Something a little different
Wondering - Puerto Muerto
Don't let the demure pose fool you. Christa Meyer's sweet-as-sugarbeets voice may seem composed. Husband Tim Kelley's dusty border town guitar n' fiddle waltz may sound tender. But if the Chicago duo's name doesn't suggest something sinister is underway, the nature of their discography should. "Wondering" appears on a "lost" soundtrack to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (US, UK), which Puerto Muerto has performed live to screenings of the film. There is also the matter of their 2001 debut LP, Your Bloated Corpse Has Washed Ashore, and their second album, See You In Hell. So you sort of have to wonder if the long-suffering protagonist of "Wondering" waits for her errant husband with wifely forgiveness or a butcher knife held behind the back.
The Nosebleed Section - Hilltop Hoods
Australian hip-hop? I was as skeptical as you when I heard this on a great mix CD I received. I don't know how this goes down with the hardcore gangsta rap crowd, but as a pop song, it's perfect. Killer beats, a coy flute loop that weaves in and out, sampling from an obscure Melanie (yes, hippie dippy flower child, Melanie) song that should be disastrous but just works somehow. And above all, witty words delivered with precision and finesse. The 2003 album on which "Nosebleed Section" appears, The Calling, went gold in its home country (so this is very old news for you Australians), but the record's import-only and still virtually unknown in the US and UK. Pity.
Radio Operator - Rosanne Cash
On the largely mournful Black Cadillac (US, UK)--written in the wake of the death of Rosanne Cash's father, mother and stepmother--"Radio Operator" is a rare buoyant rockabilly number. But it has its shadows. There's the eerie staccato "radio signal" opening and the way Cash's voice drops to sing, to the girl in San Antoine, as if that girl is forever lost. Some songs are best heard lying in the dark in the deep night, a low radio the only sound to cut the lonely silence.