Welcome to the Sunday Scoop, wherein we share with you the whos and whats of the most recent Friday Fiver! Loved the comments on these – the more frequently we do this, the more I begin to predict what our “regulars” will and won’t like, and I’ll admit to sometimes even throwing one in just to see the colorful reactions it gets! Y’all never disappoint – LOL!
So, this time, before I spill the beans, I’ll give you MY verdicts:
1. Yes. 2. YES. 3. HELL YES! 4. ABSOFREAKINGLUTELYES!! ( ALTHOUGH NOT AS YES AS THE ORIGINAL) 5. Meh.
(Read on for more detail…)
Track 1: The Origin of Slaves – Cairo Knife Fight
Got this in from some music PR buds, along with the obligatory info sheet…but I always try to listen BEFORE I read or look at anything. (I figure it’s only fair, especially since I’m asking YOU for reactions based on the same criteria, yes?) Well, I think Mr. Lucky nailed it with his NIN/My Sharona reference on the intro, but I also heard Bowie before the Beck falsetto comparison came in. The riffs started to even out the drums, and I stopped hearing any similarities and just enjoyed the irreverently layered intensity.
Then, I read the liner notes. Turns out that delightful cacophony was produced by just TWO GUYS…two incredibly hard working guys who just happened to have shared the stage with Them Crooked Vultures (2010), Queens of the Stone Age (2011) and Foo Fighters (2011). They took last years’ CMJ Music Fest by storm, and are planning a 2012 assault on SXSW in Austin. No WONDER I like them!
True, the sound is nothing like what you’d expect me to like…but that’s the fun of it. There’s no excitement in sameness, no matter how comfortable it may be. I like that Cairo Knife Fight MADE me listen, and had me engaged before the song’s end. I predict this will be the most entertaining twosome to come out of New Zealand since Flight of the Conchords, and if you’re at ALL aware of my love for all things Jemaine and Bret, then you’re recognize that to be high praise, indeed!
Track 2: My Wilderness – Piers Faccini
Ahhhh, Piers Faccini. He’s just all kinds of richly layered comfort. Half Italian, born in England, raised in France, lover of poetry, art and music – he’s an all around artist whose myriad talent can be heard in his soulful harmonies and unique rhythm. His ethereal sound has been compared to Nick Drake – no small compliment there.
Piers has been all over the folk/singer/songwriter tour circuit, and can be seen currently appearing here with Grace Potter, there with Bob Schneider – both of whom are frequent fixtures on my personal playlists. Verily, there are many layers to this onion, and I look forward to peeling and experiencing more and more!
Track 3: Street Corner Preacher – Amos Lee
Fair warning – I love Amos Lee, and I do believe that this track, from his Last Days at the Lodge CD, was the first of his that I ever heard. He’s a Philly boy with South Carolina “smooth”, a soulful folkster, a musician who can touch on many genres yet always creates his own impression.
He was signed to the Blue Note Records and immediately collaborated with Norah Jones. He’s put out four CDs, tours relentlessly and has opened for Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, Paul Simon, Merle Haggard, Van Morrison, John Prine, Dave Matthews Band and Adele …if that tells you anything.
(It SHOULD tell you to look a little deeper into this cat!)
So, I loved Kathryn’s comment that this sounded rather “Robert Plantesque”…I’m sure the Golden God (ref: Mari) will be pleased to know he still can manage a fair imitation of himself. (totally kidding. But you have to admit the humor in that…)
Of course, I picked this track from the Raising Sand collaboration album with Alison Krauss (and produced by the great T Bone Burnett) because there’s a connection to my beloved Townes Van Zandt. He wrote Nothin’, and while I do enjoy Robert’s twist on it here, I’ll always love Townes’ original best. I suppose it’s because I have a hard time believing RP ever had feelings so low and desperate as to spawn lyrics like “sorrow and solitude, these are the precious things, and the only words that are worth remembering” and “your back ain’t strong enough for burdens doublefold; they’ll crush you down…down into nothin’…” To his credit, though, I think maybe HE realized that disconnect as well, and made up for it in his unique and haunting musical arrangement.
Either way…it works for me. Check out the Townes’ version below, though, and tell me which you like best:
Track 5: Murder 1 – WAZU
Man, not much love for Wazu ’round here, eh? But y’know, if you are now or ever were a fan of the likes of Talking Heads, David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, Kate Bush, The The, Lady Gaga, Muse,or MGMT…you might want to pause and give this Australian/American genderbending glam/grunge/electronica/new wave duo another shot. They are, afterall, cut from a similar cloth.
Gotta give props to experimentalists…those who push the envelope and dare to blaze their own trails. Given the choice between a WAZU tune and a bubble gum wanna be rap auto-tune fiasco that was written FOR and not by a teenybopper artist, I’ll choose WAZU every time.
Hey, that was fun! Thanks for playing along, and I hope you’ve seen, heard or read something that causes you to re-listen to at least one track with new ears. If so, share – we’d love to hear your musical musings!