sprung on an
unsuspecting public" by "frontman Neil Finn who proved
to be a most sensitive songwriter", as well as a
"gorgeous vocalist", on this "brilliantly assembled"
"debut from the Splint Enz splinter group"; "complex
lyrics" "counterpoint" "melodic" keyboards with
"clever" "twists and drops" to "capture something
pure" on this "marvelous" disc--"Beatlesque is a valid
description."

Out of a score of 30:
Overall 26
Songwriting 26
Musicianship 25
Production 24

I'm pleased, and yet I'm vaguely appalled. I must confess I have used Zagat for finding restaurants, I suppose a music guide from them should be equally useful. But what do you think?

Yours, &c., LC at 02:48 PM | Music | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

September 18, 2003

*Ooh*

On November 4, Sarah McLachlan will finally(!) release a new album, called Afterglow. Her site notes that the album will sell for $15.99 retail, which is notable because it seems new albums go for twenty bucks these days. Since I buy so many used CDs, I still think that's steep, but for her first album in six years I think I can spring for it.

On November 18, Tori Amos will release Tales of a Librarian, apparently a compilation of music from her Atlantic years. Clever name for an archival album, no?

Methinks I shall have to get these as early presents to myself, as November shall be my birth month.

Yours, &c., LC at 03:43 PM | Librariana , Music | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

July 05, 2003

We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident

Last night I sat high above the city, in a dark conference room with Jen and her colleagues, wondering when the fireworks were supposed to start. Someone called 311 to find out. At one point we heard him say to the operator, "Yes, that would be the 4th of July fireworks." Not long after, they did burst forth, and they were spectacular. It's the first year that the city also has set up fireworks at the tip of Manhattan, to drum up activity downtown, so we got to view both sets at once.

There are primal bits of happiness in life, and seeing big pretty colored lights crackle and pop in the sky is one of them. Last year I wasn't up to it, but I won't skip them again if I can help it.

It was a date-with-the-city kind of day. Jen and I checked out Cafe Topsy on Hudson Street for brunch, a comfortable, quietly stylish Brit restaurant, where our waiter was most lovely. A cheeseburger with caramelized onions and chips for me, a salad garnished with dried figs for Jen. We shared a chilled cucumber-yogurt-mint soup, and because it was so darn hot, an iced cappuccino for me as well; Jen had wine to please her palate.

Back on the subway, down to Battery Park, where we arrived in medias res for the free Ryan Adams concert. While I'd vaguely heard of this guy, I didn't know his music. Jen assured me that I would at least know his song "New York, New York" because it was all over the place after 9/11. And yet, I must be the last person on the planet to have heard it, because I swear, I've never ever heard it before. I even went out of my way to download a copy in order to find out if I just knew it without knowing whose song it was. Nope. How utterly bizarre. It wasn't like I kept my eyes and ears away from the media at the time.

Anyway, we sat on the grass, the subway rumbling beneath, and listened to the concert, which was pretty good. (Ryan even played "New York, New York" which I at least recognize now.) People were everywhere, sitting on blankets, on bits of cardboard or plastic bags or newspapers, standing or swaying, holding up their (damn) cellphones so friends could hear. Little kids were running around, and everybody yielded yo-yos given out by one of the concert sponsors.

We proceeded to stroll from Battery Park up along the west side, welcoming the breeze coming off the Hudson. The summer heat was no longer quite so overbearing, and it was great to be exploring, walking in the balmy air, the sound of the river in our ears. Little pockets of lawn abounded, people lounging or running around with their dogs or kids. Bicyclists and roller bladers shared the way with us pedestrians and runners. Boats passed by and we waved back to the passengers.

We encountered the World Financial Center and ducked in for some ice cream, walking amongst the young palm trees and up the marble steps, the Site there before us, a construction pit where twin monoliths used to be.

Back on the street we came across the Irish Hunger Memorial, further up we stopped to watch people taking lessons at the Trapeze School. We clapped for the woman who managed to swing off of her bar and catch the hands of the instructor hanging off another. I wished at that moment it could have been me, flying through the air.

At 14th Street, we opted for other transit, hopping on the subway to Jen's office to watch the fireworks. Afterwards, dinner at Rue 57 - blue cheeseburger and frites for Jen, a salad and mountain fig turnover for me. The turnover was presented on a bed of prosciutto, garnished around the edge with bits of gorgonzola, chives, and crushed pistachio. I figured out how to make little packets with my knife and fork so as to savor all the different flavors at once. The flaky, crispy phyllodough wrapping encased the intense, rich flavor of the fig - no mere Newton, this dish.

