Posts Tagged ‘Videos’

Music Moment: Amanda Palmer, Surprisingly More Thought-Provoking Than I Suspected

September 29, 2009

Well, dang, Amanda Palmer, I did not expect this entry to turn out like this when I began writing. I always thought you rated as talented and fun, but not always for me, but once I had to start pondering you, I began to wonder if it might be that you hit a little too close to home? So thanks?

Amanda Palmer – Runs in the Family

“With me, well, I’m well,
well, I mean, I’m in hell,
well, I still have my health,
at least that’s what they tell me.
If wellness is this,
what in hell’s name is sickness,
but business is business
and business runs in the family…”

Here is a link to the official video for this really excellent track from her LP Who Killed Amanda Palmer, available through Roadrunner Records and produced by Ben Folds (also the album art is by Neil Gaiman … because they are dating, which I cannot comprehend). I’m not crazy about the video, so I’m not embedding it here. I think her showy, fitful histrionics kind of rob the song of its natural jumpiness and make it almost less nerve-wracking.

Amanda began her career with the Dresden Dolls, about whom the wiki has this nugget to say which for me says it all:

The two describe their style as “Brechtian punk cabaret”, a phrase invented by Palmer because she was “terrified” that the press would invent a name that “would involve the word gothic.” The Dresden Dolls are part of an underground dark cabaret movement that started gaining momentum in the early 1990s.


Brecht, punk, cabaret — I find these to be overused words, I stigmatize them because they drip with deliberate intellect, I kind of sneer at them, okay? However, that’s hypocritical as hell because I used terms like “dark cabaret” yesterday in describing Annie. Or is it? I don’t know because the Dresden Dolls never struck the right notes for me personally. I found them too … pat in their spin, in their self-styling. I should have loved them, being a fan of weirdness and steampunk and tinkly music and frankly some also pretty dark shit, you know, wink wink SEXWISE, is what I mean! …

I realized these Music Moment posts tend to run really long because I like music way too much, and can’t bear to only give you half the story on someone I think is really special, so click here to keep reading about Amanda Palmer and my queer little problems with her. Continue reading, hear more music, and see a thought-provoking video, help me figure out what is going on in my addled mind!

Music Moment: Annie Clark aka “St. Vincent”

September 28, 2009

Annie Clark is a singer-songwriter who goes by the stage name of St. Vincent. Her first album, Marry Me, came out in 2007 and got her massive attention from peers and critics. Justly, I think. It’s very well-written and performed, but her follow-up, Actor, is the one that really blows me away. So I’m putting up tracks from both and encouraging you to buy both.

St. Vincent – What, Me, Worry?

“What, Me, Worry?” is probably my favorite song by her. It comes off of her first LP, Marry Me, which, like Actor, is available for purchase directly from her label, Beggars Group, in like, every format of music-listening known to man. (Okay, not eight-track. No one is PERFECT.) This song, like a lot of her work, starts out deceptively gamine and light-hearted, then transitions, taking a sudden dip into much deeper, more solemn and world-wise territory. She reminds me of Edith Piaf this way; always with these light and skippy chanteuses, there is this darker side, this sideshow act in a midnight cabaret lurking underneath the smile and the wink. The jazz hands can also be used for digging and scratching — sometimes even at your own face, you know?

Have I abused you, dear?
You have had it to here.
You say, “Love is just a blood match
to see who endures lash
after lash with panache.”


Here is a youtube video from Shoot the Player of her doing an improv quickie version of “What, Me, Worry?” in Sydney.

She knows the videographer it seems, and so she doesn’t really get down to business until around :50. So if you don’t want to hear a lot of “a and b” chitty chat where they will “c” us later, skip to that point.

I realized these Music Moment posts tend to run really long because I like music way too much, and can’t bear to only give you half the story on someone I think is really special, so click here to keep reading about Annie Clark aka “St. Vincent”. Continue reading, hear more music, and gawk at more hot pictures

Music Moment: Emily Haines

September 23, 2009

New feature. Music moment. I like music. Let’s begin.

I’m thinking a lot about Emily Haines this morning. I don’t really know why. I had sort of written her off as the waifishly hot gimmick in Metric’s freak act, “ooh, the girl-fronted-yet-not-terribly-chicky band, let’s all talk about how unusual that is and perhaps buy their albums,” like I thought Metric was okay, but I didn’t know anything about her or her background, or how much she contributed to the band’s writing (I assumed she basically did not at all contribute: I am aware that I am a jerk for making that assumption, but that’s just how I roll—light misogyny with a side of cynicism). Then I ran across this solidly interesting picture of her playing the tambourine and it piqued my curiosity to read she was not performing with Metric when the picture was taken, but was rather doing solo stuff.

