Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Eleni Mandell - Woman of Many Genres

Although Eleni Mandell has a deep back catalog dating back to 1998, the first experience I had with her (quite recently) was the uber-catchy song Girls, from her soon to be released (February 6th) album Miracle of Five. If you, like me, haven't had the pleasure of Eleni's music, I suggest taking her for a spin.

The one thing that strikes me as most enjoyable about the 12 songs on the album is how effortlessly and seamlessly Eleni switches from genre to genre: from sax-infused songs that feel like they hail from Ella Fitzgerald's song books (the opening Moonglow, Lamp Low) to country twang (try Dear Friend) and back to a jazzy sultriness (Beautiful). Interspaced between are straight out acoustic ditties with only light instrumention flitting around in the background; the focus here is on Eleni's vocalistic ability and beauty.

Eleni Mandell - Moonglow, Lamp Low : Miracle of Five

Eleni Mandell - Girls : Miracle of Five

From her last album...

Eleni Mandell - Dangerous
: Afternoon

Also, if you're a member of eMusic, many of her previous releases are available there.

Visit her website, her label Zedtone Records, and become her friend on MySpace.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Least Profound Post Ever

So the other day I was listening to Queen. The following song came on:

...and then a revelation occurred to me. Was Sir Mix-a-Lot a Queen fan? Did he draw his inspiration from Fat Bottomed Girls when he sang this song:

Like the title of this post suggests...perhaps the least profound thought I've had in a while, but one I had to share never-the-less.

Friday, January 26, 2007

New Page France

If you haven't heard the news, Page France is planning on releasing their third album May 8th. Included on this new release is the following song:

Page France - Me, Violin and Dancing Bear : ...and the Family Telephone

I was lucky enough to see them last month on their last tour with Denison Witmer and Anathallo (review here). Check out this short piece from Pitchfork to see when they're traveling to a town near you on their upcoming tour with Headlights.

And since it's finally turned bitter cold up here in New England, here's another track from them:

Page France - Antarctica (My Beloved Home) : Sister Pinecone

Visit their website, their label Suicide Squeeze Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Albums I Missed - Asobi Seksu

So with 2006 a year for the history books, it's time to look back and see what I missed while letting things like bills, work, and cleaning get in the way.

With a band name that translates to "playful sex" in English, I REALLY have no idea how I missed the boat on this album. Asobi Seksu released their sophomore effort, Citrus, last May or so, and ever since I've seen their name and that catchy orange album artwork here, there, and everywhere. Luckily, my ol' friend eMusic has several albums to choose from, including their latest.

If you also are a little late to give Asobi Seksu a whirl, expect a wide musical panorama. From slow, lush dreamscapes to churning, squealing guitar driven songs, Citrus playfully runs the gamut of musical backdrops to support the vocals of Yuki Chikudate effortlessly and seamlessly switching between English and Japanese. Think one part 80's fun-pop, one part Moby in his ambient phase, and one part 99 Luftballons. (which I guess could be considered a second part of 80's fun-pop!)

Asobi Seksu - Thursday
: Citrus

Asobi Seksu - Lions And Tigers : Citrus

and one from their self-titled debut...

Asobi Seksu - I'm Happy But You Don't Like Me : Asobi Seksu

Visit their website, their label Friendly Fire Recording, and become their friend on MySpace


Nena - 99 Luftballons (German version) : Totally 80's

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Grand-Daddy of them all List

The folks over at Indie For Bunnies have devoted countless hours and manpower in computing the top 100 albums of 2006. How, you may ask, did they come up with their results? Dozens of esteemed experts (somehow I managed to be included as well) from blogs from every corner of the internet contributed their top 10 lists. Each place on these collected lists was assigned a point value (10 points for 1st, 9 points for 2nd, and so on until 1 point for 10th) Axel and company tallied the points for all albums mentioned in the gathered lists and ABRA KADABRA....the top 100 list was created!

Although my list doesn't typically coincide with others' tastes, I find that perusing others' lists helps me pick up on albums that I should have listened to but missed somehow. In the last few weeks, this has included Cat Power's "The Greatest", Cansei De Ser Sexy's self-titled album, and Beirut's "Gulag Orkestar". Regardless, head over to Indie For Bunnies and see how your list compares.


L7 - Shitlist : Natural Born Killers Soundtrack

Neko Case - Blacklisted : Blacklisted

Pearl Jam - Wishlist : Rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Don't Let the Dream Die

On April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, TN.

Several days later, on April 7th, Nina Simone performed at the Westbury Music Fair. The following three songs, performed that evening (including Why? (The King of Love is Dead), which was a special tribute penned by Nina's bassist Gene Taylor, for the first time) were later dubbed the "Martin Luther King Suite."

With the exception of Mississippi Goddam, these songs can be found on Nina's album 'Nuff Said, although they're edited and the show is incomplete. If anyone reading this is aware of a complete and unedited recording of the show that night, please let me know about it.

Nina Simone - Sunday In Savanah (live) : The Very Best of Nina Simone, 1967-1972 : Sugar In My Bowl

Nina Simone - Why? (The King of Love is Dead) (live) : The Very Best of Nina Simone, 1967-1972 : Sugar In My Bowl

Nina Simone - Mississippi Goddam(live) : The Very Best of Nina Simone, 1967-1972 : Sugar In My Bowl

If you are a teacher or parent who is interested in how you can fight hate and promote tolerance, please visit and Teaching Tolerance.

Denison Witmer - Are You A Dreamer? : Happy Birthday Denison (studio version on Are You A Dreamer?)

