Jeff Buckley - Everybody Here Wants You
Okay so I know I continue to stray from the doo wop theme… I’m sorry I just can’t help it. I have a great one for tomorrow, that’s for sure, so definitely check back early and often.
As for the tune above - Jeff Buckley is a legend; there is no doubt about that. Just as Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Selena, and a host of others were taken from us under unfortunate (and in some cases, avoidable) circumstances, Jeff too died at a very young age, and before his true ‘grace’ was known. His legacy does live on though, and for any serious JB fan, you might be getting that feeling in the pit of your stomach, knowing that you are about to hear something very, very serious.
I feel strongly about Jeff’s music. He showcases a vulnerability that is so sad, honest, and heartfelt that it’s transformed into a rock-solid confidence - confidence that to his listeners may seem unattainable. It’s a bold statement, but is Jeff the Bob Dylan of the 90s?
I’ve listened to 1994’s Grace an inordinate amount of times, as I’m sure any JB fan has, but have yet to find a song that touches me as much as “Everybody Here Wants You” (from Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk). I’ve met that girl. I’ve seen her around. I know exactly how Jeff feels in this one…
Nick Drake - Pink Moon
Its use in a VW commercial (even if it is one of my favorites) aside, Nick Drake’s Pink Moon could be the best “quiet, relaxed night at home” song ever.
Sun Kil Moon - Ocean Breathes Salty
About two years ago, it seemed like if you were to be an “indie rock” musician worth your salt, it was necessary that you buck up and record a few decent covers. Everyone was pumping out tribute songs (to Elliot Smith, the White Stripes, Joni Mitchell, etc.) and covering their contemporaries in one big musical circle-jerk.
Though that moment is more or less over, it resulted in one of my favorite ever records, Sun Kil Moon’s Tiny Cities, in which Mark Kozelek (aka the ex-lead singer of the Red House Painters and the random other band member in Almost Famous’ Stillwater) plays the Modest Mouse canon, completely re-imagined. What could have been a risky experiment became a beautiful rethinking of the music, taking discordant, angry songs and exposing them lyrically for what they really have to offer.
Even if you are not a Modest Mouse fan, give this a try. It’s really gorgeous.
Amy wrote a review of Lauren Zettler, a singer/songwriter from Indiana, on her blog.
If she sounds good, you might be able to catch her at SXSW this week, too:
If you’re at SXSW this week, try to make it to Lauren’s show. She’s playing at 10 AM at the Austin Farmer’s Market on Saturday.
Sean Lee - Backroom Lullabies
Sean is a singer/songwriter from Philadelphia. I first heard his music about a year ago at school. Immediately, I thought to myself ‘oh great, another singer/songwriter…borrring.’ I was totally wrong.
Sean’s voice reminds me of a cross between Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan. Apparently, it was his babysitter who got him to sing when he was a little kid. His music is a blend of rock, country, and even a bit of rockabilly.
It was tough for me to choose a song off of his EP, The Apes Have Escaped, which came out in June of ‘07. All of his songs are incredibly solid and individual. It’s refreshing to hear an album or an EP where you can actually differentiate between songs.
Backroom Lullabies has an infectious energy to it… certainly a good one to get you going in the morning. I feel that this is a song that makes you want to listen to more.
Sean’s EP is available on CD Baby, which you can access through his Myspace page. It’s a whopping $4.99 for 5 songs. It’s a good investment, I promise.
Basia Bulat - Before I Knew (Live on Radio K)
The SXSW Music Festival starts today, but sadly, Tuneage doesn’t have anyone in the throes, so the best we can do is highlight the artists we would be seeing if we were there.
Basia Bulat is a Canadian singer-songwriter I learned about this past December. I stumbled across her album completely by accident, and because I’m a sucker for a female singer/songwriter, I couldn’t resist. Her style treads an interesting line of feeling new yet familiar, and that’s just fine by me. Before I Knew is the lead-off track from her debut album Oh, My Darling, which I highly recommend.
If you’re attending SXSW, Basia Bulat plays Friday, March 14 @ 9pm at Antone’s
Josh Ritter - Kathleen
I’ve known about Josh in some capacity since he was a student at the Oberlin College Conservatory, having ditched his neuroscience degree for a major in folk music, much to his parent’s delight.
Ten years later, and he is a superstar, or as much of one as you can be in the folk world, having landed the covers of Paste and No Depression and several NPR studio sessions (the holy grail of singer-songwriterdom!), and winning the equivalent of an Irish grammy. Like The Frames, he is huge in Ireland and little known elsewhere, but I think he’s kind of magic.
Josh has made four records, and this is my favorite song off his second, Hello Starling. I think that “All the other girls here are stars/You are the Northern Lights” is probably the best compliment you could ever pay a girl. That, and writing her a great song full of wurlizers and fireflies and gravel on a dirt road.
Yeah, I went there.
Laura Marling - Tap at My Window
Laura is only 18, a fact that simply serves to makes her songs wiser, like she is actively stretching past her age. She is a painfully shy performer, still afraid to appear in the larger London venues that her fans are begging her to play, preferring Victorian literature and quiet references to love and loss (again, beyond her years).
She has a very delicate sound and aesthetic—looking at her, she seems almost translucent; a very pale, very blond doll. She looks like Debbie Harry and has the same fragile-but-not sound.
I promise she will grow on you.
Bon Iver - Flume
If you ask me, Bon Iver (his real name is Justin Vernon) draws the most immediate comparison to artists like Iron and Wine, and that’s a good thing. Artists like these guys tend to be minimal in their approach: a guy, a guitar, and intimate vocals. Music like this works equally as well for a rainy/snowy day as it does for a random Sunday morning. Truthfully, I find myself throwing Bon Iver on the iPod anytime I want something relaxing that won’t dominate the space between my ears, and that’s pretty often these days.
Flume is the lead-off track to Bon Iver’s recently re-released debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago, and you would be remiss not to buy yourself a copy. I cannot recommend this album highly enough.
When you’re done listening to Flume, you might also consider checking out Bon Iver’s tumblelog, Creature Fear.
She & Him - Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?
Volume One, the debut album from Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward collaboration She & Him, is probably one of the most anticipated albums of the year so far. It’s due March 18th on Merge. “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” is their first single, and my favourite from the album.
You may gather from that that I downloaded the leaked album, and you’d be right. Overall, it’s underwhelming, and unlikely to live up to the hype. Regardless, Zooey Deschanel, who I’ve been in love with for a long time, has a beautiful and beguiling voice, and it’s a joy to hear her sing.