Sunday, September 07, 2008

Songs That Might Otherwise Pass You By

Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos, "Love Song for a Schuba's Bartender" (Not a direct link)

This is a very intriguing blend of alt-country and electronica. We have the mouth-organ (or harmonica as ye city dwellers call it), but we also have a sparse, spacy electronic keyboard line floating throughout. The singer breathes out the vocals--hushed, as if he's worried he'll overtake the delicate music. The instruments and vocals intertwine, forming a gauzy piece of music that could unravel at a tiny pinprick, but holds together beautifully so long as it's not tampered with. It's kind of space age folk music. Never thought I'd use that description, but there it is. Spacemen 3 as if they were raised in the Mid-West. I thought I'd heard every type of folk music. It's nice to be surprised.

Blink or you'll miss it: This is one of those rare times I post a song from a major-label band. I gotta really love the song, and I do. I first played this band 2 1/2 years ago.

I'm not sure which one is Margot, but that dude in the middle sure looks like he's about to go nuclear. Best watch out for him.

Two Sheds, "You"

I don't post a whole lot of blues or soul music, but that's surprising considering how much I loved Billie Holiday. Well, not many people can harken to that classic American singer without sounding like they're trying too hard. There's a natural, unself-conscious ode to Ms. Holiday in this song: the soulful, sensual way the singer molds her words, taking her time with each syllable--letting each note hang until it tips over, like ripened fruit from a tree. The music supports her rich vocals well; the instruments don't outpace her. They wisely hang back--the slow pace complimenting her style and matching the lulling tempo of the song.

Website (more mp3s available on their site)

Two Sheds, photo by Mike Rafter

Ugly Suit, "Chicago"

Lackadaisical is one of my favorite words. Now to me, it means carefree, willful meandering, unconcerned about deadlines. To me, that's a positive thing, but makes it sound so...apathetic. That's not how I define the word, and lackadaisical (my definition) is what I think of when I hear Uglysuit's "Chicago". They're meandering through the song, intentionally taking their time: enjoying the song, enjoying their playing. The singer quite contently "drift[s] off so that [he] think[s] that [he] can fly, into a world of windy dreams." Of course the carefree analogy takes on a cruel caricature when you realize (as I did partway through the song) that the song is about someone freezing: "The temperatures dropped to a stunning three degrees and [he] can hardly feel [his] legs". He takes his mind away, to thoughts of windy Chicago. Yeah, turns out that contentment I sensed was really probably the subject's last thoughts before death, but hey, they were very positive thoughts...

Label Site

The Uglysuit are carefree (as is the guy in the middle's hair)

1 comment:

musictastesgood said...

Love this band...
The whole album is great. One that has been in constant rotation since I got it, one that you can listen to from beginning to end and enjoy every minute of it. They also put on one hell of a live show, so check them out on the road if you get the chance.