Under the Covers

Last night I shook the hand that has given us this: JoseGonzalez-Crosses In keeping with my history of saying silly things when I meet talented musicians that I deeply admire, showcased here and here, I told The Dreamy José González what an honor it was to meet him and that I would love to shake his hand. He looked at me like he wasn’t sure if my plan was to take his hand home with me, but he hesitantly put it out there for me to shake. Nice guy. Nice grip, too. Can you imagine coming out of a really great show (Dean Wareham doing Galaxie 500 at the Bell House in lovely Gowanus) and having José González just kinda standing there at floor level behind a turntable with no handlers or hangers on in site? Me either! I walked straight up to him and there was only about 5″ between me and the dreamy José González. Pretty incredible. I love this man. Listen to what he can do with a Joy Division song, here covering Love Will Tear Us Apart: JoseGonzalez-Love Will Tear Us Apart He was doing a DJ set at The Bell House that night, which just happened to coincide with the Dean Wareham doing Galaxie 500 show. Speaking of great Joy Division covers, here’s how Dean and band closed the show: Galaxie500-Ceremony Dean Wareham still sounded fantastic despite the years since he was first singing/writing with Galaxie 500. Supposedly this gig at the Bell House was the last time he will perform Galaxie 500 material in New York. Not sure if that means he’ll be...

The Art of Soullessness

Last night was the PJ Harvey show at Terminal 5, and it was a fantastic night – with the one small exception of the actual show. That coupled with my little trip to the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles1 today has me thinking about people who seem to lack soul, humanity even, and those who seem to have hidden it somewhere, or maybe even lost it. As has been established here and here Ms. Harvey and I have been carrying on a torrid2 love affair for about 20 years now. Her music is deeply ingrained into my cerebral cortex, to the point where I hear her singing and it sounds like it’s coming from within myself. It’s a cellular bond. Plus, she’s hot. That said, the past two, maybe three albums haven’t really rung my bell, but I still deeply admire her talent and her constant growth and change as an artist. I went into this show knowing I was going to be disappointed, just because who I really love is the PJ Harvey of Dry, Rid of Me, and Is This Desire: that strong, take no prisoners, angry, rocking PJ. Lately, I guess as she’s matured as a person and musician, the albums have been more reflective, quiet and experimental. Not rocking. Not really all that intimately emotional. Weirdly focused on England, even for an Anglophile like me. PJ Harvey is known for her ability to command a stage with nothing but her guitar and some red lipstick. Last night she had presence3, but it felt too practiced to me. The friend I was with (visit him...

Best of 2010

Sure, anyone can put together a Best of 2010 in 2010. I chose1 instead to wait until three months into 2011 so that my list will be a nostalgic trip back in time, to those innocent, halcyon days of 2010 when gas was under $5 a gallon and Japan was geographically and architecturally intact2. I’ve put these songs roughly in order of my love of them. Depending on the day and my mood all of these songs have held the top spot. Looking back, though, the ones I’ve put in spots one through seven (roughly) are my absolute faves of the year. Song, band and live show of 2010 all go to The Joy Formidable. They had some tough competition especially for best live show3. I adore this band. They are amazing, put out a rock solid album, tore it up live, and are cute as buttons. Without further ado, my Best of 2010. In the coming days I’ll post lovingly about why each song made it here. For now, I hope you enjoy the music without the reasons why. __________________ 1 And by “chose” I mean “procrastinated the crap out of” 2 Mother Nature’s latest reminder that we are not in charge 3 Hats off to Hot Chip and Dandy Warhols...

ILOVEYOUPJ

OK, it’s finally happening. PJ Harvey, in concert. April 20. Terminal 5. Tickets on sale this Friday. Noon. Too excited to form long sentences. So excited.1 I just pre-ordered her new album Let England Shake and got the first single as a little gift. So, here you are – “Written on the Forehead.” [audio:http://www.lifemusicblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/01-Written-On-the-Forehead.mp3|titles=Written On the Forehead] If this melodious gem is any indication, our PJ has gone in her usual different direction with Let England Shake. I’m prepared to be amazed a-fresh by her awesome talent. Since the first note2 of the first song3 on Dry back in 1991, I have been carrying on a wild and completely unrequited love affair with Miss Polly Jean. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, each time I see her live my “% Straight” goes down a few points4. I may be batting for the other team by April 21. _______________ 1 So. Excited. 2 I’m guessing a B-Flat 3 Oh My Lover 4 I’m hovering at...

Past Perfect

Listening to Gowns (Red State) I’ve been working away on my Best of 2010 for weeks now, listing and re-listing and shifting around the songs and albums that really grabbed me this year. As of right now my initial draft is about 50% about the albums, bands and songs of 2010 and 50% about an album that came out in 2007 by a band that broke up in 2010: Red State by Gowns. I’m enough of a rule-bender to include Red State in my Best of 2010 since something of significance happened around the album this year. But due to the length of my rapturous assessment of the music of Gowns, it needs a home of its own here on Aural Pleasures. Here goes… I first heard of Gowns by reading of its break-up in Flavorpill. Usually a portent for heartbreak, but in this particular case, it’s perfect. The Flavorpill reviewer wrote, “With this breakup we lost one of the most fearless groups in recent memory, who touched on something difficult to describe but without a doubt profound and beautiful.” Fearless? Difficult to describe? Profound and beautiful?! I read that and knew deep in my bones that I would love this band without having heard a single note.1 This wasn’t even love at first sight – it was love at first idea. I read a quote recently the gist of which was one of the truly beautiful things about life is that you can’t re-experience its best moments.2 What that means to me at this time in my life is that the real value of our most treasured memories...

The Gambler

Listening to Glasser (Ring) Listen/Buy Ring I have one word for The Joy Formidable show: OHMYGOD. Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmyGOD! Perfect night, perfect company, perfect show, perfect t-shirt, perfect everything. It was magic. The Joy Formidable, my latest musical obsession, played The Bowery Ballroom on November 16, and November 16 has now become a personal, practically religious, holiday for me. You’ll all be getting a Happy Joy Formidable Day card from me this time next year. They were tight, entertaining, soulful, cute, kick-ass, and loud, all in perfect proportion. They played like they meant it. They were amazing. I know I sound completely fan-girl right now and this could cost me some credibility. My charming friend B_ can back me up, I swear! Since they only have the one (incredible and awesome) album out (A Balloon Called Moaning – buy it) they played everything off it and still had time for a couple new songsa, all fabulous. Only one moment of panic when I thought they were finished yet still hadn’t played my favorite song (Whirring), but they were merely saving the best for last. [audio:http://www.lifemusicblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/TheJoyFormidable-Whirring.mp3|titles=TheJoyFormidable-Whirring] I about lost my mind jumping around like an insane person during Whirring, showering everyone around me with my cup of beer, so I’m making a blanket apology to anyone within 20 feet of me. I have to say, though, that I’ve stood behind so many obnoxious people at so many concerts I feel as though I’ve done my time and totally deserved my five minutes of annoying behavior. The show was capped off by me telling the drummer Matt Thomas in a cool...