Thursday, March 29, 2007

"The Evening Was Purely Orgasmic"

A publicist sent out this posting from a blog...
He's promoting the upcoming release from a former member of Savage Garden, an act referred to in my home as the Koala Boys, since their music had as much edge as a marshmallow.

"The concert was amazing! Darren has a way of interacting with the audience that makes you feel like you are his best friend; he shares the most intimate, energetic, blissful, and painful experiences of his life through his music. His first single to be released Step Into the Light features the lyric "I've never been in love before" which paves they way into the emotional and personal journey of his new album. His dance singles are incredible, one in which he mixes Rock me Amadeus -- a excellent throwback into the 80's synth revolution. But perhaps my favorite was How to Build a Time Machine -- the title alone gives me tingles. Words, another track from his new album, ripped my heart out in a way that only he could. But the absolute best was Me Myself and I which, let me tell you, has to be played in every dance club come the release in August. One of my favorite moments was when Darren was speaking to the audience and accidentally introduced the wrong song. "Forgive me, I don't have my glasses on. I have glasses now ... and I'm gay." This is met by thunderous applause, followed by "Yes, I look quite nice in glasses." The evening was purely orgasmic, followed by Vicki and I meeting Darren. He was sooooo sweet and his husband Richard is adorable. Let me tell you, this album is going to be Insatiable. And can I just brag once more, I hugged Darren Hayes tonight!!!! :)"

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Clearing the Decks...

Just a quick hit tonight, while I enjoy "30 Rock," in an effort to bring things up to date.
Here are the latest Washington Post previews:
Alexandria Symphony Orchestra
Of Montreal
Liz Carroll and John Doyle

And the next one resumes the long-lost CD Aquisition Year-to-Date tally.
The show in question - two local acts at the Barns of Wolf Trap - Fighting Gravity and the Niki Barr Band
The management for these two acts is really on the case. Prompt reply to my emails, overnight delivery of the CDs – some of them including bonus discs of additional press materials. Funny, though, only B&W pics sent digitally.
1.NIKI BARR – Lush (Self-released)
Extra CD with reviews, photos, and video materials
2.NIKI BARR – Go (Self-released)
Bonus DVD of her Armed Forces Entertainment Tour in 2006
3.FIGHTING GRAVITY – Blue Sky & Black (self-released)
4.FIGHTING GRAVITY – Blue Sky & Black (self-released)
Different edition, this one with a CD of acoustic tracks from the band’s archives and demos of the studio CD, plus an electronic press pack.

Next week's Post previews (you heard it here first):
5. UNCLE EARL – Waterloo, Tennessee (Rounder)
Out next week (March 13th) as will be my interview/preview. The all g'Earl string band is playing the Birchmere on the 16th, promoting a lovely new CD that was produced by Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones. An odd pairing, but we had fun talking about how four strong women related to the former heavy metal wild man.
6. BOX - Just a Phase (Boy Dog Records)
"The band of busy beavers" is playing a show at the Firehouse Grill on St. Patty's Day. I woder how many members of the audience will really hear the words of "Lezzies for the Lord"?

Also coming to town (though I didn't preview):
7.LOS LOBOS – Acoustic En Vivo (Los Lobos Records)
Appearing at the State Theatre tomorrow night, March 9th.

Two new winning additions to the shelves:
8. AIR – Pocket Symphonies (Astralwerks)
Played this one two times in a row last week on an evening drive home from the Jacks Mannequin show and loved the spacey vibe.
9.SANJAY MISHRA – Chateau Benares (Akar Music)
A good companion to the Air album, in a mellow “Music from the Hearts of Space” way. It’s chill without having that sleepy new age feel.

