Sunday, January 20, 2008

Songs That Might Otherwise Pass You By

Jong Pang, "Stains On Your Sweater" (Thanks to Fingertips for the tip on this)

This is a strange and fascinating song. The music is urgent, tense, but not heavy. The singer's voice is cutting and clear, like a cloudless blue sky on a very cold day. The song makes me think of a frozen scene just beginning to thaw and come to life. The guitar is the first vestiges of movement, struggling to bring the song's world back to life. The voice is urging the world to follow.

Label Myspace

Anders Rhedin is Jong Pang

The Cave Singers, "Seeds of Night"

This is the kind of band I'd love to see live in a very closed, small venue--like an in-store performance. But of course I live in Jacksonville, and all of the record stores have died, so I will settle for mp3s and videos. Still, if I close my eyes, assume the sitting-on-the-floor-cross-legged pose, I can transport myself to another land, another place in this country where record stores still exist. I can feel the hush come over the small audience as the singer's stretchy, warbled voice punches the close walls, bouncing back and mingling with the quiet, understated guitar plucks. I can imagine I'm sitting right in front of the horn player, who bursts out confidently at the end, adding just a few seconds of extra instrumentation, but complimenting the melody very well.

Label Site

The Cave Singers, not in a cave

Alela Diane, "Dry Grass and Shadows"

I've only been to Louisiana and Tennessee once, I've never been to West Virginia or Kentucky. So, I've never been to the parts of the U.S. traditionally known as hubs for Bluegrass musicians. Still, being raised in the Southern U.S., I've been steeped in the style, and it's become one of my favorites. Roots music is music that's close to the ground, close to the life and the death that has it's origins in the earth. It's as humid as a Louisiana swamp, as haunted as a Southern cemetary and as vibrant as a New Orleans Mardi Gras. I don't know much about Alela Diane (I know more now that I've started spelling her name right), but I know that she, also not from a traditionally bluegrass state, makes music that is pouring over with humidity, hauntedness and vibrancy. She knows how to wrap her voice around a melody and push and pull on a song until it is under her will. Her voice harnesses the melody, but never strips it. Instead she merely matches its power with her own.

More songs available
Buy at eMusic

Alela Diane

No comments: