Musings about music.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 2010

Playlist available here! Just click the album cover :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Artist To Watch - Marit Larsen

I am LOVING this Norwegian songstress.

Not only is her music fun and infectious but I love the way she feels about music. She posted this on her Myspace and I had to re-post it because I feel the same way about music.
I've always been obsessed with music. Most of my memories, good and bad, have their own soundtrack (which is, by the way, by far the best thing about music). This is what does it for me: A song can remind you what it's like being in love. It can even make you fall in love. The right song can mend you, break your heart, and, well, change your life. I know there is a tremendously long list of songs that have changed mine. I'll probably be struggling to write change-your-life-forever-tunes the rest of my life.

She reminds me a lot of Lenka who was one of my favorite new artists in 2009, I'm sad I didn't find this girl sooner, but I am really looking forward to hearing something new from her. Her album isn't available in the US yet, but you can find her on iTunes.

Artist To Watch - Lucy Schwartz

I came across Lucy Schwartz a short while ago while browsing some new artists featured in television shows. I think one of her songs was used on Private Practice. I listened to everything I could find by her and I'm impressed so far.

She has a habit for pairing melancholy lyrics with upbeat melodies and says she likes to "mix both sides of the spectrum.” She is already quite accomplished at the mere age of 20 with songs appearing on the television shows Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy and the films Post Grad and The Women. Lucy is currently working on a full length album with Mitchell Froom producing.

Right off the bat she got cool points with me for being named Lucy :)

Seriously though, she just released an EP on the 26th called Help Me! Help Me! and it's really catchy. Onboard are producers Mitchell Froom (Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, Coconut Records), Barrie Maguire (The Wallflowers, Amos Lee), and d.Fly Schwartz (Arrested Development, Deadwood).

Here is a sample from her first album, which she recorded when she was only 16!

Albums and songs both old and new can be purchased on iTunes and CD Baby with links on her Myspace, where you can also hear some songs of the new EP.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More Lilith Fair 2010

Yay! New ladies added to the Lilith Fair 2010 line up! Norah Jones, Loretta Lynn, Heart, Cat Power highlight the list of new additions.

Also included the new batch of performers are Sia, Gossip, La Roux, Beth Orton, Ceci Bastida, Erin McCarley, Frazey Ford, Julia Othmer, Kate Nash, Lights, Missy Higgins, Lissie, Marina & The Diamonds, Priscilla Renea, Rosie Thomas, Melissa McClelland, Toby Lightman and Elizaveta.

Please, please, please let Cat Power and Kate Nash be playing when I go.

/crosses fingers and toes.

They've also added 15 more cities and plan to announce even more major artists and cities in the coming weeks.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jenny Owen Youngs & Jukebox The Ghost @ Public Assembly

I had the pleasure of attending Shervin Laniez's photo book release party at Public Assembly in Brooklyn on January 22nd.

The event was paired with the one year anniversary of The Young and the Hungry. I had a really great time there, and was happy I was able to attend. Shervin's book turned out very well and I highly recommend checking out his work, I'm certain we will see him continue to create great things in the future.

Near the end of the evening musical guests Jenny Owen Youngs and Jukebox The Ghost took the stage. Having seen this duo take the stage at The Bowery Ballroom in May of 2009 it was a bit like a reunion show for me. They didn't really perform individual sets they just kind of played a mishmash of their work. It was a little rough at times but for being unpracticed it was really quite remarkable.

Jukebox took the stage first. I am not nearly as familiar with their songs as I would like to be. The opener was a really energetic tune that made me feel like dancing. I think Ben may have sang something along the lines of "In the summer of my 27th year." They followed it with a song I can only describe as a sort of rock lullaby that I really enjoyed but again am not familiar with. The only lyrics I caught were "drip by drip". If anyone has some insight on the Jukebox songs please let me know!

