Sunday, September 10, 2023

Paula Cole - Sessions at West 54th 1997 / Live at The 9:30 Club 1997

Sessions at West 54th 1997

Live at The 9:30 Club 1997 - Part 1

Live at The 9:30 Club 1997 - Part 2

 #Paula Cole #singer-songwriter #alternative rock #alternative pop rock #indie rock #art rock #piano rock #1990s #live music video

Twenty-five years ago, singer-songwriter Paula Cole released her sophomore album and major-label debut, This Fire, which spawned the perennial future Dawson’s Creek anthem “I Don’t Want to Wait” and the top 10 hit “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” The latter was Cole’s breakthrough single and was nominated for Record and Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 1998 Grammys, but not everyone appreciated its irony or subtext. Cole, a staunch feminist, intended the moody tune — about a disillusioned, barefoot-and-pregnant housewife and her no-good cowboy husband — to be a social commentary on traditional gender stereotypes. But that message was lost on many listeners (including conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh!), who mistook it to be about a woman literally yearning for a macho Marlboro Man-type hero to come rescue her.
“Oh, yes. And they still believe that — there's still those folks holding out!” Cole laughingly tells Yahoo Entertainment/SiriusXM Volume. “It was so bizarre. You put out a piece of work and you know what it means, but then you let it go out into the world and it's like witnessing, I don't know, like an anthropological study. You learn about people. It was one of Rush Limbaugh’s favorite songs; he’d play it on his radio station! In some ways, it was horrific. In the moment, it was galling. I remember even though Spin magazine had been supportive of me, they didn't get it. One of the writers wrote that I was the ‘Tammy Wynette of Lilith Fair.’ And it was so the opposite — I was actually one of the most outspoken feminist dark horses on that whole stage.”
Cole explains that she was listening to a lot of British new wave band XTC at the time of the song’s creation. “Their writing is so funny and smart and clever, and I thought to myself, ‘I want to write something clever and turn it on its head.’ There's irony woven in, there's melancholia woven in, but from a woman's point of view. So, it really was like a gender-role wink-wink- nudge-nudge kind of laugh, kind of an examination of our society with some sadness, and with a little bit of a country song in there too. And then you blend it all together and there's this conversation and there's this learning — and confusion.”
Cole notes that “all the feminists got it” then and now (she’s very proud that indie-rock sister trio HAIM covered “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” in 2019), and that the song’s nuances were always better grasped by international audiences. “Another observation is that America has the fundamentalist, puritanical approach to things, but when I went to Europe, they so got it,” she recalls. “I remember in Spain especially, they loved the irony and the laughter — like, the ‘shiny gun’ is a phallic reference, totally tongue-in-cheek. Whereas this ‘shiny gun,’ America didn't get that.”
Along with the three nominations that “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” received at the 40th annual Grammy Awards, Cole was an overall seven-time nominee that year, winning in the Best New Artist category and making history as the first solo woman to be up for Producer of the Year. Cole reflects on that year — when some of the other major Grammy nominees were her fellow female singer-songwriters Shawn Colvin, Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Fiona Apple, and Lilith Fair organizer Sarah McLachlan, and playing Lilith Fair “felt like the original feeling of Woodstock” — fondly, even though her whirlwind success was admittedly daunting at the time.
“It you look at the Grammy nominations that year, it was really diverse. It was fantastic. I loved that time,” she says. “And the hip-hop scene then too, with Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliott and TLC and Lil’ Kim, was a really interesting time. Before, DJs were literally told not to play a woman after another woman on the radio, or you couldn't play more than one woman in an hour. It was difficult to move that needle, but we did move it. It did feel like we were changing culture a little bit. I think it kept coming back down to the art of the song and the point of view, being articulate and smart and badass; that perspective was embraced, and it didn't matter even what genre you were in. It was just about, do you have authority and authenticity in your voice? And the thing is, we're still here. All of those artists that we've named are still here. Like, we're in it for life. We're lifers.”
That being said, while Cole has released nine albums since This Fire, and is most definitely a lifer, she didn’t follow-up that double-platinum album with another overtly commercial release, and she has kept a relatively low profile ever since. “I felt like [Peter Sellers’s Being There character] Chauncey Gardner; it all happened very quickly,” she says of her ‘90s success. “I'm a wicked introvert, like a very thoughtful writer and kind of a shy person. And I was incredibly humbled and gratified by the success, but it was a lot to handle. I guess I wanted to shed off that ill-fitting snakeskin and retreat a little bit.” Cole’s third album, 1999's Amen, was therefore a massive stylistic departure from This Fire, a “neo-soul album with neo-soul influences” that, once again, was misunderstood by many fans.
“I didn't know necessarily what the public wanted, and I wasn't making my next album for that. I had no clue,” says Cole. “I just knew that I was listening to a lot of hip-hop and soul and Marvin Gaye's What's Going On album, and it just moved me so much. That album was really like a guide for what became Amen. I think it surprised people. You know, I'm a white girl and I've probably received some unnecessarily harsh criticism around that stylistic influence. But it was authentic to me. I felt like I wanted to sing about spirituality in a soulful way. I wanted to sing about social justice. I didn't want to sing about my boyfriend all the time. I wanted to expand upon lyrical themes, and weaving in social justice is really important to me.”
Cole took a seven-year hiatus after Amen to focus on motherhood, and she confesses, “I definitely thought about leaving the music business.” It was her idol Emmylou Harris, who had taken hiatuses in her own career, who ultimately convinced Cole to keep going. “She said to me, ‘You can't quit. It just happened too fast.’ For me, it happened really fast, and I needed to take myself away from that and find my authentic path and make my eras of different albums. You know, like Picasso had his ‘Pig’ era and his Blue Period, and Joni Mitchell had her Mingus album and everyone dumped on her for doing that. So, I just have to be truthful to myself. I can't predict what people will like. I needed to have my daughter and take some time, and now I'm back and on my own label, and it's much more flowing and prolific and free. And I'm so much happier.”
And so Cole, a self-described “frustrated jazz singer” who says she thinks “about race every day because my daughter's biracial,” continues to follow her own path. She just released her 11th, social-justice-oriented album, American Quilt, a collection of traditional folk covers that includes one original composition, “Hidden in Plain Sight (I Dream),” inspired by historical stories about slave quilts during the Underground Railroad era. She admits she still has some mixed feelings about the This Fire/Amen period of her career, because at the time she “got caught in a corrupt record deal [with Imago/Warner]. I'm still dealing with all that. They don’t reissue or remaster my work from that, even though this year is the 25th anniversary of This Fire, so it's really frustrating. I feel like I'm kind of locked, like that part of my life is locked in a cage, like inhumanely locked in.”
However, a few years ago, Cole decided to re-record her above-mentioned other big ‘90s hit, “I Don’t Want to Wait.” And after the song had not been featured on streaming or DVD versions of that TV series for years because Sony had only purchased the on-air rights to the track, Cole’s new version has finally been restored to all six Dawson’s Creek seasons on Netflix — which, in a full-circle development, has boosted what she describes as her “tortoise”-like career.
“I can feel it at the shows; I can feel it in the new fans that are coming to my socials,” Cole marvels. “The millennials knew “I Don’t Want to Wait” from the original Dawson's Creek, and then it kind of disappeared. And now, again, it's starting. It's really sweet. It's really sweet to see it touch new generations. That's got to be one of the best feelings in the world, when new young people are finding your work — and they find it for themselves, without bias, without context, and they just love it for what it is and in its simplest form. I love it. It's just so beautiful.”  From:

New Candys - Sun is Gone

 #New Candys #psychedelic rock #alternative rock #neo-psychedelia #post-punk #Italian #music video

I find this record simply enthralling. Stars Reach The Abyss. New Candys. Doped, sedated, highly pop-psychedelic and buzzing in keeping a low profile. Foot and root into The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Black Angels, The Velvet Underground, The Warlocks. And in whateverelse these bands I cited keep their feet and roots in. A long walk through the desert under the burning Sun.
A lysergic record, actually: You fall in a trap while chasing unicorns in Half-Heart and get high eating the sand with Dry Air Everywhere; then you can only stay down on the ground, moving your hand in the air trying to catch the little fairies flying up your nose with Sun Is Gone ('Till Day Returns): highly lyrical, with sitar sounds and percussions. Give a look to their stage set up, I love it. Then it is again time for more black magic and visions chanted by the slow pace and saturation of Meltdown Corp. There are two singles here, Black Beat and Blue Magic Hat. Then you can count the endless black and white rounds of a rotating hypnosis spiral with Welcome To The Void Temple. Again: lay down on bed and listen to Nibiru. Then it's a romance with Butterfly Net. From Treviso (northern Italy), an excellence for a debut record such it goes mesmeric along every track: it is like  Foolica records had stolen this band from ATP's roster.  From:

Toni Childs - Welcome To The World

 #Toni Childs #alternative rock #folk rock #world music #contemporary folk rock #art pop #singer-songwriter #1990s #music video

Toni Childs’ musical compass has taken her north, south, east and west. Seeking inspiration for her third album, the American singer decamped to Madras, India, with a 24-track digital recording unit. It wasn’t her first field trip though. Childs’ debut, Union (1988), had been partially recorded in Swaziland, where she incorporated African voices into her art pop. (Fun fact: Union also features Marillion’s Steve Hogarth on keyboards.) Working with Indian musicians, Childs demoed four brand new songs in November 1992.
Womb, lyrically about a baby that is apprehensive about leaving its amniotic nest to enter the unknown world, suggested a conceptual direction for the rest of the album.The Woman’s Boat starts with that song of birth and ends with Death. The intervening nine songs trace a lifecycle of womanhood with all its triumphs and tribulations. Heavy stuff. But then Childs had plenty of life experience to draw upon. At 15, she ran away from the religious home she was raised in. Her early music career in Los Angeles foundered when she was briefly imprisoned for smuggling cocaine. A move to London heralded a fresh start. It was there that Childs befriended Peter Gabriel’s guitarist, David Rhodes, who became a key player on her early albums.
The Woman’s Boat was recorded at Gabriel’s Real World studios, which accounts for the album’s credits reading like a WOMAD festival bill. It features players of non-western instruments such as tamboura, mridangam, moorsing and didgeridoo, plus Pakistani superstar Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Belgian/African group Zap Mama. Producer David Bottrill also enlisted Talk Talk drummer Paul Webb, Trey Gunn on stick and Robert Fripp on guitar. Oh, and Peter Gabriel himself duets with Childs on I Met A Man.
Toni Childs’ utterly distinctive voice — as earthy and celestial as that of a gospel singer — sits atop the album’s verdant textures. On I Just Want Affection, the sultry desire of her vocal breaks through the cool reserves of the ethereal, bowed notes of an Indian sarangi. Her voice darts between the sinister shadows of Fripp’s soundscapes on Predator, and she sings with force-10 gusto over the heavy artillery of programmed beats on Lay Down Your Pain.
Upon release, The Woman’s Boat sunk without a trace. It would be 15 years before Childs released another record. Now living in Australia, she has since released several excellent albums via her website but The Woman’s Boat remains the album in which her musical compass pointed true north.  From:

Calexico - Falling From The Sky

 #Calexico #Americana #indie/alternative rock #alt-country #Tejano #post-rock #music video

Calexico is a American indie rock band formed in 1996, in Tucson, Arizona, by Joey Burns and John Convertino, who were members of the band Giant Sand at the time. The duo’s distinctive sound is driven by a blend of Americana, Tex-Mex, and post-rock influences. They have released 10 studio albums, including their critically acclaimed 2003 album Feast of Wire. Over the years, they have collaborated with various artists and musicians such as Iron & Wine, Neko Case, and Mariachi Luz de Luna. In 2017, they released their latest album The Thread That Keeps Us. Calexico’s music has been featured in films, TV shows, and commercials, and they have toured extensively in the US and internationally. They have become one of the most respected and influential indie rock bands of their generation, praised for their unique sound and impressive live performances.  From:

Calexico have shared a new video for "Falling From the Sky", a cut from their new LP Edge of the Sun that features Band of Horses' Ben Bridwell. Bridwell doesn't appear in the video; rather, it stars José González as the caretaker for a loved one who happens to be a giant, writhing, worm-like creature.
Director Mikel Cee Karlsson said of the video: The ideas for this video have been lingering for a while, ever since I saw Albin Karlsson and Björn Renner's worm-like creation made for a show at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm. In original form, the "worm" was strictly covered in black leather. But I wanted to make it more like a living thing, like an evolutionary side step, a creature that is stuck in its codependency and has rather few possibilities in this world but still has the capacity to dream of better things. I also had the idea that I wanted to make a two part video on the same story and tell it from two different perspectives. When I heard Calexico's "Falling from the Sky" I felt that I heard the perspective of the creature, or rather the perspective of anyone who find themselves in a similar mindset or situation. So, this video is actually part I of II, or more precisely, perspective I of II of this relationship.  From:

Żywiolak - Bóstwa

 #Zywiolak #Slavic folk music #folk rock #world music #folk punk #folk metal avant-folk #neo-pagan folk #Polish #music video

Żywiołak, initially formed in Warsaw in 2005, is a Polish folk rock band steeped in mythos. Its name references the Elemental, a magical being said to harness the power of nature in the form of air, fire, water, or earth. Their lyrics sing of epic battles (in Wojownik, or Warrior) and explore the traditions of the early peoples of Poland, including the Vandals, a Germanic tribe that originally lived in Southern Poland and whose conquests spanned throughout Europe (in Epopeja Wandalska, or Vandal Epic). Żywiołak revives the history of its native nation while also connecting to a larger global community.
Before the release of their debut album, Nowa Ex-tradycja (New World Tradition) in 2008, Żywiołak’s line-up was in flux. A percussion instrumentalist, Maciej Dymek, joined original members Robert Jaworski and Robert Wasilewski and was followed by two female vocalists named Anucha Piotrowska and Izabella Byra. From 2008-2011, singer Monika Sadkowska replaced Byra. Following her stint with Żywiołak, Sadkowska pursued climate activism and worked with the World Wildlife Fund.
Musically, Żywiołak blends classical folk instruments with rock and metal elements like distorted guitar and heavy bass. Many tracks feature the hurdy gurdy, a crank-operated instrument with similar range to a violin found across cultures in Medieval Europe. In addition, the female vocalists occasionally utilize diaphony, a dissonant vocal harmony found in traditional Slavic cultures, to create tension and contribute to the witchy feel of many of their tracks.
Despite Catholicism’s religious dominance in Poland, Żywiołak is unafraid to reference pagan magic, evil spirits, and witchcraft. Oko Dybuka (Eye of the Dybbuk), a track on their first album, references a malevolent ghost from Jewish folklore. Czarodzielnica (Witch’s Night) is a vivid incantation, a song that invites in a myriad of mythical mischief makers including Slavic folk icon Baba Yaga, who often appears as an old crone who lives in a house with legs.
The song Bóstwa (Deities), included on 2017 album Pieśni pół/nocy (Midnight Songs), mirrors Żywiołak’s place as an ambassador between Slavic folk tradition and modern, Western rock through its depiction of Kupala, a pagan holiday celebrated on the longest day of the year. Originally practiced as fertility rites and an homage to the Sun, Kupala became Ivan Kupala, and fused with the Christian John the Baptist in a process known as syncretism.
Istanbuł (Istanbul) begins with an acknowledgment of the social effects of Catholicism and embraces Europe’s religious diversity. This track is featured on Żywiołak’s concept album Globalna Wiocha (Global Village), where the band composed songs based on major cities in Europe, including Moscow, Berlin, and Oslo. Through this album, Żywiołak reveals its modern, pan-European stance without losing the pride of its original Polish source material.  From:

Diamanda Galas - Deliver Me From Mine Enemies

 #Diamanda Galas #avant-garde #experimental #avant-goth #classical crossover #performance art #operatic #blues #jazz #spoken word #piano #a capella #extreme vocals

It was 1984, and Diamanda Galás — then in her late 20s, a moaning, screaming singer who wrote music with titles like “The Litanies of Satan” and “Song From the Blood of Those Murdered” — was visiting a friend’s lover in a hospital in New York. As in so many early ’80s New York hospital rooms, the man was dying of AIDS. “I didn’t know much about the AIDS epidemic at all,” Galás said recently in the rambling San Diego house she grew up in. “And it looked as if prongs were stuck into the middle of his body. The idea of such excruciating treatment and excruciating pain, just — I had to come to terms with it. And he said to me,” she recalled, “‘Would you do a piece about this — you know, about what you’re seeing right now?’ And I said yes, I would.” Released two years later, her answer was “The Divine Punishment.” Over pounding, seething electronics, Galás groans, whines, chants, squeals, mutters and gags, bellowing lines from Leviticus and Psalms, sometimes guttural, sometimes wailing.
“This is the law of the plague,” she claustrophobically intones, as if she’s lashing the listener in a dungeon. “To teach when it is clean and when it is unclean.” She followed it with two more albums radiating fury at the silence surrounding AIDS, which claimed her brother in 1986. Then came a milestone performance piece, “Plague Mass,” that condensed the trilogy into a blood-soaked cry of anguish. “I couldn’t imagine how she could do this to her vocal cords — such power and technique,” the Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry said in an email; Harry promptly started seeing Galás’s vocal coach.
In the decades after its arrival, this music ended up more discussed than actually heard, lost in the shuffle as Mute, the label that released it, was swallowed by one conglomerate after another. Galás, 66, has spent years wresting the material back and beginning to reissue it; a remastered “Divine Punishment” is out on June 10 — in all its blistering glory, and in the midst of yet another plague. “I think she’s the most important singer of the past 40 years,” the vocalist and songwriter Anohni said in an interview. “She’s expressing reality: not her reality, the reality. She’s always been willing to offer her body as a channel for reality, as a conduit for the expression of the moment.”
Those jeremiads of the ’80s forever intertwined Galás and AIDS. But her work both before and after the trilogy shared many of its preoccupations, with her classically trained yet brutal tone blurring the line between observing suffering and becoming its mouthpiece. The content was enigmatic — sometimes wordless, sometimes poetic — but the evocation of apocalyptic distress was indelible. In album after album, performance after performance, she has screeched for those left voiceless by physical infirmity, totalitarianism, mental illness, incarceration, sexual violence, exile, right up to what she calls “the genocide of the old” that’s been wrought by the coronavirus pandemic — though she’s never spouted the popular slogans about the fashionable issues of the day. Her next record, “Broken Gargoyles,” coming in August, takes as its inspiration the disfigured German soldiers who were ostracized in the wake of World War I.
“I’m really addressing the same thing over and over again,” she said, draped in black, her eye makeup vivid, sitting on her sofa. “The issue of a person who is isolated from society — either through choice or through necessity, through a sort of legal structure.” “Broken Gargoyles” finds her voice as singeing as ever. The question is when audiences will hear it in person. Galás’s last live performances were four years ago, in Los Angeles. Over a long period she spent stretches in San Diego, then finally moved back here for good, to care for her ailing parents — the age-old role of a Greek daughter. “I always was working,” Galás said, “but I wasn’t working in the public eye.” Her father died in 2009. The death of her mother — “my best friend and confidante” — in 2018 was particularly difficult: “After that, I thought, what’s this idea of being a singer? Because I realized I was singing for her.”  From:

Moon Tooth - I Revere

 #Moon Tooth #progressive rock #hard rock #heavy metal #progressive metal #neo-prog


JOHN CARBONE: Nick Lee, Ray Marté, Vincent Romanelli and myself on guitar, drums, bass and vocals respectively. We formed when Nick and Ray's previous band Exemption ended as their singer-bassist Tom Moran was moving on to make incredible music of his own. I was playing drums in our brilliant friend Derek Smith's band Rice Cultivation Society. Nick had joined that band on second guitar so that's how I met him [and] Exemption and fell in love with their music. When they had disbanded, they made it clear that Ray and Nick were gonna keep going. So I wrote Nick a letter telling him how passionate I was about his music and that I knew I was the singer for the job. I got the gig after they watched me sing with my own band and saw what I did with a demo of theirs. Vin was their friend, playing bass in a band called Give Up the Goods and they said he was the first choice both musically and personally. I met Vin at the first practice and we both immediately felt like we had found a brother in each other. Then it was writing and playing 100 shows all in the first year. It all clicked right away because it was clear that the four of us needed to not only make music but throw absolutely every part of ourselves at it. It's been life or death for us from day one.


To follow our truth, our adventure, our muse at all costs. Living free and real for ourselves, but also to show others that they can do it too, in whatever form it takes. To show them that the man will try and keep them down for following their dreams but when that happens, you eat the fucking man and spit his bones on the rule book he tried to slap you with.


When nu-metal hit, I was 11 years old and I ate it all up. Korn at MSG was my first show. I shaved a mohawk that my sister dyed green — it came out blonde — and drove me and my friend Brian to the show. The next morning, Brian and I went to middle school graduation. Parents made me shave the mohawk, though.


I can never comfortably answer the "top 3" questions, so I'll just say Otis Redding, on the track and on the stage. Because you can hear his soul bleed when he sings. He can crush your heart or lift it up from song to song. And live? That's a fucking entertainer, any rock & roll front person would be wise to take notes. The rest you'll have to sniff out for yourself. I get compared to several singers and some of them I definitely listened to a lot growing up, so the influence got in there. A challenge as I started to develop my voice in this band was to not rip off my heroes. It's an easy trap to fall into.


The Island has a pretty diverse scene. We fit in by sharing stages and miles with great bands, the camaraderie is strong, even if the sounds are different. There's enough heft and enough melody in what we do to fit in with different bills. But, I feel that the particular way we instinctively blend heft and melody is pretty unique and sets us apart on the Island and frankly anywhere.


The hardest challenge is the whole fucking thing. Going for it. This lifestyle will chew up and spit out anyone who doesn't have to do it. It feels like having to hold on to a lightning bolt and withstand the volts. There's so much that has to be sacrificed — comfort, security, stability, personal relationships — but if you have to do this, the reward is a truer freedom than you'll find anywhere else. I'll be facing the challenges of this for the rest of my life, but I'll be able to overcome them because of the peace it brings me. It's home.