Back home on the train, with the families and the drunks, the imprint of flashing blooms of color and light still dancing behind my eyelids.

Yours, &c., LC at 08:03 PM | Food , Music , New York minutes

June 30, 2003

Oh dear

Liz Phair was none too happy with the NY Times review of her album, which I commented on earlier. She's written a whacked-out letter to the editor (6/29). (This is even more bizarre than Michiko Kakutani's recent review of the new Candace Bushnell novel, written in the voice of Elle Woods, the character from Legally Blonde to Janey Wilcox, the anti-heroine of Bushnell's novel.) Given the general media response to her album, I wonder if Liz is writing many such letters. Here's the full text:

Chicken Little's Tale
To the Editor:

Re "Liz Phair's Exile in Avril-ville" by Meghan O'Rourke [June 22]:

Once upon a time there was a writer named Chicken Little. Chicken Little worked very hard and took her job very seriously. Often, she even wrote. One day, just as Chicken Little was about to have an idea, she heard something falling on her roof. "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" she shrieked, spilling green tea and vodka all over her work station. This commotion awoke her three readers, who lived with her in her hut, and all three rushed outside to see what had happened to the sky. After enduring several anxious minutes alone, Chicken Little was relieved to see her readers return. "Oh, Chicken Little, it was just the trees dropping their buds on a beautiful spring day," they said. Chicken Little tried not to show her disappointment.

Not long after, as Chicken Little was poring over some back issues of other writers' material, she felt another idea about to form in her mind. "Truth . . . no . . . Lies . . . no . . . ummm . . . ummm . . . Conspiracy!" She was just about to write this down, when a great clattering and scraping began above her head. Clutching her PC to her breast, she swung her head wildly to and fro. "The sky is falling! This time, the sky is falling! The sky is falling!" She meant to alert her readers. She felt very responsible for them. They played outdoors, mostly, and had very open minds. The three readers rushed back into the hut, very concerned, and when they saw the look of dread on Chicken Little's sweet face and her finger pointing skyward, trembling, they immediately turned around and rushed back out to see what was the matter. For a few breathless moments, they could neither confirm nor deny, then they all saw the same thing at once. "Chicken Little," said the readers, "it's only two squirrels chasing each other in amorous conquest, skittering over the eave of our house." "It's quite funny, actually," added one of the readers, "you should come and see." But Chicken Little was annoyed. "I have work to do!" she fumed. "Besides, I wasn't speaking to you. I was performing a haiku," she fibbed, faxing something.

Well, time passed, and the readers grew, and so did Chicken Little, but not very much. The light inside the hut was dim, and she worked in a huddled position for long hours. She grew paranoid. She began to think she wasn't sure anymore. She began to fear she didn't know. Then, just as her resolve was nearly wiped away clean, she heard a sound that was not very loud. She cocked her head from side to side, her little neck pouch jiggling, and pecked at a few pebbles lying around her desk. Yes, the sound was definitely there. In fact, it was coming from all sides now, the sound of a million tiny things dropping on her roof. She peeked out her window and saw a million tiny things dropping from the sky. All her chicken senses gathered in supreme vindication. She opened her throat as wide as it would go and crowed, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling! By God, any moron can see the sky is falling!"

The peacefully sleeping readers were aroused, but did not pay attention anymore, so used to her hysteria were they by now that her crowing became one more familiar noise in the chattering nighttime forest.

"The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" Chicken Little screeched, terrified they would not heed her and would be found the next morning, buried among the intellectual debris. She pecked and pecked at them with her sharp little beak until they finally agreed to be awakened. The three readers rose up and shuffled outside to be greeted by a warm, summer rain falling steady as a heartbeat, wondrous and quiet as unexpected relief from pain. "Why, Chicken Little," said one reader, "it's only a summer shower come to feed the land. It feels great!" Chicken Little cowered in the corner as a fork of lightning licked the trees. "It's dangerous!" she cried, "you could slip on the wetness! You could catch a nasty cold! You could get electrocuted!" The three readers laughed, and went back out to experience the mystery of the storm, without thinking, without deconstructing, without checking what the other would do first. "Listen to me! Listen to me!" cried Chicken Little, as she watched their backs turn. The three readers stopped at the door and called out before leaving: "C'mon, Chicken Little. Hurry up, you're gonna miss it!"
LIZ PHAIR
Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:53 PM | Music | Comments (3)

June 22, 2003

A tad Un-Phair

lizphair.jpg
Liz Phair releases a new album on Tuesday. She's going for pop stardom, given the new sexpot image she's sporting and the hook-laden songs on her record. The critical response so far ranges from average to downright harsh. A sampling:

Rolling Stone puts the nicest spin on the album, giving it 3 stars: "Phair is a fine lyricist, and although she's lost some musical identity, she's gained potential Top Forty access."

