Kailash Kher – Jhoomo re

26 08 2010

Listened: Friday August 6

I first heard a Kailash Kher song on a CD a friend brought me from India. His song stood out as the best in a collection of “#1 Hits”.

The songs on Jhoomo re are very energetic, catchy, and still contain a lot of traditional Indian instruments, even though they are pop songs. He also has a great voice – he can sing ballads and rapid fire lyrics that are at times almost rapping. This is an autotune-free zone.


Jarvis Cocker – Jarvis

26 08 2010

Listened: Friday August 6

I love what Jarvis is wearing on the cover of Jarvis – it’s pretty much the same as what he was wearing in 100 degree heat at Coachella 2007 when we saw him walking amongst the unwashed masses.

Jarvis the album is definitely stronger than Further Complications. I love singing along to Black Magic at the top of my voice in the car – it’s a song that begs for the raised pumped fist (which needless to say you need to be careful about doing in the car). “You only get to see the light just one time in your life.”

From A To I is a beautiful song musically, but also touches on classic Cocker issues of the meaning of life, where civilization is going, and where one fits in. It might be taking it a bit far, but I would say Jarvis is one of the true philosophical essayists in music at the moment. See also: hidden track Cunts Are Still Running the World.

Janet Jackson – janet.

25 08 2010

Listened: Thursday August 5

Janet was one of the first CDs I ever had, when I was about 14. The songs were huge at that time, all over the radio. I also had Janet’s prior album Rhythm Nation 1814 on cassette, which was the soundtrack of much middle school tomfoolery. Soon after starting high school though, I started to lean in a much more rock-oriented direction, so I really haven’t listened to this album much since.

Listening to it now, as a much more experienced adult, I’m a bit shocked at how pretty much every song is relatively sexually oriented. I don’t remember really absorbing that at the time, though I did know Throb was about sex; I wasn’t that clueless.

I do remember really enjoying the songs (and how annoying the skits/interludes are; I still can’t abide by that style of making albums). I discovered that the songs are still really good; I love all the musical styles and samples.

When I’m listening to all my albums in my library back to back, often when I leave one album and go to the first song on the next album, there’s quite a shock as the wildly differing styles exchange. I have that experience just listening to this album; I keep thinking the album must be over and I’m hearing the next album, but no, it’s still Janet, experimenting with some other style. That’s pretty cool and a rare thing.

Noise Addict – it was never about the audience

25 08 2010

Listened: Thursday August 5

It was never about the audience was a free download from Ben Lee, and I really wasn’t expecting much, since I haven’t really loved his music for a while. I didn’t even listen to it until this project.

While I have to say that it’s still a little bit too much “famous musician navel gazing” in points, it’s actually pretty catchy. It helps that the songs are quite short; you don’t have a chance to get too down in the weeds. I like the intimate home recording aspect of it, and the experimental feeling of the music.

I don’t think I’ll listen to this on my own much, but I’m glad I heard it and cut Ben a little slack.

Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You

25 08 2010

Listened: Thursday August 5

Even though Lily Allen’s first album was pretty strong, I wasn’t expecting much from her second. Apparently I should have been.

It’s Not Me, It’s You is full of even more family portraits (her sister, mom, and dad this time instead of her brother Alfie and nan), cultural commentary (drugs, George W. Bush, women’s roles in society, God, and, of course, sex),  hilarious boyfriend beatdowns (the first time I heard “Not Fair” – on NPR’s All Songs Considered no less – I laughed my ass off), and touching breakups.

Not to mention, the musical styles – dance, jazz, pseudo-country, piano ballads. Definitely impressive. I love that I can actually hear her smiling on some songs; I didn’t realize how rare that is to hear until I heard it!

She’s now pregnant with her first child and supposedly doesn’t want to do music anymore. Still I wonder what she would have to say about being a mother; I hope she puts out at least one more album so I can find out.

Phoenix – It’s Never Been Like That

24 08 2010

Listened: Thursday August 5

I know it’s been said before by many people, but Phoenix does not seem French. I think it’s that they seem too casual and cool – in an American way, not the French way. Plus their English is good!

In a way they remind me of the Strokes. They are fun music for the times, but I’m not totally convinced they will last. But that’s not necessarily a horrible thing. Some things last, some don’t. People get enjoyment from both.

Phoenix’s show at sunset at Coachella 2010 was a great time, as sunset slots usually are. Everyone was singing and dancing happily; lots of chicks sitting on dudes’ shoulders. An all-around positive vibe and a strong performance (which is unlike the Strokes).

Art Brut – It’s A Bit Complicated

20 08 2010

Listened: Thursday August 5

It’s a Bit Complicated made me realize that Art Brut are the pop-punk musical version of Seinfeld; it’s all about the details, and when it comes down to it, a lot of nothing.

Pump Up The Volume is all about whether it’s appropriate to break from making out to turn up a song on the radio.

Blame it On The Trains is about blaming being 30 minutes late on public transit when really it was because of lying around having sex and concocting a scheme to explain the absence.

Sound of Summer fetishizes making mix tapes, down to the outmoded acts of pressing both play and record and breaking off the security tabs on the tape so no one can record over it.

Jealous Guy is about a guy obsessing that he isn’t getting as much sex from his girlfriend as her prior boyfriends, but finding his only expression of this frustration is to pull the covers to his side and silently fume.

Any of these could be central to a Seinfeld episode, right?