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Music, music, music

Christmas Question
     This is no poll, but I am seeking a few opinions. Yours, to be precise.
     What singer, or band, or other musical grouping - pop, rock, classical, world, jazz, blues, instrumental, you name it - have you discovered, loved, and played repeatedly this year? Give me one, two, or three who leap immediately to mind. And if you think of others later, drop back and tell me about them. And, if you'd care to, give me a one or two-sentence idea of what you like about said musical entity, or a suggested favorite track.
     I'll start. I've been playing Rockferry, the CD by Duffy, the young Welsh songstress. The single "Mercy" caught my interest first, with its seductive Motown bass line, and she did the rest. As for fave tracks? "Mercy"  and "Rockferry" are both fantastic.
    So. How about it?

ETA: Thanks so much, guys; your suggestions mean I'll be learning about, and probably enjoing a whole bunch of new and wonderful music. I'll try to think of more music I've been listening to lately, and I'll let you know about it when it pops into my head. In the meantime, keep 'em coming. This is fun!


( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 18th, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
One that occurs to me right off the bat: not a new group by any means, but I became a fan of Foo Fighters this year. So far, I'm mostly only familiar with their album "The Colour and the Shape", but I enjoy their new(ish) single "The Pretender" as well, and many other tracks that are available on their Youtube channel.

I love a group that can do a variety of styles, and do them well. The Foos do hard rock, love songs, and many things in between.

Also, Dave Grohl is pretty, and he's an X-Files fan. ;)
Dec. 19th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
The Foo Fighters are extremely cool, and "The Pretender" is one of the songs I turn up in the car and sing along to, very, very loud. And Grohl is, indeed, extremely pretty. (Didn't know he was an X-Files fan, but that adds to the kewl factor, I think.)
(no subject) - namarie24 - Dec. 19th, 2008 06:53 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 18th, 2008 07:45 am (UTC)
Nam and I also 'discovered' Snow Patrol this year. "Eyes Open" is the album of theirs that we own, and it is sublime. It's one of those where every time each new track starts, I say, "Oh, this track! I love it!" It also applies pretty perfectly to shows I like, which is something I obsessively notice about every song, pretty much.
They are Irish, and I guess you could call them 'alternative rock'. I think my favorite track of theirs is "Open Your Eyes". So emotional and stunning.
Dec. 19th, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)
Oh, aren't they wonderful? Is the track "Open Your Eyes" the one in which the lyrics actually have them singing "Shut your eyes"? Because, whatever the title of that particular song, I adore it. And their latest single (or at least the one that's being played in Chicago) is extremely goog, too.
(no subject) - mack_the_spoon - Dec. 19th, 2008 06:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 18th, 2008 11:11 am (UTC)

The Sephardic Experience, The Renaissance Players, Winsome Evans. 4 CDs. I keep trying to figure out how to write about this, and I keep failing. Here's what Winsome Evans writes at the start of the notes:

Whilst exploring various Iberian folk and traditional performance styles … in an ever-continuing attempt to find valid historical hypotheses to assist in making performance realisations of Spanish mediæval music, specifically the Christian cantigas de Santa Maria, one of the trails suggested that further clues might be found in Spanish-Jewish and Andalusian-Moroccan musics. Sephardic music and poetry (the former of these) was a completely unknown quantity until an extraordinary, serendipitous synchronicity of events in 1989 lead me to hear the LP-records of Esther Lamandier, to meet and hear George Mordecai (a brilliant and charismatic Sephardic trainee-cantor in Sydney), and to read the Penguin books of mediæval Spanish-Jewish poetry and their confirmation of the Arabic-Judaic cultural connections.

The performances are much sparser than I'd thought they'd be (ranging from one to around ten performers each) and rather unlike the Renaissance dances I'd expected them to resemble (which, in retrospect was a rather silly expectation. I reckon some part of my brain must have whispered "hey, they're both 'early' musical forms from the European continent, they're probably similar," and I was just unthinking enough to believe it. Heh). Haunting, beautiful music.

Dec. 19th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
*checks CDs. Finds "The Sephardic Experience", The Renaissance Players/Winsome Evans. (Volume 2, Apples and Honey). Is croggled that we have the same - or probably the same - CD. And the same reaction to it. *

Fez Festival - apostle_of_eris - Dec. 19th, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Fez Festival - kaffyr - Dec. 19th, 2008 08:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 18th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
There has really been only one band for me all year, TheWeakerthans, and I think you have heard this before.