After that Jenny Owen Youngs, Chris Kuffner, and Elliot Jacobson joined the stage and played Last Person. It was a little faster tempo then normal, and Jenny was a little more screamy then I'm used to but it was pretty awesome sounding, and she looked totally punk rock. They then played Hold It In, a Jukebox song. At one point I think Chris mouthed to Jenny, "I've never played this before." It was pretty hysterical but everyone was having fun.

After that Dan Romer came up to play key for Nighty Night and Ben from Jukebox did vocals while Jenny played guitar. Surprisingly I loved this version. At one point before the second verse I think Jenny had to whisper some lyrics to Ben but it was actually pretty endearing and I really wish I had a recording of this.

After that Jenny took back the mic and Dan and Elliot moved to tambourines. They played another Jukebox song Good Day, at one point I looked up at the stage, at the performers there smiling and having a wonderful time and I thought to myself, "Wow. These are people who just genuinely love music." It was refreshing to see them just having fun and being in the moment. After that they played a Jukebox song I didn't recognize, something about dreaming every time I sleep.

They closed out the performance with an amazing cover of New Order's Temptation which was fantastic. If you haven't heard the Jukebox version of this song it's on their Myspace page and I think you can get it on Itunes.

I loved every minute of this performance. I can't wait to see Jenny again during the Spring Break Tour with Allison Weiss and Bess Rogers.

More pictures.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

She & Him - In The Sun

I'm super excited that She & Him will be releasing their sophomore album, appropriately titled Volume Two. I'm a huge fan of both Zooey and M. The album is set to be released in the U.S. on March 23rd but you can catch the first single In The Sun right now on Pitchfork.

They will also be touring a select group of cities in the States, I'm hoping I can make one of the Bowery shows, /crosses fingers.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Artist To Watch - Maryanna Sokol

Check out Maryanna Sokol's Myspace page.

She has an album coming out soon produced by the super awesome Andrew Futral (of The Age Of Rockets) You can catch some of the unmixed tracks on her page and they've got me really excited for the album.

She is certainly someone I'll be watching in 2010!

Dawn Landes - Sweet Heart Rodeo

I fell in love with Dawn Landes when I heard her song Straight Lines on the television show United States of Tara. After that I rushed to buy her album Fireproof which had even more gems on it, if you haven't heard it it's WELL worth buying.

Sweet Heart Rodeo is a pretty outstanding follow-up to Fireproof. While the title and the cover art might fool you into thinking you're getting a country album that's not fully the case here. She's got a really interesting sound that kind of makes up it's own country/alt-rock/folk genre. I'm constantly impressed by her range of vocals and her heartfelt, relateable lyrics. I find a lot of similarities between her music and that of Zooey Deschanel, so if you're a fan of She & Him you will most certainly enjoy Dawn's work as well.

The sound here is really lovely, and Landes manages to effortlessly intertwine melancholy with foot tapping melodies. Stand out tracks for me are Romeo, Money In The Bank, Little Miss Holiday, and my personal favorite (and probably my favorite song in the month of January) Dance Area.

My only complaint about this album is that it's only 33 minutes long in it's entirety and while I enjoyed all of them, I do wish it had lasted a little longer.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Laura Veirs - July Flame

I first came across Laura Veirs during her collaboration on the Decemberists album The Crane Wife. Since my initial exposure to her I’ve listened to all of her albums and have always been impressed by her strong voice and her heartfelt lyrics. I’ve been anticipating the release of her seventh album July Flame since I read about it last November.

For me it was really refreshing to hear that she has returned to her more folk sound as her last two albums had deterred from it a little bit. I can honestly say I love everything about this album. I like music that allows me to visualize and July Flame does just that. When I put it on and close my eyes I feel like I'm lounging in a hammock on hot summer day, it just gives you that feeling.

I'm particularly fond of the title track and Make Something Good, the duet with Jim James from My Morning Jacket. The contrast of their voices paired with Veirs' lyrics produces something really outstanding. Following closely is Carol Kaye, a song about the famous bassist. In one line she sings, "Not a household name but she's been in your head all day. It would be so cool to be like Carol Kaye." Well, mission accomplished Laura because you've been in my head all day.

