>> Featured Artist: Fountains of Wayne
I like to think of Fountains of Wayne as an underdog. But a decent amount of pop success has made it harder to do.
There's nothing overtly wrong with "Yolanda Hayes," one of the leaked tracks from the band's April release Traffic and Weather. And it took me a few listens to figure out what was keeping me from liking the tune. Some thoughts:
1) It's a bit formulaic. We have the "Getting Better" staccato guitar, but without the corresponding blow-your-brain bass work. We have a typical rhyme pattern.
2) It's about picking up an employee at the DMV. Have you seen the employees at your DMV? Have you?
3) When did Owsley become the songwriter for these guys? I swear to god this song has been on both of his albums.
Like I said, I still half-root for these guys. I want to enjoy their fun pop music. I just don't like "Yolanda Hayes," and I'm questioning how good the rest of the album could be if this was sent out as its representative.
For the Fountains of Wayne fanatics out there, that's a challenge to recommend something.
>> Album Lookout: The Magic Position
Patrick Wolf - Due Out: May 1, 2007 Low Altitude (U.S.)
Too much has been said about Patrick Wolf. And, by all I had heard, he was clearly fucked up, but you know, in an endearing way. But before I had enough time to jump completely on the bandwagon, I'm told (by Pitchfork) that the undisputed solo phenom indie prince of 2007 is stopping live performances in November. Wow. He also hints that he might cut off all "public communications." (What does that mean, by the way?)
My first thought is to Jens Lekman, whose retirement announcement back in late 2005 shocked the indie rockers - and apparently Lekman himself, as he recanted not more than a few months later.
All the hype aside, the music here is indeed quite the accomplishment. It's not something you'll love from First Listen, Note 1, but it's quite the grower. Once accustomed to Wolf's voice and intensity, the songs are almost trances. Note the layers on "Bluebells."
Let's hope Wolf is just pulling a Beatles maneuver, knocking out the touring to focus on the music. Or let's hope he was just drunk. Otherwise,I guess it's too late to issue an official request that Wolf tour with Andrew Bird.
A little Joni to welcome the spring, which is quickly turning into hot, muggy summer (thanks, Al Gore!). And, considering the looming end of Internet radio on May 15 when the new royalty rates kick in, I've chosen "You Turn Me On (I'm a Radio)" to commemorate the moment.
One of my all-time favorite songs, Joni sings sex as if it were a glorious road trip with the radio. Which it is. Obviously.