Sunday, August 27, 2006

Rive Songs I'm Loving This Week

The Coral Sea, "Look At Her Face"

This is one of my favorite songs of the last few months, not just this week. Something about it makes me think of Siouxsie and The Banshees, maybe with some of the members of Echo and the Bunnymen helping out. Most of the music I listen to is slow, taking its time to arrive at this destination. This song is insistent on reaching its destination, and and the singer insists the listener reach the destination with them. Their Website.

The Coral Sea

Greg Laswello, "Sing Theresa Says"

It wouldn't be a Lola music post without a little singer-songwriter/folk-type music. I gotta have at least one ('cause I love it) and I'm really impressed with this and the other few songs I've heard. My favorite folk music isn't bland and interchangeable like some of the coffee-house music you hear playing on some TV Shows ("tonight's Everwood featured music by tortured yet pretty singer-songwriter ___) but is dynamic and individual. Come to think of it, all the music I like is like that. Anyways, the songs I've heard from this musician fit into the category of "not typical". (His website)

Greg Laswell

The Sound Team, "It's Obvious What's Happening Here"

This song's a little old--2005--but I just heard it for the first time, and it's so awesome I'm posting it anyway. It's all bleepy and blippy, and despite my love affair with alt-country and folk, sometimes a girl just needs some grandiose electronica, know what I mean? (Sometimes a girl needs other things too, but that's not really music related). (The Sound Team's website and Myspace)

The Sound Team

Pro Audio, "She Likes Girls" (Scroll to below the picture)

More bleepy-blippy music :P The vocals have a sing songy repetition to them that I adore. The keyboards mimic the melody exactly, which adds to the call-and-response tone of the song. I thank Insomnia Radio for introducing me to this song (and lots other songs). (Their website)

Pro Audio album cover

Retro Song:

The Only Ones, "Another Girl, Another Planet"

Cool song, in my opinion. Alot of blogs have been posting it because it's on a commercial, which is why I even have the song. I'm posting it as a yousend it link because A) the site I got it from has it as a yousendit link and B) I'm not at my regular computer and only my regular computers knows my password to store online media (yes, it's a mystery even to me).

I have lots more songs but they'll have to wait until next week.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Five Songs I'm Loving This Week

Oneida, "The Adversary"

I've been going crazy over this song for a few weeks now. I have a thing for repetition in songs--something about it just appeals to me. The same insistent bars of music, a dirgy, kind of chant-y vocal part. Much like Elf Power, this song makes me want to take up druidry (at least part-time to see if it's for me).

Oneida's website (and a strange website it is), their label and their Myspace.

Ingrid Michaelson, "Breakable" (Scroll about 1/3 of the way down)

The first thing I noticed was how much she sounds like Regina Spektor. The second thing I noticed was how much I liked this song. Yes, it's a girly, lilting piano song. If you don't like those kinds of songs, then don't download it. If you don't mind a little lilting in your songs, though, I would suggest listening to this.

Michaelson, Ingrid
Ingrid Michaelson
(Her website and Myspace)

Boy Kill Boy, "Suzie"

I'm so happy the 80's resurgence hasn't gone away yet. Yes, I realize at least half of the people reading this are groaning right now and wishing 80's music had never happened in the first place, but that's okay. They're entitled to their life without glitter and splatter paint. I'm happy knowing new 80's songs are still being released. (The 80's comparison is helped by this band having a song called "Maneater". It sounds more like Joe Jackson, though, which is great, too.)

Boy Kill Boy
Boy Kill Boy looking more The Kinks than Adam and the Ants

Bill Kill Boy's website, their label site and Myspace

Klee, "This Is For Everyone"

This is a little bit like the "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" song from the 70's (hey--Coke updated the commercial so you youngin's might've heard it). It's like that famous Coke commercial from my childhood because it's about embracing people, life, etc. I know--the antithesis of everything I stand for. However, this is a very lovely song and it makes me almost, kind of want to be embraced. Hey--what are you looking at? You wanna start something?