I feel this is her finest work to date. Old fans will be happy to hear how much she has developed over the last few years and new fans will find this album to be an excellent starting place to discover an amazing talent.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bess Roger & Allie Moss @ The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ 1-8-2010

I didn't know what to expect from The Saint before I got there. I had never heard of the venue before and I was a little nervous about going out alone in Asbury Park. The exterior didn't make me feel much better and the surrounding area I found to be a bit daunting. I wasn't going to miss Bess play though, so I took a deep breath, parked, and headed toward the show.

When I entered I could hear a female voice performing and I was a little upset because I was under the impression I was 30 minutes early. What I got to hear was the last couple of songs by a young woman named Laura Warshauer, previously unknown to me but I was pleasantly surprised. My only complaint is that I didn't get to view her entire performance. This girl has an amazing voice live, I got a chance to talk with her a little bit after the show and you can expect to hear a live performance from her on Electric Eclectic sometime in the near future.

After a brief break 17-year-old Cara Salimando took the stage. She performed a short set but I was impressed by her ability in front of a live audience. To already be so comfortable performing live, I think we can expect great things from Cara in the future!

Next up the lovely and multi-talented Bess Rogers took the stage. It's been awhile since I got to see Bess with a backing band, and was very pleased to find that it was Chris Kuffner and Elliot Jacobson, the same duo that had accompanied JOY at the City Winery the previous weekend. I don't mean to leave out her bassist's name, I just don't know him... Sorry unknown bassist!

Bess opened up with the title track from her 2009 EP Travel Back and followed it up with the carefree ditty I Don't Worry.


In a dramatic contrast she played a new song that will be on her upcoming LP. I had heard Good Enough when she played it solo at John & Peter's a few weeks ago but with a backing band it was really tremendous and it only solidified that I CAN NOT WAIT for the new album to come out. Elliot's drumming really added to the darkness of the song that I hadn't picked up on previously.

She then welcomed fellow performer Allie Moss to the stage to perform Everything to Lose. Allie's stellar backing vocals really contributed to the song. Bess kept Allie on stage for another new one All In Good Fun in which she channels the late, great Patsy Cline. I'm really excited for the studio version of this song, and Bess is indeed right, "when you lose it hurts."

This was followed up by one more new song Come Home. I just want to reiterate what a treat it is to hear Bess perform with a band backing her. Don't get me wrong, she wonderful by herself but adding extra instruments really adds something and compliments her solo performance so well. Bess finished up her set with Bulldozer and I found myself wishing that she would play just a bit longer.

During the break a broken string was replaced and the stage was set for Allie Moss. I had heard some of her work before but for some reason it hadn't stuck with me. She was backed by Bess Rogers, Chris Kuffner, Elliot Jacobson, and Lauren Zettler on keyboard.

The opening song was Days I Regret, fitting because it instantly made me regret not owning everything this girl is a part of. She's got a really endearing innocence about her voice. She followed it up with her hit Corner which you may have heard on Grey's Anatomy.

Let It Go and Meloncholy Astronotic Man were next up, followed by Passerby. The guitar in it reminded me a lot of Ingrid Michaelson's Corner Of Your Heart, which makes sense since Allie tours with Ingrid. Additionally I Bess and Chris provided really nice backing vocals for the tune and it sounded fantastic live.


Next Allie had the band take a break on the stage while she performed a solo song I Will Go Anywhere. Her vocals really shined, and I kicked myself again for not buying her EP when it came out last March.

Next up was a new song that I can not wait to hear the studio version of. I'm pretty sure Late Bloomer is one of my favorite current songs, and I wish I could hear it again! The lyrics were eerily relatible and the melody was perfect.

Allie followed up with Dig With Me and Rubber Ducky, yes... It is what you're thinking and it was surprising really awesome.

