When we last spoke I wrote that I was about to embark on a new European adventure, but I did promise to write a couple of "Radio Free" articles before I left and several of them while I was there. I think I even promised to write about those adventures in a regular feature. Obviously I lied. I had every intention of doing some writing, but I simply didn't have the time. If anyone ever tells you that carting 31 students plus a nine-year-old around Europe for three months is an easy gig, bring them to me and I'll snatch that falsifying tongue right out of their mouth. From 6:30 every morning until about midnight I was not my own man. The few moments of free time I could find in between found me in no condition to do any sort of writing.
But here I am now, back in the States, settling into some new digs and ready to think about new music. As always this article will cover music I'm digging at the moment. Often it will be newly released indie rock, but sometimes not. It will usually be somebody you've never heard, or they might just be your favorite band. I am seriously going to try to write a couple of articles a week, but I've long since given up making those sorts of promises. Anyways, for now, enjoy!
Patrick and Eugene – "Can't Get You Out of My Head"
What's better in a post-Thanksgiving stupor, full-on Christmas shopping stress time frame than a ukulele and banjo packed cover of Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head?" Absolutely nothing I say.
Patrick and Eugene have been heard on television programs such as Weeds and Grey's Anatomy as well as movies (Mr. Bean, Burn After Reading) but are probably most recognized for "The Birds and the Bees" which was featured in a heavily played VW Rabbit commercial.
Their music is like a dance in the rain, a nap in the sun, the smile after a first kiss or any other joyful-cheezy thing you can imagine. Listening to them is like a jelly doughnut – all sugary- sweet, delicious and will likely give you heart disease. "Can't Get You Out of My Head" is not even close to their best song, but it was the only one I could find in downloadable form to post here. Click on over to their myspace page for lots more forget-your-troubles-and-dance music.
Sebadoh – "As Cold As Ice"
Sebadoh was initially a side project for Dinosaur Jr.'s bassist Lou Barlow. It seems he was intimidated by lead man J. Mascis' monstrous song output, and thus began recording his own songs at home. Eventually Barlow got kicked out of Dinosaur Jr. and what was once a side project became the main one. The group helped pioneer lo-fi indie rock and were known for their wavering style between meditative, sensitive introspective folk to psychedelic noise rock. Barlow also formed indie darling The Folk Explosion, and is now back playing bass with Dinosaur Jr.
If you don't hate Foreigner, you don't have ears. "As Cold as Ice" is nothing but a putrid stain on classic rock's existence. I won't say Sebadoh elevates it to the point of good, but minus the amplified 1970s guitar noise, and with the plaintive vocals from Barlow there is something nice about it. In an kitschy, ironic sort of way.
Yoyoyo Acapulco – "Kamasutra Tsunami"
If you look around various torrent sites (not that I would do that) you can find a variety of folks offering up a large selection of indie rock for download (not that you should.) These folks find what they consider the best music around and offer them up in monthly installments. It is a great way for smaller bands to be found by large groups of people. I like to think of this series as something similar. And so I now offer up to this series a band I found through those torrents (not that I did that.)
This Norwegian group calls their genre anti-folk and sound something like Sufjan Steven's less serious brother who dropped out of clown college and formed a band. "Kamasutra Tsunami" is a collage of zydeco, dance-folk and a Shriners convention with lyrics from Frank Zappa's laundry basket. The results are spectacular.
Hear more at their myspace page.
Lucinda Williams – "Real Love"
Busying myself by trying not to lose 31 students in some dinky European train station meant that I not only didn't get to spend a lot of time finding new music, but that I received very little information or news from older artists that I love. It was just today that I discovered that Lucinda Williams got married this past September (on stage no less.)
Lucinda is an artist I've adored for years who usually puts a big dose of the blues into her alt-country roots. I knew something had changed in her life when this track (the first cut off of her most recent album, Little Honey) was full of happy thought instead of her usual forlorn bucket full of heartache and sadness.
So while this song is not new, nor from an obscure artist, nor in support of recent information concerning her nuptials, I'm still celebrating her happiness and passing along a really great rock and roller.