Johnny Cash - Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream (live) : At Madison Square Garden, 12/5/69

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Grace Potter - live goodies

I've been a fan of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals since I got my hands on a copy of their latest release, Nothing But the Water, and got a chance to see them play live. For those of you who haven't had the good fortune to witness Grace first hand, check out the News page of her website to see some video footage of Grace and company playing Treat Me Right in Baltimore (the audio version is below for your downloading pleasure) and Stop the Bus at Red Rocks.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Treat Me Right (live) : Live at the 8 X 10 Club in Baltimore 9-14-06 (studio version on Nothing But the Water)


Visit their website and become their friend on MySpace.

To read my review of the album, CLICK HERE, and to read my review of the show, CLICK HERE INSTEAD.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Grates - Get You PUMPED!

Although I've had The Grates' album, Gravity Won't Get You High, for a while, somehow it got lost in the shuffle and it wasn't until very recently that I actually gave it the listen it deserved. I happened to give it a spin while going nowhere on the treadmill and it pumped me up like Rocky listening to Eye Of the Tiger. Seriously though, this album has got lots of energy to it.

If you're one of the six people besides me who haven't been jamming to this album for the last 6 months, give it a try. you won't be disappointed. Trampoline, the track I'm serving up below, is one of the catchiest of the bunch and invariably the one I go to first before starting at the beginning.

The Grates - Trampoline : Gravity Won't Get You High

Visit their website, their label Dew Process, and become their friend on MySpace.
Bonus Tracks to listen to while running up stairs!

Survivor - Eye Of the Tiger : Eye of the Tiger

Emm Gryner - Eye of the Tiger (Survivor Cover) : Live at The Point 4-6-02 (Buy some Emm)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

All Apologies

Last year it was EZ Archive that decided it couldn't be the affordable salvation of bloggers everywhere. Now it's File Lodge that's on the fritz. For any of you who have been trying to download any songs beyond the last few posts (which have been waiting for you via File Den), my apologies. File Lodge is "Down for maintenance," which means I've got no game to bring to the court.

As restitution for all of your attempted downloads, accept these two songs (stored in the mythical world of File Den) with my sincere apologies and my hope that you will come back to visit again.

Sinead O'Connor - All Apologies (Live Nirvana cover) : Live some place and some time

Franz Ferdinand & Jane Birkin - A Song For Sorry Angel : Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited

More Christmas Goodies

It's no coincidence that my other favorite gift is a recording from an artist also on my 11 Albums of 2006 list. Although I didn't numerically rank them, The Animal Years, by Josh Ritter, would most definitely have medaled in the the top three. That being said, when I opened up In the Dark - Live at Vicar Street 2006 on Christmas morning, I was just as excited (if not more so) than my 2 year old daughter reading the note Santa left for her next to the plate where she had placed a cookie for him.

This album, available only in Ireland or via mail-order, is actually a two disc set. This is what Josh's website has to say about it:
Recorded over two sold-out nights at the Vicar Street theater earlier this year, IN THE DARK is Josh's first full-length live album and accompanying DVD. The set features nearly 20 songs from the shows, from the crowd sing-alongs "Kathleen" and "Me & Jiggs" to the snowflake-intimacy of "One More Mouth" and (the rather epic) "Thin Blue Flame."

Directed by Dennis Fitzgerald, the film is just that: a film, not just a live document. It features several performances from the shows, as well as interview footage and a selection of backstage and soundcheck performances (including several songs *not* included on the live CD.)

The CD+DVD set features deluxe gatefold packaging and exclusive photos by Dave Hingerty. (This is one we feel you'll want to own, not just burn to the iPod).

Unless you're planning a jaunt over to Ireland sometime soon, order In the Dark from Road Records. While you're waiting for yours to arrive, enjoy the following:

Josh Ritter - Best For the Best (live) : In the Dark- Live at Vicar Street 2006

Visit his website, his label V2, and become his friend on MySpace.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Christmas Booty

Not surprisingly, my two best gifts this year for Christmas were both musical in nature.

It seems that my post to Santa got to the big man, because I did in fact get the Frank Sinatra box set Vegas that I was yearning for.

Four CDs of music, one DVD with video, all of the Chairman of the Board doing what he did best...swinging in Vegas like no other man before or after has done better. Honestly folks, Sinatra had a swagger that you have to listen to live to fully appreciate. And for those of us who weren't around to see him in person, recordings like these are the next best thing. If you are a Sinatra afficionado, this box set is just what the doctor ordered. There are certainly other live albums that capture the magic, but this collection is a nice slice of shows previously unavailable (one from '61, '66, '82, and '87 and the video from '78).

Looking for some cheaper live alternatives? Check out these albums:
Live in Australia, 1959 (with Red Norvo) - Although the sound quality on this is a little sub-par, this is still a great early performance by Frank.

Sinatra & Sextet: Live in Paris
- Great sound, a great set, and wonderful banter by Frank.

Summit: In Concert
- Although well known as the rat pack, Sinatra and pallies preferred to be called the Summit. This recording, from '62, captures the irreverent banter that was typical of Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr.
Already have these, then go for broke with the newly released set, Vegas. While you're waiting for it to arrive, here are some goodies to tide you over:

Frank Sinatra - The One I Love Belongs To Someone Else : Vegas, Disc 1 (live at the Sands, 11-61)

Frank Sinatra - Don't Worry 'Bout Me
: Vegas, Disc 2 (live at the Sands, 1-66 and 2-66)

Frank Sinatra - Get Me To The Church On Time : Vegas, Disc 3 (live at Caeser's Palace 3-82)

Frank Sinatra - Pennies From Heaven
: Vegas, Disc 4 (live at the Golden Nugget 4-87)