NY Times: "Liz Phair has suggested that her new album is a bid for center stage. Instead, she has committed an embarrassing form of career suicide." ("Liz Phair's Exile in Avril-ville" - Meghan O'Rourke, NYT, Arts & Leisure, 6/22/03)

A reviewer at AllMusic isn't so keen either: "Throughout the album, these sparkly banalities come fast and furious, sometimes interrupted by something a little deeper, sometimes sounding catchy enough to sound pleasant in passing if you overlook both the lyrics and the fact that they're written by Phair, who used to be one of the sharpest writers in rock."

"Career suicide?" Ouch. Working with the Matrix doesn't mean she's punk posette Avril Lavigne. That said, this isn't a transcendental breakthrough album. There are catchy guitar-driven pop, radio-friendly hooks that would make this a good summer roadtrip album - so far I'm liking "Extraordinary" and "Why Can't I?" Phair continues her propensity for throwing the f-word around, and there are some awkward tracks, like the one comparing a relationship to her favorite underwear ("Favorite") and the cheerily raunchy "H.W.C." But I guess if you loved her first recording, Exile in Guyville, this is probably not for you.

UPDATE: Additional critical surveys are noted in ms.musings, a blog for Ms. magazine.

Yours, &c., LC at 08:38 PM | Music | Comments (1)

June 20, 2003

"Science got me laid!"

I've posted before about Google trying to protect its trademark and prevent the dilution of its name from falling into everyday usage as a verb. The BBC reports on this as well: "Google calls in the 'language police.'" Interestingly, Google's trademark is still pending in Europe, so it's not really a violation for the moment "to google" over there.

The choice remark comes courtesy of Robbie Williams, pop star. (Disclosure: Ok, ok, I have his first two albums. He's got smart, slick pop and he's luscious! Sorry.) The full quotation:

...singer Robbie Williams says US women who initially reject his amorous advances often have a change of heart when they run his name through a search engine.

"I've since been told: 'That girl googled you because she knows who you are now.' So hurrah for googling!" says Williams. "Science got me laid."

I find it hard to believe Robbie has trouble with the ladies. Even I know he's originally from Take That, the superstar British boy band. Oh well. Glad that technology can help out the poor guy.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:27 AM | Internet & Tech , Music

June 05, 2003

Dude! Sweet!

The East Coast Regionals for the 2003 US Air Guitar Championships take place this Friday at the Pussycat Lounge downtown. Grand prize is a trip to Oulu, Finland this August to compete in the World Championships. That would be the 8th annual Air Guitar World Championships.

I'm soooooooo not there. Especially if it's eight bucks just to get in!

Which reminds me - at the Suzanne Vega concert there was actually a guy at the show doing air drums. *cringe* But this was at least a more tolerable sight than the woman who went spastic over "Calypso."

Yours, &c., LC at 02:02 PM | Music , New York minutes , Sundries

June 01, 2003

My Evening with Suzanne

Lost sleep again on Wednesday when I went to see Suzanne Vega at the Bowery Ballroom, again with Mike. Whereas the night before the place was practically a honky tonk for the Lucinda Williams gig, it was like being at a giant coffee house for Suzanne's performance. A really diverse crowd, with hipster types young and old, geeks, people with rasta braids, a Salman Rushdie type in a tweedy coat. Goofs like me. Gawker was allegedly in attendance as well.

The opening act, Gerry Leonard, couldn't be there because of a death in the family. Suzanne came out to introduce a different opening act, a girl with a guitar whose name I can't remember, although she is playing Pete's Candy Store later this month. Dawn Landes, I think. She played a 45-minute set, with a great opening song, playing with her guitar along to a noisy, electronic track. Very cool. But the songs got progressively less interesting, culminating with the "Accordion Song" - I felt that maybe I might even be able to play accordion. Still, she has a nice voice, good stage presence, and I think she has potential. The crowd certainly was inclined to like her.

Great spot by stage left. We experienced the "halo effect," where there's literally an open circle around us because no one wants to block Mike in his wheelchair. So we short folks had a nice, unimpeded view. Suzanne came out with her band - a guitarist, bassist and drummer. Suzanne looked contained - hair pulled back, black suit, quirky shirt, black Chuck Taylors. The woman who was filming at the in-store a few weeks back was there again - I understand a documentary is in the works, she must have something to do with it.

