Sunday, June 22, 2008

Songs That Might Otherwise Pass You By

**These aren't direct downloads--if you click on the link, it'll take you to a webpage where you can both listen to the song and download it. I posted the songs using Zshare because two of the songs were sent to me directly from the artists, and one of them ("Dance, Dance, Dance") is downloadable through Paste Music, but I wouldn't be able to to link directly to the song--I'd have to link to 100 songs and you'd have to find the song in the list, and that was just too cumbersome**

Lykke Li, "Dance, Dance, Dance" (I got the song from Paste Magazine downloads. I reposted it on Zshare to make it easier to download).

This song actually leaves me a little textless. I'm not sure what to write. I love it because it's just so cool. It's so minimalistic, but there's still so much there. It even has cowbells. The bass is so driving, but in a song as sparse as this, anything persistant sounds urgent. This song even has a frikkin' saxophone (or it might be the keyboard equivalent; it's hard for me to tell). I love the singer's voice. She kind of closes all of her words, like the singer from The Divinyls, but without the overt sexuality. Her voice is so light and so lilting that if it were a feather, I don't think it would ever land. It would just keep floating in the wind, hovering above the song, hovering above everything. Underneath, a deep male voice intones "dance, dance, dance", which just adds to the heavier undercurrent of the song, grounding the song. The addition of the female singers at the end, washing the final moments of the song over with a lovely, light (but not as light as the singer's almost intangible voice) chorus of "dance, dance, dance". If you remember the early 90's TV show Twin Peaks, you may remember Julee Cruise from the soundtrack. She had an incredible song called "Rockin' Back Inside Your Heart" from her CD Floating Into The Night. That song did something that seemed wholeheartedly unlikely until that moment: she made a song that was kind of a gently rocking throwback to the pop songs of the sixties, but she made it ethereal, otherworldly. I haven't heard anything like it since. "Dance, Dance, Dance" kind of makes me think the same way, though. It's very upbeat--it's kind of a rockin' song, but a rockin' song made by like aliens, or faeries, or something.


Photo of Lykke Li by Marcus Palmqvist

The Ascetic Junkies, "Windows Sell The House" (The band gave me permission to post the mp3)

Is this a song about real estate? Is this a song about love? I'm not sure--sometimes the two are inextricable. In this case, the song uses the metaphor of being locked indoors, in a basement, in his room, and feeling locked out from his love (or his real estate agent?). He says you learn to live from "cell to cell", forgetting the "life outside the window". After all, he says, the "windows sell the house". The link to the outside is the best part of the house.

The energy is the best part of this song. Full of stomps, handclaps, wildly played guitar and even a touch of piano, this song is a great example of the modern bluegrass music that's been growing all over the country, from the deepest deltas of bluegrass country to the edges of the country, like Portland, Oregan, where The Ascetic Junkies call home. One of the things I love so much about modern independent music is that there are no genre restrictions. You can have a song called "Dracula" and not be goth. You can be from Portland and play bluegrass. It's a cool new world, as far as music is considered.

Sonic Bids site

The Ascetic Junkies have solved the problem of always being locked out. They now have no doors or walls.

McClain, "Central Park" (Link expired).

This is the kind of song that makes me actually get out of my chair, go over to the windows and open the blinds. Until I started listening to this song today, I hadn't looked outside to see that it's a beautiful day. Blue skies, a few white clouds...of course, with this being Florida, it's going to be hot outside, but for a little while I can pretend that there's a breeze outside. Who knows--maybe I'll walk down to the river in a little bit and sit and watch the boats go by. Maybe I'll revel in the one day of the week (Sunday) where there aren't dozens of cars streaming by every minute. It's funny how one lovely folk song--reverently whispered vocals, a lightly picked guitar and a soaring violin--can change one's day around so drastically. Prior to listening to this song I was just internally fussing because I'd finished my coffee and dangit I didn't want to spend all day writing this post. Now I want to go outside and exist quietly. Now I want a hammock, or at least a rocking chair.


Photo of McClain by Justin Wright

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