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James – Laid

31 08 2010

Listened: Wednesday August 11

Laid (the album) is a fondly remembered high school soundtrack. Laid (the song) was one of those I screamed along to with my friends, because of the catchy, naughty lyrics. Most of the rest of the album is actually quite mellow, though. Good for relaxing.

The songs are still quite excellent after all these years. The singer, Tim, has a beautiful voice. My guess is that the bassist listened to a lot of Joy Division.

I have no idea why they are wearing dresses and eating bananas on the cover. One of those 90s mysteries I suppose.

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La Roux – La Roux

31 08 2010

Listened: Wednesday August 11

I absolutely adore La Roux’s album. Even though half the time I’m not positive she’s on key. But with all the pitch correction they have these days, she must be… right?

Ms. Jackson has listened to a lot of Yaz/Yazoo and The Eurythmics, obviously. And this is a good thing. Can the covers of Only You and Here Comes the Rain Again be far behind?

I love to sing along in my car, especially to Cover My Eyes, As If By Magic, and Fascination. Fascination being when I sing the loudest and gesticulate the most.

La Roux blew up Coachella 2010 with Bulletproof. I’ve never experienced such a lusty crowd singalong/dancealong before. And yes, her hair truly is amazing in person.

The rest of the set was good, but I couldn’t decide if there were sound problems or she just didn’t know how to sing into the microphone well; the singing seemed very quiet and hard to hear.

Nevertheless, love it.





Edith Piaf – L’Accordéoniste

31 08 2010

Listened: Wednesday August 11

I bought L’Accordéoniste very cheaply at Tower Records in Berkeley after seeing Saving Private Ryan and loving the song Tu Es Partout as used in the film. I discovered a lot of other great songs in the process. Oddly, her most famous songs La Vie en Rose and Non, Je ne Regrette Rien are not on this collection.

Edith’s life was made into its own film (which I also enjoyed); she lived enough for 5 people and you can hear that in her voice.





Marianne Faithfull – Kissin Time

31 08 2010

Listened: Tuesday August 10

Kissin’ Time is another album that sat around for years, after I had acquired it for free or nearly free. After hearing it for the first time as a part of this project, I’m sorry it took me so long.

Beck, Billy Corgan, Jarvis Cocker, Damon Albarn, and others have written some brilliant songs for Marianne to sing. This album is the antithesis of Faithfull – the extreme realism is toned down a lot, but the hard edge of her voice is still intact.

The in-your-face songs are here (“Sliding Through Life on Charm” includes the lyric “Hey mister! you have finally met your match, Now everybody wants to kiss my snatch” and other similar gems – no shock this is Jarvis’ song) as well as the sweeter, more romantic songs, some of which I would never expect Marianne to sing. But they work. This album is certainly going to be in my regular rotation from now on.





Basement Jaxx – Kish Kash

31 08 2010

Listened: Tuesday August 10

The Jaxx are modern disco in every positive sense of the word. Now that I’m familiar with Northern Soul, I can hear the direct lineage from Wigan Casino to Kish Kash.

I also like that the Jaxx don’t discriminate – their guest singers on this album range from Me’Shell Ndegeocello to Dizzee Rascal to Siouxsie Sioux to JC Chasez(!). And all of the songs work, no matter the guest.

The Jaxx are like an old friend; I lost track of them after this album but I should catch up with them again.





Kings of Convenience – Kings of Convenience

30 08 2010

Listened: Tuesday August 10

I picked up KOC after Quiet is The New Loud, so I had already heard most of the songs on Kings of Convenience, and with better production. However, I do love the songs found only on this album (An English House, Surprise Ice, etc). It’s even more mellow than Quiet is the New Loud.

Strangely, this album is nowhere to be found in their wikipedia article; odd because generally the articles are super-exhaustive.

I love the line drawing. I wonder if one of the guys did it?





Radiohead – Kid A

30 08 2010

Listened: Tuesday August 10

I remember really anticipating Kid A’s release. It had been 3 years since OK Computer and we were all antsy to see what was next. I remember reading lots of reactions on the internet from people who didn’t get the major evolution of Radiohead’s sound from one record to another. I, however, loved having my boundaries pushed by the lunacy that is this album. I loved OK Computer, but who wants a band to stay in a box? People change, times change. Since this album Radiohead has been pushing everyone’s boundaries each time they release an album. Without Kid A there is no In Rainbows.

I love how Kid A ranges from dreamy atmospherics (Treefingers) to cacophonous funky modern jazz (The National Anthem) to creepy and haunting dirges (How To Disappear Completely) to booty shakers (Idioteque). It’s an amazing collection of songs that I appreciate even more now than I did when it first came out.