Just a fantastic, tight show. Suzanne is great with her guitar, as well as with a full band. Lots of songs from her catalog, with stories here and there. She told of how she came to write "I'll Never Be Your Maggie May," a response of sorts to the Rod Stewart song, which she loved when she was twelve, because of the music and the mandolin solo, but then gave more thought to the lyrics as she got older. She explained how she was the folk-singing, disco-dancing camp counselor and that she wrote "Gypsy" for this fellow counselor that she dated, who gave her his bandana in return. She played that solo, bathed in a single golden light. It's such a lovely song, and it's hard to believe she wrote that when she was 17.

She read a funny excerpt from her current book, a collection of writings, and told the story of Millie, a childhood friend of sorts, and connected that to a recent circumstance where she was taking her daughter to school and ended up exchanging rude words with a man in a three-piece suit in a BMW who called her a "dumb ho." Some woman freaked out when Suzanne followed up the Maggie May song with "Calypso" from the album Solitude Standing. She started exclaiming ecstatically, something like "YES! YES! CALYPSO! YES! YES! YES! THANK YOU!" and throwing her arms up in the air. I think it was safe to say that everybody, maybe even Suzanne, was freaked out. Hello - the show is not about you. Whoop and clap, shout out a request even, but please don't act like you're about to have a personal climax in the middle of the crowd. Sheesh! She must really like that album, because she spazzed out to a lesser extent when Suzanne began playing the title track.

Other highlights - a funky, chilled arangement of "Left of Center" which she sang a cappella and was accompanied by the bassist. Another was "Solitaire," which she said was about those nights when you're vowing to play only one game, then go to bed, and you're still on the computer two hours later, trying to win your first game. Suzanne sang, the drummer and bassist sat nearby on stools with complicated handclaps for percussion (the bassist would count out for us when to clap), and the guitarist accompanied. I love how smooth and silky her voice gets when she performed "Caramel." Towards the end, more requests were entertained, including "The Queen and the Soldier" and "World Before Columbus." And the inevitable "Luka," done with the full band and "Tom's Diner" with the crowd doing the "do do dos." She's probably really, really tired of doing this, but she's obliging of her audience.

A fantastic evening. Can't wait to see what shows up in the documentary.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:49 PM | Music | Comments (1)

May 28, 2003

Sonic Bender in Progress

Luka Bloom was only the beginning of my current musical binge. Met up with Mike at the Bowery Ballroom to catch Lucinda Williams last night. Lu sported blonde, eye-skimming, layered, feathery locks, a tiny tank top, lowrider jeans with a humongous silver belt buckle, and a big Celtic-animal looking tattoo on her upper arm. Lord, I hope I'm that hot when I'm fifty. Seriously, though, what a great, raspy voice. Love the lyrics and the twang of her songs. "Ventura," one of her newer tunes, just pulled me into the "ocean of love" that she sings about. Yes, Lady C is a sap and not three songs in she was brushing away tears. Impressions: bluesy, rootsy, rocky - Lucinda Williams makes the kind of music that you pop in the tape deck as you drive down a dusty two lane back road. And if she can work Nacogdoches somewhere into a song, just because she can, more power to her.

Great venue for a show - good sound, and you can get up close to the stage if you want. Apparently it's a good place to spot the boldface names, but as some of you know by now, that's not really my forte.

Tonight, it's Suzanne Vega, same venue, sure to be another great show.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:54 PM | Music | Comments (8)

Happy Birthday, Neil!

Belated birthday wishes to Neil Finn, who turned 44 yesterday. Please come back and play some more gigs, good sir!

Yours, &c., LC at 12:15 PM | Music | Comments (1)

May 26, 2003

Lost the boyfriend, kept the music

Luka Bloom

Some things are to be gleaned from past relationships. On Election Night in '92 I saw Luka Bloom at the Georgia Theater. I didn't know anything about him, except that he was an Irish folk rock singer who was a good guitar player, according to the musician BF. I dutifully accompanied the BF to see this guy; tickets were something ridiculous, like $5. I was totally blown away, completely lost in his music.

In all the times I've seen Luka play, it's always been just him and a guitar. But "folk rock" isn't really an apt description for his music. His songs are frantic, muscular, loud and manic. They're lyrical arrows aimed straight at the heart. The way he plays guitar I'm surprised his strings don't break. He's a fantastic performer - he's very social with the audience, and he moves about the stage with a wild energy. His passionate, keening vocals sound equally at home across a foggy, heathered moor or echoing through a rainy cityscape.

