ASMW — Alexa Ray Joel

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.

ASMW – Odd Girl Out

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”.

An Early Surprise

at the end of the day yesterday at the office, a couple of people came around asking those of us who hadn’t headed for the hills at noon if we would be interested in tickets to the Nutcracker at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. I put my name in the hat, as usual, and thought of how I’d been telling myself for about three years now that I’d get tickets and take the girls to see it during the holidays.

They drew a name from the hat, at the tickets went to the controller in the financial department. I congratulated him and started to get my things together, then he showed back up and said that his son would not be available to go, so he wanted me to have the tickets. It was incredibly nice of him to pass the tickets along.

It was 5:30 at this point, and the girls had been at my parents’ house, and the show started at 7:30 sharp. I called my mom, and asked her to meet me halfway between my work and her house so that we would be able to make it. It being Friday, there seemed to be tons of extra traffic, and being winter, it was already rather dark by then. I was coasting diligently through the four-way stop that is always highly congested, feeling much better about the car because I had to get new tires at the first part of this week. The old ones were suffering from band separation, and could have blown out at any moment. This condition was the cause for a really rough ride, too.

I criss-crossed my way along county roads, bypassing the Friday- and holiday-congestion I knew would be on the freeways heading away from the city, and finally made it to the meeting point. Got the girls and their things, and we were off like a shot. Fridays are more casual in the office, so I had jeans and sneakers on, and a collared long-sleeve shirt. The girls had only been playing all day. The clothes matched, but the shoes were just way off. No stopping now, though.

The seats were incredible, front row of the balcony, just left of center. Perfect for the girls’ first ‘true’ ballet experience.

The show was amazing. The dancers were awe-inspiring, the costumes and sets were fantastic, and I kept seeing inspiration and imagination filling the girls’ eyes as they sat riveted, watching. It could have been the stars glowing from the ceiling, or maybe the snow coming from the rafters, but I thought I saw a little bit of magic in their eyes as well.