Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My Musical Renaissance: Portland, Alexis on Fire, Regina Spektor, Sean Hayes, Brett Dennen, and Hope for Agoldensummer

Threw these photos together along with a short clip from the Alexis on Fire concert that I attended in Portland. I caught this clip during their encore. Sorry for the shaky camera work. I was using my still camera again and the crowd was simultaneously rushing the stage while others were stage diving.

While post hardcore is definitely not my cup of tea, Dallas Green's vocals really set this band a part from some of the screamers I normally lump in with the genre. He is the true heart of the band and the real musician behind everything. I didn't really care for the other "front man". A lot of posing, preening and screaming on stage. Looked like he was trying way to hard to act like a rock star rather than just being a musician. He's the one spraying the crowd with water. I say drop him... but I'm not the core audience or a music critic... so I probably shouldn't talk. After the concert I got a copy of Dallas Green's solo acoustic project, City and Colour (just like his name). Pretty solid stuff. Definitely worth checking it out.

I've never really been very musically inclined, but this road trip has been my musical renaissance. Friends, family, and time have been kind to me. Nothing better than a newly discovered artist blasting on the open road. Some of this music is probably not new, but I've been living in a sound proof hole for the last couple years. Thought I'd share some of the artists I've been listening to:


Sean Hayes: the guy's voice is brilliant. Like a male Billy Holiday and his lyrics are equally spectacular. Witty poetry with a folk rock sensibility and catchy hooks. He has 4 albums and they're all worth their weight in gold. I'll list the songs that have been topping the "most played list" at the bottom of this post and you'll see how many Sean Hayes songs there are. Probably 75% of the songs I've been listening to.

Brett Dennen: A folk singer with an interesting voice. In particular, I'm drawn to one particular song: "Ain't no Reason". Lot's of great lyrics in this song, but I particular love the way the below line captures the reality of the world we live in despite our best efforts to feel above the fray, "The air on my skin and the world under my toes,Slavery stitched into the fabric of my clothes" Found Brett Dennen on youtube with Sean Hayes doing a duet. Small world. I guess brilliant musicians stick together.

Hope for Agoldensummer: strange harmonies and vocals from two sisters from Athens Georgia. They have a brilliant way of distilling the essence of heartbreak and wonder in a confusing world. I was able to catch a live show in LA just before I left. Picked up their CD for the road. My friend James put it best, when he compared Hope for a Golden Summer to "the music that would play at two a.m. on a front porch on a humid summer night in south Georgia during a heat lightning storm while you're drunk on Mezcal." When Claire Campbell breaks out the saw and starts playing it like a violin you'll understand what he means.

Claire Campbell, the more seasoned of the two sisters, delivers brilliant deep female vocals with the depth and timbre of Tracey Chapman while Paige, her younger sister makes up for her less dominant voice with a raw tragic yet hopeful delivery. The naivete and fragility in her songs are almost more seductive in their innocence than her sister's more soulful renditions. Listen to the song, Midwest and you'll know what I mean. And if that's not enough, how is it possible to not love a band with the lyrics... "and children grew up drinking God from a dixie cup" and "I'll give you a nickel for your quarter, malt liquor for your water". Lyrics that just make you want to drink. Either mainline me some Jesus Juice or hand me a 40 of OE.

Regina Spektor: Probably the one singer you might have heard of. She has an acrobatic playful voice with an amazing depth of soul and lyrically fragmented emotionally wandering poetry. One reviewer described her as a musical Kafka, but she's more playful than that. More like Marquez, a little Latin American magical realism mixed with Freudian free association. A couple of her songs barely make sense from the lyrics alone, but her melodies and voice carry us up and over all the breaks in logic and the gaps in what might be deemed a typical story trajectory. Her verse and voice cut right to the emotional flight she wants us on.

I also have been listening to some
Amy Winehouse, but if you haven't heard the song Rehab at least once, you're more out of the loop than me, so I won't even bother elaborating.

If you hate my links to myspace hit up the actual websites below

I listed my top played songs after the jump if you're somehow interested in more.

Most played songs from Sean Hayes:

"Flowering Spade"
Flowering Spade
Midnight Riders

"Big Black Hole and the Little Baby Star"
Calling all Cars
Feel Good
Boom Boom Goes the Day
Pollinating Toes
Rosebush Inside

"Alabama Chicken"
Alabama Chicken
Rattlesnake Charm (Dream Machine)
Smoking Signals

"Lunar Lust"
Mind Looping
Painted Clowns

Most played songs from Regina Spektor - "Begin to Hope"
Hotel Song
On the Radio
Summer in the City

Most played songs from Hope for Agoldensummer
Malt Liquor
Heart of Art
Laying Down the Gun
Home is the Place
Love Letter

1 comment:

mlsurfs said...

mutchie, im glad you're having a musical renissance (i too like regina spektor and amy winehouse). however. you'd better be listening to this music while you're hiking your ass off getting in shape! the JMT is going to be hard hard hard!!!

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