His musical interests range far and wide. When I first saw Luka, he did covers of L.L. Cool J's "I Need Love" and Prince's "When the Doves Cry." Good covers do something with the songs; they don't just ape the originals. Luka made them sound wholly new.

Since that first show, I've seen him at Variety Playhouse when he toured in support of his album Turf, again with the musician bf. Goof that I am, I stuck around afterwards to get my copy of Riverside, his first album, signed, and he was awfully sweet to do so. When I first moved here several years ago, he played Irving Plaza. I couldn't get anyone to go with me, so I went on my own and just hung out with the people I met there - it was another great show that had the crowd whooping and stomping their feet. Saturday, I dragged my friend Mike to see Luka at the Village Underground, an intimate, crowded venue - the perfect place to see a show, where the musician is barely yards away, almost on a level with the crowd.

That's another thing about Luka Bloom and his shows - people don't stand around, their arms crossed, looking bored out of their minds and being too cool for school, not even jaded New Yorkers. Your head and hips are moving in time before you've even realized your body's in motion.

Saturday night, Luka's whole catalog was up for grabs: "Black is the Colour," "Sunny Sailor Boy," "You Couldn't Have Come at a Better Time." It was Bob Dylan's birthday, so he did a cover of "The Water is Wide." A woman named Tracey held up a cell phone so her husband could hear him play. [Aside: This is quite possibly one of the most annoying uses of the cell phone. Why don't we just bring back cigarette lighters?] Luka said to Chris, the husband, "I'm playing this song for your wife, and she may not be coming home tonight." He did U2's "Bad" as well, and in the encore, "I Need Love." He remarked to Tracey, "I notice your cell phone's not on" which cracked us up. Towards the end of the show, Luka gave the lucky gal the flowers that adorned a small table onstage.

All in all, another great evening with Mr. Bloom. Mike's a convert; always a treat to introduce someone to good music. I need to catch up on his catalog. And I need to remember this show the next time I dither about whether or not to see him again.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:33 PM | Music | Comments (3)

April 24, 2003

Viva La Vega

So I zipped downtown Tuesday night for Suzanne Vega's in-store at the Virgin on Union Square. Earlier in the day I picked up my pre-ordered copy of RetroSpective as well as the laminated pass I'd need to get into the performance/signing. On the way in, Mike and I passed a window through which we could see Suzanne being interviewed on camera. We ventured into the cafe area and took a spot by the far wall - all the seats were taken, but we had a nice, unobtrusive spot down front.

Suzanne looked cool - long bangs, wispy, shoulder-length red-brown hair. She wore a long black coat, black pants, and black and white high-tops. A glowing luminous smile as she took to the mike and bowed graciously as we whooped and clapped. She asked us what we wanted to hear, and fielded a request for "Gypsy," a song she wrote when she was seventeen. I was thrilled to hear it - it's one of my favorites. To my surprise, I found myself surreptitiously flicking away some happy tears. Since it was just Suzanne and her acoustic, she didn't really play what she called the "noisy songs." She played other favorites, such as the luscious "Caramel," "In Liverpool," and "Neighborhood Girls." At one point she asked, "You don't really want to hear "Luka" right?" but there seemed to be an inclination for it. She must be so sick of that song - I mean, it was a huge hit for her, and I like it, but even I'm tired of the song about a little boy and the way he's coping with child abuse. But she played it for the crowd nonetheless.

She mentioned how she still lives here and still rides the subway. She said she'll be sitting down and some guy will be standing, leaning over her, pretending to study the map, and suddenly he'll start whistling "Tom's Diner." Which is maybe cute for 10 seconds but because he's not looking at her, not officially acknowledging her, she feels she can't say, "Okay, that's enough now," I guess without bringing more attention to herself. Jeez - how utterly obnoxious. "Tom's Diner" was the finale, for which she set down her guitar and sang a cappella. She teased us for being her quietest New York audience (although there were loud cheers and clapping between songs), as a small contingent did the "do do dos" - I'd rather have heard Suzanne, but I guess it's become a singalong now.

While waiting in line for the signing, we were getting our CDs ready. [Hint, as passed down to me by more experienced autograph hounds: Open the case, pull out the liner notes and slide it back in with the cover facing you as you open up the CD case. That way, the person can just open up the case and sign, instead of having to pull out the notes herself - extra work and aggravation, especially if you're trying to catch her at the stage door or something.] One of the people filming the in-store suddenly shows up and is aiming his camera at Mike's hands as he's getting his CD ready. Ugh. I don't want to end up on camera in any way, looking like a superdork fan. Hopefully that's all the camera guy got - the shot of the CD cover.