I don't know how surprising it is but I'm a big indie rock fan. Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors, Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses to name a few. I can't think of ways they actually make it into the writing process but I'm sure their lessons have gotten in there. At the very least by teaching me how to think outside the box.


Not easy to pick favorites but finding Tool at age 13 changed my life forever. I can say "The Patient" is my favorite song of all time. Around 2016, Intronaut took Entheos and us on tour and at the last show, about 5 minutes before we were about to open the show, I was hanging in their dressing room. My soul left my body as I realized one of their friends hanging out in the room was [Tool bassist] Justin Chancellor. It fueled me to put on the best show ever as he was watching, laughing and cheering along. Turns out the reason he was there was because Intronaut borrowed his gorilla costume to storm the stage on our last song with signs saying, "Bush did Harambe" and "Shine on you crazy gorilla" — a hilarious and touching way to end the tour. Afterwards, I didn't want to punish Justin, but I needed to at least quickly thank him for the music he's made over the years and how dear it was to me. We ended up chatting for like 20 minutes, absolutely lovely man. Also, Coheed and Cambria. They've been heroes of mine since I was 15 and we've toured with some of the same bands. Coheed, for the love of God, please take us on tour! We've been putting in the miles and the work for 9 years, we won't let you down! I mean they've been in Revolver — you guys could hook that up, right? Right? Okay great, thanks.


Daemonia Nymphe - Deos Erotas

 #Daemonia Nymphe #neofolk #darkwave #neoclassical #folk #ancient Greek music #theatrical #traditional

The Greek band, Daemonia Nymphe, based in London, tours and participates in the most popular medieval, folk and fantasy festivals in Europe and America with musical performances featuring sounds of ancient Greek instruments. "The Daemonia Nymphe was born out of a love for the world of ancient Greek art for sculpture and architecture of the archaic and classical eras," explains Spyros Giasafakis, the musician, who studied at the School of Fine Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. After many years of searching for the ancient sound, the first tracks were recorded and the first album was released. Along the way came the meeting and collaboration with Nikolaos Bra, manufacturer of "ancient" Greek instruments and the band created their own world that attracts haute couture companies and representatives of cinema and theater.
"From the beginning, we had proposals in both theater and cinema, perhaps because our music tends to create images," says Spyros Giasafakis, who founded the band in 1994 with his brother, Pantelis Giasafakis, noting that in recent years the band has a stronger presence in theater scenes. "The audience that does not know us can imagine a musical documentary" he mentions, hastening to clarify that in the performances of the team, musicians and dancers from different countries, the sounds of the lyre, the varvitos and other instruments act in a modern context. "In the beginning, we had an endless desire to experiment, discover and form our own original sound" emphasizes Spyros, referring to the band's first steps.
”We didn't want to imitate what we heard, but cultivate our own style. At the same time, there was a love for the world of ancient Greek art and, in particular, for the sculpture and architecture of the archaic and classical eras. Thus began a search for ancient sounds that inspired us to create our own world. In the process, of course, we had no choice but to compose music without the restrictions of a supposed reproduction of ancient Greek music."
In explaining the elements that music today lacks that was characteristic of the ancient world, he clarifies that there was a greater variety of styles because there were many more "scales". However, he notes that there are still musical traditions today that have just as great a variety of scales and sounds. "The system with notes was clearly different and letters of the Greek alphabet were used to show the progression of the melody. So if archeologists found carved letters on a slab that didn't make sense as a language, or there were lyrics underneath, it was obvious that it was music," he responds to the question of how to locate the musical pieces of ancient Greece.
The reconstruction of the ancient instruments is the work of Nikolaos Bra, "a very intelligent technician who devoted his life to the study of ancient instruments,"as Spyros Giasafakis describes. The band has selected from these instruments from time to time the lyre, the varvitos, the triangle, the formiga and the samviki. Commenting on research in foreign universities to reconstruct ancient Greek music so that we hear it for the first time as it was heard thousands of years ago, he assesses that "all efforts to approach ancient Greek sound are interesting" but notes that "remarkable efforts have also been made outside the university”.
Regarding the music created by Daemonia Nymphe for cinema and television, he notes that almost from the beginning the band had proposals in the field of both theater and cinema, perhaps because their music tends to create images. "In recent years, we are more into theatre, and we've been lucky enough to work in London with Theater Lab Company, founded by the talented director Anastasia Revi. We have performed "Oresteia", "Antigone", "Medea" and "Lysistrata" in London theaters and then "Macbeth" at the Central Theater of Northern Greece, directed by Anastasia Revi. It is very creative and interesting to work as a composer in a context that is meant to serve other senses besides the auditory. In this respect, there is a common element between live performances and theater, he points out.  From:

Country Joe & The Fish - She's A Bird

 #Country Joe & The Fish #psychedelic rock #folk rock #psychedelic folk rock #psychedelic blues rock #acid rock #singer-songwriter #1960s

Although Country Joe and the Fish were together only four short years, the band’s political stance and eclectic rock left an important legacy. “Largely forgotten as one of the giants of psychedelic rock,” wrote Joel Selvin of MusicHound Rock, “Country Joe and the Fish towered over their contemporaries….” The band’s 1967 debut, Electric Music for the Mind and Body, remains one of the definitive psychedelic albums of the era, while “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” inspired thousands to protest the Vietnam War. The band received equal billing with San Francisco groups like the Grateful Dead, Moby Grape, and Jefferson Airplane in the late 1960s, headlining at the Avalon Ballroom and Fillmore Auditorium. Country Joe and the Fish received their greatest attention and are most remembered for their pivotal performance at Woodstock in 1969 and inclusion in the film, Woodstock. With songs that included references to politics and drugs, the band represented a perfect marriage between the radicals of Berkley and the hippies of San Francisco.
Joe McDonald’s parents were Communist workers who named their son after Russian Communist dictator Joseph Stalin. Born in 1942 in Washington, D.C., he grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of El Monte, California. McDonald learned to play the guitar and joined local folk groups, but later ran away from home and joined the Navy for three years. After his discharge, he moved to Berkley where he played guitar and harmonica in the Berkeley String Quartet and Instant Action Jug Band. “Country Joe and the Fish,” noted Bill Belmont on the Well website, “came about as part political device, part necessity, and part entertainment.”
At the end of 1965 McDonald gathered Barry Melton, Richard Saunders, and Carl Shrager from the Instant Action Jug Band, then added Bob Steele to form the first version of Country Joe and the Fish. This acoustic lineup cut two tracks, “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag,” an anti-Vietnam song, and “Superbird,” a political satire. McDonald and Melton then played for a short time as a folk duo before putting together a second, electric version of the band with Paul Armstrong, Bruce Barthol, David Cohen, and John Francis Gunning. “Bass Strings,” from their “white EP,” received radio play, and the group’s manager, Ed Denson, secured a record deal with Vanguard at the end of 1966.
When Country Joe and the Fish released Electric Music for the Mind and Body in 1967, it quickly became one of the definitive psychedelic rock albums of the era. “The record documented perfectly their unique conglomeration of folk, blues, country and rock,” wrote Marianne Ebertowski in the Marshall Cavendish History of Popular Music. “It also gave evidence of their involvement with the San Francisco drug and hippie scene on the one hand and the radical political movement on the other.” “Bass Strings” and “Flying High” contained overt references to drug use, while the aforementioned “Superbird” included a barbed attack on President Lyndon Johnson. “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” was left off the album at the request of Vanguard’s Maynard Solomon. “An unusual move,” wrote Bill Belmont, “by the company that staged the Weavers’ reunion concert at Carnegie Hall during the height of the anti-left sentiment in the United States.”
Country Joe and the Fish played at the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore Auditorium throughout 1967. They performed at “The Human Be-In” at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, made an appearance at the Monterey Pop International Festival, and even visited the United Kingdom where they played at the Roundhouse in Camden Town. They released their second album, I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die, seven months after their debut. Many critics viewed the album as overindulgent, or as Richie Unterberger described it in All Music Guide, “the kind of San Francisco psychedelia that Frank Zappa skewered on his classic We’re Only in It for the Money.” Nonetheless, the title track was a keeper, noted Unterberger, “a classic antiwar satire that became one of the decade’s most famous protest songs, and the group’s most famous track.” While 1968’s Together received a warmer critical response, it would be the last album by the group’s classic lineup.  From:

