Staff Picks: Music
The lo-fi indie rock duo of American Alison "VV" Mosshart and Brit Jamie "Hotel" Hince came together to form the band known as The Kills after striking up a long distance songwriting partnership. Mosshart heard Hince practicing his guitar in the a hotel room and decided to start sending him songs via air mail. Their previous release, No Wow (2005), was recorded in Benton Harbor at the Keyclub Recording Company and a couple of the songs referenced West Michigan in the lyrics. The band returned to the Keyclub in 2007 to work on their latest CD Midnight Boom, a record filled with a minimalist sound that is both trashy and catchy. You will find yourself bobbing your head and dancing to the contagious beats on this CD. Hince's raw guitar playing is the perfect complement to Mosshart's sassy vocals. The Kills are another great rock duo with ties to Michigan, but one who doesn't only dress in three colors.
Not ever having been an avid viewer of MTV or other such music video programs, I happened to catch a glimpse of one of them recently while channel surfing during the commercials of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. While I've always liked artists such as Jewel, KT Tunstall, Jennifer Paige, and Kelly Clarkson, I had never been really introduced to Natasha Bedingfield other than hearing her on the Top-40 radio stations. While I wouldn't call her my all-time favorite, I enjoyed the upbeat title track enough to purchase it for my Zune. Joss Stone, Chris Brown, and John Legend are newly acquired favorites as well.
Pocketful of Sunshine
Do not miss singer Rachael Davis in the Van Deusen at Central, tomorrow at 7:00 pm. Rachael is a critically-acclaimed performer who has opened for such artist as Josh Ritter and Dar Williams. In 2006 Rachael collaborated with the Steppin' In It to produce the CD, Shout Sister Shout, a recording inspired by the jazz of the 1930's and 40's. It will be another amazing acoustic show in our very popular series.
The State Theater has announced that the alt-folk duo the Indigo Girls will be performing with special guest Kathleen Edwards on Saturday October 4th! The Indigo Girls have been making music for over 20 years singing about topics ranging from immigration to the environment. They do not pull punches. Canada's Kathleen Edwards newest release Asking for Flowers is an alt-country smash filled with honest songs about the state of the world. This should be a great show!
Asking for Flowers
I recently drove to Indiana to see Radiohead in concert. It was a better show than I could hope to see in a lifetime--the weather was great, the crowd was excited and respectful, and Thom and the gang played for more than two hours. The women seated beside me had driven ten hours and wept through some of the songs. If you've not experienced the beauty of their music, you must sample both the old and new: OK Computer (1997), Kid A (2000), Amnesiac (2001), and In Rainbows (2008).
Since becoming a parent, I've paid a lot more attention to the latest kids' music CDs. There are a lot of choices - and sometimes, it seems as if the CDs are aimed as much at the aging, hipster doofus parents as at their offspring. One way kids' music artists appeal to parents' tastes is to release lullaby versions of songs they know and love. The idea isn't new - I remember seeing "Beatles for Babies" records decades ago - but the trend has grown.
Recently, power-pop cult figure Jason Falkner (ex-Jellyfish, Grays) released Bedtime with the Beatles Part Two. A gifted vocalist, he offers humming only on "Hey Jude", concentrating instead on instrumental versions of Fab Four faves, awash in his multi-tracked keyboard arrangements which nod to psychedelia while carrying children (and tired parents) off to dreamland.
While I'd sing most of these classics to my wee one, tunes like "Norwegian Wood" and "She's Leaving Home" are best left as instrumentals - I don't need questions about sleeping in the bath or runaways treating mums so thoughtlessly. Still, these are far from the most questionable kids' versions of songs out there - I can't decide which is the bigger head-scratcher, "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" (on Jersey Babys: the Music of Frankie Valli & the 4 Seasons for Kids), or the Trent Reznor-penned "Hurt" (on Baby Love Lullaby: Lullaby Versions of Johnny Cash). Seriously - "everyone I know goes away in the end"? Night night, sweetie!
Bedtime with the Beatles