For more than a decade now, singer/songwriter Matt Pond has put together an ever-changing roster of top-shelf musicians known as Matt Pond PA that has become a staple of the indie music scene. Over the years, he’s performed with bands such as Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Guster, Neko Case and Liz Phair, but in true indie style, even after releasing 14 albums he’s managed to pretty much stay off of the radar of the general public. Come April 6th he’ll be dropping Number 15 with The Dark Leaves. Why not head on over to MySpace and give him a look.
Ronnie Weil figured that since I’m the only person she knows who has regular contact with bears, this instructional video just might come in handy. And I gotta say, I’m pretty impressed that the claymation Davey & Goliath-like action figure looks remarkably like yours truly…Enjoy!
CBS Sunday Morning did a wonderfully moving profile this past week on Melody Gardot, a 24 year-old jazz singer from Philadelphia, but far better known in Paris where she is held in such high regard that her recent album, My One and Only Thrill, went double-platinum almost the second it was released! But they weren’t featuring her just because of her singing…no, the real story is how she fought back from a near-fatal accident where she was mowed down while riding her bike by a guy who ran a red light. She suffered serious head and spinal injuries and her pelvis was shattered in two places. As a result she was confined to her hospital bed for a year and had to remain lying on her back. The most noticeable effect of the injuries she suffered is that she was left hyper-sensitive to both light and sound and wears dark sunglasses at all times to shield her eyes. The accident also caused both long and short term memory problems and difficulty with her sense of time. As therapy, she began writing music…at first, she learned to hum but was eventually able to sing into a tape recorder. Making a verbal attempt to sing or hum apparently helped her brain form new neural pathways to take over for the ones damaged in the accident. All things considered, it’s a pretty amazing story. You should check her out on MySpace or on her website!
God knows The Song of the Day is a big fan of Fever Ray, but even we had to scratch our heads when, at the P3 Guld Awards this weekend in Gothenburg Sweden (best described as the Swedish version of the Grammy’s, The MTV Awards, an Ecstasy-fueled Rave and Art Basel all rolled into one) Karin Dreijer Andersson picked up a shattered piece of glass for Best Dance Performance dolled up like Lady GaGa dipped in sulphuric acid! Very weird…very cool…very entertaining!
If you didn’t know Charlotte Gainsbourg has a new album due out tomorrow, then you really haven’t been paying attention! Besides the usual leaks on all of the music blogs, Ms. Gainsbourg has been tearing up the promo circuit as well, capping it all off with a front page story in the Sunday Times yesterday. But I guess when you’re trying to get outta the shadow of your incredibly famous father, the renaissance man Serge Gainsbourg, you’ll take all the press you can get, however, the story behind “IRM” is quite fascinating….after a minor water skiing fall, she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and if not for emergency surgery would have probably died. But even after recovering, she remained convinced she was not quite right, so she insisted on repeated MRI scans (‘IRM’ in French). The experience focussed her songwriting on her medical crisis and the result is a haunting work, filled with eerie lyrics (“…Drill my brain full of holes and patch it before it leaks…”) and musical samples of the MRI machines whose grinding sounds somehow soothed her while they probed her head. And Beck…they had become friends a few years earlier and she got him to handle the production, as well as contribute on a few songs, including ‘Heaven Can Wait’. You can check out Charlotte Gainsbourg on her website or over on MySpace.
There is something so wonderfully Portishead-like about Phantogram. I dunno if it’s because the Lo-Fi scratchy intro and fuzzy synth pulses and echoing guitar reminds me of ‘Glory Box’, or maybe it’s how Sarah Barthel’s voice has a similar fragile, floaty quality to that of Beth Gibbons, but it might just be ‘cuz I’m just so desperately in need of some trip-hop that when I heard this today I was immediately drawn in by the unique strangeness, the minimal beats and the angelic arc of Sarah’s vocals. Phantogram signed with indie power-label Barsuk Records last fall and their first full-length album, Eyelid Movies, is due out next month. Show ’em some love and head over to MySpace and make friends!
One of the cool things about the blog is the ability to look at the stats to see exactly who is wasting time in here, and one sort of weird thing has happened in the past few weeks…suddenly I’m getting a lotta hits from China and the blog is being fed into translate.google.com for English to Chinese translation! The only problem is, when I see how what I post gets translated, I hafta wonder if Google is getting it right! ‘Damn Ugly Photography’ comes up as ‘Disgusting Photography’ and ‘The Home Of The Song Of The Day List’ results in ‘But To Date Name List Song Home Page’…!
I dunno…I should probably just be happy that there are people half a World away checking out what’s sitting at the top of my iTunes folder!
As the new era at Bloomberg BusinessWeek begins, so does a new stable of columnists, and one of the first new names added to the masthead is the revered television interviewer and journalist, Charlie Rose. We had the pleasure of photographing him in his TV studio…at the table…for his new column portrait.
There hasn’t been nearly enough good, brooding Electro-Pop on the list of late, but when the latest from Cruel Black Dove fell into my lap a few minutes ago I figured it must be a sign from above. ‘Isolation’ has a very Depeche Mode-y feel to it, especially with that sharp, clicky synth and thick bassline that chugs along throughout the entire song, and lead singer Anastasia Dimou’s slinky, sexy vocal gives a soul to what otherwise would be a cold affair. ‘Isolation’ is off of the band’s brand-spankin’ new album, The Myth And The Sum, and if you like it, give ’em a look on their MySpace page and then head over to their website where they have lotsa free downloads to check out. And for you New Yorkers looking for an excuse to get up off of the damned couch, they’re playing the Mercury Lounge tonight at 9:30!
Austin’s Amy Cook just finished up her third album, Let The Light In, which is set to drop March 2nd, and if the rest of the record is as strong as this song, then Ms. Cook will have a real winner on her hands. Produced by Alejandro Escovedo, featuring guest vocals from Patty Griffin and a lush string arrangement performed by the Tosca String Quartet, this is powerful poetry set to music and Cook’s heartfelt, shimmering vocal has put me into a soulful, melancholy mood…but in a good way…
I’ve gotten a lotta e-mails in the past few days regarding this years Songs of the Year, but the runaway majority had to do with Metric’s ‘Gimme Sympathy’. And surprisingly (especially since I regularly get slammed for serving up too much ‘soft’ music) a bunch of you went back to the original post last August and watched the YouTube video of the acoustic version…and then asked if I had an mp3 of that one, too! Well…of course I do…and I’m just here to make you guys happy, right?!! As good as Emily Haines is in the album version, when her vocal is striped down and just a simple guitar is backing her up, all the sadness and hurt comes out and you really see just how great this song is. ‘Gimme Sympathy’ is off of Metric’s latest album, Fantasies. You should all make friends on their MySpace page