Thursday, February 26, 2009

Theresa and Neko

The creative juices haven't been on the fritz so much as the impetus to actually write. My B yo, my b. You may be curious as to what has been keeping me musically or culturally occupied. The Oscars happened and thankfully finished a shade before Midnight. My personal opinion is that if they want more ratings and want to make the show shorter they need to cut the show down to the "premium" awards; 10 awards tops. That way every award is interesting or the audience actually cares and doesn't lean over to someone and say, "what's the difference between sound mixing and sound editing?" As for music, the montage/medley of the 3 nominated songs was pretty shoddy. You can kinda see why Peter Gabriel told the producers to suck it. As for the winner (Jai Ho) it was definitely the catchiest tune of the three. In addition, if the producers/ABC were looking for ratings it sucked not to have Bruce Springsteen there with the song from The Wrestler that he won a Golden Globe for a few weeks prior. I won't get into the awards because at this point it's "old news." I will say, however, Dustin Lance Black gave the best speech of the evening after winning Best Original Screenplay.

In other news, I've been listening to Theresa Andersson's newest album Hummingbird, Go! mainly because I saw her one recent night on Conan before he started his move to L.A. She's literally a one-woman band. Performing barefoot on a carpet with loop pedals, violin, tambourine, multiple vocal tracks, guitar, keyboard, etc. It was really cool to see on TV. She has one of those voices that comes from a previous time period that makes you think the music is older or vintage but it's not. I was forced to classify her music to a person riding in my car the other day and I said, "Indie-Folk." That's about as good as I could do. On her MySpace it says Indie/Soul. So, I can also see that fitting in as well. The album as a whole is really a joy to listen to, and at 40 minutes you'll be pressing repeat before you know it. While this isn't her debut album, it certainly should bring her a bit closer to the edge of an Indie spotlight. She's been featured as the Song of the Day on NPR (high praise among the white-upper-middle class dorks such as myself), and various other noteworthy places that I won't note here. Interestingly, the album was recorded in Andersson's kitchen utilizing some familiar objects as instruments along the way. While her voice isn't powerful she fills in the gaps with great ease.

How much do I love Neko Case? Now, this is a girl with a voice that fills a room. Her upcoming album is her studio follow-up to 2006's Fox Confessor Bring the Flood and is called Middle Cyclone. The cover art is probably one of the best of the year so far, featuring Case perched on the hood of a Mercury Cougar in a short dress wielding a sword. Talk about Woman Power. The album is incredibly enjoyable especially the few tracks with a self-described "piano orchestra." This idea came about when Case bought a piece of property in Vermont with an abandoned barn, and decided the barn would be a great place to record. She and her band then set out to find as many free pianos on Craigslist as possible. They ended up with eight usable pianos. And if you know anything about pianos, they're not all the same. Depending on age, type of wood, size, etc. they have unique sounds and timbres. When you can get eight different ones in a huge room (barn) it must sound pretty awesome. Showcased on the track below. The sounds exactly as you have come to expect and adore. It has ballads mixed with mid-tempo tunes and a few that are a bit more alt-country rockin' to match the cover art.