Myspace and website

The National, "Minor Star of Rome" (Scroll down, down, down to the bonus song. Also check out the version of "Lit-up referenced. It's going on my next podcast).

I have no friggin' idea what this song about--all he says is "You're miles behind your sister". Is it about Emperor Commodus and how his sister supposedly tried to murder him? Anyway, it's an awesome song, and I love The National.

The National (no, that's neither Sean Lennon nor James Mercer from the Shins in the background. At least I don't think it is.)
(Their Myspace and their website.)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Five Songs I'm Loving This Week

Eagle*Seagull, "Photograph"

This song began to play and I actually started to think "Wow, they redid the Flock of Seagulls song, 'Photograph!'" Well, no they didn't, though it does have waves of my old lifestyle, er, music genre New Wave. My decade is making a resurgence, which I must admit is making my thirties go down smoother (and less filling). In this song we have soaring piano parts (my favorite kind of piano parts, though I like quieter piano parts, too), insistant guitar and a lead singer who sounds a lot lot lot lot (say that three more times) like Robert Smith. Robert Smith if he fronted Echo and the Bunnymen. Okay, while that's a strange concept, it works in this song.

Hey, buddy. Her face is above her neck! Eagle*Seagull
Website, Myspace

Grand Salvo, "Brave Like A Goose"

Oh, oh, oh, ohhhh...I can't stop raving about this song (to myself 'cause none of my "real life" friends are interested in my music). Oh this is so awesome. The musician behind the band is an Australian named Paddy, and if this song is an indicator, he may go down in history as one of my favorites (and believe me, history is waiting impatiently for that list). I have a major thing for spritely songs, and this ain't nothin' if it ain't spritely. I'm not sure if that's a Xylophone, but whatever the instrument is that plays throughout the song, it's caught my fancy. His voice echoes--perhaps a fortunate side-effect of the lo-fi approach he took when recording his album, and the hollowness of the vocal track is part of what makes it seem so otherworldly. He introduces other instruments as the song progresses--an oboe? (I'm not good with the instrument identification, but I try) and a violin--and they only serve to make the song more complete and varied.

Grand Salvo
Website, Myspace

Laura Gibson, "Hands In Pocket"

I thought this one was a cover too, when I first downloaded it. Albeit I was thinking "Wait, isn't Alanis' song 'Hand In Pocket'?". Oh well, no matter 'cause it's not a cover! Well, not an Alanis Morrissette cover, anyway. It's definitely its own song. She's got a gorgeous voice, and she lets it poke and prod the song, jumping from note to note and sharply punctuating each syllable. Once again another spritely song. I love my spritely songs. The piano sneaks in with you almost not realizing it and the song is supported by a steady drum rhythm.

Laura Gibson
Website and Myspace

Laura Gibson (photo from her album cover for Amends)
(I wanted to post this because I thought it was a very good photo concept, but I didn't want it to be my main picture of her 'cause you can't tell it's her.)

Frida Hyvonen, "You Never Got Me Right"

I'm hitting it pretty even between boys and girls this time. I was worried it would be too estrogenic (I think I just made up that word) but then I remembered the first two songs were male-fronted (though not heavily testeronic--I think I just made up that word). Anyways, this song is surprisingly short, but she puts a lot into one minute and 53 seconds. Whereas the other songs I posted were for the most part gentle and laconic, this song is highly charged. The piano sounds like it's being banged in frustration, and she rips the verses apart--appropriate for the bitterness and frustration of the lyrics (you can guess what the song's about from the title--the girl ain't happy about someone). Something about the banging piano and the energetic way she delivers the lines makes me think of cabaret music, a la Dresden Dolls (but not campy like Dresden Dolls can be sometimes). Frida's been signed to my favorite label, Secretly Canadian. I've hardly gone wrong with Secretly Canadian (there are small number of artists I don't care for--maybe two) and once again I haven't gone wrong with the Swedes...

