Monday, October 16, 2006

Back on the Horse that Threw Me

To begin, here are the most recent Washington Post (regional) previews:
Friendly folkies.
AMY TAN at Reston Center Stage
Sometimes I write about book events, too.
DEAD MEN’S HOLLOW at Front Porch Fest
Pleasant local band doing bluegrass/folk.

CAT EMPIRE at The State Theatre
The publicity group called the morning the piece ran and asked if I could FedEx (on their dime) a printed version of the paper to go with the online link. No one’s ever cared enough to ask for overnight delivery before. I was flattered then, and moreso (plus surprised) when the PR team sent out a mass emailing a few days later, reprinting the story in full. I'm happy to say that the live show lived up to my recommendation. A way fun band.
Band Camp
This was a different kind of article for me – I went to a show and took a bunch of pictures and talked with the kids who played in a recital for Northern Virginia’s own School of Rock. Alas, despite lots of material and some color photos I was very proud of, the paper ran two small shots in black and white. I thought it was gonna be a fairly large photo essay. Here’s one of the shots they didn’t use…

Which takes us to the start of the CD list, since these were sent in conjunction with the above stories:
1. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Focus 2006-07
This made-for-me mix comes from the local arts group that pitched its new series of shows for Post preview coverage. Susan Greenbaum’s tracks were here. And then the singer herself sent me:
2. SUSAN GREENBAUM – You Are My Holiday (self-released)
3. SUSAN GREENBAUM – Hey! Hey! Hey! (self-released)
4. DEAD MAN’S HOLLOW – Two-Timin’ (Acoustic Americana)
5. The CAT EMPIRE – Two Shoes (Indica Records)
This Canadian-made special edition includes a second disc of live performances and music videos. It was sent when I was working on the preview.

6. The CAT EMPIRE (Velour)
A single CD of six tracks, enhanced with a few videos and footage of the band in the studio.

Purchased/Found at Retail:
7. SCISSOR SISTERS – Ta-Dah (Polydor)
I bought the super deluxe import version with the bonus tracks and tricky-to-open cover when I realized that Best Buy was selling it for an outrageousely low price ($12.99 I think). And I found this to go with it:
8. SCISSOR SISTERS sampler (Universal Motown)
Best Buy exclusive, three-tracks in a cardboard sleeve – two remixes of “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’” and an unreleased studio track, “Ambition,” none of which are on the double-CD version. So that’s 21 tracks total from S2.
9. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Sirius Radio Outlaw Country
Another freebie (what it’s supposed to come free with, I have no idea. I just saw a pile and took one to the cashier, and it rang up for a penny.) Hosted by Mojo Nixon, and including tracks by Todd Snider (so he’s country now?), Loretta Lynn (please don’t sing “Fist City” in San Francisco. See how Scissor Sisters have got me thinking?), Williams-es Lucinda and Hank, Johnny and Willie. Good times.
10. BECK – The Information (Geffen)
The packaging is a trip – a blank grid and a set of stickers (supposedly there are four sets, each designed by a different artist-du-jour) that enables you to make your own cover.
Question #1 - Will I ever bring myself to actually use the stickers?
Question #2 – Why hasn’t the album itself pulled me in?
11. PASTE magazine sampler #25
No DVD this month, alas.
12. CMJ NEW MUSIC magazine with CD sampler
Issue #142 has Catfish Haven on the cover, and only 51 pages, which seems quite slight for this publication. Is it a sign of had times? What does it portend (oooh, that’s an ominous word) for the upcoming CMJ New Music fest, which I hope to attend for the 4th (5th?) straight year. Shmooze-athon!

Good First Impression:
13. FIELDS – Seven from the Village (Black Lab)

14. TIME AGAIN – The Stories are True (Hellcat Records)
Punk newcomers played at the BigHairHardRock haven known as Jaxx earlier this month.

15. STEVE GOODMAN – Live at the Earl of Old Town (Red Pajamas Records)
I was delighted to hear that the Oh Boy! label had found a long-lost concert tape of the endearing, much-missed singer-songwriter. But there's no “The Dutchman” here, alas. Perhaps becuase it's the most heart-breakingly beautiful love song ever and Goodman was having too much fun with his hometown Chicago crowd and didn't want to make them cry.
16. MATES OF STATE – Bring It Back (Barsuk Records)
17. The STARLIGHT MINTS - Drowaton (Barsuk)
I was really excited to hear that the ‘mints were coming to town. I thought their last CD was one of the best of its year. But Terry was called away to an all-day bizniz trip and Grace wasn’t feeling well, so I stayed home and watched the finale of “Project Runway” with here instead of going to the show. Jeffrey’s been a real dick for much of the Runway season, so why was I still happy to see him included in the final four who went to the big fashion show? It’s certainly not the neck tattoo…(shudder)
18. The RANDIES – Saw The Light
Do they wanna be the Dixie Chicks or the Donnas? I can't tell.
19. KASABIAN – Empire (RCA)
Another British band that sounds like it wants to Be Important, with a Big Anthemic Sound. Came with a neat oversized playing card bearing the band’s logo, though.

