Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fire Songs

Just a few weeks ago I went and saw and wrote about The Watson Twins at Amoeba Music to promote their sophomore full length, Fire Songs. As noted earlier the Twins first were noticed when there backing vocals accompanied Jenny Lewis' Rabbit Fur Coat. This record is soft and inviting a treat to hear more than just faux country backing vocals, but the full strength of voices and talent from these sisters from Kentucky.

Fire Songs is built around the sisters ability to find ways to utilize their vocals that bring out the gifts and talents of both Chandra and Leigh Watson. The strong opener, "How I Am to Be", that is a smart, xylophone based, fun pop song. The rest of the recordt is rather stripped down and their are strong (and some weak) moments of slow, and dreamy. The songs have the potential for you to grab a man (or a lady) and sway slowly to their harmonious collection of originals and the cover of The Cure's, "Just Like Heaven". (Sidenote: This may be the best song on the record. Maybe it's because I have loved this song since my childhood or maybe because I love when people cover a song and give it their own interpretation). I am a sucker for a lap slide and it is used nicely throughout the record.

Overall Fire Songs is a good follow up post Lewis. I hope they continue to make records and find a niche that continues to highlight the beauty of their voices and acknowledge who they are and who they will continue to become. If you are interested in hearing the record, check out the websites and click the moth entitled "Media", from here you can stream the whole record.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A small night of energy and a picnic that included guacamole without tortilla chips.

Summers in LA are normally hot. The hot where you don't want to go outside because there is smog in the air and you are afraid that your now exposed legs may stick to the leather in the overly hot interior of your car. But the weather has been nice the last couple of weeks and the thought of enjoying the outdoors has been all so appealing. So last weekend some friends and I grabbed the bus to the hollywood bowl and saw the high energy of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Feist .

Hosted by local NPR station, KCRW, the outdoors show was a fun way to spend a late July Sunday evening. Sharon Jones was fun, high energy, and quite exciting. Before I knew it there were many people around me dancing with their friends and quite enjoying themselves with the soulful vocal stylings from Sharon Jones. She has the ability to command the stage with full control that reminds anyone of James Brown. She has skills to move her body while she tells her stories with with amazing funk musicians back her up. She brought the energy and she certainly brought the funk and what I thought was a fantastic opening act for someone that what I thought would have high energy as well.....

.....Feist. The last time I saw Feist it was high energy, fun, and took a large space and made it feel like everyone in the room could be my next best friend. This time I felt like Feist was sad, dealing with something so much bigger than herself. The set was stripped down, choosing to open with a poem that harkened the old west and folk americana tales. She was dressed in a dress with fringe down the arms and a cowboy hat. The songs she chose were sad in nature and the songs like, "I Feel it All" and the every popular "1 2 3 4" seemed to be pulled back, slowed down, and a new way of hearing songs that are often heard as a copy of the recorded version.

We were surprised after what seemed like ten songs that she bowed and said good night. With a song to finish out the encore the show was over and evening complete. I was a bit surprised by her set. After the super high energy and true crowd amper, Sharon Jones, Feist just seemed to lack the energy to make my feet keep dancing.

Overall the evening was fun and it made me believe in the beauty of humanity and the what can happen when you are surrounded by strangers. I had to sit by myself because of the late purchase of my ticket but I never felt alone. I was offered cheese, wine, crackers, and potato chips by strangers that never knew my name. It was a beautiful cool evening. An energy in the air of picnicking lovers and friends. I felt lucky to be in a space that in a city that is known to be isolated and individualistic and didn't feel alone for one moment.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mates of State Rearranges Us...

I love Mates of State and yet the last time I listened to their records was years ago. So when I received the newest release, Re-Arrange Us, it was like visiting old friends. Though these friends added cello, trumpet, and vocals from Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard to the usual drum and keyboard duo. The record is fun, flirty, and simple. Sometimes so simple that it sounds as similar to the track prior but don't worry it's a song worth hearing.

This record is the perfect record if you wanted to go jogging. It's upbeat and the ability to feel sad is almost impossible when you listen to this multi-layered little record. I don't jog and maybe you don't either but it can help push you through the day whether you are working, writing papers, or figuring out geometry. The driving songs make the foot tap and the head move from side to side. You can feel the influence of Death Cab throughout the record. Songs Help Help and Get Better are standout. They can easily be the first song on the mid-summer mix with the windows down trying not to think about tomorrow.

It's nice to be able to find old friends, catch up with new stories, and new melodies. If you want to stay in touch with their day to day movement with their two children make sure you catch their blog band on the diaper run.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

through the looking glass

There is so much happening and going on
and a lot of it has to do with fear
and the unknown
and growing up
and changing.

I know that I will be ok
I just have to make choices
that lead me to what I want
rather than what is
and easy

I don't know what these choices are
and i don't know what or where they
might lead

but what i do know
is that i am smart
and capable
and aware
and loved.

and i know that a lot of people are as well
but i won't be afraid
or least i will try not to be

what i am afraid of the most of
how many girls have been affected
because I have been afraid.