Most of you probably knows her for 'Breathe Me', a musically heartbreaking song used in the series finale of 'Six Feet Under'. Some know her as the vocalist for Zero 7. Well, now I can confirm that she's also a powerhouse live.
Not that I ever had the luck to attend one of her shows, but that's exactly how I feel after listening to her new live LP entitled Lady Croissant.
The album consists of live recording tracks from a show she did Bowery Ballroom in NYC. Two are her collabs with Zero 7, and the rest is from her own solo work. Seriously, her voice just blew me away. She can sound so small and fragile like a curled up little kitten in a basket, but when the climactic moment arrives, she lets out her claws and belts out those high notes ever so effortlessly. It's interesting to see how the tracks were translated to the live arrangements. I wish she had chosen more Zero 7 songs for the setlist, though, as songs from 'Colour The Small One' are not all that strong, but she can sing whatever she wants and still make it sound emotional and beautiful.
Here's her flawless live rendition of 'Destiny'.
Sia - Destiny (Live)
Also included on the album is a brand new song 'Pictures', which is lovely and comes close to 'Breathe Me' in terms of tune quality. The second-best Sia song, apparently.
Sia - Pictures
She's currently working on a new album, and recently, she shared a newly-mastered, unreleased track called 'Little Black Sandals' to PopJustice. It's one for the summer, I say.
Sia - Little Black Sandals
Be sure to purchase the album here if you like what you hear.
Monday, April 30, 2007
Music sometimes need one mood, one moment when all the missing pieces are put together to dawn its light on you. My Brightest Diamond, for me, fell in that case.
I had always felt her music to be a little distant, but I kept her songs in hope that one day I will finally understand them in all of their glory. Then one day, I woke up with a song of her playing in my iPod at random. In that moment, so suddenly, all the lyrics, the arrangements, and the vocals just harmonized and sent chills up and down my spines. Being a classically, operatically trained singer, and a member of the church choir at a young age, her voice (which bears some resemblence to that of Kate Bush) is capable of capturing such drama and emotions. Her music can be quite epic and powerful it's a little too much to handle all at a time, but maybe all you need is the right moment for it to speak to you. A talented young lady she is.
Here I introduce two of my favorite songs, one about a phone call that turns her world upside down and one about a dragonfly stuck in a spider's web. Hope you'll enjoy them both.
My Brightest Diamond - Something Of An End
My Brightest Diamond - Dragonfly
From Bring Me The Workhorse (2006)
Saturday, April 28, 2007
There's plenty to complain about this video. I could say that the editing was a mess. That her deliverance was a bit cold and passionless. That the Jay Z guest spot looked phoned in. That the naked in silver bits scream Red Hot Chilli Peppers. That she seems to lose quite a few pounds.
But instead, I will ignore all that and say that it's a beautiful, sexy, steamy pop video for an amazing pop song.
I like to think of Rihanna as Def Jam's lab rat. Jay Z hands her an 'experimental' but surefire hit once a year, and packs about a dozen of throwaway fillers to make a album, and still they sell like hot cakes. Her sophomore was worse than the debut, but it sold twice as much. So no high expectations at all for the third one, 'Good Girl Gone Bad'. But it's too soon to say anything, isn't it?
Anyway, here's a little bonus. An instrumental version of 'Umbrella', worth checking out for all the tiny, polished details that otherwise would be missed in the original version. Look for the synths. It's really different from most of the mainstream stuff out there, and therefore it deservedly made my list of the best songs of 2007.
Rihanna - Umbrella (Instrumental)
-The results of my sidebar poll. Now that didn't come off as a surprise. Half of my readership is in the 19-25 demographic, okay, but I like the fact that there's a fair share between the other age groups as well. Thanks to those who have taken your time to vote. New one added to the right.
-I think it's hard to find people with music taste as broad as mine, which makes quite impossible to schedule posts sometimes. Like, I can't put an ambient post next to a dance-punk one, or Bloc Party next to Avril Lavigne. Also, too many ebstablished names on the front page, and lesser-known, but worthy ones may get overlooked. A first-time visitor might add the blog to their feeds based on a recent post they dig, but if the next few ones aren't up their alley, chances are they could give up. See, blogging IS hard, guys.
-The new Travis album. Judging on first listen, it's good. Can generate about 4 great singles. Which is enough for me.
-I finally listened to Mark Ronson's 'Version' in its entirety yesterday and here's my verdict: It's very good. Go grab it when it's out.