The Wild Reeds - Where I'm Going

 #The Wild Reeds #alt-country #folk #indie/alternative rock #contemporary folk #folk rock

Three women and a banjo? Any band fitting those specifications must be a carbon copy of the Dixie Chicks, right? That's just one of the eye-roll-inducing comparisons the Wild Reeds has had to contend with since releasing its folk-inspired full-length, "Blind and Brave," in 2014. Filled with Americana essentials like harmonium and fervent, shimmering harmonies from the trio of lead singers and songwriters — Kinsey Lee, Sharon Silva and Mackenzie Howe — the album bears only minor resemblance to country music's once-scorned Grammy winners. But, that doesn't stop others from inventing parallels between the two.
"People listen with their eyes," Silva, 26, reasons by telephone a half hour outside of Los Angeles. In the band's early days, around 2010, when live shows consisted of open mic nights, and before drummer Nick Jones, 26, and bassist Nick Phakpiseth, 28, solidified the lineup, Silva would get aligned with husky-voiced actress Zooey Deschanel, who also moonlights as a singer in the pop duo She & Him. "Is it 'cause I have bangs?" she asks, referring to the "New Girl" star's distinctive hairstyle.
Silva hopes the tendency to lump girl groups together as interchangeable entities cools now that a feminist movement, re-energized by the current political climate, emerges from coast to coast. "Even though it's been such a gnarly year for our country, it's been great because people are looking for female-fronted bands and they are looking to support bands with minorities," she says.
The Wild Reeds' vivid major-label debut, "The World We Built" (Dualtone), will also help set the band apart. Recorded in Connecticut with producer Peter Katis (The National, Local Natives), the album lasers in on the women's precise harmonies while expanding the sound palette to include spaced-out guitars, beefy drums and whimsical strings. Silva doesn't know what held her back from embracing the electric guitar, but "now it's kind of hard to prevent myself from buying another fuzz pedal."
She also eliminates any speculation that her vocal connection to Lee, 26, and Howe, 27, is intuitive or the result of some shared sixth sense. Credit the stunning melding of their voices to an intensive rehearsal schedule, fueled by Silva's nitpicking. "We really put in the time," she says. Although the album's 11 tracks were written before the election, many have taken on new meaning with Donald Trump in the White House. "We've got this song 'Capable,' and every night I have to resist saying, 'I'm so much more capable than the president gives me credit for,'" she says. "We were never a political band and I don't think that we aim to be, but as a woman, I feel very convicted to tell mostly other women — and other people — 'Hey, we've got each other's backs, we can do this.'"  From:

Friday, August 25, 2023

Genesis - Pop Shop - Belgian TV 1972

Part 1

Part 2

 #Genesis #Peter Gabriel #Phil Collins #Steve Hackett #progressive rock #art rock #symphonic prog #theatrical rock #1970s #music video

In the early 1970s, legendary prog-rock band Genesis were at perhaps the first pivotal moment in the band’s long and storied career. The group — consisting at the time of core members vocalist Peter Gabriel, bassist Mike Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks — had hired a new drummer named Phil Collins in 1970 after placing an ad in Melody Maker. The band would also bring on guitarist Steve Hackett a year later. But adding future rock stars didn’t guarantee immediate success. Genesis struggled to gain footing in their native UK and in 1971 played their first overseas gigs in Belgium. Around the same time, Genesis began work on their third studio album, Nursery Cryme, which came out in November 1971. But the band’s penchant for experimentation didn’t sit well with UK crowds. Mainland Europe, however, was more receptive and the album did well in places like Italy where Genesis would subsequently tour to enthusiastic audiences. During the touring around Nursery Cryme, the band also returned to Belgium where they performed for a television program called Pop Shop on March 20, 1972. For their Pop Shop performance, Genesis offered up three songs from Nursery Cryme, the experimental epics — at over eight minutes — “The Fountain Of Salmacis,” “The Musical Box” and “The Return Of The Giant Hogweed.” “Twilight Alehouse” — which would later appear as the B-side to the band’s first charting single, “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” — fit into the second slot in the band’s four-song set.  From:

