Listen to CLOWNS by Goldfrapp.
Listen to HILLS OF STONE by Radar Bros.
Jason dropping in.
And its about time! What with Euro 2008, holidays, end-of-season football celebrations....discretionary time has been in short supply. Thanks John for stepping in.
So, there are times when I want to share with this blog the songs that have mattered to me for a long time - and why. Other times, like now, I want to introduce relatively new material simply because its what I'm currently digging on.
Alison Goldfrapp and I have a love/hate relationship. She's one of those artists I admire, listen to, but at the same time find quite a bit....affected... Her 3rd album "Black Cherry" was my entry point in 2003 and it had some great songs (like "Hairy Trees") but her persona was a little too try-hard for my tastes. Now, I don't want to put someone down for a unique style and some theatricality (everyone, I mean EVERYONE, knows who my favourite band is......) but it grated.
So I'm pleased to say that Ms Goldfrapp seems to have given up her quest of being the Bizarro-Kylie/Madonna and put her feet firmly on the ground. And yet, I've chosen "Clowns" because it is so ethereal. It harks back to the "Hairy Trees" style with its Cocteau-Twins-like hushed vocals.
And its this esoteric style that selected the Radar Bros track for me as well. Radar Bros are a slowcore outfit from LA. I thought this was their first album but its actually their 5th. Its been quite a while since a song has gripped me so much. And that is not always such a good sign ("Drops of Jupiter" by Train had the same effect and I ended up hating it.) The melancholy piano chords in this are other-worldy: at first, melancholic but then uplifting for the chorus. Absolutely stunning.
Maybe someone can help me out. Because there's something about the Radar Bros track that is incredibly familiar to me. Maybe it reminds me of a song from my childhood but I can't place it (yes, I know the lead vocal is a bit Kermit-the-Frog-like but that's not it). Like a B-side from some early 80s 7-inch. If you have any ideas, let me know, because I won't rest until I figure it out.
Photo: Freya. Guiting Power. 2008. Taken by Jason Bryant