Song of the Day

Glorified High

DOWNLOAD: Glorified High

Sarah Jaffe has come a long way since she was last on The List back in 2010 with ‘Clementine’. On her new album, The Body Wins, the folky rhythms and mournful lyrics from that first record have been replaced with fuzzy sampled percussive beats, electronic pianos, upbeat melodies and a much more pop-centric feel to her songwriting. Gone too is her earthy, slacker image that featured a mish-mosh of hoodies, plaid shirts and knit caps. Judging from the cover of The Body Wins where she sports a new razor-cut hairstyle and almost military-like fashion, I’d say Sarah has been put through the record company makeover machine. But if the marketing guys thought getting a haircut was necessary to get noticed, it must be working ‘cuz even Jon Pareles of The NY Times reviewed her album yesterday. For an indie artist, that’s kinda huge. And judging from what he wrote, I’d say we’re both fans of her new sound.

You can check out more of Sarah Jaffe on her website or head over to her facebook page and hit the LIKE button.


Song of the Day

Wishes And Stars

DOWNLOAD: Wishes And Stars

No, you’re not listening to a long-lost Simon & Garfunkel single…this is Paul Simon’s son, Harper Simon, and if not for me clearing out some of the stuff taking up space on my DVR last night, I would probably have never heard this. It played as the credits rolled on the first episode of the new HBO series, ‘Girls’, and if you’ve seen the show (and you’re like me) then you probably can’t imagine a more perfect song to encapsulate the characters and themes…

Everyone seems so certain
Everyone knows who they are
Everyone’s got a mother and a father
They all seem so sure they’re going far
They all got more friends than they can use
Except me ‘cause I’m a fool…

The show, by the way, is excellent! Writer/Director/Creator/Voice-of-her-Generation Lena Dunham’s super-smart look at four twenty-something girls trying to make their way in the World is peppered with dialogue that flows like a hipster mash-up of a David Mamet play and a Whit Stillman movie. And is it coincidence or by clever design that Mamet’s daughter Zosia plays one of Dunham’s girlfriends and Stillman regular Chris Eigeman plays her boss? I dunno…just watch it!

But back to the song…which was chosen by the show’s music director Michael Penn…it’s off of Simon’s self-titled debut that features some serious bold-faced indie friends…Aaron Espinoza of Earlimart, Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto, Sean Lennon, Joan (As Police Woman) Wasser and the amazing violinist Petra Haden. Oh yeah, he also called upon Steve Nieve whose day job is Elvis Costello’s keyboardist in the Attractions, percussion superstar Steve Gadd and of course, his Dad. Finally, if all that talent wasn’t enough, he got Tom Rothrock to twiddle the knobs and mix the final product. How he Hell did I miss this album when it was released?!!

So your assignment is to watch ‘Girls’ on Sunday nights and check out more of Harper Simon at his website!

Song of the Day


DOWNLOAD: Generals

Laura Burhenn and the Omaha-based Mynabirds are back with their second album, Generals, due out June 5th, and she’s giving away the title track…a percussion-heavy, anthemic foot-stomper that was good enough to get me out the the serious Song of the Day drought I’ve been in! In this song, Laura sounds kinda pissed off with the way a few politicians have been trying to step on the rights of hard-working girls out there lately…

Calling all my generals
My daughters, my revolutionaires
We’ve got strength in numbers
And they’re going to pay for it…

Word is Generals is a concept album that’s allowing her to exercise her political frustration and was named after the Richard Avedon photo “Generals of the Daughters of the American Revolution”, and she wants all you gals you strap on your ‘black boots’ and ‘war paint’ and don’t let anybody tell you that you don’t count…Amen! You can check out The Mynabirds on their website and for all you locals, they’ll be in New York June 22nd at The Mercury Lounge.

SXSW Special: The Bird Call Cover Shoot & Song of the Day

Click on Any Image for Full-Size

Waltz in the Snow

DOWNLOAD: Waltz in the Snow

SXSW starts this week, and Bird Call is heading down to Austin to play a whole mess of dates, so I figured that since the festival has morphed from being just a week-long Indie music show into a multi-media-mega-extravaganza, today’s post would mimic that sentiment by including music, photos and yet another these stop-action jpeg movies I find myself playing with when I got nothin’ else to do.

A few months back, we were out at the Brooklyn World Headquarters of Bird Call Music and mindful of the low-budget, Indie-Music, keep-it-simple aspect to the shoot, we turned a very tiny white room into a photo studio for Chiara Angelicola’s new record, using nothing but four do-it-yourself lights and a bit of ingenuity.

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes of what we did and some of the resulting final images…

We started with nothing but some sheer drapes covering a sunlit window and a piano dropped in front of it…

…in a very small room (thank God for wide-angle lenses!). We added a couple of my DIY ‘Ghetto-Flo’ florescent strip lights as backlight skims, but decided to use no front light at all, just overexposed the living daylights outta the thing to let the background blow out and see where that took us…

Not bad at all, even if GiGi looks kinda bored…

Chiara getting beautified…

…and standing in…

Some last minute touch-ups…Lovin’ the Horns!

And away we go…

The final resulting images…..

Next, we pulled out the piano and added a couple of front lights…

…and Chiara jumped around in a cool stripy dress with a pork-pie hat!

Which I was able to turn into this cool multiple…

In the end, GiGi was impressed…

Song of the Day

Are You Gonna Waste My Time?

DOWNLOAD: Are You Gonna Waste My Time?

Today on The List we prove once more that everything old is new again. Fuzzy dueling guitars with whammy bars, echo, reverb, some honky-tonk piano and even a Goddamn cowbell…welcome to the 70’s, kids!!! Zeus are four guys from Toronto that obviously have prayed at the alter of Grand Funk Railroad, and their second album, Busting Visions, will be released next month. Besides making friends on Facebook, you can check out more of Zeus on their website, and for you New Yorkers, they’re playing The Mercury Lounge Thursday night (2/23/12).

Song of the Day


DOWNLOAD: Crystalline

What’s not to love about this new song from Brooklyn-based Englishman Ed Vallance?!! Right from the intro with that twitchy guitar & syncopated snare drum, to the almost Steven Patrick Morrissey-like whiney wail of his voice, and the way it quickly builds to a flourish of mirrored backing vocals and distorted guitars and then slides back into the tick-tock tick-tock marching beat of that drum…everything just comes together perfectly. ‘Crystalline’ is the lead track from his second album, Volcano, which is due to be released this month, but check him out on his Facebook page and for you New Yorkers, he’s playing a residency at The Ace Hotel in Manhattan every Sunday in February at 10:00pm.