It’s been 40 years since Genesis recorded “Nursery Cryme,”, the album that cemented the early Genesis sound, and one considered by many to be among the greatest artistic achievements of progressive rock’s golden era. Along with contemporaries Yes, King Crimson, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Genesis pushed the boundaries of rock music both lyrically and instrumentally. All of the essential elements of what has since come to be known as “prog” were present on “Nursery Cryme”: fantastic, often bizarre lyrics; long, thematic songs; an obvious classical influence and departure from blues-based traditions; and unparalleled musical virtuosity.
The band married some of the heaviest jams of the day to acoustic, pastoral passages to create a tapestry of light and shade, which confused some American audiences at first, says guitarist Steve Hackett. “Our idea of a guitar-based tune usually meant that the 12-string [acoustics] carried it,” he says. “Often we would have three 12-string guitars playing at once — Mike, Tony and me — which created a sound like a harpsichord, and you couldn’t really pin down what you were hearing. Mike Rutherford was very into Joni Mitchell at the time, which also influenced our acoustic side. Unfortunately, we tended to get shouted down in America on our first tours during some of our quieter moments, because people wanted to hear boogie music.”
Members of Genesis drew their inspiration from classical and folk music as much as rock and blues, says Hackett, who began his musical journey as a blues harmonica player. “I grew up listening to the blues and Bach, and I never thought that they would meet and create a third thing,” he says. “The two styles seemed to be at odds with each other.” Although it’s hard to hear much overt blues influence in early Genesis, Hackett points out that most of the innovation sonically and musically on the electric guitar in the 1960s and early 1970s came straight out of the blues. Even the most eclectic rock guitar heroes of the day were still firmly rooted in the blues. The music of Genesis—and Hackett’s guitar playing in particular—offered an enticing alternative for rock fans who were becoming bored with standard beats and I-IV-V chord progressions. “Nursery Cryme” explored odd time signatures, modal compositions, and introduced a new technique to rock music that would redefine electric guitar playing in the next decade: two-handed tapping.
“I came upon the tapping technique when I was trying to play Bach’s famous Toccata and Fugue,” says Hackett. “I realized that I couldn’t play it the way I wanted to hear it using standard technique, so I started tapping onto the fretboard with my right hand. I used that technique all over “Nursery Cryme including parts of ‘The Musical Box’ and ‘The Return of the Giant Hogweed.’” Tony Banks sometimes harmonized Hackett’s legato lead guitar lines on the keyboard for dramatic effect, often using a distorted amplifier or fuzz box to achieve a similar sound. “We had a guitarist who was trying to sound like a keyboard player and a keyboard player who was very good at sounding like a guitarist,” Hackett observes.
Part of the reason that the English progressive rock bands of the early 1970s drew from such varied influences was the wide variety of music broadcast on British radio prior to the deregulation of the airwaves. “Radio was in very different shape when we were young, and I think that that helped to color the progressive music that followed,” says Hackett. “Today, many stations only play one style of music, and I suspect the people who grow up listening to this stuff may be subject to less-wide musical tastes than the ones that we had while developing our musical base. We were listening to blues, rock and jazz from America, and we were also hearing our European roots, all on the same station.”
An essential ingredient in the Genesis sound that was shared by other progressive rock bands is the use of the Mellotron, an electro-mechanical ancestor of the modern synthesizer, to achieve an orchestral sound. “We weren’t trying to sound classical, but the spooky, eerie quality of the Mellotron flutes and violins became a big part of our sound,” says Hackett. “I was in love with the sound of it for a very long time — although they were incredibly temperamental and took four men to lift, like pallbearers.” Gabriel also occasionally played flute with the band, adding yet another dimension to the sound.
Faux harpsichords and orchestras aside, however, there are musical passages on “Nursery Cryme” (e.g., the screaming guitar in the middle section of “The Musical Box”) that are as prototypically heavy metal as anything by Sabbath, Zeppelin or Deep Purple. To achieve those heavy guitar sounds, Hackett used his trusty Les Paul Custom through a Hiwatt stack with various fuzz boxes and an octave divider. He also used a volume pedal to precisely control the dynamics of his guitar to fit the album’s many moods. “Sometimes I’d be playing distorted rock guitar weaving through these delicate textures, so I had to play very quietly,” says Hackett. “I’d be playing pastoral rock guitar, if that’s not an oxymoron. Often I had to play almost like a reed instrument. At times, I even tried to sound like a synthesizer or like a voice.”
The complex music of Genesis required a team player approach from Hackett, which usually led him far afield of pure bombast. “With the core team of Mike, Phil and Tony forming the nucleus of the sound and turning out those dense, very beautiful textures, it was often difficult to be able to impose anything on the music that was relevant,” says Hackett. “So sometimes I’d beef up the bass line; other times I would highlight part of what was going on with the piano. I think that approach helped to create interesting textures, and it did enrich the sound. I was trying to think like a producer or an arranger, which has little to do with guitar heroics. I was very concerned with subtlety, perhaps more than I am today.”
Lyrically, Genesis usually shied away from “the mating ritual,” as Hackett dryly puts it, in favor of fairy tales and mythology — a direct contrast to the approach that the Rolling Stones and other English groups were taking at the time. Some critics complained that the band’s lyrical approach felt more like research than soul-searching. “It’s not that we weren’t writing romantic music,” says Hackett. “It was just romantic in a different way — we were romancing something else. Our lyrics were often third-hand and not based on personal experience, which is quite typical of the progressive approach. That’s not the approach I’ve taken post-Genesis — personal experience is much more in evidence — but these were early days, and we took a lot from literature.”
The “progressive rock” label did not exist at the time, Hackett points out, and the emerging style was often tagged “art rock” or “theatrical rock.” Indeed, Genesis was one of the first groups to combine rock and theater, a strategy that made the band’s surreal lyrics easier for audiences to digest. “Once we got our own light show and stage set and took control of the visual aspect of our performances, Peter decided that he wanted to be the literal depiction of the action,” says Hackett.
Gabriel’s thespian talents helped differentiate Genesis from the other prog acts of the day, and he used masks and bizarre costumes to bring the songs to life. “Peter had always approached lyrics rather like an actor, so it was a natural evolution,” says Hackett. “But it wasn’t a decision he ran through the band in committee. He just showed up one night and that’s the way it was on stage.” Audiences loved it, or at least paid attention. “When we were starting out, often we would be second or third on the bill, and people would be milling about, ignoring us, going to the bar,” says Hackett. “That changed as the show became more theatrical, with Peter acting out the parts.”
“Foxtrot,” the follow-up to “Nursery Cryme,” continued in the same musical vein and generated better sales as Genesis started to make a name for itself in the UK. By 1973’s “Selling England by the Pound,” the group had earned itself some high-profile fans. Hackett describes an enthusiastic Peter Gabriel bouncing into the rehearsal room after hearing that John Lennon had mentioned in an interview that he “loved” the new Genesis album. “We were incredibly proud of that,” says Hackett. “At a time when we could still hardly get a gig in the States, we had a good review from a great man. We thought, ‘Wow, maybe we’re good.’”
In hindsight, the group may have reached its creative zenith by 1973. “Selling England,” most critics agree, perfected the blueprint that “Nursery Cryme” had established two years earlier. The musicians were at the top of their game, and compositions flowed easily despite the stylistic shifts and challenging subject matter. “A song like ‘Dancing with the Moonlit Knight’ really runs the gamut stylistically,” says Hackett. “It goes from a Scottish Plainsong to English hymnal to jazz fusion to something we used to call ‘Disney,’ or more of a tone poem approach.” Although Genesis toured relentlessly, the band was not focused on success as an end game in its early years. “Our concern was quality, and we had a lot of support from our management and record company behind the premise that if we aimed for excellence, success would follow as natural consequence,” Hackett explains.
One common misconception about early Genesis is that Gabriel wrote all of the lyrics. This was not the case until his last album with the group, 1975’s “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.” “We all contributed lyrically, until Peter decided that he wanted to write all the words he would sing, and that’s understandable — things often tend to sound best when a singer is singing his own lyrics,” says Hackett. “I was quite happy to concentrate on being the guitarist. You have to be very flexible if you’re in a band, especially when it’s a band of writers; you’ve got to be prepared to wear certain hats and take the hats off, from time to time, to make room for someone else.”
“Lamb Lies Down” also marked a major change in the group’s sound, taking Genesis out of the English countryside and into more modern, chaotic, urban imagery. “It was a little closer to mainstream rock, and I was concerned about how that would go over in America — you know, taking New York to the New Yorkers,” Hackett recalls. He needn’t have worried, as the album still stands as one of the group’s most critically acclaimed works. “Of course, we had our equipment stolen and ransomed at the beginning of our U.S. tour in true New York fashion,” Hackett quips. “We had to fight for it every step of the way.”
Although Hackett would stay on to record two more excellent albums with Genesis, the now-classic “Trick of the Tail” and “Wind and Wuthering,” the band’s sound changed as Collins ably carved out his identity as lead vocalist. “Genesis spanned a lot of eras, and as the lineup changed, the sound went in an increasingly commercial direction,” says Hackett. “The earlier stuff was more idealistic, I feel, in that what we were trying to do was original music — and that’s what seems to turn on musicians the most. It’s been 40 years, and those early albums keep selling. I’m happy to have been a part of that history.”  From:


His Name Is Alive - Are We Still Married

 #His Name is Alive #experimental rock #dream pop #avant garde #alternative rock #indie rock #neo-psychedelia #art rock #Quay Brothers #animated music video #stop-motion

