16 December 2005

my last post for the year. maybe.

thank you : china crisis
click on mona below to listen

I’m blogging from the airport, waiting for my flight for a two-week break. I had planned a proper year-end post with my own list of the best songs of 2005 (everybody else does albums) but it looks like that will have to wait. The past couple of weeks have been quite hectic.

Looking back on the past year, this blog has been one of the highlights for me. I started it primarily as a very personal project – I just wanted to have a creative outlet. I write for a living and this is a good counterbalance to the kind of material I deal with every day. I enjoy sharing the songs I like, I enjoy writing about them (most of the time), and I’m overjoyed that nearly every visitor who sends feedback through comments or e-mails appreciates my posts. Hence, this song, by China Crisis. Best known for their 80s hits Wishful Thinking and African and White, China Crisis continued to produce songs through the 90s, albeit in obscurity. Thank You comes from their mid-90s album Warped by Success, which is an excellent adult-alternative effort that’s very different from their New Wave days. Enjoy the smooth vocals and soothing melody of the song, which is just the kind of sound we need for the holidays.

Have fun and enjoy the season, whatever it is you're celebrating. And have a great new year, too.

08 December 2005

this title will change

I wish I had the time to write more about the following songs. But I've wasted enough time surfing already and it's time to go to bed. Oh well. Enjoy.

burn that broken bed : calexico | iron and wine
listening time : 5m 06s

Listen to this song with noise-cancelling earphones. Burn That Broken Bed – and in fact all songs in In The Reins, a collaborative project of Joey Burns of Calexico and Sam Beam of Iron and Wine – is such an interplay of hushed vocals and instrumentations that the best way to appreciate it is in isolation in a dark corner of a room. Every lilt, pluck, beat and hum brushes like a young feather against your skin. This seven-song, 27-minute EP has been on repeat in my iPod for a few days now, and it only gets better each listen. Beam and Burns are (often wrongly) labeled as sadcore, but In the Reins is celebratory. A review from Pitchfork.

homesick : the finn brothers
listening time : 3m 48s

This is my anthem for the month. I'm flying home! I'll be reading at my best female friend's wedding on the 17th in a chilly mountain resort, and I will have the chance to go around before I see my family for Christmas and New Year. So I'm using the occasion to post this song by The Finn Brothers, the guys responsible for the great Crowded House. Whether solo, part of a group, or working with brother Tim, New Zealand-born vocalist Neil Finn has always written songs about journeys and coming home, no doubt because he has been in exile most of his life, in Australia where Crowded House hit the big time in the 80s, and then touring and recording everywhere since. Everyone is Here, for example, was recorded last year in LA. A review from The Guardian.

winter in the hamptons : josh rouse
listening time : 3m 08s

I like Josh Rouse. He's filled with goodwill. Winter in the Hamptons is probably the least country of all the songs in his album Nashville, which seemingly is a departure from his alt-country roots, but I love its mixture of energy and lethargy. Probably half the songs in the album show that Rouse doesn't always write the most interesting melodies, but he more than makes up for it with witty songwriting. My favorite line from my other favorite song, It's the Nighttime: And maybe later on/After the late Late Show/We can go to your room/I can try on your clothes. How fun is that? A review from Stylus magazine.

04 December 2005

sub-one minute stuff : interludes and fillers

click on the corresponding number for instant gratification!

1 : are you coming down this weekend? : his name is alive : 18s
2 : roi (reprise) : the breeders : 42s
3 : pantala naga pampa : dave matthews band : 40s
4 : germaine : sinéad o'connor : 38s
5 : go free : moby : 38s
6 : enormously wealthy : utah phillips : 43s
7 : country mike's theme : the beastie boys : 35s
8 : rollercoaster : shoestrings : 49s
9 : i'll kill ya : dialogue from lock stock & two smoking barrels : 42s
10 : parachutes : coldplay : 46s
11 : let's hear that string part again, because i don't think they heard it all the way out in bushnell : sufjan stevens : 40s
12 : like a virgin : dialogue from reservoir dogs : 58s
13 : dead duck : badly drawn boy : 46s