Neko Case Flings Me Into Space

Oh, that Voice! That VOICE!! And to hear it in Radio City Music Hall, the pinnacle of good acoustics… it was truly magic. Neko Case and her aggressively-bearded band dazzled and amused with a performance that included a smattering of selections from each album and some hilarious banter with her sidekick/backup vocalist/stand up comedienne-in-residence Kelly Hogan. She’s touring to support her new album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. It’s yet another album from her where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and its parts are utterly glorious. Neko Case is known for the force of her voice, and the beauty of her lyrics. Seeing Neko live was every bit as spiritually and auditorially fulfilling as I had hoped it would be. It was a beautifully wrapped and beribboned present. The impact of her voice and poetic lyrics in such an acoustically blessed venue was pretty damn powerful. When an artist like Neko Case unleashes her voice and taps into the power of music as a means of transcension, it is a vehicle that takes you to the top of the mountain and then catapults you into the heavens. [Ed. note: This used to be an embedded video of her performance of Night Still Comes on Jimmy Fallon a couple weeks ago, but the video has been evaporated for what I’m sure are nefarious reasons.] From Night Still Comes: Did they poison my food? Is it cause I’m a girl? If I puked up some sonnets, would you call me a miracle? I’m gonna...

Southern Comfort

One of the many awesome songs played on the indie station here in Southern Virginia I grew up in what used to be a small-ish suburb1 called Newport News, tucked between Williamsburg and Norfolk, Virginia. I worked summers at Busch Gardens, exchanged mix tapes with friends, drove to Buckroe Beach, or Croatan, or down to Kill Devil Hills and Hatteras to watch the cute surfers, and led a life I judged completely boring. I left for college and never lived in Newport News again. I needed edge! I needed clubs and concerts and art and a city vibe! I needed black clothes and bad attitudes! So I eventually made my way to the New York City metro area. One thing leads to another and here I am several2 years later back in Newport News for a week-long holiday with my daughter. As we are approaching Newport News I’m flipping around the radio stations for something to listen to, and to my utter shock I hear Atlas Genius coming out of the speakers. The next song was something equally indie3 – Battleflag by Lo-Fidelity Allstars. And so was the next. Way to go, 96X! How unbelievably cool to have an indie station here, when there isn’t an indie station anywhere near NYC, a town where you can barely get tickets to shows before they sell out. I had told my Mom I wanted to catch a yoga class while I was in town, and her yoga instructor arranged for me to have a week-long free pass at her studio. So I rolled into town in time for the 5:00 class...

Home is where the heart lies

I first heard Throwing Muses on a 4AD compilation I purchased in college called Lonely is an Eyesore. It’s a showcase of the British label’s artists at the time, bands with esoteric names like Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins. I loved every track on that album, and it formed the foundation for what continues to be my favorite kind of music: discordant, rhythmic, weird, poetic, and a little dark. To sum up, I love everything 4AD puts out. I loved it all in 1989, and I love it all now. Back to Throwing Muses. My favorite track on Lonely is an Eyesore, and a song that remains one of my top 10 songs of all time to this day, is the one by Throwing Muses, the first American band to be signed by 4AD. It’s called Fish, and it reshaped my brain buds in 4 minutes and 39 seconds. [audio:http://www.lifemusicblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/ThrowingMuses-Fish.mp3|titles=ThrowingMuses-Fish] Bizarre, fever dream lyrics, right? I’m sure you caught that the name of the album was taken from Fish. “Lonely is as lonely does, lonely is an eyesore. The feeling describes itself.” And the music – it was like nothing I’d heard before. My heart knew I loved it long before my brain could form enough new synapses to process all the twists and turns. Throwing Muses is led by Kristin Hersh (one third of my music trinity, for those keeping score. PJ Harvey and Kim Deal complete it. And me.) She is a genius. I have yet to say anyone is a genius that I’ve written about on this blog (not even PJ) so...

Indie Label Distribution Center Burned to Ground in London

As London is in the midst of figuring out what the hell just happened, the news of England’s largest independent music label distribution center burning to ashes made it’s way across the Atlantic and into my email inbox. On Tuesday morning, the second night of rioting in London, the Sony/PIAS distribution center in Enfield was set on fire and burned to the ground. All stock was lost. Among that stock was CDs and vinyl from labels Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, Matador, XL, Rough Trade, my beloved 4AD, and Subpop. Full list of labels affected by London fire, compliments of Pitchfork. I’m relieved to report that the new box sets from Throwing Muses and This Mortal Coil were unaffected by the fire as they were in transit at the time. More from Beggars Banquet on their recovery from the loss. Many small indie labels may not be able to recover from such a total loss. In a post entitled [PIAS] & AIM Establish Fund for Labels Adversely Affected By The Sony DADC Fire the UK Association of Independent Music is encouraging indie music fans to purchase digital copies of music on the labels’ websites. I’ve read that a few fund raising concerts are being planned as well. Other Music wrote the following, and I agree whole-heartedly: We were deeply saddened earlier this week when we learned that the PIAS distribution warehouse in London had been destroyed in a fire during the riots. This was a crucial storage and shipping hub in the UK for so many of the great independent labels whose music is so important to us (and...

Inert

Listening to Tame Impala (InnerSpeaker) Have a listen: Tame Impala – It Is Not Meant to Be Eels – Fresh Blood Was feeling crap on Saturday. The old bod just doesn’t bounce back from gin the way it used to. Nor is it as indulgent as it once was when I don’t get to bed until 2p. So I spent most of Saturday in the fetal position on my couch, feeling sorry for myself, and making up lame justifications for my inert state. I believe Newton had a formula for my condition, where F=the chance of me ever getting up, d=ounces of gin I consumed, over dt=the fact the F train wasn’t running uptown from Delancy Street at 1am, and mv being heinous cramps in my lady parts (m) times no good food in the house (v). It’s his Second Law, and my Saturday Fate. At around 4p I was talking to my dad, who had just the day before broken his wrist golfing. This man lives to golf, so breaking his wrist will cause a major disruption in his happiness equilibrium. In spite of his bleak, golfless near-future, he was what can only be described as ebullient. He had just gotten back from a wedding where he’d danced himself into a heavy sweat, removing the sling (which was holding his wrist in an unbroken position) for maximum dancability. I’m assuming painkillers were involved. In any case, this man should have been on the couch, too. But he got his broken self up and out, and had a great time regardless. I decided my self-pity binge needed to stop....