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   Sunday, July 16, 2006  
And the blogging ain't easy, let me tell you

So, there's good news and then there's stuff like this:
'Those attending the Waterloo [album launch] show are in for a special treat: Steve Rauner and Adam Reichmann, late of critical darlings Nadine, will open.' Those who don't instantly appreciate why this is cause for modest rejoicing should start here. 'The pair has been writing songs since the group broke up, which means new music is a distinct possibility. "We're sketching out the next direction for us to go in," Reichmann says. "We're giving ourselves a lot of time to experiment with things. We really wanted to come up with something that was totally offensive and weird, we wanted to alienate people." He laughs. "But I don't know if it's really in our nature to do that." Phew, etc...

From St. Louis lets zoom up to Portland where things are also afoot, oh yes. First there's John Askew, conjurer-in-chief of grainy atmospheriticians(?!) Tracker [go] who apparently have a new record in the can. But there's more. He's also in cahoots with Gang of Four's Dave Allen and they offer up a early taste of what Faux-Hoax (er, Folks, geddit?!) might sound like over here...

And this just in: 'According to a source close to the singer-songwriter, M. Ward is leaving Portland and will be moving to New Hampshire where...'

Ward returns to Bush Hall Aug 11. Though it's sold out already this blog is relaxed, couldn't go anyway. But rr was able to enjoy another night at the same venue recently where The Weepies made their UK headline debut. That the last sentence can actually be written is a faintly miraculous happening, all things considered. Back in early '02 when this blog serendipitously alighted on Deb & Steve's instantly appealing and entirely homemade 8-song debut release, Happiness, they were but drops in the hazy folk-pop ocean. And yet here they were a couple of years later headlining a nicely-filled mid-sized London venue twenty minutes ride away. Wonders.., etc.
[Not,of course, that this blog has had anything to do with The Weepies wholly gratifying ascent but their signing by Canada's Nettwerk Records did occasion this blog's first (and only) appearance in a 'proper music biz' press release and reallyrather doesn't care who knows about it.]
There's a big old mirrorball hanging from the Bush Hall's ornate ceiling, ideal for enhancing the disarming prettiness of new Weepies songs like Stars. The effect wasn't used and neither was that song, nor other new beauties like Riga girls, Painting by Chagall, Living in twilight. That they didn't feel the need to lean heavily on tunes from Say I am you, the only material they might have expected some audience awareness of, is testament both to their natural charm as performers and a justifiable confidence in their back catalogue (which filled at least half the set).
This blog has suggested before that Deb Talan's solo work in particular deserves far greater exposure than it's received thus far and that a properly marketed compilation of the likes of Thanksgiving, Two points, The darkest season, Comfort, et al would enhance the lives of thousands as it has mine. (Nettwerk you know where your duty lies!) That said, a couple of songs from Steve's past - San Francisco and Sing me to sleep [go] - went down as well as anything this night.
Acoustics in Bush Hall's double-cube room don't always do artists full justice and it took a little while to sort the balance for the quartet - Meghan Toohey on electric guitar and bv's and a bass player dude, whose name rr missed, sorry, doing a nice Lee Sklar-type thing. Steve's vocal, in particular, could get a bit lost in the mix but the subtly nuanced harmonies and interweaving three picked guitars generally came through. Pleasingly passion-lite, The Weepies make pretty music of modest ambition, matching a keen melodic sensibility with touching, reflective, 'relateable' lyrical acuity. In every sense, not at all as easy as it sounds...

'There has always been a place for this kind of rose-tinted, innocent world view and he is a fine and cliche-free exponent of the genre.' Indeed, indeed. Denison Witmer's Are you a dreamer? is just released down under...

But hey, back to Nettwerk Records. The Georgia Straight reports:
'Local alt-country heroes the Be Good Tanyas have just wrapped up sessions for their new album, which was produced primarily at East Van's Profile Studios but also involved some recording in New Orleans. According to Nettwerk Productions’ Rich Adams, the upcoming, as-yet-untitled disc, the group's third, finds the Tanyas tackling a couple of cover tunes, including Neil Young's For the turnstiles and Prince's When doves cry. The idea of the folk-oriented trio taking a run at a Prince number might strike some as odd, but Adams insists “It's actually pretty funky.” The album is slated for release by Nettwerk on October 10.'

It struck this blog recently that the Tanyas and UK girl-pop princesses The Pipettes have a curiously similar appeal hereabouts, three girls dabbling in old-skool musical styles just because they love 'em and contemporizing the form through ace songs all their very own. And, lo!, in the curious way of things they're now sort of related, the Pips having been taken under the wing of Nettwerk Management. They played their biggest headline show to date at Kings College last month. Still not nearly enough dancin' for the girls' liking but hey, you can only pull so many shapes when the place is packed! The album's out Monday...

And coming this way not nearly soon enough, I'm From Barcelona! A UK release for the Swedish pop tribe's delirious debut We're from Barcelona via Interpop in August [go]...

90F out of doors and reallyrather's soundtrack of choice has been:
AM - Three's Co. by The Tyde which you've got already, right?
PM - Long distance[*] by Ivy, which you possibly haven't. Critically the NY trio's least well-received effort to date - tired, blase, cliched, etc - and so naturally this blog's favourite (of four), it's slinky, sinuous synth-pop does the job virtually from start to finish. Disappointed, Lucy doesn't love you, Hideaway, the gossamer skank of Worry about you, even the cover of Digging your scene... cool perfection. Or maybe it's just the sun...

[*Also on, er, Nettwerk! Pure coincidence, honest guv...]
   posted by SMc at 6:26 AM |