Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thelonious Monk's Birthday

... was on Friday. He would have been 91 if he were still alive. He was such a genius. The silence between the notes means as much or more than the notes themselves. Dissonance is more than tolerable; it can be so satisfyingly beautiful. Two profound metaphors for life that I'm still working on fully actualizing. Check out 'Round Midnight:

Jazmine Sullivan

Love this Philly girl! Her debut album is full of heart, good song-writing, nods to Lauryn, motown, Alicia, even Whitney (the old Whitney - the one I used to love). I'd love to see her live. Thanks to Jon Caramanica's NYTimes review to clue me in to checking her out (I'm so out of it these days...)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Austin City Limits

The 2 days we got to spend at ACL were great!! Gnarlz Barkley & (a clearly pregnant!) Erykah Badu were probably the highlights for me musically... Gnarlz Barkley switched up a lot of their songs with much success (they made them a little more rock and yet a little less noisy - interesting feat to pull off). And I just never get tired of Cee-Lo's voice (even while hoarse from 4 months of touring!). Erykah Badu is a little bit stark raving bonkers (out of touch with reality) politically (even for liberal me), but she too has an awesome instrument in those vocal chords of hers. I always think she's better live than on records (typically jazz in that way), and I really like her latest album to begin with (New Amerykah). The highlight of her set was "The Healer/Hip Hop" - she did Dilla proud.

You know, I always say I like all kinds of music -- and I do , but lately you really got to have some soul if you want to truly snatch me away for a while. I keep thinking about this great piece on what's missing these days in indie rock by Sasha Frere-Jones.

So, among the sets I saw were...
Drive-By Truckers -- loved them. Lead singer told a really crazy/classic story about his mom getting swept away by a 350 pound tough trucker dude who later got cancer but then beat all the odds in order to get back in his beloved 18-wheeler. Southern rock is alive and well. Their last album was especially good - but they were great live too.

Tristan Prettyman - I like her enough. Surfer-turns acoustic guitar-wielding singer-songwriter chick. She has a pretty voice. She's not the best/most consistent songwriter ever, but she was fine. Love, Love, Love is by far her best song.

30 seconds of MGMT before RMW decided we just could not handle the crowds. It felt like all 75K there on Saturday were trying to see them. We heard a little bit of Electric Feel, my favorite song of theirs - it sounded not very different than the recorded version, which was a little disappointing to me.

Stars - they were good. I think the festival setting isn't ideal for them since you couldn't really appreciate their tight harmonies.

Xavier Rudd - His voice sounds a lot like Dave Matthews, his music/guitar playing recalls Robert Randolph & the Family Band meets the swamp funk of Mofro... and the latter part is pretty interesting considering he's a white Australian. Super talented multi-instrumentalist.

Foo Fighters - I wouldn't ever put this band on a list of bands I truly care about, but I have to say Dave Grohl is a true professional and the band put on a great show. I was entertained.

Jose Gonzalez & Iron & Wine -- both good, but again, not the right setting to fully appreciate them.

Nachito Herrera & his band -- Awesome! Nothing like good Cuban jazz, esp. good Cuban jazz piano. I think I even saw RMW's hips move.

Beck -- good set, but I was a little disappointed. I don't know why; I felt like he wasn't that into it. I couldn't take much issue with the songs he chose for the set (Nicotine & Gravy, Loser, Nausea, and Where it's At were all included). I would have liked to hear Debra, but oh well.

Thanks for hosting us, Emily & Peter!!!!!!!