This Winnipeg based band (two of four band members eventually moved to Toronto or Ottawa but still record and tour with the other two) is fronted by John K. Samson (formerly of the Propaghandis). The band has a punk/pop sound (guitarist Stephen Carrol is good) that goes amazingly well with Samsom's tremendous lyrics and his faltering reedy voice.

I have 'Reconstruction Site' (featuring the song "I hate Winnipeg") and 'Reunion Tour'. I recommend the title track to 'Left and Leaving'.

The lyrics and phrasing (I hope that is the correct term) really grab me. Especially since many of the songs are set in Winnipeg or Manitoba. There is a good interview available on the internet with someone from NPR in MPLS (IIRC).

John K. Samson also runs Arbeiter Ring Publishing Co-Operative, has twice been on the Canada Reads panel. On both occaisions, the novels he championed were the winners.

There are a slew of their videos on Youtube and the band's Myspace page includes most of a concert broken up into 4 sections. They do well for an indie band.
Dec. 19th, 2008 03:50 am (UTC)
They've got a dedicated following, and from what I've heard, I understand that. Cool!
Dec. 18th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
I have been listening to Jenny Lewis a lot lately--her new album Acid Tongue is great. (particularly "Acid Tongue" and "Carpetbagger") It's a little less country-tinged than Rabbit Fur Coat, which was her first solo album, but not nearly as rock as Rilo Kiley has been veering toward. (she's the lead singer of Rilo Kiley (who I've been really into as well, but I've listened to them forever) and a former child actor--she was in The Wizard and Troop Beverly Hills) I also love Kate Nash--she was my big obsession at the beginning of the year. Made of Bricks is great all the way through, but I love "We Get On" and "Pumpkin Soup."

I have to say, I'm always pushing I Am Kloot. I love all three of the albums that I have, but I really think their self-titled album is the best--"Proof," "Cuckoo," and "Mermaids" in particular. They're a band from Manchester that sometimes reminds me of the Beatles. (you may have seen the "Proof" video--it's essentially Christopher Eccleston staring into the camera for the length of the song. He's a big fan--what other endorsement do you need? :) )
Dec. 19th, 2008 03:53 am (UTC)
OK, I'm famliar with Jenny Lewis' voice, if she's the lead singer with Rilo Kiley, because WXRT, my mainstream rock station of choice plays at least one of their songs. I hadn't realized she had a solo career, so I'll have to look for her stuff out there.

Oh, I have seen the Eccleston video.


Yeah, you're right, what other endorsement? Why, yours, of course! Thanks for pointing me in their direction.
Dec. 18th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
Emilie Autumn really grabbed my brain with her album "Enchant" became a major feature of my "Flowersverse" fic soundtrack. She makes the aging Goth chick inside of me happy. Recommended tracks are "Rose Red" or "Save You," both of which I've linked to on my blog at some point. I haven't really listened to much of her other albums, partly because there aren't a lot and they're hard to get, but she does an interesting mix of classical (she was a child-prodigy violinist, apparently) and industrial (but she rebelled).

In just the last week or so, Blitzen Trapper and their album "Furr" came to my attention, and they're a fascinating throwback to the 70s, but with a fresh, new feel. Kinda like CCR run through the blender with Simon and Garfunkel, given a few interesting tweaks along the way. The title track is recommended, though it isn't 100% typical, having more S&G influence and less CCR than usual. But I love it, and it's also linked off my blog.
Dec. 19th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
Alright, one Emilie Autumn hunt penciled in, because she sounds really intriguing. So does Blitzen Trapper, since I am very fond of CCR, and enjoy not a few Simon and Garfunkel pieces as well.
Dec. 18th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)
OK, off the top of my head...

David Francey, a Canadian singer songwriter who writes songs based on his own personal experiences. I love his simple yet elligant lyrics and his slightly scottish accented voice. Lately I've been enjoying his " Live From Folk alley" CD. that might not be the official title of it. It's a live show he did for the Folk alley radio show. I particularly like it because it includes his lead stories for each song. "Broken Glass" is perhaps my favorite.

The Fugetives, a performance poetry band out of vancouver has been spinning a lot too. Great arrangements, solid music, this is for me what Rap music ought to have been. I'm not sure of the title of the album but it's the one with music not the one with all spoken poetry. This group has captured me like no other in the past two years, fresh lively inciteful passionate work. I like the opening song on the album best, the one about them being on the road performing.