Stuff that just didn’t do it for me:
10. UNCLE MONK – S/T (Airday Records)
Tommy Ramone goes all acoustic country on your ass with Claudia Tienan.
11. KATHIE BAILLIE – Love’s Funny That Way (Aspirion)
Country pop shlock.
12. PORTER BLOCK – Suburban Sprawl (Engine Room Recordings)
I got a second copy of this CD, slightly different than the one that came last year (single mixes of two tracks, and a new one), but it doesn’t impress the second time around. The PR people stress comparisons to XTC and Fountains of Wayne, but not this is simple pop at best, not to those higher levels of either melody or cleverness.
13.MATTHEW RYAN - From a Late Night High Rise (00:02:59)
Written in response to the sentencing of his brother to 30 years in prison (there’s no mention of why) and the death of a good friend, the vibe here is pretty much as downcast as you’d expect.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I don’t have anything to say about these albums yet, so let’s just make some lists...
14. RICKY SKAGGS & BRUCE HORNSBY – Self-Titled (Sony Legacy)
Out March 20th.
15.MIDNIGHT MOVIES – Lion the Girl (New Line Records)
oops, sorry. Not sure of the release date.
16.DOYLE LAWSON & QUICKSILVER – More Behind the Picture Than the Wall (Rounder)
Out March 27.
17. PAM TILLIS – Rhinestoned (Stellar Cat)
Out April 17th.

Various Artists:
18.VARIOUS ARTISTS – Valentine’s Sampler (Arista)
Skews country with Brad Paisley, Martina McBride, et al. I think I’m getting soft, but I kinda like Paisley’s “Little Moments.”
19.VARIOUS ARTISTS – Find It. Try It. Buy It. Trade It.
Record & Tape Traders 3-act sampler of local music including The Sketches, who didn’t impress me live, but I’ll give ‘em a shot to prove me wrong.

And finally:
20.ADRIENNE YOUNG – Room to Grow (self-released?)
21. Q-BURNS ABSTRACT MESSAGE – Agave Nectar, Vol. 1 (Agave Records)
22. PAULSON – All At Once (Doghouse Records)
23.LEEROY STAGGER – Depression River (Boompa Records)
24.ANNE McCUE – Koala Motel (Messenger Records)
25.JESSE SYKES & The SWEET HEREAFTER – Like, Love, Lust & the Open Halls of the Soul (Barsuk)
26. ELISABETH AMES & the COUNTRYPOLITANS – Anytime (Ultrapolitan Records)

YTD Total: 65

Thursday, March 01, 2007

You Say It's Your Birthday?

It's my birthday, too, yeah!
My dear friend and web/book designer, Eric, created this image for me. It's Marcia the Martian, my mascot and alter-ego. Her/our motto: the pen is mightier than the ray gun!

I was trying to post all day yesterday, but was giving me all kinds of error messages. Now that I'm older and wiser - and signed up (reluctantly) for their new Google-associated service - I seem to be back in business. So let's get to it! (We're not getting any younger!)

Time to clear the decks of accumulated musical miscellany. For one, we’ve been out a few times in the recent past, and have pictures to prove it.

After doing a Post preview about the Guggenheim Grotto, which included a lovely phone call with percussioinist/producer Shane Power, I saw the band at Jammin Java and was impressed again with the Irish trio’s quiet power.

They’re also effusively friendly folk, each offering a hug and easy chat to all comers, including yours truly.

Took Grace to see British pop sensation Lily Allen, and she didn’t disappoint at the 930 Club. A bundle of sassy energy, Allen’s live show stressed the reggae rhythms that flow more quietly throughout her debut CD, but the real fun is in her takin’ no BS from nobody lyrics, that are tough but charming and full of playful, cheeky humor.

Grace and her two-teen-pal posse were also smitten with Andrew of Jack’s Mannequin, whom we caught on the second of two nights, also at the 930 Club. He’s a talented, literate emo boy with a piano and a surprisingly big stage show (big but unobtrusive lighting rigs, a confetti explosion at show’s end) that underlined rather than undermined his melodious, heartfelt tunes. He also did a credible cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” which scored well with the parental guardians there with their teenage daughters.

Thanks to the tall, wool-hatted dude who was helping clear the stage, I scored a set list from the show – Andrew’s own, pulled from his next-to-piano bench and still moist from his spilled drink. The girls were mightily impressed.

Openers Head Automatic had a sound designed to appeal to old Costello fanatic like myself – angular melodies, tight rhythms, snarled lyrics – but lead singer Daryl Palumbo put me off the band with his arrogant and f-bomb laden stage patter.
Grace thought he was drunk.