This was the first music video that the Quay Brothers were entirely responsible for, having previously contributed animated sequences to Peter Gabriel's 'Sledgehammer' (d. Stephen R. Johnson) in 1986. They had previously been approached by Warren Defever, the Michigan-based founder of the musical project His Name Is Alive (alongside vocalist Karen Oliver and drummer Damian Lang), who wanted to licence extracts from Street of Crocodiles (1986) for use in one of their music videos. The Quays refused permission, but were sufficiently intrigued by Defever's work to agree to shoot a music video for him from scratch.
'Are We Still Married?' was originally released in 1991 as a track on His Name Is Alive's second album Home Is In Your Head. This is very typical of the band's work, and indeed many other releases on the 4AD label, creating a dreamlike ambience through selective distortion of instrumentation and vocals, to the point where it's often hard to make out specific lyrics. Naturally, this approach suited the Quays down to the ground, and they duly ignored the song's textual content in favour of a typically oblique evocation of childhood.
The most immediately striking image is of a young girl, whose head is barely visible, but whose ankles expand and contract in a rhythmic motion. This looks as though it was computer-enhanced, but the effect was in fact entirely mechanical - the Quays' regular technical collaborator Ian Nicholas built a hinge mechanism in the girl's ankles. Around her, a somewhat moth-eaten white rabbit plays a manic solo game of ping-pong.
The video was initially inspired by an image by an anonymous photographer of a girl standing in front of a door holding a paddle. There was also a white doorknob in the picture, which the Quays initially mistook for a ping-ping ball. Although the Quays claimed not to have read Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, there are unmistakable echoes, from the general theme of little girls growing and shrinking before one's eyes, mysterious bottles of unidentified substances and doorknobs that turn into ping-pong balls.  From:

His Name is Alive are a rather eccentric experimental rock project from Livonia, Michigan, currently based in Detroit. Founded in 1990 by guitarist, composer, and sole constant member Warren Defever, the band is fond of Genre Roulette, having recorded songs ranging from Dream Pop, alternative rock, funk, prog rock, and Baroque Pop to experimental noise and gothic ambient compositions. The band was originally signed to 4AD Records, under whom they released a string of critically acclaimed records throughout The '90s, but were dropped by the label in the early 2000's after failing to meet sales expectations. After this, the band went defunct until 2006, when Defever revived the project with a new lineup. Since then, the band has steadily released new records and shows no signs of slowing down.  From:

Blackshape - Itiiitiatiihylihyl

 #Blackshape #math rock #progressive rock #post-hardcore #post-rock #progressive metal #music video

Blackshape’s self-titled debut has a hell of a lot going for it. For one, the record sounds phenomenal. Producer Matt Goldman and mastering engineer Troy Glessner bring the same glossy, cinematic palette here that they brought to, respectively Underoath‘s Define the Great Line and the Devin Townsend Project’s Addicted: spacious percussion, searing guitars and bass that has plenty of presence (if not always much definition). Especially considering this is their first-ever release, Goldman and Glessner provide a sleek coat of polish to the album that gives Blackshape an impressive confidence and a sense of credibility, setting them apart from the many small-time bedroom projects that populate the modern math rock scene.
Moreover, the band employs a blend of styles and influences that play together every bit as nicely as you’d expect them to. They root their sound in the CHON school of math rock—equal parts Explosions in the Sky twinkle and Animals As Leaders prog muscle — but they augment the recipe with some squalling forays into post-hardcore and metalcore, even evoking bits and pieces of Rolo Tomassi in places. As a result, guitarists Scott Shephard and Joe Woit lean away from the noodling tap-a-thons of their contemporaries and move towards a more breakdown-oriented approach, patiently building and releasing blistering, metallic climaxes with an impressive sense of restraint. The combination is, more than anything, well-balanced. The hints of punkish snarl give the tricky time signatures more heft, and the airy post-rock atmospheres give the punchier moments a sense of sophistication. It’s heavy but not brutish, pretty but not cloying and technically accomplished without ever seeming overindulgent.
So here we have a good, sturdy formula that isn’t too played-out, executed well and given an immaculate studio treatment. All should be well, however, despite that strong foundation, much of Blackshape ends up feeling somewhat plain — not bad per se, but never quite rising to meet the band’s obvious potential. Far as I can tell, the crux of the issue lies in the band’s compositional priorities. They have an undeniable gift for atmospheres, and they certainly know their way around a crescendo, but in-between the two they seem to struggle with melody.
The entire band tends to blend into a cohesive whole throughout the album, but as a result, nothing really takes center stage and offers a single, strong musical idea to latch onto, and that refreshing lack of showoff virtuosity ends up doubling as a stifling reluctance to dazzle. The guitar leads bind themselves too tightly to the grooves; they rarely spring forth with a solo or even a catchy lick or riff, and when they do it comes off as textural playing that adds welcome color to the proceedings but can’t quite hold my attention on its own. This is only underscored when the Sigur Rós-esque “Itiiitiatiihylihyl”, the album’s only non-instrumental track, proves by far the most impactful offering here — it’s the only point where a clear lead melody emerges and, more importantly, sticks. The vocals fill a space in the band’s songwriting that they often leave conspicuously empty elsewhere.  From:

A-Wa - Habib Galbi

 #A-Wa #Yemenite music #Mizrahi #world music #ethnic #Middle Eastern music #electronica #traditional #music video

Let us introduce you to a band of sisters with the last name Haim. No, not the ones you’re thinking of. Tair, Liron, and Tagel Haim are sisters from southern Israel, and together they form a band called A-WA (Arabic for “Yes,” pronounced AY-wah). “It felt like music chose us,” Tair Haim explains. “We really have so much love to give, and so much good music, and we are all about bringing people together.”
Their musical style is unique — it’s a combination of traditional Yemenite songs, electronic music, and hip-hop. In 2016, their song “Habib Galbi” (“Love Of My Heart”) went viral, becoming the first song in Arabic to reach the top of the Israeli charts. Their debut album, also called Habib Galbi, uses traditional Yemenite folk chants and re-imagines them with electronic beats, pop music, and more. Their music is a powerful mix of modern and traditional, emphasizing their Jewish Arabic roots. And they’re the coolest. Seriously. “Since a very young age, we all discovered the love of music. I am the oldest sister, and I was always dancing and singing around the house. We grew up in a very small desert village in southern Israel called Shaharut. There weren’t many kids around so we were always best friends,” Tair told me. “We were known at school as the musical family from Shaharut.”
Their new album translates to My Home Is In My Head, and it tells the story of their great-grandmother Rachel’s journey from Yemen to Israel. “She used to say, whenever she was asked in Yemen, why are you always traveling from one place to another? Why don’t you stay in one place, and she said, ‘I can’t stay in one place. My home is in my head.’ She was a very legendary character in our family; we heard a lot of stories about her from our grandma, and from our dad,” Tair says. Their great-grandmother came to Israel from Yemen as part of Operation Magic Carpet, in which 49,000 Yemenite Jews were airlifted to Israel between 1949 and 1950. She wouldn’t agree to stay in an arranged marriage, Tair explains, and so she traveled as a single mother. Now the Haim sisters want to tell her story. It’s a “courageous story – traveling from Yemen to Israel, coming to Israel as a refugee, and starting from scratch. And being such a strong woman. We always laugh and say she was a feminist without even knowing what one was,” Tair explains. “We had so many things we already wanted to say, and we felt like we could use her life story and her voice — things she wanted to say, but couldn’t – and kind of blended with our voices. Each song on the album represents a piece of her life.”  From:

Ben Folds Five - Song for the Dumped

 #Ben Folds Five #alternative/indie rock #power pop #piano rock #1990s #music video

“Song for the Dumped” is a breakup song. The singer rants in an honest and explicit way about the girl who just dumped him. The simplicity of his anger makes the song powerful. He just wants his money back. And his black t-shirt. After everything, it seems like the least she could do.
Shortly before the song, an argument between the band can be heard:
(I hope we got that on tape, because it was a really…)
(Is someone saying something?)
(…it was a really…)
(I don’t know)
(…I was thinking…)
(No, I think I hear some kind of noise — cut that shit!)
(I was thinking about, you know, respecting your work with Steven and…)

The argument was removed from some pressings of the album, although it seems to appear on current CD and digital releases. In 1999, Folds said: The talking before ‘Song for the Dumped’ was a painfully documented real argument that kept bringing up bad feelings. We decided to get rid of it and let the first pressings be for collectors. Better to keep the band together. It was ugly.