“I really don’t relate to the female singer/songwriter. They’re vaguely privileged, it’s a vaguely middle-upper-class thing to do – your piano lessons and you’re all precious and everyone has to hush while you go over the shadows of your emotions. I’ve always really hated that.”
— Emily Haines

In case you are unacquainted with Metric, here is one of their latest videos, the silver sparkly styling in which I definitely dig, I’m in a silvery place so for me this was very right about now, but the song I am only middling to positive-ish about:

And this is a link to the official video for “Our Hell Is A Good Life” by Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton, which is her side project, when she is not simply traveling and performing solo.

I just took a spin through the wiki entry on her and discovered she was born in New Delhi, which is not something that I expected. That’s enough thinking about Emily Haines for one day, I think. Maybe I’ll come back to her eventually, maybe not.

This has been your music moment. There may never be another one, unless there is. I’m not the world’s most consistent or persevering person, sorry.

Wild hearts kept in cages (typically NSFW)

September 22, 2009

Earlier today Panda Eraser quoted Tori Amos, saying, “You’re just an empty cage, girl, if you kill the bird.” I told her that it always made me think of a line from Tennessee Williams: “A prayer for the wild hearts, kept in cages.” That in turn made me think of the lyrics to a song I really like by awesomely offbeat and unusual indie Australian artist Sia Furler.

She is even more delightful in person, apparently, as is evidenced by this video of her performing her song “Electric Bird” live, off of her album Some People Have Real Problems. (There is another video on youtube of her performing this song live at Bush Hall in London which begins with her in mid-rapport with the audience, saying, “I’m into trannies, too, and sometimes chicks. Whatever: send me a letter!” Attagirl. That one has embedding disabled by request but you can easily find it. Oh, heckfire, here’s a link.)

Someone plugged you in
And sadly they clipped your wings
Now you can’t fly away electric bird
Yeah someone took your tweet
One day they fed you that bad seed
You can’t fly away electric bird

Well you’re art, you fell into this part
You play the victim perfectly holding your beating heart
You used to be so smart
You fluttered round the yard making your magic

Got to set you free, you were blinded by deceit
You can’t fly away electric bird
So now this rooms all staged
While you’re stuck there in that cage
You can’t fly away electric bird

Well you’re art, you fell into this part
You play the victim perfectly holding your beating heart
You used to be so smart
You fluttered round the yard making your magic
—Sia, “Electric Bird,” Some People Have Real Problems.

You can listen to the album version here.

I think the point which Sia is making is that we often cage ourselves, we set ourselves up to be the victims, whether consciously or un-. I don’t know if it’s a devil-you-know situation or an issue of masochism, and I’m not sure yet how this relates to Tennessee and Tori — or me. But I’ve got some ideas and I’m thinking about it!

It happens: accordion covers, they are a thing.

September 17, 2009

All-accordion cover, because why not, of Marianne Faithfull’s “Who Will Take My Dreams Away?,” composed by Angelo Badalamenti (may his death be delayed ten thousand years) and featured in City of Lost Children, starring Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Sin City). Pretty much amazing.

L’oncle Irvin: Then the poor masterpiece became so crazed he believed a single tear drop could save him. And after committing many cruel deeds he died, never knowing what it was to dream. — La cité des enfants perdus.

Obsession of the day

September 11, 2009

I have quite a few today, actually, because I am, frankly, the obsessive type. But this is my musical one. This song. Over and over.

The Pilgriming Vine – Basia Bulat

“Sometime now I’ve been
afraid that the pilgriming vine is
Finally coming to take me
Taste it and tell me it’s savoury
Hold it up high to the light and
Let it grow and
Tell me I’m always your only
Never look down mother maple…” –Basia Bulat, “The Pilgriming Vine,” Oh, My Darling.


Buy this kickass album directly from Beggars Group, the distributors of Rough Trade records, and consider that you could, if you wanted, stop going to Amazon.com and maybe buy directly from labels from now on because they and their artists will see more money. It is your call and I am not telling you how to live your life, but in most cases the artist is going to see more money and the label, and thus music, will stay afloat longer. Unless it’s a major label. Then eff ’em.