So we get to the table, and it's just Suzanne sitting alone at the table. She seemed quiet and contained, a little stiff - maybe she's just sorta shy, I guess. I didn't get all superfan on her, I guess only Neil brings out my jitters. We just asked her to sign our CD covers and our passes, thanked her, and headed out.

Hurrah! I now have tickets to see her at the Bowery Ballroom next month. Fortunately I'll be able to drag Mike with me for company.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:08 PM | Music

April 22, 2003

Heading downtown shortly and meeting

Heading downtown shortly and meeting up with Mike to see Suzanne Vega. She's doing an in-store performance and will be signing copies of RetroSpective, a best-of album which also includes some sountrack cuts and a live track.

I've been a fan of hers since the sixth grade, when I saw her video for "Marlene on the Wall" on the local UHF channel when I lived in Queens. My first independent record purchase was a cassette copy of Solitude Standing. After that I wanted to be a girl with a guitar, setting poetry to music and wearing red lipstick. (I have been known to write poetry and occasionally wear the lipstick, but that's about it these days.) I've only seen her once, on the 99.9 degrees tour, and that was at the Roxy in Atlanta. She plays the Bowery Ballroom May 28. I better look into it!

Yours, &c., LC at 05:17 PM | Music

April 20, 2003

Reference Review

I've posted links using AMG, the All Music Guide database, but haven't discussed the site itself as a ready reference tool. At a casual glance it seems to be quite useful - the page's design is visually dynamic, but remains organized and easy to follow. Near the top of the page there is a search field that allows users to search by artist, album, song, style, or label. A user can also click on buttons for major music styles, such as rock, country, jazz, folk, etc. Additionally, the menu options at the left offer links to music styles, music maps (which trace the family tree of certain styles), articles, a glossary, and AMG's series of print music guides and CDs. In the main body of the home page, users can click directly on thumbnails of new album releases for information. AMG also offers a daily featured musical style that provides users a brief introduction to the major artists and albums pertaining to that style. One of their recent featured styles was New Zealand (Kiwi) Rock.

Unsurprisingly, I generated a search on Neil Finn. As you can see from the results, there are various category listings pertaining to the artist, including tones to describe the overall quality of his music. A photo and brief musical biography are provided, with appropriate links embedded in the text. Other neat features include Related Artists, with links to similar musicians or collaborators, as well as an Artist Browser, which allows users to mouse over style preferences to generate other artists with different qualities, such as Daniel Lanois under the quality of "more Elaborate, Sophisticated." Discography information is naturally available as well.

Clicking on a link for an individual album, such as that for One All, provides bibliographic details - including a listing of the information in MARC format (for the non-librarians, this is the format in which books, CDs, etc. are cataloged for use in library catalogs)! A review of the album, track listings and album credits follow, all linked to information, when available, in the database. An interactive feature is the Music Expert Check, which allows a user to suggest what tones better describe the album's style, which may then be incorporated into the database.

The site is professionally maintained and there is a dedicated staff which continually updates the database material. Database statistics are even available. Additionally, users can click on a link that lets them provide corrections or additional material that will be reviewed and potentially added to the database. What's nice about the All Music Guide is that it's an quality information resource and not simply a commercial site devoted to pushing media sales.

Yours, &c., LC at 07:46 PM | Librariana , Music

April 11, 2003

Friday Five

An easy peasy one.

1. What was the first band you saw in concert?
Crowded House, 1991. Georgia Theater, Athens. Met Paul Hester and Nick Seymour. Swooned.

2. Who is your favorite artist/band now?
Gee. Um. Neil Finn, I guess. [heehee]

3. What's your favorite song?
It's too hard to choose. Let's just say that I adore the Split Enz song "Message to My Girl" (penned by N. Finn).

4. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
Piano or guitar, maybe violin.

5. If you could meet any musical icon (past or present), who would it be and why?
Cole Porter. I'd love to hear him play a new song he'd be working on, to hang out for wicked repartee over drinks and cigarettes. (Having already met Neil, this is more of a fantastic answer.)

