Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Amy Winehouse

So I posted about Amy Winehouse a few months ago, in reference to Mylo. But she has a new record coming out in the UK now, and it sounds like it will be out in the US in March. So I figured I'd give you the early heads up...

Now sometimes, I have to admit that an artist's appeal is more than just the basic musical allure. Sometimes the songs and the music aren't what make an artist compelling. Sometimes it's that artist's attitude or timing or just the context of when their record is released. Sometimes it's just the fact that there is nothing else around that is remotely interesting. Sometimes, it's just that X factor.

Now, I think Amy Winehouse has good songs, I think her voice is unique and interesting, and I think the songs are catchy. But while I think casual listeners could easily lump her with Joss Stone, Nelly Furtado, Nikka Costa or even Macy Gray, something separates her from the rest. Besides her painfully topical and skewering British witticisms, it's really just all about "her." But I can't explain it as well as she can try this:

So she's a loon. Plus she's a drunk and hella sassy. I don't need much more than that. Her new record, Back to Black gets an 8. Her first record, Frank gets an 8.5. But again these scores may go up, they are still new to me.

Amy Winehouse- Rehab
Amy Winehouse- Fuck Me Pumps

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Top 10 for 2006

I don't want to do this every year, but people always end up asking me. So I figured if i went to all the trouble of making a top 10 list for 2006, I should go ahead and post it here. So here it goes...

1. Lily Allen- Alright, Still
2. Arctic Monkeys- Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Show Your Bones
4. The Raconteurs- Broken Boy Soldiers
5. Clipse- Hell Hath No Fury
6. Jarvis Cocker- Jarvis
7. The Kooks- Inside In/Inside Out
8. Cat Power- The Greatest
9. The Rakes- Capture/Release
10. The Black Angels- Passover

I think I have actually posted something from all of the above. But just in case I missed something, or if you missed something, feel free to ask for something in the comments section.

Also, other acts/records that didn't quite make it, but should also be worth checking out in case you haven't yet:

The Bronx
Viva Voce
Camera Obscura
Lady Sovereign
Amy Winehouse
Sean Lennon
Archie Bronson Outfit
Birdman and Lil Wayne

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cat Power

Since I know this record is going to make it into my top 10 for the year I figured I should give you something from Cat Power's The Greatest.

I am really glad that Chan Marshall is sober now. You can definitely hear it in her latest record. Not to say that its all sunshine and rainbows, but there is a sense of optimism that runs throughout. It's not unike that new Jarvis in that way. Even in its morose slow dirge-like melodies and tempo, the songs still have a hint of something calm and some sort of easiness that Cat Power records never had before. She continues to make compelling music even without the tears in her beers. Glad to see it. And even happier to hear the tunes. The Greatest gets a 9; it's one of her best records yet.

Cat Power- Living Proof

and since I am on a roll with the covers...

Cat Power covers Oasis- Wonderwall

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Kooks

Here's a band that I tried to avoid. I don't know why. I somehow perceived them to be something I didn't or wouldn't like. Either too fey or too faux, something. I don't know and I can't explain it. But prejudice be damned, I like the Kooks.

In fact, I really like the Kooks. I will say in advance that I am surprised this hasn't been on the soundtrack to all of those TV doctor dramas and isn't in every movie trailer. I'd say there is very little separating this from the Snow Patrol's and Keane's of the world. But there is something that makes these tunes a bit more real and a bit less saccharine.

I can guarantee that after one listen you will have these songs in your head. And I think that counts for a lot. In fact, in the case of the Kooks, I think it will probably propel them into my top 10 for the year. Catchy, man, catchy.

The Kooks, Inside In, Inside Out gets an 8, only brought down by a couple of songs that noodle a bit too much and lean into hippy territory. Otherwise, it's stellar.

The Kooks- She Moves In Her Own Way
The Kooks-Ooh La

... and just cuz I love her with all my heart: Lily Allen covers The Kooks- Naive

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