Frida Hyvonen (you can't really tell who it is from this photo--it looks like it could be Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth, or any blonde woman. I was going to use another photo, but it was giving Flickr problems).
Website, Myspace

Hmmm...which gender will break the tie? Boy? Girl? Maybe to be fair I should post a Michael Jackson song. That would be neutral. Ooh, I'm mean.

Adem, "X Is For Kisses" (Scroll down to #14)

Okay, well I've been wanting to post this for awhile, so for now the boys win. The sensitive, thoughtful boys, though. I posted Adem's song "These Are Your Friends" (what a great song) awhile ago--like maybe a year ago or more. He's an extremely talented musician, and once again I feel like I'm being pulled into a place he's creating as we go, being pulled along for a ride he's arranging.

Website, Myspace (unofficial)

Also: Please see the previous post for a review I wrote of The Lesser Birds of Paradise's latest album, Space Between. To stream the entire album, click here.

A Review

(Fancy that!)

The Lesser Birds of Paradise, Space Between

Space Between, the new CD from Chicago's Lesser Birds of Paradise, starts off on a spiritual note, with the emphasis on the word "spirit". The vocals in the first track, "My Refrain", are sparse and haunting--for most of the song the only accompaniment is organ, except for a bit of guitar and a strange, reedy instrument (gotta love my grasp of musical technical knowledge) at the end, rendering an almost alien sound.

The pace picks up in "A Rehearsal", though it's still a country-music kind of pace. Toe-tapping, yes. Headbanging, no. Anyone looking to rock out would be better suited to buying a Queens of the Stone Age CD. This is not rock--it's Americana at its best, its most authentic and most deceptively simple.

The instruments are languid to the point of almost blending into each other and into the celestial sphere, but the music is not meant to be rushed. The songs dictate the pace, not the other way around. There are enough surprising and interesting vocal & chord changes to keep the album from sounding indistinguishable from other alt-country records. The gentle way they integrate bits of guitar to augment the vocals add something unexpected. The delicacy of the guitar work actually reminds me of Red House Painters. Like those of RHP, these songs are sparse, but they're solidly structured and well-defined. The album feels finished--not underdone and certainly not overstated. They manage to make "You Are My Sunshine" sound majestic with a depth my childhood renditions never brought to it. The old standard is drawn out into something Yo La Tengo-ish--long, languid, quiet, yet intense. Not surprising to find a Yo La Tengo influence; the band has a song called "Lullabye For Yo La Tengo No. 2" on their website (they may even have a Lullabye for Yo La Tengo No.1--I'm not sure).

The lyrics convey stories (or sometimes just impressions) of people trying to cope, people trying to connect and Claire Danes (the three Cs). The Lesser Birds have very creative song titles--"Claire Danes, If You Ever Get A Nose Job, I Swear To Jesus I'll Hang Myself" being the longest, the most creative, and possibly the most disturbing. The song doesn't seem to be about Claire Danes--he doesn't mention her name by name. He just uses the pronoun "she", and goes on to say that butterflies like her, whoever this "her" is (Is it Claire? Will we ever know?) "So The Bear Wipes His Ass With The Rabbit" seems to be about human pain, life and desires, embodied on a small scale in a collection of animals (or it could be taken literally--I don't pretend to have authoritative insight into the lyrics. For the sake of the rabbit, I hope it's not literal). "Take The Leaves" is about being deceived by someone we care about, look up to, but don't necessarily trust. "I Envy The Photons" seems to be about someone being pushed around by science, but finding someone special (love?) because of this very thing.

It can seem maddening not to have clear definition of meaning, but with songs as delicate as these, a certain amount of obtuseness adds to the mystique. It's hard to say what any one song is "about"--the songs don't act as a lyrical snapshot. At least one song does seem to have a very specific agenda, however: In "Do You Remember When (We Overthrew The Government"), the singer asks a character, Catherine, if she remembers overthrowing the government with him . If Catherine doesn't remember, then I worry for her, but it makes for a good song.

