Posted tagged ‘wendy & lisa’

the closing of the year…

December 25, 2008

merry christmas and happy holidays to you all.

as a special present to you – please take a listen to my favorite modern holiday tune, wendy & lisa’s ‘the closing of the year’ the theme song to the movie toys.  it’s a beautiful song that always makes me happy for the season:

If i cannot bring you comfort,
then at least i bring you home
for nothing is more precious
than the time we haven’t sold

We all must learn from small misfortunes
count the blessings that are real
Let the bells ring out for Christmas
at the closing of the year

Let the bells ring out for Christmas
at the closing of the year

If i cannot bring you comfort,
then at least i bring you home

At the closing of the year
at the closing of the year
at the closing of the year

Now all the winter bells are ringing
hear them echo through the snow
and the children’s voices singing
on the streets so far below

This is a time to be together
and the truth is somewhere here
within our love for people
at the closing of the year

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best music of 2008

December 16, 2008

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 well, 2008 certainly is wrapping up quite quick in’it?  shocking how fast this year has gone by. 

my friend greg challenged me list out my top albums of the year.  this in and of itself is not an unusual task for me, however, i just have not been too impressed with a lot of music this year (or truth be told, I just haven’t paid much attention).  so my list isn’t complete by any stretch of the imagination, but its what I dug in 2008.  (the links will take you to amazon.com)

in no particular order (sorta):

grace jones.  hurricane.  yes, yes, i’ve written ad nauseum about my love of this album.  simply put, a great return to form and a damn fine listen.  her growl is still shiver inducing.

duffy.  rockferry.  wow, what a voice and what a debut.  a modern dusty springfield and a great modern blue-eyed soul record.  in constant rotation for me.

the duke spirit.  neptune.  apparently, i’m on some sort of vintage-tip lately… this one rounds out that groove with a modern twist on velvet undergound + nico mixed with a bit of sonic youth.  great heavy grooves that rock.  great live show too!

the gutter twins.  saturnalia.  dubbed the satanic everly brothers, the gutter twins are greg dulli + mark lanegran.  two leading figures from 90’s grunge (pitchfork called them “two of the alt-rock era’s greatest front men”) join forces on this amazingly dark, raw album. 

big blue ball.  peter gabriel + crew make a world beat album that is truly worldly.  its reflective of the entire globe and beautifully done with melodies that will stay with you for days and days. 

goldfrapp.  seventh tree.  a completely unexpected, radical departure from the band’s previous effort ‘supernature’, seventh tree finds them in a quiet almost reflective space.  songs about overdoses, amnesia and oddly enough ‘happiness’, evoke a warmer, more organic tone.  no doubt this is the morning after to supernature’s disco overload.

nine inch nails.  the slip.  another departure so to speak, the slip finds trent reznor + nin focused in a way that we haven’t seen for some time.  the album is equal parts his tradmarked tecno-metal and industrial noise (with some ambient ballads thrown in for good measure) – but, and here’s the surprise, a there is actual melody here and there.  closer than he’s been in ages to pretty hate machine and the downward spiral, the slip reminds you what a tremendously good song-writer reznor is. 

heloise & the savoir faire.  trash, rats & microphones.  the debut of the year for me.  the sweet sweet pop/punk/electro disco of heloise + crew make me smile and dance about the apartment.   brilliant fun.

coldplay.  viva la vida or death and all his friends.   also known as the album that finds coldplay discovering distorted guitars, chris martin’s lower singing register and brian eno.  until this album, i would be what you would call a casual coldplay fan.  this album however is the shit.  political. meditative.  beautiful.   and ‘violet hill’ kills me. 

atmosphere.  when live gives you lemons, you paint that shit gold.  continuing the “it’s a departure theme”, the 5th disk from the minneapolis based hip-hop duo, features more live instrumentation than sampling and less autobiographical tunes, the album is a supurb effort and the stories will stick with you. 

portishead.  third.  first record in a decade, thrid is darker (who knew that was possible) and grittier.  less turn table scratching and more guitars and vintage electronics.  the standout here is beth gibbons cold, but stunning vocals over geoff barrow and adrian utley’s sparse machine gun arrangements.  a tremendous return, but well worth the almost 11 year wait.