Yours, &c., LC at 01:07 PM | Memes , Music

March 26, 2003

(De)Mental Victrola

Xanadu cover artAs a kid I was a huuuuge fan of Olivia Newton-John. I loved her in Grease, Xanadu, even Twist of Fate. I had this white knitted fringed poncho that I wore when my parents took me to a double feature of Grease and Saturday Night Fever, and towards the end of the movie I was bopping my pony-tailed head with the poncho around my waist, trying to imitate Sandy in her pink poodle skirt. Then my mom made me put the poncho on properly, because it was cold in the theater. Awwww, Mom!

We had HBO in our little apartment in Queens. My dad allowed my sisters and me to watch Xanadu, we just had to cover our ears whenever there were any bad words. Okay, Daddy.

So I now have the song "Dancin'" in my head, the one with The Tubes and Olivia. If you've ever seen the movie, it's featured in the dance-off scene between the dancers dressed in 40s-style garb and the practically alien-looking 80s-clad dancers. I thought the 80s dancers were scary looking; I wanted to dress like one of the 40s girls. Yes, like Olivia. I thought she was so cool, so pretty, in her off-the-shoulder dress and her leg warmers and roller skates, and the ribboned combs in her hair. I guess you could say that Xanadu was my introduction to Greek mythology, since she was a Muse and her father was Zeus.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:00 PM | Music

March 13, 2003

The Next Big Thing

Polyphonic HMI, has devised a technology called Hit Song Science (HSS), which according to its description "analyzes the underlying mathematical patterns in unreleased music and compares them to the patterns in recent hit songs. The new technology can isolate individual patterns in key aspects of the music that humans detect and that help determine whether or not they like a given song." According to a column in yesterday's NYT [The Pop Life by Neil Strauss], several major labels are either using or considering HSS for the analysis of unreleased songs compared against known hits. Thus perfect pop becomes that much more perfected, and commercial music more commercial. 'Cause we haven't got enough out there already.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:21 PM | Music

February 24, 2003

GRAMMY REHASH ON NPR

Scott: What?!? Simon and Garfunkel performed?!? TOGETHER?!?
Moi: Um, yeah.
Scott: That's it! Hell hasn't just frozen over. It's the Apocalypse!

Yours, &c., LC at 03:39 PM | Music

February 01, 2003

*YAWN*

I am so tired. A Saturday morning class, after a night of concert-going and road-tripping, without the support of coffee, is brutal. But no need to feel sorry for me. I'll be heading to Boston shortly, woohoo!

Yours, &c., LC at 10:54 AM | Music

January 31, 2003

Finn-tastic so far. Good

Town Hall ticket stubs

Finn-tastic so far. Good mix of Neil, Crowded House, Split Enz. A new song, "Love is All That Remains." Hovered afterwards last night by the stage door, chatting with a few others who were braving the chill. The good man himself finally came through the door, in all his lovely glory, wearing a well-cut brown woolen coat. (Speaking of which, his own crowning glory of thick blond hair, graying at the temples, was flippy and cowlicky on top, reminding me of his Crowded House days.) I smiled shyly and wordlessly gave him the promo interview CD I'd gotten, he signed with a black Sharpie, I mumbled my thanks and slipped off giddily towards the subway.

"And don't you just love this life..."

Yours, &c., LC at 02:57 PM | Music

January 29, 2003

Lady Crumpet's 2003 Winter Neil

Lady Crumpet's 2003 Winter Neil Finn mini-tour has officially begun! Tonight and tomorrow night, Neil's here at Town Hall. Jen and I head to Philly on Friday, then Boston on Saturday. I fully intend to lose my voice by the weekend. And I promise, this time I'll take notes and report!

Yours, &c., LC at 06:28 PM | Music

December 03, 2002

Competition

Barbie has a blog, as do her friends Madison and Chelsea. They even have webcams. Damn!

Nonetheless, I have Barbie wallpaper on my work desktop.

Boston booked! Another leg of my Neil Finn winter tour confirmed, this time with Jen in attendance, and possibly the beau. Now I just have to get tickets for our Philly venture.

Yours, &c., LC at 09:42 AM | Blogos , Music | Comments (2)

November 20, 2002

Booked my ticket!

So I'm now confirmed for Neil's New York show. One is the loneliest number, especially when it's assigned seating. And I'm 10 rows back from the stage. Maybe I'll make friends with the people around me. Let's hope they're not freaky Finn fans who are going to call out song requests so often that Neil will finally play the damn song in order to shut them up.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:12 PM | Music | Comments (2)

Passing through Penn Station last

Passing through Penn Station last night, I spotted on a commercial electronic marquee in big bold letters: "Terror Fox News Terror Fox News" scrolling over and over. I'd say that's about right.