The last song of the evening was Cling To Me, it was soft and pretty and I found it to be an excellent closer. After tonight, I love Allie Moss and I am really glad I finally got a chance to listen to her work and see her live.

See more photos and videos here. Including Chris Kuffner in the best hat ever!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jenny Owen Young & Emily Wells City Winery, NYC Jan 2, 2010

I couldn't have been more thrilled when I got an e-mail from one of my favorite venues, letting me know that one of my favorite artists would be performing there. Getting a chance to see Jenny Owen Youngs at the City Winery in NYC was amazing. If you’ve never been to the venue check out their page and find yourself a good show because the atmosphere and the quality of sound are both top notch. The food and drinks are on the pricey side but everything I’ve had there has been delicious.

I arrived just as Jenny was getting on stage, later then I had expected so I wasn’t able to secure a table. This particular evening Jenny was accompanied by two of my favorite NYC musicians, the multi-talented Chris Kuffner and, drummer extraordinaire Elliot Jacobson. After a moment of instrument tuning because Jenny cares about us, they launched into If I Didn’t Know. I always feel like Jenny is at her best when her backing band is comprised of her friends and tonight was no exception.

The second song of the evening was Led To The Sea, followed up by my personal favorite Drinking Song. One of the best things about seeing JOY live, is that every time she performs she manages to make each song just a little different then the last time I heard it. It keeps the songs I love from ever getting boring while holding onto the aspects that I adore about them and to me it’s what shows that’s she truly a musician and not just a singer/songwriter.

Next in the set was Secrets. I adore that song and tonight was no exception. I wish I could get my hands on a recording of Jenny performing this song with Jim Ward the way they did during the revival tour of 2009, if you missed it you should be regretful, it was pretty amazing. I tried to snap some photos but my lame camera batteries died, luckily there were real photographers there and the amazing Deborah Lopez has been kind enough to allow me the use of one of her photos.
You can view more of her work at her Myspace page. She's taken some of my favorite photos of my favorite musicians.

Things slowed down a bit during No More Words but right after the trio rocked an amazing live version of Clean Break that was out of this world.

There was only one choice to follow up such awesomeness, fan favorite Fuck Was I. Numerous people in the audience were singing along and everyone was having a great time.

I didn't think the set could get any better until Last Person came on. It was really cool because a number of people there to support Jenny were also musicians that had appeared in the music video for the song and you could hear them singing along.

She followed that up with Voice On Tape, as the music started the recorded message from Regina played in my head. Transmitter Failure was next and finished up with the closing track from her latest album Start + Stop.

This was my favorite Jenny show thus far, and I have seen her many times in the last year, in several different aspects so that's kind of saying a lot.

After a brief break Emily Wells took the stage, I had heard some of her music on her Myspace page and it was all enjoyable but I wasn't sure what to expect live. She started out with a pretty slow acapella Patty LaBelle cover and afterwards announced that her drummer and guitarist wouldn't be playing. I got a little concerned that the whole thing would just be Emily up there singing by herself. I had no idea how blown away I was about to be.

Emily's stage performance was like nothing I have ever seen. She began playing a violin, then in front of our eyes looped a recording of it and picked up another instrument. She literally built a symphony in front of our eyes and when the music was ready she began to sing.

I am not familiar enough with her music to name every track that she played, she did a fantastic cover of Notorius B.I.G.'s Juicy that blew my mind a little. For the remainder of Emily's performance she continued to amaze me and she's become an artist that I am now seeking out performances of. If you've never seen her live, it well worth the trip.

Both performers were kind enough to hang out after the show and mingle with fans. I also got a chance to see Bess and Chris again, which is always nice. I got to meet Allison Weiss for the first time and she was adorable and charming, and I got a chance to talk to Dan Romer, which was extra cool for me since I find him to be a musical genius. If you missed it you should feel bad, because it was really fantastic.

Sunday, January 3, 2010