and my vote for most overrated album of the year (and yea, a realize i’m in the minority here) – vampire weekend.  self-titled.  yea, yea, yea – we’ve all read how great vampire weekend is supposed to be, how they’re the next big thing.  but here’s the deal – they’re not that great.  there, i said it.  the haters will be out in force.   is the album ok, yea, but that’s just it.  just ok.  nothing to write home about.  and on top of that, it has absolutely nothing to do with vampires.  they don’t even dress up all goth-y which at least would be fun.   the band is way to intellectual for their own good – yes, we know ya’ll met while at Columbia university & your smart & all, but get over yourselves.  i love smart rock and roll, when it’s done right – nothin’ is better.  rock music is about passion, and heart and sex.  all of which is missing from this album.  ignore the best of lists that trip over themselves talking about how great it is. 

some other thoughts:

best “almost there, but slightly missing the boat-a-bit pop record” of the year:

  • madonna.  hard candy.  a solid, fun album from the queen of pop.  not as great as confessions or ray of light, but good fun just the same.
  • britney.  circus.  good, solid pop princess performance.  a record for the ages?  no, but fun to sing along with in the car.

too soon to tell, but i’m diggin’ what i’m hearing:

  • wendy & lisa.  white flags of winter chimneys

 singles I dug this year:

  • johnette napolitano & will crewdson – beds are burning
  • melody gardot – worrisome heart
  • sam sparro -black & gold
  • estelle & kanye – american boy
  • the killers – spacemen
  • the ting tings – shut up & let me go
  • kevin rudolf feat. lil’ wayne – let it rock.
  • pink – so what

 

the inimitable voice of grace jones

November 7, 2008

 

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so after 19 years, grace jones has finally released a new album – the killer ‘hurricane’ (out in europe & asia now, america, sometime in december).   this was one of the more hotly anticipated records for me this year.

from the opening words of the first track “this is my voice, my weapon of choice” – (featuring some of the coolest percussion in a long long time), you know your in for a trip.  this record sounds just like a grace jones album should sound like in 2008.  yes, there is a link to her compass pointe past  but it is modern, hard and soft at the same time.  it’s as if 19 years hadn’t passed at all.

williams’ blood

one of the high points is the jam ‘williams’ blood’ (also the next single).  the tune is a big big song with a tight groove (the tune is co-writen by wendy & lisa) – its a cool as fuck tune.   following that is ‘corporate cannibal’ who’s nick hooker directed video and highly electronic sound captured the internet earlier this year.  the album continues on showing everything from a very ambient side of grace (the title track, co-written with tricky) and at times a very soulful side ‘i’m crying (mother’s tears)’.

the album features a who’s who of modern music.  besides the aforementioned wendy & lisa and tricky – brian eno, sly & robbie, ivor guest, marc van eyck and even her son paulo goude (just imagine grace as your mother – what a trip!) also appear.

gracejonesreview

hurricane proves shes been away from the music world far too long, but if this is what we get after 19 years, i’ll wait another 19 for the followup.  hurricane could have been a slap-dash, sloppily assembled selection of random tunes in whatever the musical flavor of the month was at the time.  instead, we get an album that sounds fresh, focused and strong (all while being held together by her classic signature style; dub).  witty and play full as often as punishing, the album reminds you of the first time you heard her sing ‘pull up to the bumper’ and forces you to stop and listen.

the album miss-steps here and there – the title track isn’t as strong as you would like (i blame tricky for that however, tricky is never as strong as you would like) but at the end of the day, the album is produced so well, you just can’t wait to find out what happens next.

grace recently appeared on the bbc show ‘later with jools holland’.  thank god for the internet so we can see the performances too.  (while your watching, just think – she’s 60 years old!  she looks and sounds amazing – and that voice is still as thick as honey).  she did ‘love you to life’ from the new album, and her classic ‘pull up to the bumper’.  enjoy:

love you to life

pull up to the bumper