-Volta. Leave it there for a better time. Tori Amos. I won't bother unless I see some positive reviews. LCD Soundsystem. Can't believe I still don't get to that one yet. And Arctic Monkeys. At least not now. I'm comfortable with staying behind.
-Downtempo records should be put to good use for April showers.
-Heroes' back. And I haven't found time to watch it yet. Don't spoil it for me. Though it's a little suspicious Peter-what's-his-real-name had the time to do a cameo for the new Fergie video.
-American Idol. It's getting close to the finale, huh? I'm not watching anymore, but they should just get it over with and crown Melinda Doolittle already? Isn't it blatantly obvious? Though she's the most uncommercial of the bunch.
-The new White Stripes song. Stupid title, wacky stuff, but I kinda like it. And when a good quality version of M.I.A. new single floats around, it should become my new summer jam. Well, after 'Umbrella'.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Yesterday, my finals were finally over, and I was in a good mood, so I planned to do a dance mix for the next post. Then, an unexpected event got in the way and brought me down with it, so I decided to hold that one up and compile a new Bamboo Lounge mix instead.
As you can see in the title, the theme this time is Night Drive. It's a relatively short mix, clocking in less than 20 minutes. And though each of the 5 tracks are quite different compared to one another, I suggest you play them the next time you have a night drive, for they all share this particular mood that's just perfect for the occasion.
And you know, the feelings you can sometimes get when night driving. You alone on the road, with the stars sparkling from the quiet somber sky, the winds blowing, and music being the only friend to keep you awake, make you feel alive. And you wish that the road would keep expanding to the horizon, destination unclear, that you would never have to get off the car...
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Yes. You read that right. The Arctic Monkeys covered Amy Winehouse's 'You Know I'm No Good' recently, along with The Strokes' 'Take It Or Leave It' for BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge with Jo Whiley (like you didn't see that coming). Not much to say about The Strokes' one (which just proved no matter who sings it, a Strokes song is still a Strokes song). But the Amy's one, in the wake of Bloc Party's recent similar approach to reworking a pop song, well, I don't believe I'm saying this but they actually did it good. I do like it. Maybe it's because the song is so good itself that no matter who sings it, it can't be ruined.
I was never an Arctic fan myself, and until now I feel no rush of checking out their new album 'Favorite Worst Nightmare'. But maybe, when all the hype is over, I might come to examine it and decide whether it's worth my time or not by myself, completely unaffected by the buzz surrounding.
Anyway, here you go. Here's what you come for.
Arctic Monkeys - You Know I'm No Good (Amy Winehouse Cover) [alternate link]
Arctic Monkeys - Take It Or Leave It (The Strokes Cover) [alternate link]
I'm taking my term exams next week. Wish me luck! When it's all over, I promise I will get around to posting something more original and undiscovered rather than just attention-grabbing.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
If you've been wondering about the recent lack of updates, well, apparently, I'm going through a difficult, yet pivotal phase of my life, with my head buried deep in a million things that need to be done. As much as I'd like to sit down, 'set fire' to the keyboard and introduce you to some great new music, I just can't afford that luxury for now. I'm weeks behind my favorite tv shows, new releases and such. I know there's no use complaining, but I just got to get myself together and stay focused. So, to those who send me music for consideration, please be patient. And to my readers, I try to make at least one post per week. Now, let's get on to some relatively new music videos, where everybody's having so much fun. They're great to watch because of that, because real world can never be that fun.
FEIST - MY MOON MY MAN
FEIST - 1 2 3 4
Oh, Leslie Feist. The world would be a much happier place if strangers break down into song and dance in unison like what happened in your two new videos. For 'My Moon My Man', you joyfully dance in a walkway at the airport. It's a result of many takes, many late nights spent, and it all paid off. For '1 2 3 4, you're dressed in a sequined blue suit, swirling around exuberantly with amateur dancers in American-Apparel-like outfits for a one-take shoot. You were really having genuine fun, weren't you? Thanks for putting a big bright smile to our faces. Also, thanks to Patrick Daughters for keeping getting better at what you do.
Apparently, I haven't heard the album yet because I chose to. I tend to step back whenever an album's way overhyped (i.e. still not listen to Arcade Fire and Bloc Party's latest), for fear that it might not live up to the high expectations. I even avoid reading early reviews, as I prefer eagerly waiting for the street release date and have a listen all at once. Her first two singles are brilliant, though.
With all the current media buzz, I'm a little afraid that Feist might step into the mainstream consciousness this time (though I know she's already huge in Canada), and I'm just not ready for that yet. In my opinion, Feist's presence to the indie world is now like Beyoncé's to the mainstream world, so I just hope I won't get too much of the Feistiness.
