Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Madi Diaz - Mixtape material

Ten Gun Salute, the new EP from Madi Diaz has gone from being a pleasurable EP with one or two great songs on it to one that I truly enjoy from beginning to end as a solid half hour of music. It's her second release (the first was 2006's Skin and Bone), but the first that I've experienced of her music. It carries subtle traces which remind me of a handful of artists that I enjoy, when put together, really floats my boat. As this post's title suggests, there's some really good mixtape material here: melodic, melancholic, lyrically comprehensible music that carries a lot of emotional weight. Here's the track line-up and suggested uses:

1.) Let's Go - perfect for that mixtape you're giving that quasi-significant other who you want to take to the next level

let's go / to a place i know / we'd be so / oh-oh-oh / oh, let's go

2.) Nothing At All - perfect for the break-up mixtape

if you're wondering, no / i haven't thought of you since this afternoon / if you're just stopping by, go / i've got so many interesting things to do / but not with you

3.) Heavy Heart - perfect for the post-break-up mixtape when you've gotten over them but still feel like loneliness incarnate

unpacking boxes / lighter things went on top / down at the bottom / all of the things i forgot / my heavy heart

4.) Love You Now - perfect for the mixtape you make to try and slap some sense into that significant other

i leave my porch light on / unlock my front door / 'til you decide to keep me waiting / what you waiting for / wasting time on you / more than i like / spent picking up the pieces that you leave behind

5.) I Know I Know - originally my favorite song on the EP , bumped to #2 by the next song - perfect for the mixtape you make after the one you included track four in to slap sense into them fails and they're still an idiot

there was a time we / grew steady and slowly / but i'm picking up / i know i know / i gotta let you go / i know

6.) Ten Gun Salute - one of the most beautifully melancholic songs I've heard in a long while. EXTREMELY reminiscent of Guyville era Liz Phair (think Explain It To Me) about remembering someone who's passed away and wishing to just be able to watch them fall asleep again. the simple pleasures we take for granted. ironically, the song i love best, and least suited for a mixtape - i suppose you could take it metaphorically and include it on a mixtape of depression for someone you can't be with in general. i can listen to this track on repeat

i don't have to placate / celebrate for name sake / i'm celebrating ways / to make you fumble in your grave / i won't wear my black suit / or watch the ten gun salute / or sit upon my knees waiting silent in the breeze for you to wake up / i just want to watch you / want to watch you fall asleep

7.) Just Be Quiet - this one I haven't quite pegged yet. it's hard to tell whether Madi would rather have the dream over the real "you" in this song

i told you where i lived / so jump over the back fence / stand beneath my window / quiet, i am dreaming over you / just quiet, i am dreaming over you


All in all, a solid seven songs of music well worth the price of admission. Incidentally, I explored Madi's first album to see how her sound has evolved. Compared to this EP, her older material has a much stronger alt-country feel to it (think Sarah Borges, and try Canvas below, one of the less twangy songs from it) while the EP has a much more alt-pop taste (the Liz Phair connection I made earlier as well as a newer band, KaiserCartel - although a little more openly emotive).

Visit her website and become her friend on MySpace.


Jane said...

Well, Sean, thanks to you I have made good use of my emusic downloads today! I couldn't get Nothing At All out of my head (I love poppy break-up tunes), and since I do also enjoy alt-country from time to time, I downloaded a few tracks from Skin and Bone. I think I like Canvas best, but the closing track, We Were Wrong, moves me. Something about the way she sings "is my being here enough" gets under my skin.

Just one last comment. Before today I had not had the pleasure of hearing KaiserCartel -- where have I been? Blue Sky is so sweet. Courtney Kaiser's vocals remind me of Patty Griffin and Sally Ellyson.

Thanks again.

Sean said...


I'm so glad you got the EP. It really is a solid chunk of emotions (and I completely share the poppy break-up enjoyment feeling).

As far as KaiserCartel goes, their album easily slots in my top ten list of 2008. Easily. I agree with your comparison as well.

Glad to have turned you on to some good tunes.