I completely stumbled onto Alexa Ray Joel, and liked what I was hearing, before it started to dawn on me exactly *who* I was hearing. I have a feeling that this is the kind of thing she would prefer from new fans.
This is the first single from her second album, her first featured her own artwork, and sampled herwide range from folk/country to alt-pop, and into jazz. This track would sit gingerly in the pop-jazz area. Reminiscient of Corrine Bailey Rae and Billie Holiday, The writing has strong hooks and the arrangements are balanced.
As stated above, I got into the track for a while before finding out more about who she is. The tipoff to some of you would have been the Joel surname. She’s the daughter of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley.
Last week, I found Earthbound when looking for some funky soul music after seeing a local soul band that really struck me (another post in the making). Earthbound has a really comfortable feel. The percussion never feels rushed, and there is a sense of place and balance between the brass and the percussion. Kira’s lyrics are always upbeat and mature, and her voice is both energetic and calming. I don’t think they will be coming to Atlanta any time soon, as they are base in Canada… pity.
Besides hearing the full track of “Find Yourself” featured here, be sure to check out the tracks “Open Up Your Arms” and “Letting Go”. At the time of this writing, both albums are still free. Of course, as tracks become more popular on Amie Street, the price goes up, so get up on it!
This week’s band is a high-powered post-punk group from California called Cubicle. The first thing that got my attention while browsing new albums at Amie Street was the album cover, an obvious throwback to the old DRI (Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) logo from back in the late, late 80’s skate punk days, but with an update: a briefcase and cellphone. I immediately popped open the player for a few samples and found a band with a lot of energy who find humor in our everyday grind, poke fun at the corporate way of life, the slag, and the slack. Their Myspace page points more toward a “must-see” live show.
“It’s imperative to know how to get scheduled in.”
Be sure to check out “Cooking the Books” and “Corporate Card”.
This week, I discovered a band called the Dirty Epics from Dublin. They have an interesting alt-punk and ska sound, and from the videos, seem to put on quite a live show. The issue that I have with them is that they currently only have *ONE* track up at their Amie Street page. To see or hear much else, you will have to go trolling places like MySpace page. Anyway, check them out!
This week’s entry is for a band known as Les Savy Fav. This New York band got its start at university in Rhode Island and has an interesting way with both instrumentation and lyrics that keeps me coming back to their tracks. Checking out their discography, I’ve noticed that they always seem to be looking to add more to their sound, but at the same time, never lose themselves. The current album, “Let’s Stay Friends,” has a few tracks with guest vocalists, specifically “Kiss Kiss is Getting Old” and “Comes and Goes”. The lyrics are well-rooted in academia and sometimes are twitch-muttered in syncopation and on other tracks are shout-blasted over grunge-fuzz and high-distortion guitar licks. I hope these guys come to Atlanta for a live show someday soon.
The track I’ve highlighted here, “Rage in the Plague Age” went all too well with my recent addiction to the Knighthood game on FaceBook, which I blame entirely on Tsani and Kimberly, and even includes a temporally-shifted call to rock-n’-roll arms:
Draw up the drawbridge, draw down the blinds / everyone inside is getting high tonight, waiting for the plague to move on/ nobody’s getting sober till the liquor’s gone!
Some of you who have been around for a while, or have been on road trips with me will see this selection and might wonder ‘whassupwiddat?’. I have three points on that, which I’ll get into after an overview for the less initiated.
While we all tend to be music snobs after years of drilling down into many bands and b-sides, exploring the dark inner circles of the old banged-up record store, and raiding estate sale closets for obscure genres that we’d never have found on our own, I have a well-voiced music snob pet peeve for remakes. This is the point where those who have heard my arguments on them have their eyes glaze over, so I’ll put the full arguments on parade in another post.
My reasons for choosing a cover song to be highlighted this week? First, it’s a true cover. The lyrics are blissfully un-messed-with, the notation remains, but the style has been conformed to the artist. When this is done correctly, it can often lend whole new meanings to the same song or arrangement. Second, It’s K’s birthday, and I felt that a girlband that rocks, and that breaks out with intense energy and a fresh outlook was just perfect to celebrate her big 7th. Third, The other song by Odd Girl Out that I was going to use really kicks in at about 27 seconds, so the demo clip you get here would not do it justice.
Odd Girl Out is a post-punk pop all-girl band from Baltimore who sound a lot like Joan Jett or Letters to Cleo. I got the cover of the Bangles’ Eternal Flame on spotlight here as a dedication for the people in our lives who can light up our whole day just by saying our name.
When you guys finish with your personal flashbacks to big hair, DeLoreans, and jokes about Regan’s memory lapses, Hit the “More From This Artist” button to hear clips of some of their other tracks, including a really kicking “Lost in Translation”, a playful nudge at home in “Smalltimore”, and even an ode to “MySpace”.
A little while back, I got a comment from Zane over at AmieStreet.com which kicked off an email conversation about this whole Amie Street Music Wednesday meme. Apparently, The crew over at AmieStreet have been noticing a difference in sales and traffic from this bit of blogger activity, and wanted to show some love by sending a slick tee shirt. It is a gray American Apparel Tee with an awesome pinball table theme in pink featuring a bunch of terms used in the amie street community and on the site in general. I really dig it a lot!
Since a post like this is “nothing without pics,” I have a few shots here in my back pocket. (just ignore the pocket lint and empty gum wrapper):
They were out of my size, so this one is really huge now. I’m hoping that it shrinks up a bit when I launder it the first time.
The meme was thought up by Mark over at Mouseclone after some discussions about all the new music we were finding regularly on the AmieStreet website. After putting together the original tracker, he was able to get in touch with some of the development team, who helped in providing the embedded player with the “skinning” options, and then Mark’s work on the WordPress plugin started to really take shape.
I’m glad to see the sites doing well, and have found amiestreet to be a great place as a music consumer to find new and interesting bands, and see it as a hot spot for independent artists to promote and sell their tracks, find new fans, and to connect with the community.