Posts Tagged ‘Lenka’

Year end collection: compilation #13

Happy belated Christmas, Boxing Day, Kwaanza, Hannukah all. I finished putting compilation #13 together nearly two weeks ago, and have been handing out CD copies as party favors and Christmas tips (big spender, me). Now it’s here for your listening and downloading pleasure (click HERE to access it; right-click and “save target as” to download…as far as I know, you must download one song at a time; let me know if you find otherwise).

Now my year end compilation is not one of those “Best of the Year” sets (for that, you’ll want to get Buzz Biscuit’s “Cream of Eight” set, which I hope he’ll be blogging about here on the website soon); it simply reflects what I’m listening to since I wrapped up the last compilation, volume 12, back in August. Volume 13 does a little looking back, looking forward, and looking at right now.


Sydney Australia’s Lenka starts of the set, with a song I mentioned in a September post, “Don’t Let Me Fall”. Trite, sweet pop, I’ll grant you, but nicely done. Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS) of Sao Paulo is up next, with a song that reaches way back, “Music Is My Hot Hot Sex”. Probably familiar to you from the iPod Touch ads that have been airing for over a year (though I understand that it was in a Zune commercial a year before that!). I probably should have used their “new” tune, “Jager Yoga”, which I’m hearing a lot on Indie 103.1, but I missed the original boat on CSS and have some catching up to do. Santogold (first featured on these pages back in May) is next up with “Shove It”, featuring Spank Rock, another great track off her late April (2008) self-titled debut CD.

Not my typical Scandinavian find, Emiliana Torrini sparkles with “Me And Armini”. The Icelandic girl with the Italian name (and father, of course) might be known to viewers of Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, and Lord of The Rings, which have all featured her lovely voice. Not me….not till her CD dropped in September was I aware, and she’s been releasing music since 1994! (well, in Iceland, that is). Following Emiliana is Dan Black with “Yours”. Not much bio info on Dan, whose MySpace page lists London/Paris as his home. He’s a great example of that wry British take on hiphop, a la The Streets (they date back to compilations #1 and #2, circa 2004). Check his cover of Biggy’s “Hypnotize” when you have a sec.

The next two tracks, Nickel Eye‘s “Brandy Of The Damned” and “No One’s Better Sake” by Little Joy have in common that they’re each the result of side projects by members of The Strokes, Nikolai Fraiture and Fabrizio Moretti respectively. Add these to the two brilliant releases by Albert Hammond Jr., and Julian Casablancas starts to look like a slacker.

I’m not sure where I first heard new Zealand’s The Naked And Famous; probably on Passport Approved, since they don’t seem to have a MySpace page (?). “Serenade” is a beauty. Following that is my favorite (this week, anyway) of the bunch: “Sweet Disposition” by The Temper Trap. They’re from Australia, and I bet they get huge when they play SXSW next spring.

“Spendin Days” by Japanese Motors was in a late October post by Buzz Biscuits. Having a “co-conspirator” here on the blog has been a great way to learn about new stuff (“Which Way To Go” by Eddy Current Suppression Ring and “The Book Of Matches” by Gentleman Auction House also came to my attention via a Buzz Biscuits post.

Glasvegas was in a post earlier this month, and are among the bands I’ve learned about by listening to Passport Approved on Indie 103.1, along with Cockandbullkid, Ida Maria (she’ll remind you of Bjork), and Amazing Baby. Ditto The King Blues, who have a nice Rancid vibe.

Where I found Neon Neon’s “Dream Cars” and Dune’s “No Speed” is a mystery to me: I’ve been holding on to them for to long to remember where I got them. Copenhagen’s The Asteroids Galaxy Tour was yet another gift from Steve Jobs and an iPod commercial (kooky fun; check out their MySpace). Switches’ “Drama Queen”, posted in August, came from an old Spin magazine a friend “recycled” to me.

I was fortunate to hear about Simon Says No! via the band’s management, and posted about them in November. The Kaiser Chiefs haven’t been on a compilation of mine since spring 2005 (#3), but they’re new CD is terrific, and will be played everywhere I hope.

With 23 songs, volume 13 has no extra space, so some deserving tunes didn’t make the cut (I thought I had included Cut Off Your Hands’ “Oh Girl” until writing this post; maybe if I assemble #14 soon I’ll be able to use some of them. Anyway, happy listening….and Happy New Year!


Chairlift, Lenka, Mike McCann, my aching hand….

Let’s start with the hand…raking up some mulch as a start to digging a hole to for a hydrangea, I inadvertently disturbed some wasps that, unbeknownst to me, were nested in a nearby juniper (didn’t know I’m so green-thumby, didja?). They were all over me before I realized it was more than one, but I suppose I was lucky to escape with only four or five stings (and that counts the one I got an hour later, when I took another crack at it, assuming they had settled down….. I was mistaken about that). Anyway, it’s only now becoming a problem, nearly 48 hours later.

Okay, back to work….Steve Jobs has done it again, yet another sweet, simple female vocal barely accompanied with sparse melody, a la Feist and Yael Naim. Now it’s Caroline Polachek of Chairlift with “Bruises” (“I could do handstands for you….”).

Formed in Colorado, now based in the coolest of the boroughs, Brooklyn, Chairlift is a trio including Aaron Pfenning and Patrick Wimberly. Check their website for the food orgy video of “Planet Health” and their MySpace page for “Earwig Town” and “Territory”, from their forthcoming CD “Does You Inspire You”, in stores today, September 30, 2008. But “Bruises” is the track you gotta have, and I found it as a free download HERE.

Here’s one I think I’ve beaten Steve Jobs to, though it seems her music has been featured on Ugly Betty, which I don’t watch. Say hello to Lenka:

I first read of her in the October Vanity Fair, which gave a little shoutout to her acoustic cover of Modest Mouse’s “Gravity Rides Everything”. Her website features the obligatory cutesy video for “The Show”, and her MySpace page serves up more of the same (I especially like “Don’t Let Me Fall”)….admittedly, this is aimed more at my 14 year old daughter’s crowd than mine (and yours), but so is a lot of the stuff I like by cute young females. Harmless in small doses, and tasty too. I did find “The Show” as a free download HERE.

That same Vanity Fair column (Hot Tracks by Lisa Robinson….worth reading every month, IMHO) also cites Marc Broussard, directing Justin T. to “take note” of “the real blue-eyed, blonde, Southern soul singer”. While Marc might certainly be worth a listen (check his MySpace for a taste), I like a less slick practitioner of the blue-eyed soul, that you can catch for free right here in Boston, while enjoying a delicious pizza and well poured Guinness, as he plays the Dogwood Cafe in JP on Fridays: Mike McCann.

Any musician playing the Dogwood has to keep it easy and accessible, virtually guaranteeing set after set of well-worn folk and rock chestnuts, and Mike certainly got that memo, but his covers tend to have that fresh twist that make them more enjoyable than a straight impersonation attempt. His “Wait In Vain” seems to cover Annie Lenox as much as Marley, and his “Get Up, Stand Up” shows more joy than defiance. Check his MySpace page for some samples, including the “Wait In Vain” and really good original titled “Almost Home”, but you’ll have to go to the Dogwood to hear his absolutely awesome version of Huey Lewis and The News’s “Power Of Love” (trust me on that one).

Now, to see if my doctor has yet phoned in that prescription for my hand…….