If you want a CD that makes you wish everyday life could be as simple, wonderful and straightforward as this collection of songs seems to indicate, then this will be a find for you. If you want to rock out (which is good--I love rocking out), then let me introduce you to the music of one folk muse from the 80s, Joan Jett.

~~Lola Lariscy

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Five Songs I'm Loving This Week

Little Ones, "Lovers Who Uncover"

I've been listening to this for a few weeks, actually. I always perk up a little when it comes on (a little--this is me, afterall). It reminds me of some of the other 60's inspired bands I like like The Aisler's Set and anything on Notlame (but shhh...don't call it "power pop" I hate that name--this isn't Britney or Beyonce we're talking about. It's better). As their website says, "they are the little ones".
The Little Ones, Sing Song cover

Ill Lit, "Satan's Doing Fine Without Me"

Heh heh. I just gotta love the name of that song. The name of the band is appropriate for me, too, considering I was a very ill-tempered English major (Why did I always wait until the last minute to write papers? Why do I always wait until the last minute to do my Five Songs post? Why do I ask these questions?) The song itself is surprisingly mild-mannered for conjuring the man in red. It's kinda alt-country, but what other genre sings so eloquently about sin than country? It's appropriate. What's not so appropriate is the name of their album. Tom Cruise? Why? Isn't he overexposed already? Maybe that's why they did it...or maybe they're going after that coveted country-lovin' Scientology demographic. I'm sure it's there, somewhere. I tried to find lyrics to figure out where ole' red horn comes in, but no luck. Their Myspace and their website.

Feist, "Fighting Away The Tears" (scroll down to #13)

I love Leslie Feist. Love her, love her, love her. She's one of the best female artists out there (though I guess Feist is considered a band--it's her and her partner Gonzalez). Listen to the song, though--It's so engaging! Is it as engaging as "Mushaboom"? I don't know. I don't think a song can truly be as engaging as that one--it wasn't a song so much as it was a being. That song was an individual. So is this song like that one? Well, no, of course not, silly. But it's still frikkin' awesome. She originally did this song with someone named Mocky (I wonder if that's a fake Rocky--like Tofurkey is fake turkey) but this version is her solo, live. It's a nice, swaying song. With all the authority of someone completely unversed in Latin music, I'll say it has a slight Latin feel to me. It's Bossa Nova-y (whatever that means). Her label site and her official site.

Leslie Feist, of Feist

The Stairs, "This Town Let Me Down Again" (Scroll down till you reach the album On Sleep Lab--about a third of the way down)

Okay, so it doesn't start out with the happiest lyric: "I hate it when you're alive" someone's only alive part of the time? Oh, damn, she's alive again. I hate it when she does that. Still, it's a nifty song. I mentioned them last week as having spawned another band I like, Hallelujah The Hills (whose song "Wave Backwards To Massachussetts" I posted last week) and being somehow related to another band I like, The Motel Candlewasters. All of these songs are on this one webpage. It's a shame The Stairs have broken up; I'm really impressed with this and the other songs I've heard. I feel foolish for never having heard them before, but I'm glad I've gotten to hear them now.

The Stairs


Regia, "Something For Nothing"

I put this under "retroactive" because it is 4 years old. I had no idea it was an older song, though--all I knew was it had taken up permanent residence in my head and I wanted to succomb to the catchiness. I didn't first hear it until a few weeks ago when In House With Jeremy Peterson played it--I was so impressed that I searched and scoured the internet for it and finally, giving up, went to Musicmatch and paid 99 cents for it. I know--it's a travesty (contemplates the irony in trying to finding a song called "Something For Nothing" for nothing. Thinks of the meta-ness.) So, here it is, Ye Olde Yousendit link. It's only good for seven days, so please don't sue me. I'm poor. I tried to find more about the band, but according to Pitchfork, it's a one-off project, so I'm guessin' that's why mention of them is sparse on the internet. According to the article, the guy behind Regia, Louis Schefano, is also involved in another project, this one named Louis (after himself, perhaps?)

Regia, The Art Of Navigation cover