I was writing ‘One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces’ and it seemed a little complicated to Darren. And Darren, as a joke—and I guess to make a point—wrote the lyrics to ‘Song for the Dumped’ (without any music or anything) in my notebook next to ‘Dwarf.’ Like, ‘Here’s the way you should write a song. It shouldn’t be that complicated. It should be this simple.’ And I took that one day and made some music to it and showed it to him and we started playing it on tour. I don’t think we ever actually thought that would make the album, but it made the album.

So you wanted
To take a break
Slow it down some
And have some space
Well, fuck you too

Give me my money back
Give me my money back
You bitch
I want my money back
And don't forget
Don't forget
To give me back my black T-shirt

I wish I hadn't
Bought you dinner
Right before you
Dumped me on your front porch

So you wanted
To take a break
Slow it down some
And have some space

Give me my money back
Give me my money back
You bitch
I want my money back
And don't forget
Don't forget


Ben Folds Five is an alternative rock trio formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The group comprises Ben Folds (lead vocals, piano, keyboards, melodica, principal songwriting), Robert Sledge (bass, contrabass, synthesizer, backing vocals), and Darren Jessee (drums, percussion, backing vocals, songwriter, and co-writer for some songs). The group achieved mainstream success in the alternative, indie and pop music scenes. The band is best known for the hit single "Brick" from their 1997 album Whatever and Ever Amen, which gained airplay on many mainstream radio stations. During their seven years together, the band released three proper studio records, one retrospective album of B-sides and outtakes, and eight singles. They also contributed to a number of soundtracks and compilations. Ben Folds Five disbanded in October 2000, apparently under amicable circumstances.  From:

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Emilie Autumn - Opheliac

 #Emilie Autumn #dark cabaret #electronica #industrial #classical #gothic folk rock #singer-songwriter

Emilie Autumn Liddell is a Gothic poet, singer / songwriter, violinist, harpsichordist, performance artist, feminist, and author. She's self described as that she sounds "like the best cup of English Breakfast spiked with cyanide and smashed on your antique wallpaper." Of Emilie's life, very little is known at the moment. What we do know is that she started playing violin at the age of four, a talent that she has continued to this day, and that she voluntarily stayed away from most of the mainstream music communities (both classical and commercial) due to bad experiences and clashes within them: In fact, most of her albums were self published by her own company. Her first album was On a Day - a classical album released in 2000, when she was 20 or 21. The following year she put out the Chambermaid and By the Sword EPs. In 2003 her first full vocal album was released: Enchant, an album filled with a number of songs inspired by fairy tales. Also contained in this CD was the Enchant Puzzle, which no one has ever solved. This was the Enchant era, when Emilie was a faerie.
After going through an extremely awful period in her life that resulted in a suicide attempt and hospitalisation, she was inspired to move in a different artistic direction. This began with the Opheliac EP, followed by the full album Opheliac. This album was far Darker and Edgier than Enchant, and a reflection of Emilie's mental state, as this album was released as an agreement with herself that she'd make the album instead of killing herself. The songs are mostly about madness and suicide, particularly in water. Much of the album is influenced by William Shakespeare, as is made obvious by the title. Many of the songs are not written from the perspective of Emilie, but from Ophelia herself, the Lady of Shalott, and others. Later in 2007, she re-released Enchant along with A Bit o' This & That, which was a collection of previously unheard songs, re-mixes, and tracks from older EPs. Also released that year was Laced / Unlaced. Laced was a re-release of On a Day... while Unlaced was an all-new collection of instrumental songs done in her newer style. In 2009 she was able to release her autobiography, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. She has also released The Opheliac Companion, which provides information and background about the songs on Opheliac. The Opheliac era is what Emilie is most well known for. And from gaining more muffins (fans), she was able to make more and more theatrical tours which gained more and more theatrics tour by tour. Joining her on stage in the Asylum are her Bloody Crumpets, a group of lovely mad girls.
In 2012 she released another album, Fight Like a Girl, which had been lingering in Development Hell for several years. Despite her initial promises that it was going to be "more metal" than Opheliac was, it ended up being a theatrical concept album based around the fictionalised Victorian story that appeared in The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. According to Emilie, she intends to use the album as part of the soundtrack to the play she's currently writing about the book. The album has created a Broken Base in the fandom because of its differences from the highly popular Opheliac and because the violin plays a much less significant role it in than it had in her previous music. Her current look and shows are generally referred to as the FLAG era by fans. She played the Painted Doll in The Devil's Carnival and its sequel Alleluia! The Devil's Carnival, musical films by the creators of Repo! The Genetic Opera, alongside two of her Crumpets, Captain Maggots and Contessa.  From:

Graham Nash - I Used To Be A King

 #Graham Nash #ex-CSNY #ex-The Hollies #folk rock #country rock #singer-songwriter #1970s

Songs for Beginners is Graham Nash's solo debut apart from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Released in 1971, it is a collection of songs that reflect change, transition, and starting over. The set was recorded in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, in the immediate aftermath of Nash's traumatic breakup with Joni Mitchell. Unlike the colorful dynamism of Stephen Stills' eponymous debut recording, or the acid-drenched cosmic cowboy spaciness of David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name, Nash's album is by contrast a much more humble and direct offering. It is a true, mostly introspective songwriter's album full of beautifully performed and wonderfully recorded songs that reflect transition, movement, the desire to look backward and forward simultaneously. Like the aforementioned offering, this one is star-studded in its choice of players and singers: Crosby, Chris Ethridge, Jerry Garcia, Rita Coolidge, Clydie King, Venetta Fields, Dave Mason, Neil Young (under the pseudonym "Joe Yankee"), David Lindley, Bobby Keys, Phil Lesh, Dallas Taylor, and drummer John Barbata reflect some of the personnel on this heady yet humble session. The album is bookended by two of Nash's best-known tunes, the anthemic "Military Madness" that remains timeless in the 21st century, and "Chicago," that doesn't. That said, they are among the weakest songs here -- which reveals what a solid collection it is. Unlike many recordings birthed from personal angst, Nash's engages in no self pity; instead, he focuses on the craft of songwriting itself. Despite its personal darkness, "Better Days," with its swirling piano and pronounced bassline, is also an actual paean to self-determination and perseverance, the logic being that there were better days in the past, so there must be better ones in the future as well. "I Used to Be a King," with Garcia on a gorgeous pedal steel and Lesh on bass, is a direct, mature response to "King Midas in Reverse," a song Nash wrote and recorded with the Hollies. "Simple Man," with its sparse melody and strings and a fine backing vocal from Coolidge, was written on the afternoon of the breakup with Mitchell. The violin-cello backdrop to Nash's piano is particularly effective and makes this one of his most memorable songs. The parlor room country waltz that commences "Man in the Mirror," features Garcia's steel, Young's piano, ex-Flying Burrito Brother Ethridge, and drummer Barbata; it shifts keys, tempo, and feel about a third of the way in with a very long bridge that transforms the song's sentiment as well. Ultimately, Songs for Beginners is the strongest of Nash's solo efforts (outside of his work with Crosby).  From:

Graham Nash & Joni Mitchell