Amoeblog

The Circle Game

Posted by Miss Ess, September 18, 2008 06:31pm | Post a Comment
I love it when musicians write something new in response to another artist's song. One great artist inspiring another is what makes the world go round, in a way, and it's fun to find examples of artists reacting to one another's work.

One of the more famous examples of this is "Sweet Home Alabama," Lynyrd Skynyrd's 1974 response to Neil Young's earlier songs slamming stereotypical Southern racism, "Southern Man" and "Alabama." Neil apparently loved it when he heard his name in the track, as the bands were friendly:

"Well I heard Mr Young sing about it
Well I heard old Neil put her down
Well I hope Neil Young will remember
Southern Man don't need him around anyhow..."

 
 

Apparently Neil Young is extremely inspiring, because the other song that springs to mind as being written in response to a great song is Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game," which she wrote for Neil after hearing his "Sugar Mountain." Both songs are about growing older and youth slipping by. The two songwriters met back in 1964, the same year 19 year old Neil wrote "Sugar Mountain," which contains the line "You can't be 20/on Sugar Mountain." Joni's response in "The Circle Game": "So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty/ Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true/There'll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty/Before the last revolving year is through."

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out this week 9/16...air france...manda rin...the breakfast club...

Posted by Brad Schelden, September 18, 2008 03:17pm | Post a Comment
air france
My love for Sweden just continues to grow this year. I really might need to go move there. I will wait and see how this election turns out first. I am keeping my fingers crossed and I just know election day is going to be a crazy exciting day. I am putting some faith in the American people that they will see how crazy this Palin lady is... So hopefully I will stay in this country, but Sweden might be the place to go if I need to. The music there just keeps impressing me. Air France from Gothenburg, Sweden have just put out a new EP called "No Way Down." It is on the label Sincerely Yours, which also put out the great album by The Tough Alliance. The Tough Alliance is getting some domestic love soon and will hopefully reach a wider audience. Gothenburg is the home of many of my recent favorites -- in addition to The Tough Alliance and Air France, Jens Lekman, Studio, The Electric Pop Group, and Love Is All live there. I might just have to investigate all the other bands from Gothenburg that I have not heard yet. My new favorite band might just be hiding in there, waiting for me to finally discover.

This new Air France EP is brilliant, but it is not the kind of album that will hit you in the face right away. It is sort of mellow and pretty. In their very short Wikipedia description they are described as "post-rave bliss, beach foam pop, and balearic disco." I might have to update this definition a bit, but it does sort of make sense. It reminds me of some of the tracks on the Studio album. You need to turn the songs up a bit to fully experience them.air france Headphones are always best for this type of music, or the privacy of your own car if you live in Los Angeles. The songs make you feel like you are floating or dreaming. Albums like these should really be used for therapy. This EP includes six short songs. They will satisfy me for a bit but I know I will want more soon. A complete album will hopefully not be that far away. The album is sort of a combination of an Orb or Future Sound of London album combined with some band like Saint Etienne or The Pale Saints. Some of the songs are just instrumental dancey mellow tracks while others are British 90's pop kind of songs over more dancey beats. Don't be surprised to hear some bird sounds and random samples throughout the album. This is what probably makes it sound a bit beach like, but not day time surf style beachy -- more like the beach music you would hear at sunset or in the middle of the nbis vs. the diy corpsight.

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Little Earthquakes

Posted by Miss Ess, September 18, 2008 02:05pm | Post a Comment
It's crazy what a little nostalgia can do sometimes:

tori amos piano

After reading the list of the Gayest Albums of All Time, according to Out Magazine, I realized I hadn't listened to Tori Amos in about 10 years, so I dragged out my old Little Earthquakes CD, ripped it onto little earthquakes tori amosmy controversial I-Pod and went out for a stroll down my street, feeling a bit blue.

Within about 2 seconds of hearing "Crucify" I was feeling giddy, taken back to another time and place, but also hearing the songs in a new light since it'd been so long. Little Earthquakes is an incredible record. Between the raw lyrics and the acoustic piano, when it came out in 1992 it was like nothblue joni mitchelling else of its time. I feel like it sliced through all the other overblown stuff out there (like Michael Jackson and Guns N Roses), utterly idiosyncratic, and then managed to float alone above it all. I don't know how I'd forgotten how delicious a record it is. Walking down the street with Tori whispering and crooning in my ear, simultaneously brutally honest and seductive, the entire timbre of my day changed. It's that kind of album.

I remember reading Tori was influenced by Joni Mitchell's Blue, and now, years later, having become a fan of that record as well, I can really see what she meant. Both Little Earthquakes and Blue are extraordinarily confessional, sincere and frank. And favorites of mine.

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Something Old, Something New: Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh's self-titled CD/LP out now on Drag City!

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, September 18, 2008 12:39pm | Post a Comment

Helena Espvall and Masaki Batoh

 

When I first learned that Masaki Batoh, enigmatic frontman of the wondrously magical avant-psych band Ghost, and Swedish-born Helena Espvall, vocalist, guitarist and cellist of the equally magical folk-rock outfit Espers, were to release a record of their collaborative efforts, a wave of excitement swept me out of my shoes and into a frenzy of inspired musings that lead to an impulse purchase of a bottle of Framboise Lambic. After many repeat listenings of Helena Espvall & Masaki Batoh, their simply self-titled releaseI can safely say that not only does the record pair well with the sweet, frothy drink, but also complements those early Halloween  decoration displays that are beginning to pop up all over town. The record and the drink spurred a flip through my battered old D&D Monster’s Compendium which led me to conjure a mental picture of a romantic tapestry woven by two modern day minstrels who, after recognizing their great esteem for one another, slipped away from their bands’ respective gypsy caravans silently in the night, running away together to the far reaches of the northern wilderness, making beautiful music together all the way. 

Revisiting Chumbawumba's Tubthumping (I get knocked down)

Posted by Billyjam, September 18, 2008 11:57am | Post a Comment
 

Since they formed 28 years ago, UK group Chumbawumba may have released a ton of music covering many styles (and under various band lineups) but it is their 1997 breakout hit single "Tubthumping" (video above) with its infectious chorus ("I get knocked down/But I get up again") that they will probably always be best known for, even though it was atypical of all the other music that this anarchist band had recorded. Regardless, this single was unavoidable on the radio eleven years ago when it was a hit both in Britain and around the world. It went to #2 on the UK pop charts and #6 in the USA in 1997.

Anyway, for some reason this song and its infectious chorus popped into my head the other day and refused to leave. I kept humming its refrain over and over - I get knocked down/But I get up again/You're never going to/Keep me down -- so much so that I had to go back to re-listen to it, to so see if it stood the test of time, if it sounded as good as I remembered first time around back in '97. And having just listened to it again now, I gotta say that, while it is still a really good pop song, that it doesn't really stand the test of time to these ears. Maybe I just heard it one too many times back in '97.

In my research I did learn that the song was not only a single and album (Tubthumper) track for the band but that it has been included on several compilations, including on a volume of the phenomenally popular Now That's What I Call Music pop-hit compilation series, and also on eight movie soundtracks including Home Alone 3, In God's Hands, Senseless, Air Bud 2, Dirty Work, Varsity Blues, and Joe Somebody. Additionally, it's been featured in several video games, including EA Sports' World Cup 98, Konami's Dance Dance Revolution 2ndMIX in 1999, and in Nintendo's Donkey Konga in 2004.

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