MP3: Feist - 1 2 3 4
Download 'My Moon My Man' video (MOV)
Download 'My Moon My Man' video (MOV) or (MPEG)
Or download mp4s of both at All Things Feist.
THE GOLDEN DOGS - CONSTRUCTION WORKER
In keeping with things Canadian, here's the new vid for The Golden Dogs' song 'Construction Worker'. Yes, it's a catchy indie power-pop song about a construction worker. And the video turned out great in spite of the presumably low budget. Stop-motion scenes of felt tip coloring that morphs into the band themselves. Great performance, with nicely lit, nicely designed set. And the lady in polka dot dress just looks lovely. This proves that an indie band doesn't always need a crazy conceptual video to go with their song. So far, this is the only song I've heard from them but I'm quite sure there's more where that comes from. Give it a try.
MP3: The Golden Dogs - Construction Worker
Download 'Construction Worker' video (MOV)
THE SHINS - AUSTRALIA
About the vid, it's The Shins stealing balloons in orange jumpsuits. Which is fun. But I'd like to talk more about the song. It has to be one of the best singles of 2007, and it's been on high rotation in my iPod already. James Mercer just excels at writing these complex tunes with unexpected twists in the melodies that take time to get used to, but when you do, it's glued to your head. This one would be a great example. He's also quite a wordsmith with lots of metaphors and references in the lyrics that you can't hardly get all of at one listen. Not to mention that he must possess one of the best male vocals in the indie world these days, his voice just has this warm, resonant, distinctive tone. I think I'm slowly becoming a big time fan. Since their new album already spawns two great singles in a row, I'm willing to give the album another chance (or many chances) and allow it to grow on me.
Oh and that part where he sings 'But nothing happend every time I tried', that really pinched my heart. Undoubtedly a must-hear.
MP3: The Shins - Australia
Download 'Australia' video (MOV)
In other news:
-A spin-off blog concentrating on downtempo/electronic/chill-out genre will definitely happen, though it won't see the light til July. I already have enough materials for a year's worth of posts. So in the meantime, keep checking the Bamboo Lounge mixes here.
-It's too early to say anything now, but let's just say that there might be our first ever contest and interview, and I'm quite excited about it. Details coming soon.
-By the way, I regularly update the sidebar so if there's a favorite song/albums I recently listened to but have yet made a post about, you can see them there.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Bloc Party - Say It Right (Nelly Furtado Cover - Live Lounge)
Bloc Party - Say It Right [alternate link]
Bloc Party's MySpace
Monday, April 09, 2007
I said it before and I say it again: Mark Ronson's one of the most talented, influential producers to be gracing the music scene in recent years. He can bridge the gap between old and new school, blend different styles and genres to create a signature sound of his own, and the tracks he produced can both maintain mass appeal and critics' approval.
Apparently, he also has a knack for picking songs that seem random at first, and funking them up into something big-beat, horn-blasting, soulful, and torally listenable. His cover album 'Version' is about to drop in the UK in April 19, and it features a wide selection of songs, as well as a guest list to die for. So far from the tracks I've heard, it should be a great solid one. Here's some awesome tracks to whet your appetite.
Stop Me (feat. Daniel Merriweather):
The Smiths cover, current single.
God Put A Smile Upon Your Face (feat. The Daptone Horns):
Coldplay instrumental cover. Horns! Great for night jogging.
Valerie (feat. Amy Winehouse):
The Zutons cover. Not the Live Lounge version. It's very good. She keeps the same lyrics, which makes it so lesbo-friendly!
Bonus:Just (feat. Alex Greenwald):
Radiohead cover! Previously featured in a tribute album.
Be sure to pick up a copy or swing by his Myspace.
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Bjork. She's one strange woman, isn't she?
Always breaking boundaries. Always doing the unthinkable. Always putting so much ideas and efforts into her music & visual crafting. And yet always getting praised for.
Honestly, I most of the time don't feel connected to her music, though I do have respect for her works. The last Bjork song I remember having enjoyed is Who Is It? (which has a fantastic, iconic video with her in a dress made of million silver bells, walking in the desert).
However, this time around, she seems to be in for some real fun. Just look at that cover for her upcoming album 'Volta' above. How mindblowing.
Would you be suprised if I told you Timbaland co-produced the lead single, 'Earth Intruders'? That explained the more instant accessibility of the track. With the tribal, marching beats, haunting synths, thought-provoking lyrics and Bjork's usual howls on top, 'Earth Intruders' should keep her longtime fans happy while hinting commercial potential. The urban crew gives it props just because of Timbaland. And the pop enthusiasts have jumped on board quite early, too. If anything, this single will win her many new fans while not alienating the cult followers.
