February 17, 2011


A weekly sampler of what we're listening to (new and old), and what we think you might like, too.


Song: "To Bring You My Love"
Artist: PJ Harvey

I haven't heard her new album (yet... I'm going to get around to buying it, eventually) but until then I've been really getting into some of PJ's older stuff. To Bring You My Love has some powerful stuff, especially on songs like this where she just belts it out and plays that dirty, dirty guitar. Also, Beefheart fans among us would be advised to check out "Meet Ze Monsta," which sounds like a metal cover of something on Trout Mask Replica (an influence on the album) or a precursor to Mule Variations-era Tom Waits. ("Big In Japan," anyone?)

Song: "This Charming Man"
Artist: The Smiths

I've been dipping into the "Left of the Dial" compilation a lot lately. It's like eating your 1980s vegetables and like a lesson in where today's indie folks came from.

Song: "Back It Up"
Artist: Caro Emerald
So I'm a faithful follower of Charles Apple, a freelance visual journalist who used to work as the graphics director at The Virginian-Pilot and the Des Moines Register. These days, when he isn't finding new Star Trek collectibles, he's traveling to far away places in Africa to teach design and graphics to media groups.

I ran across Caro Emerald while reading one of his recent blog entries. Man, Emerald is damn catchy...and pretty popular in the Netherlands right now. Or so I have read. She's a jazz vocalist with a modern pop twist, and if you liked this song, you should check out some of her others (they're quite...errr...visually pleasing). Here's another. Some of her sounds remind me of that great French animated film from a few years back, Les Triplettes de Belleville (give a listen to the popular song from that movie if you want to hear the similarities).

Song: "A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger"
Artist: Of Montreal

Song: “Any Way You Want It"
Artist: Journey

Song: "Kiss The Devil"
Artist: Eagles of Death Metal

Who will kiss the devil on his tongue? I will kiss the devil on his tongue!

Song: "rapping 2 u"
Artist: Das Racist

A song where they prove they're actually good and not just a novelty act ("they called us joke rap... we kinda weed rap"). One of the things I love about this group is the way they take standard hip-hop fare and put a slightly goofy spin on it that ends up sounding awesome (in this song, check out the background, high-pitched "what?").

And they're really clever. "Stock is rising–wait–don't scalp the tickets yet / older white women say I'm very articulate."

Song: "Nude as the News"
Artist: Cat Power

Eds. note: This is not from Kyle. It's from Vanessa, his wife and another friend of the Bear. I think they worked together on this one.

The truth is, I rarely listen to new music. There are a couple of newer bands I've added to my will-love-forever list, but basically, I don't deviate from that list. I've been listening to the same stuff since high school. I know there's a lot of good new music out there, but I don't care. The bands I love mean so much to me that I can't imagine anything else moving me again, not like that anyway. Maybe I just wish I could be sixteen again. When you're young, everything seems so immediate, so passionate and I think that translates into how young people listen to music (at least, this is how it was for me) . Instead of listening for all of the musical nuances on an album or wondering how they mixed a track to get it to sound a certain way, I used to "feel" the the album as a whole. I thought about what it meant or what the writer was going through at the time. I thought about the person making the music. Like "Oh my gosh, I know what she's talking about. I feel that way, too!" I guess I'm just more mature now. Maybe music was a bit more honest when I was in high school. I was moved by bands back then. They weren't trying to move me though, they just did. This all seems very ridiculous, I know, but there's no way to ever listen to new music that way again. How can I trust a band to move me now that I'm not so naive? How can I be sure that I won't be let down when the album is over? Well, I can't be sure. Getting let down sucks. I stick to what I know is good and moving. So, this song, is a staple from my past. I still remember hearing this for the first time. It meant so much to me at the time. Cat Power wrote this song about having an abortion. I didn't know that at the time, but something about it seemed haunting. Like "Oh Comely" or something. She was very good. Early Cat Power still hits me. Sorry this is so long.

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Blogger Tony said...

Jack: a review in the New Yorker (?) lambasted PJ's new album, and her other most recent. But the review intrigued me and I'm happy to see this share and dig the dirt.

February 17, 2011 at 10:15 PM 
Blogger Tony said...

Also, I love this mix, and perhaps most of all the Cat Power, and how the ladies bookend the set of songs.

I like this YouTube comment on the Cat Power:

Should be in the Smithsonian. Conceptual art. It will take one hundred years for fools to realize the sublime. How deep can you go into emotional music? Raw and powerful. Can you see, behind those bangs, sans makeup or facade, one of the most beautiful women in history?

Das Racist, also excellent.

February 17, 2011 at 10:23 PM 
Blogger JHitts said...

I've heard some different things about the new one... one music reviewer I really like (Nick Southall, from Stylus) really loves it. It got an 88 on MetaCritic so I'd probabaly tend to think maybe the New Yorker reviewer was one of the few outliers. I'm still kind of excited to hear it (it was streaming on NPR before it came out and I liked the quick once-through I was able to hear).

Although, you're right, White Chalk (the one before) wasn't supposed to be very good. I got it the other day but haven't had the chance to listen. But generally, I enjoy all the albums of hers I have so I give her the benefit of the doubt.

That Cat Power song also really got to me. Love that performance. I need to find some of that stuff.

February 18, 2011 at 1:47 AM 
Blogger Daniel Silliman said...

I love the wives thing going on with the playlists. Naomi, now Vanessa. It's pretty awesome.

Not that that's surprising -- they're pretty awesome.

February 18, 2011 at 1:54 AM 
Blogger Chase said...

Maybe we should have a Guest Contributors Wives Edition.

February 18, 2011 at 7:44 AM 
Blogger Tony said...

I thought this was the He Man Woman Haters Club.

February 18, 2011 at 4:24 PM 

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