I was trying to remember the full title for the movie Dr. Strangelove. It's Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. It's time I saw it again.

I finally picked up the album by The Strokes. At eleven songs and 35 minutes, I'm instantly smitten. I listened to it on the way to work this morning, looping it on the train, on the street. I could hardly keep my fingers from strumming against my sides. It's like musical speed and was perfect writing music while I was working on the novel during the train ride. They're on tour, and wouldn't you know it, they're sold out in New York, and on my birthday no less. Oh well, that's what I get for taking my time to check out the newest band who's supposed to save rock 'n roll. Again. But I'm loving the album - I feel like I've already had three cups of coffee.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:06 AM | Music

November 14, 2002

2003 Neil Finn Tour Dates!

Time to start planning for some time off at the end of January.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:00 PM | Music | Comments (3)

September 08, 2002

Do you ever get caught

Do you ever get caught by a song and have to listen to it over and over, when even the radio doesn't seem to be playing it enough? I confess a weakness for catchy, jaunty, usually sugar-saturated pop music. Maybe your song is crap, but I will fall for your hook anyway.

So Duncan Sheik has just released a new album, Daylight, which isn't crap by the way. I'm absolutely hooked on the first single, "On a High." (If you like, check out Duncan's site and you can hear the song in full and see the video, sparkly and colorful and set in a karaoke bar.) I love this song - I get this musical, fizzy rush that makes me start bopping my head and flailing my arms around. But this giddy ditty has a catch - it's about being in denial, of being really caught up in the rush of a relationship, a "conspiracy of happiness" that's really, well, just a high. But there are enough fluffy singles out there, so I'm quite happy to have a bit of edge in my sugar-pop.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:02 AM | Music

July 22, 2002

Mini-Tour Now in Progress

I'll blog on and on about it later, but suffice to say: BLISS! Two shows down, final show of Neil's tour to go tonight! Only 3 more hours till I can escape the workday and be giddy amongst my own kind.

Yours, &c., LC at 02:35 PM | Music

July 18, 2002

Snag in the Itinerary?

The road trip to Boston may be in jeopardy, because her partner in crime has wisely decided it might be better to properly prepare for one's overseas vacation rather than going out of town for a concert the day before leaving. I shouldn't have leapt at the opportunity, knowing the tight timeframe, but we were both optimistic. Hopefully Scott and I can still get the tickets, which were bought on her card. I'm kicking myself for not buying the tickets myself and then there wouldn't have been this issue. We'll sort things out tomorrow. I should brace myself for disappointment, just to be safe. I still have two shows to attend, after all. Several good friends of mine are missing out because Neil's summer tour is bypassing the lower half of the United States. So I need to remember my exceedingly good fortune!

Yours, &c., LC at 11:36 PM | Music

Animal control has been contacted.

Animal control has been contacted. They will write up a report, a citation, and fine the neighbor. They're also going to quarantine the cats and make sure they're not rabid and whatnot. Maybe they'll be permanently removed and then the only remaining animals will be the neighbor's children.

Hard to focus at work today. I'm really excited about my Neil Finn mini-tour - I'm going to shows in New York, Boston, then New York again. Preparations have begun - camera, film, markers for autographs, musical immersion in the Neil/Crowded House catalog, the proper fun and quirky outfit - and learning how to make a proper paper plane. At least since the Crowded House days, if not during the Split Enz era, fans at shows have been making paper planes and sending them onstage. Song requests are usually scribbled on the planes and it's a great whimsy to see them flying onto the stage.

To other people this is just some concert. But there's a real communion between the fans and Neil. He's a great performer, really charismatic and engages the crowd, writes interesting, lyrical songs. There's something about his lovely tenor voice that just generates a marvelous, buzzy stir in your heart. And he's a really nice guy who acknowledges his fans, so of course we adore him right back. My friend Jen doesn't believe me when I say that people will be waiting in line and dash in to grab a spot by the stage and pretty much plant themselves for the night - I've been to shows in Athens (GA), Atlanta, Chicago, Myrtle Beach, and London. Except for the last one, which had assigned seating, every show's been the same - you get there early, you claim your spot, you take turns getting drinks, souvenirs, etc. and you hang out for the duration, including suffering any less than interesting opening acts. (Althought sometimes there have been pleasant surprises on that front.) Maybe when I'm too old for the crush of the crowd then I'll sit up in the balcony or hang towards the back. But for now I want the immersion, to sway in the crowd and bask in the sound and light at the feet of my favorite musician.

Yours, &c., LC at 11:04 PM | Music , Slice o' Life