Archive for September, 2008

Sep 08 2008

Sufjan Stevens – Super Sexy Woman (2000)

Published by under Alternative,Indie pop,MP3's

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I only post this because I feel this song has slipped under most people’s radars. (So, sorry if this post seems slightly irrelevant. I just re-discovered it and got really excited.) From his first album, A Sun Came!, this is one of the zanier things Sufjan’s ever released. It sounds like something you’d record stoned at four in the morning on a whim. Which was probably the case, evidenced by the off-key vocals and the warm crackle of a four-track. I especially recommend this for any doubter’s of Sufjan’s songwriting prowess. If there is a song to turn you, it’s Super Sexy Woman. And with lyrics like “She is super duper smart/I like her for her mind/She’ll shoot a super fart/The deadly silent kind,” what’s not to love?

And for whatever reason, no one ever talks about A Sun Came!, which is just as good, if not better, than his more celebrated releases. So check it out. I know Sufjan has been blogged to death, but most of it is deserving.

And just for some context (and in the event that you’ve been living under a rock, which is somehow underneath another, larger rock), I’ve included Chicago, one of his hits from Illinoise!.

Sufjan Stevens – Super Sexy Woman

Sufjan Stevens – Chicago

Oh, and this video is hysterical.

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Sep 08 2008

Song of the Day – 9/8/08

Hey everyone. It’s been crazy as always. Good to see you again.

photo credit: Bowen Rodkey

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to listen to the On the Tail of the White Donkey EP, the debut release from folk-singer Vikesh Kapoor. His music always brings me to the same conclusion. We must return to this tradition. There is so much to be had here–so much that real folk music can do for the industry and all the places it reaches.

I can just imagine Kapoor (recently off a successful tour with staff favorite Nicholas Beaven) moving along, each song gracefully falling from his back pocket. Travelling through the heart of an unnamed area,  almost ignoring the complications of musicianship and poetics, he sings his stories. I remember my first experience with his music, sitting cross-legged on the floor of a discreet second-story Allston apartment. There were no chairs, no posters, no amplifiers and absolutely no bullshit.

An Indian-American traditonal folk singer is something to turn your head to at first. His influences are part of a strong force of writers and players that do not share common ground in style, but share a similar need to create this long-forgotten escape that doesn’t have any room for the pitfalls of popular music today. I’ll spare all of you comparisons to others in his genre and simply say this: Everything in his music that at first sounds tired quickly becomes an understanding–that in order to create a piece of intellectual, poetic tradition one must come to terms with both who they are and what they have learned along the long, hard path. Kapoor’s feet are on their way to becoming tough and leathery and we’re lucky enough to catch him so soon.

Over the course of the EP, this truly became clear. Deciding which of these songs was going to be your Song of the Day was tough. Just as important as the individual tales, the whole EP is a coherent, imaginative collection of songs that describe a shared need for honest human connection. If that isn’t the point of this EP, then I would have to say Vikesh Kapoor as succeeded in creating something that, while sometimes inconsistent and unsteady in its footing, is in a way universally relatable–the way it should be.

Some major moments for me occur on the unnervingly beautiful “One Woman Man.” It’s those moments of folk glory where the song sounds as if it is from 1950 until he includes a line with a turn-of-phrase or euphemism that jarrs the listener back into the present. All of a sudden we have something that exists outside of the system. Later on, Kapoor hits what I consider to be a masterpiece, “Willy Robbins.” A traditional folk tale (no chorus, just the adamant painting of a harrowing picture). He sings lines like “then like many working men, he’d shower, watch TV.” and their gravity is unreal. It is truly brilliant.

However, neither of these songs I chose to share with you today. I think you should grab the EP and spend a moment to hear what an honest artist sounds like.  The songs discussed above are even better in context. One song, however, you should definitely hear. “Till the Fields” is a happy, catchy tune with many simple parts working together. Truly, Vikesh Kapoor’s poetry is the most obvious talent, but as a guitarist he supports himself in admirable fashion.

MP3: Vikesh Kapoor – “Till the Fields”

MP3: Vikesh Kapoor – “Down by the River”

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Support Vikesh Kapoor: Buy On The Tail Of The White Donkey EP

Vikesh Kapoor is performing at TT the Bears in Caimbridge on Thursday, September 25th. It’s his only show for a little while so GO THERE.

Pick up an album and meet the guy. It’s all possible with real music.

I leave you with an intimate performace by Kapoor at Firehouse 13 in Rhode Island

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Sep 05 2008

Pierre de Reeder – The Way That It Was (2008)

Published by under Alternative,Folk,MP3's

The past few weeks I’ve been listening to co-founding member of Rilo Kiley, Pierre de Reeder’s, solo album, The Way That It Was. It’s got some really solid songs on it, and if you are looking for new easy listening summer/fall music, it’s definitely worth your time to check out.

“Not How I Believe,” is by far my favorite song on the album.  I’ve got a soft spot for choirs in songs like this, and it’s the exact same reason I love the Rilo Kiley song “With Arms Outstretched” so much. “Not How I Believe” also has a flute–it’s awesome!

It’s clear that The Way That It Was is a very personal album for de Reeder, and it ranges from songs about growing up, to a song for his daughter, “Sophia’s song,” which brought to mind Ben Folds’ song “Gracie.”

I’m a really big fan of solo albums like this, not only because of the music, but what it represents. Pierre de Reeder is very talented, and does a great job performing his role in Rilo Kiley. However,  it’s impossible for a collaboration to be as personal as a solo album. Pierre decided to release an album because he has something to say that’s meaningful to him, and though the lyrics can be a bit soft at times and some of the songs fall a little flat, there is no questioning that it is extremely honest.

Pierre de Reeder lives in Los Angeles and is the bassist for Rilo Kiley. He’s been working on and off on The Way That It Was for the past five years, and plays most of the instruments, although Jenny Lewis, Blake Sennett and Jason Boese did offer a hand.

The Way That It Was (2008):

Pierre de Reeder –  Not How I Believe

Pierre de Reeder- I’ll Be Around

Bonus:

Rilo Kiley – With Arms Outstretched

Read de Reeder’s essay on why Obama should be President.

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Sep 03 2008

Throw Me The Statue- Moonbeams

Published by under MP3's

 

Throw Me The Statue is the brainchild of Seattle resident Scott Reitherman and with the help of a few friends, Reitherman recorded Throw Me The Statue’s debut LP Moonbeams in 2007. The album was re-released this year on Secretly Canadian and fans of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Pedro The Lion, Sunset Rubdown or even LCD Soundsystem will fall in love with Reitherman’s clean mixs of pounding guitars, bouncy electronics and his distinct catchy whines. Moonbeams is one of the year’s catchiest albums and not one to be missed so check out the mp3s I posted. Enjoy!

 

mp3: “Lolita”

mp3: “About To Walk”

 

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