Bjork - Earth Intruders (Radio Edit)
So far, she's taking all the right steps to a major comeback, in contrast to that of Tori Amos, though (whose new album is so overstuffed with concepts that it turns out tacky, camp, and gimmicky, distracting people's attention from the music itself).
Friday, April 06, 2007
A new round of banging remixes coming atcha.
Feist - My Moon My Man (Boys Noize Remix)
First up, here's a cool Boys Noize Remix of Feist's awesome new single 'My Moon, My Man'. It's the first dancefloor-friendly remix of her, though it can do without the slightly cheesy computerized voice repeating the vocals. Good news is Feist recently wrapped up the video shoots for both '1 2 3 4' and 'My Moon My Man'. The latter was directed by Patrick Daughters (the man behind the Mushaboom video), shot at an airport and involved choreography with dancers in flight attendant uniforms! Sounds like her most interesting video yet!
The Deluxe Edition of Beck's 'The Information' contains some really interesting bonus remixes. He's got all the cool people, blogger-favorites like Ellen Allien, TV On The Radio...to reconstruct his songs. Here I choose two that grab my attention most.
Beck - Cellphone's Dead (Ellen Allien Remix)
Beck - Nausea (Pirate's Bumblebeez Remix)
Beyoncé + Freemasons = dancefloor heaven. That is inevitable. They have collaborated for 3 times now, and all of which results in storming, funky, groovy club anthems that can hit the 8 minute mark and still you can't get enough of it. The best one out of the three is the Deja Vu remix, which is so ace that even the Grammy had to take note and get it nominated for best remix. The other two followed like a trilogy. For a genre that I rarely had interest in, Freemasons really did it good.
Beyoncé - Deja Vu (Freemasons Club Mix)
Beyoncé - Ring The Alarm (Freemasons Club Mix)
Beyoncé and Shakira - Beautiful Liar(Freemasons Radio Vox) (3-minute radio edit)
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Shocker! Alanis Morisette is relevant again!
Shot as an April's Fool prank and posted on her website, this is her parody of that infamous BEP song 'My Humps'. Imagine the song with the tempo four times slower, with angsty vocals and a piano. It's borderline genius/hilarious and insane/attention-whoring.
A little career advice, Miss Alanis: take a screenshot of this vid, paste your name on it then tell your 'people' to have it on iTunes ASAP, you might earn your first top 20 hit in years.
And think of all the amount of publicity she's already having. I didn't give a shit about her last album (the greatest hits not counted), and I probably won't care for the next one either (which, of course, will drop later this year), but this is a quite smart, well-planned stunt. Props to her. Now what's next, you booking Timbaland?
And while we're at it, you might want to check out this cheap shot of humor, which is an 'acappella remix' parody of the same song, if you're really bored.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Another downtempo playlist. But this time, I mix it up a little bit. The following 5 tracks have one thing in common: they're all covers. And they sound great for a Sunday night chillout at home.
Jose Gonzalez - Hand On Your Heart (Kylie Minogue Cover) (from Stay In The Shade EP)
Undoubtedly the prettiest Kylie cover I ever heard. It takes the song to a whole new emotional level. The perfect setting for the song would be when you're rowing a small boat through a swamp on a sunny day.
Iron And Wine - Such Great Heights (The Postal Service Cover) (from Garden State Soundtrack)
This is just too beautiful. I can see myself on a shore with this song in my earbuds, watching sunset and flocks of seagulls flying by.
Nouvelle Vague - Dance With Me (Lords of The New Church Cover) (from Bande a Part)
One of their best tracks. So bossanova it wouldn't sound of place in a little quite coffeehouse in Paris.
Eliane Elias - Tropicalia (Beck Cover) (from Around The City)
A laidback, jazzy, loungey version with relaxing female vocals. Really nice.
Worm Is Green - Love Will Tear Us Apart (from Automagic)
Interesting take on the Joy Division's classic, by Icelandic electronic outfit Worm Is Green.
Anyway, I'm having thoughts about opening a spin-off blog dedicated to this genre only (electronic/chill-out/downtempo/instrumental), due to my rising specific interest in it. Should I take a chance with it? These posts don't seem to really fit well with the tone of the blog...
And I'm aware that today's Aprils Fool Day. But I'm just too tired to try to think of any pranks and frankly, I've just got too much to be worrying about...