Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What's Everybody Smoking? and A Question for Ms. Fever

I am still a bit amazed at how one song, ONE SONG, by British duo /sometimes quintet Smoke Fairies has torn through the blog squad here in the last few weeks. That voice! The high/low post play...I mean harmonies! (Why yes, I am getting mentally prepared for March Madness.) I sent the link to my sister, who watched the video , bought a download and posted it to her Facebook within a few hours. By the next day she was hearing from "friends" from junior high who loved the song. What did we do before the internet?

Former blogger Mr. William Call downloaded another single of the Fairies, which I snatched up, too. Love the Fairport Convention-esque sound to "Gastown/Riversong."When that fuzz tone hit my left earbud at the end of "Gastown" I actually checked the connection, before the capital letters "NICE!" formed in my brain. By the time the distortion pedal kicked in at 3:20 into "Riversong," the capital letters were at "OH YEAH!" Although the tracks I checked out on their MySpace sounded more like the bluesy early Mazzy Star stuff. Nothing wrong with that for two former choir goof-offs from the south of England who hung out in New Orleans for a while in their youth.

But the free download you get if you join their mailing list right here is back to Fairport land. "Now the Green Blade Rises" could almost be one of the Child Ballads Sandy Denny did so well back in the day. When I was four. But it's actually a 15th century French tune with Easter hymn lyrics from the 1920's. In learning that I stumbled upon the NetHymnal site with hundred of hymns played on the organ with accompanying lyrics, just in case you ever want to hum along with oh, say, "Golden Harps are Sounding." If you don't, the new Fairies album was out on ITunes yesterday.

Even though we now know the Smoke Fairies' rise is being pushed along by the not-so-unseen hand of Jack White-Stripe, and that they have opened for big names like Brian Ferry, I sure hope you can book this band the minute you see them at SXSW.

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Regarding other SXSW potentials, I take back my doubts about Bomba Estereo least until somebody verifies their live show. I like their disc Blow Up quite a lot, hitting the repeat button a number of times today. I'm wondering if we should start sending a contingent to check out the bands at the Latin Alternative Music Conference. (Bomba Estereo reportedly tore it up there last year.)
I think I'm free that week...

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Welcome back to our long lost blogger Princess. Why don't you write here more? I love your stuff and it cracks me up.

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Speaking of cracking me up, ummm....the Main Figurehead's recent call to keep our opinions a little bit, shall we say "Minnesota nice-r". Steady on, there, Mr. Fig! You're the one who started the potty talk, although Ms. Fever did call your Yes album "pompous crap," at least she listened to half of it. Which is more than any of the rest of us are going to do, I'm afraid. This begs the question, however, does she still own a copy herself?

I totally lost it the day Ms. Fevers wrote that she wouldn't know shlock if it "bitch- slapped her while wearing a laminated name tag." I cannot advocated shutting that down. Anyway, I found the entire exchange extremely humorous and think our blog is at its best when the opinions and critiques fly back and forth. While I agree that it's not in our best interests to say mean things about bands with whom the Cedar actually has a relationship, I'd say Yes and Peter Gabriel probably aren't stopping by any time soon.

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The real question I have for the Feves is this. Will please explain the difference between the different types of downloads and the relative qualities thereof. MPEG, AAC, MP3 or 4. Bit rate. What does it all mean? What does it all matter? Thank you, ma'am.

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Continuing on the what does it all matter theme, will somebody explain to me why I should give a * * * * about Massive Attack. What's the deal? I plowed though Hell-Legoland the other day and really, really wondered what why I should care. In keeping with the new Minnesota Nice policy, I won't say what I really thought...but let's just say I had to hit forward to stagger through some of those tunes. I know some readers of this blog are really into it...Is it just me? Or is it you all?

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I'm quite psyched for all of the upcoming West Bank/West Africa shows at the Cedar, but I'm also rather looking forward to the Las Rubia's del Norte show on April 3rd. Amazing classically -trained vocal harmonies, high, high up in the stratospheric soprano range on what sounds like Latin music from the 1930s. The singers say their recent album Ziguala imagines pop music in a world where mambos and rumbas were never replaced by rock and roll. I can hear the little chicha touches (Olivier Conan from Chicha Libre is a band member) but most of the sound is rather formal, and oddly beguiling. It's "you have to be in the mood" music, but when you slow down and get yourself there, Las Rubias will provide the soundtrack for another time and place.
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Last but not least, word on the street has it that lovers of the deep soul monthly DJ party Club Hot Pants will no longer have to travel north on Washington avenue to find the funk. The event has outgrow the smallish confines of Club Jag and starts up soon in our neighborhood at the roomy Bedlam Theater. Not sure if it will still be on the second Saturday or not.


Veronica Fever said...

Ms D:

A couple of quick responses not in my latest:

I found Topographic Oceans on Spotify. I no longer own a copy, although I dutifully bought it very near the time it first came out.

Massive Attack: I still like them and the new one has moments, but I buy their albums reflexively. Part of me thinks they're a 90s band trying to carry on past their sell-by date. For me, 'Mezzanine' is crucial.


Mama E Dub said...

past the sell-by date...exactly! That's the mean thing I was trying not to say. They sound very dated to me, but I do understand about buying reflexively.