Selected Sampler Singles – Paste #32

New (to me) Songs I’m Diggin’:
“I Wanna Marry You All Over Again” Derek Webb (country twang)
“Ordinary Day” Dolores O’Riordan
“It’s Not True” William Fitzsimmons (ouch, so tender)
“Just Around the Corner” Low Stars (rockabilly)
“Somewhere to Lay Down” Gina Villalobos (husky)
“Run Run Run” Haunt
“14” Paula Cole (I never buy her albums, but I like select singles!)
Old Friends:
“Everybody Knows” Ryan Adams
“Closer” Travis
“Who You Are” Cary Brothers
from Paste 32.

African Stories.

If you’re looking for recommendations on the “new generation” of African authors, the July issue of Vanity Fair profiles eight of the former “Lions” and 11 or so of the “new wave.” If you can’t find the issue, I’ll let you borrow it.

I, of course, am far more familiar with the old guard. I’ve never forgotten “Burger’s Daughter” (Nadine Gordimer) which I read many, many years ago and I’ve read a few books by J.M. Coetzee. Although one author I read recently is on the new wave list….

(This issue also contains a 1-pager by Bill Clinton on Mandela and their joint HIV efforts that brought tears to my eyes. And a very interesting expose on Diana [P. of W.].)

Paste 31 Sampler, a girl (song-by-song) reaction.

Overall feeling: The Hold Steady book-ends label this one more “rock” than anything else but there is a bit of variation.

Track by track:

  • “Massive Nights” The Hold Steady: This isn’t my favorite Hold Steady song (or album). But you can never go wrong starting off a mix with a Craig Finn rant (which is how I think of their songs).
  • “Been There All the Time” Dinosaur Jr: I love the plaintive, pleading tone of the vocals, not what you expect in a rock song. Can I be a part of you? … Can I be there all the time?
  • “Killing Him” Amy LaVere: Total change in musical mood. Quiet, speakeasy feelin’.
  • “Die Die Die” The Avett Brothers: Crystal clear lyrics/vocals, the music is very much in the background. The harmonies here crack me up.
  • “Get It On” Grinderman: Back to (heavier) rock. Demanding, insistent.
  • “Diamond Ring” Joseph Arthur: Love this song. Love him. Is he single? I’ll be his diamond ring.
  • “Lay Your Head Down” Keren Ann: Pretty enough. But not really doing it for me.
  • “Gor Det Nu” Dungen: Headbanger’s ball mixed with old Rolling Stones.
  • “Baby’s Romance” Chris Garneau: Ooooo, I like this. Very soft and tender.
  • “It Must Have Happened” Mary Chapin Carpenter: How long has it been since I listened to MCC? Her voice isn’t how I remember it (deeper? gruffer?). Not really doing it for me here.
  • “Big Drag” Limbeck: Very thinly layered verses. Sparse.
  • “Passenger Song” Great Lake Swimmers: I love everything they do. Thick, dense, low sounds. Lovely.
  • “I’ll Be Rested” Mavis Staples: Very goofy xylophone-ish sounding beginning. Her voice is amazing.
  • “Don’t Let Go” Pacha Massive: Dance beat. Shake that ass. But the vocals are not living up to the music’s promise of liveliness.
  • “Man Overboard” Kristoffer Ragnstam: Another goofy beginning. Spoken word/rappish feel. Think “The Streets” or “Just Jack.”
  • “Rest Your Weary Mind” Elizabeth Cook (with Bobby Bare Jr): Lil bit of country. The male vocal is very Johnny Cash (yum) but the female is too contrasty for me / almost operatic.
  • “Life Is Beautiful” Vega4: Knew this song from a TV show. Slowing things down. Sad and melancholy. Sounds a lot like Snow Patrol (which is a good thing in my book).
  • “V Neck Sweater” The Greyboy Allstars: Jazzy feel. Nice beat! Groovin’.
  • “If I Were You” Chris Knight: Quiet and contemplative. Twangy, yet kinda sweet.
  • “Kite Song” Rosie Thomas: Slowing things waaaaay down. I like her stuff sometimes, but not consistently, and this one is kinda makin’ me sleepy. Doesn’t seem to belong here.
  • “Stuck Between Stations” (acoustic) The Hold Steady: And we’re back to Craig Finn. I love the lyrics of this song. But the speed with which they are ranted totally(!) makes me think of REM and back, back, back in the day…

Paste 30 Sampler, a girl (song-by-song) reaction.

Overall feeling: More on the country, folksy side of things than some of their discs. No songs I absolutely can’t stand (woot). Generally diggin’.
Track by track:

  • “We’re from Barcelona” I’m from Barcelona: pop-y and fun.
  • “Can’t Stop” Ozomatli: OK. Kinda weird.
  • “Everyone Gets a Star” Albert Hammond Jr.: Monotone vocals. Cool sound. But not a fave.
  • “Nowhere Warm” Kate Havenick: For the Sarah McLachlan/Beth Orton/Jem lovers out there. Pretty voice.
  • “Four Winds” Bright Eyes: Very country.
  • “Memories of Home” Umphrey McGee: Even more country.
  • “Remember Me” Zach Brooke: Country, but more up, with a real driving beat.
  • “With You” Stars of Track and Field: Synth/electronic. Wistful. Pleading.
  • “Soft Aslyum (No Way Out)” Grant-Lee Phillips: Soft. A little droan-y. I tend to like his stuff, even though I’ve never listened beyond random singles that come my way.
  • “Into Brooklyn, Early in the Morning” The Innocence Mission: Real Suzanne Vega feel to it.
  • “Blue Jeans Pizza” Moe: Jazzy sounds. Very goofy falsetto vocals.
  • “A Good Start” Maria Taylor: Spooky, layered beginning. Nice lyrics!
  • “Gulf of Mexico Fishing Boat Blus” Bruce Hornsby & Ricky Skaggs: Feels like bluegrass.
  • “Trans Am” Nathan: Female vocal? Sweet. But feels a little frantic.
  • “Happy” Martin Sexton: Very sharp, distinctive edge to the lead.
  • “Save Myself” Willy Mason: Lyrics vs. music feels disconnected. Droan-y.
  • “Come Undone” Jackson Water: Can’t tell if the lead vocal is male or female but love the thick, rich tone to it. Anthemic feel.

There ya have it.

Curiosity Levels Increase.

It’s when the coincidental mentions start to build up that I start to get interested. Reading the Q&A w/ Sufjan Stevens in the current Rolling Stone (issue 1016/1017), under “what is he listening to now” he mentions Midlake “The Trials of Van Occupanther.” Midlake, Midlake, I think to myself, haven’t I heard that name recently? Sure enough, a search of Snip (a snip search!) finds it’s an album that was discussed in Paste Magazine issue #23 and there’s a song on the sampler CD. A song I really like…
Hmmmmm, seems I may have to do some further (listening) research into this band…

Books to Consider from Slightly Foxed #11

    L’Etranger, by Albert Camus (have I never read this?)
  • Modesty Blaise books, by Peter O’Donnell (a fictional Emma Peel!)
  • Asylum Piece or Julie and the Bazooka, by Anna Kavan
  • Stranger on Earth, bio of Anna Kavan, by Jeremy Reed
  • The Leopard, by Guiseppe di Lampedusa
  • The Papers of A.J. Wentworth B.A., by H.F. Ellis