Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Still Catching Up (yeah...)

>> Featured Artist: Nellie McKay

Oh, Nellie McKay. You're practically oozing with...whatever good things ooze out of musicians. Now that she's put that run-in with her former record label behind her, she sure does seem to have gotten productive. Sure, she has a charts-worthy voice. Sure, she's funny. But what keeps me coming back is the sedition in her lyrics.
For Christmas, she had so many targets available to her. So naturally she decided to take on the Christmas tree industry (and thank our Christian God she calls them "Christmas trees"). In "A Christmas Dirge" she doesn't just plead to stop the cutting down of evergreens with lines like "please don't sap her veins, but let them sing," she also issues the fun reminder that "death is no requirement for your happiness." (Speak for yourself, Nellie.)
And the best part about it is that she allows you all to donate to the cause. All proceeds go to The Nellie McKay Disaster Fund or, more accurately, the voluntary donations "will go directly into Nellie McKay's bank account."

>> Album Lookout:
The Stage Names
Okkervil River - Released: August 7, 2007 Jagjaguwar

Brother Aarby first discovered these guys from his lair on the Left Coast, and I gave him credit then for being onto something good. There's really no reason why I didn't get around to picking up the new album until now other than I'm a very busy man.
I'd say it was well worth the wait, but that doesn't really make sense (because the wait didn't make the music better, right?).
"Our Life Is Not a Movie Or Maybe" is already on a rapid ascent on the list of my favorite songs of the year. It has everything you want from an indie rock band - clever lyrics, sharp hooks and a level of intensity that allows us all to feel like we're listening to something relevant. With those criteria, Okkervil River hits it out of the park. They're catchy, but not overly so. And every time it feels like they could really amp one up and turn into a Jimmy Eat World sound-alike, they choose a less predictable course. And in that way, their hooks are equally deadly.
Prediction: This one will make a lot of end-of-the-year lists.

>> Reverting to: 1996

At least I can be up-to-date when it comes to out-of-date bands reuniting for no reason other than to pad their retirement portfolios. Of course, to be fair, this "band" never really ventured outside of that mindset when they were relevant.
The Spice Girls reunion mostly just makes me shrug. It's not that I don't care they're reuniting; trust me, I always care about things like this. It's just that I know it won't affect my life in any way whatsoever. And while I'm glad that the Spices are once again exploiting vague notions of feminism and "coining" phrases like "Girl Power," I'm just not as into it this time around. That said, it doesn't make "Say You'll Be There" any less goddamn catchy.

1 comment:

Jason Stanford said...

I saw Okkervil River at the Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin a month or so ago. Terrific live band, even though their album makes them sound like a studio band. They even wore suits.