Sam Baardman's "The Rookery" I keep going back to again and again. Sam's writing and playing talents are superb. Off this album I love "Prospect Bay", perhaps the best love song I've heard in a long time and "The Amazon Is Burning", perhaps his most predictive song. Sam is a good friend but this doesn't colour my opinion of his music.

of course, Stan Rogers... "From Coffee House to Concert Hall". This was the last Stan album released after his death. The cuts are all unreleased works that span his entire all to short carreer. Stan was a wizard with words painting evocative pictures of every day life and framing them in solid musical abilities rooted in the maritime tradition. From this album I especially like "At Last I'm Ready For Christmas" and "Take It From Day To Day". The first takes me back to my own early married years and last minute Christmases. The second is another of his absolutely Canadian songs that display his depth of research and story telling. Mind you, I am more than a little Biast when it comes to Stan's work. :)

There are several excellent filk albums I've been enjoying too but I thought I'd hit the folk genre first.
If you sample any of these I would be interested in your opinions. Have a super holiday season and many hugs.
Dec. 19th, 2008 04:35 am (UTC)
Thanks for your well-thought-out offerings, Dave. We have "The Rookery" here, and I shall take a listen; either BB or FB listened to it some months ago and liked what they heard, I think.

A performance poetry band? That sounds really neat.

I think I liked Stan Rogers songs better when you sang them, but he was a giant in the field.
Dec. 18th, 2008 10:53 pm (UTC)
Andrew Bird.

Iron and Wine.

Amanda Palmer.

Matt Nathanson.

She Wants Revenge.

Gogol Bordello.

I'll stop now, for fear of downloading iTunes playlist. *g*
Dec. 19th, 2008 04:37 am (UTC)
We love Andrew Bird in this house, but we are careful not to listen to too many of his songs in a row, else we become rather mordantly pensive. I was introduced to Gogol Bordello off your lj, and I think they're amazing.

(And I really like your icon. My Shalka Doc icon is impressed with the lady.)
Dec. 19th, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)
Roseanne Cash. I've had her Black Cadillac album, dedicated to her father, on in the car most of the time. She wrote the songs and they have a lot of meaning, not just rhyming words. It's mostly country-rock. I think I like "Radio Operator" best.

Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer. Pamela Dean mentioned them and they sounded good so I bought a CD. Now I have most of their CDs, but there won't be more with both because Dave died. They're folk artists, but with movement, not dreary repeats. My favorite album is Drum Hat Buddha and my favorite songs are "I go like the raven" and "love, the magician."

The Duhks. Also peppy folk, with a wide range, I have only the first album, The Duhks, and there are two after with this cast, but the WashPost says the new one is a new singer and bassist and isn't as good as the original group. I like "Du Temps que J'etais Jeune" best.
Dec. 19th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC)
Cash is a really interesting woman to listen to in conversation, and it doesn't surprise me that her work has been consistently critically acclaimed. Thanks for the suggestion.

The titles of the songs by Carter and Grammer are extremely evocative, and might draw me in by themselves.

The Duhks? I'd be attracted just by the name!
Dec. 19th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
Gods. You know that all my music is filtered through a three year old currently, right? At the moment, the Captain is obsessed with Judas Priest. He adores the "Breaking the Law" video and frankly, I haven't gotten sick of it. I keep finding something new in the riff or the vocals - it seems very simple at face value but there's a lot going on underneath.
Dec. 19th, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)
Judas Priest? Kewl. "Breaking the Law" is the only one of theirs I've ever heard (OMG, her rawk credentials just tanked!!!), and I like it. Some of the best rock is the stuff that seems very simple at face value, and has stuff going on that you wouldn't expect.

Oh, and the Captain sounds like FB when he was a little guy.

We really must find a way to get together some time.!
Dec. 19th, 2008 05:50 am (UTC)
New music
Music is a huge part of my life, and thus I find new groups all the time. Her are some that caught my ear over and over this year of 2008....

Jordin Sparks
Blue Foundation "Sweep" ( A Danish group)
Kate Nash (British)
Chris Brown

this are the easy ones to think of..will try to add more later
Dec. 19th, 2008 06:13 am (UTC)
Re: New music
Dec. 19th, 2008 08:06 am (UTC)
Amy Rigby, Tim Buckley, (not new, but everyone should know about him), nouvelle vague, Julia Nunes, Tay Zonday....

But you already know that. This list is for other folk to check out.
Dec. 19th, 2008 08:08 am (UTC)
Thanks for putting the links up - and folks, you should really check all of those folks out. Right now, I particularly like nouvelle vague and Julia Nunes.
Dec. 20th, 2008 03:21 am (UTC)
Ob: Newspaper
Dec. 20th, 2008 04:29 am (UTC)
Re: Ob: Newspaper
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )

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