20. L.E.O. – Alpalcas Orgling (Cheap Lullaby Records)
As the band's name suggests, there's a lot of ELO referencing going on here and a bit of Queen and a smattering of Pink Floyd, too.

Two Albums You Can Play for Your Mom:
21. MADELEINE PEYROUX – Half the Perfect World (Rounder)
A lovely voice and a style reminiscent of Billie Holiday, which is also/always lovely. But I wish she wouldn't slow things down so much. That trick is too often used on cover tunes, as if to say "I'm really taking this song seriously."
22. AMOS LEE – Supply and Demand (Blue Note)
His first album was appealing, so I'll give this a spin some night when I'm drifting off.

And these others:
23. OPPENHEIMER – S/T (Bar None Records)
Tune in next week, when this Irish electronica/pop duo will be the Post preview for its Oct. 28 gig at the Galaxy Hut. Pitched as a cross between Postal Service and Air. I hear more of the latter, and a bit of pop, too.
The publicist also threw in:
24. HOT ONE – S/T (Modern Imperial Records)
Watch out – scary titles ahead. “Get Your Priest On,” “Fuckin’” and “Pistol-Whip Me.” Also “Waiting for the Rapture” and “If God is On My Side.” Someone may be going to hell…
25. BREAKS CO-OP – The Sound Inside (Astralwerks)
26. JESS KLEIN – City Garden (UFO/House of Leo)
Over the course of weeks, I got two copies of this CD. I listened - twice - but I just didn't dig it.

Kid Stuff:
27. The SWEET DREAMS MOVIE – soundtrack (KOCH)
I got a copy of this just a coupla weeks ago.
28. FARMER JASON – A Day at the Farm with…(Kid Rhino)
Had this one from the last time Farmer Jason (a.ka. Jason Ringenberg, once of the mighty Jason and the Scorchers) came to town and crashed in my family room, after doing two shows at local club Jammin Java - a matinee as Farmer Jason and an evening show as his rockin' "evil twin."
29.FARMER JASON – Rockin’ in the Forest with…(Kid Rhino)
Didn't have this one yet. I love the press note: “File Under: Anarchy in the Pre-K”
30.The WIGGLES – Sing Along: Crunchy Munchy Music (KOCH)
31.The WIGGLES – Tinsel Town Tunes
Versions with and without music, so you can sing along to “It’s a Christmas Party on the Good Ship Feathersword”
23. SONGS FROM FAIRYTOPIA – Original Cast Recording (KOCH)
Barbie…you’ll never escape her.

Advance worth Pitching:
34. The INNER BANKS – S/T (DAG! Records)
Seven tracks, sweet female voices, gently pulsing rhythms, interesting instrumentation.
RIYD (it says here): Azure Ray, Japancakes, Air. I also hear a bit of Ivy, too.
Out December 5.

The Jury's Still Out:
35. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Cracker Barrell Presents Songs of the Year
Each song a previous winner of Song of the Year from either the Grammy Awards, Country Music Association or Academy of Country Music. Still not sure who's promoting what and why it was sent to me.
36. DARKEL – S/T (Astralwerks)
37. DEADSY – Phantasmagore (Immortal Records)
38. BEN CONNELLY – Over You (AD/CD)
39. NICOLA – Don’t Take it Personally (Hot Cherry)
“Hot chicks don’t have to lip-sync and buy songs from old men anymore!” Okay, but they also don't have to pose on the album cover with extremely defined cleavage, either.

And finally...
From The Onion , a scary piece of self-recognition:

CHARLESTON, SC-Tourist Alex Pratt decided to "get the feel" of the
historic South Carolina port city of Charleston by making the rounds
of its local used-CD stores Tuesday. "I found a Marshall Crenshaw CD
I didn't have, and really lucked out on The Feelies' The Good Earth-I
haven't seen that in years," said Pratt, who has also shopped for
music in Boston, San Francisco, Gettysburg, PA, and Kansas City. "I
like this place. It's a lot like my regular used-CD shop back in
Chicago." Foregoing a ferry-ride to nearby Fort Sumter, Pratt said he
intended to spend the remainder of the afternoon peeling the
protective plastic off the CD cases and enjoying a sandwich from a
local Subway restaurant.

Ouch! I am the geek! (But I'm female, so there's something exotic about it that may save me yet)

YTD: 597