All the ravers are still raving
Image: Suzanne Clements
High Score - Eugene McGuinness
Singing-songwriting wunderkind Eugene McGuinness gets compared to The Shins, and perhaps rightfully so: He has a similar easy melodicism and a wordwordwordiness. But wrongfully so if you consider the po-facedness of said Shins, their tendency to take themselves just a bit seriously. Because McGuinness is an ironist, a jester of clever asides, a greeter of misfortune with devil's horns and funny glasses. And this is cool, this is excellent, because I think we can all agree that we don't need any more earnest boys perched lonely on high stools weeping into their acoustics. What we need is fun! And "High Score" -- with its video game whizz, its West End musical bang, its hooks, its heys, its genuine jouissance -- is that.
Also fun is McGuinness' video for "Monsters Under the Bed."
From the very, very good The Early Learnings of Eugene McGuinness (Amazon), Myspace
Find My Soul - Sally Shapiro
Ads around town, at bus shelters, above El tracks, sell something called "windorphins." Windorphins are like a tickertape parade for your soul, the copy reads, and then, coyly, just a website address. I admit, I bit. I'm fairly certain Sally Shapiro isn't enlisting the help of windorphins to find her soul (though jeez, you never know). But she's doing something to find it for sure. Because this kind of music -- thin slippery falsetto-synthed dumb-thumping music -- is all too often accused of being soulless. And she's out to prove, with her breezy sangfroid, the scoffers wrong.
But what kind of soul are we seeking here? Soul as in eternal, as in everlasting life? Soul as in rhythm and? Soul food? Soul patch? (Shapiro, keep in mind, is Swedish.) Soulseek? Soul as in that four-letter word so often appended -- mate? I favor the last, but I can't confirm it. Because every time I screw my earphones in and turn the volume up and concentrate on the lyrics they scrawl themselves across my retinas and evaporate just as fast. Like [snap] that. On the upside, my fingers tingle, my toes tap and my head buzzes ear to ear with numbing glee. Perhaps this is what a tickertape parade for your soul feels like?
From Disco Romance (Amazon, eMusic), Myspace
Space and the Woods - Late of the Pier
Speaking of disco nourished on cheese and corn and other mockable foodstuffs, of ludicrous lyrics (Suicide's in my blood/It always was. Oy vey.) and delightful inauthenticity. This song has the most ridiculously painfully catchy melodic keyboard line of the year. You not only get up to dance (duh), you clean out your bank account, borrow money from your brother and buy a dance club. You open a chain of clubs across North America. You play this song in each, all night, every night. (You go bankrupt sooner or later. Er, sooner. Not that it isn't a terrific song!)
La Blogothèque has posted gorgeously filmed and edited videos from its first Soirée à Emporter (a whole night expanding on their rightfully lauded Take Away shows). Featured: Zach Condon of Beirut, Kocani Orkestar, Jeremy Warmsley, Sparrow House, Sidi Ali, David-Ivar Herman Dune and Sebastien Schuller. I contributed a piece on Schuller's performance of "Weeping Willow" for the English version of the series. (Be sure to download the DivX plugin -- much better viewing than the DailyMotion streams.)
Paper Thin Walls streams No Age's Weirdo Rippers (one of my favorite 2007 releases) and Randy Randall and Dean Spunt comment on the tracks.
Stylus revisits Rumours.
Berkeley Place offers Spoon rarities.
And I'm not normally one to guide your conspicuous consumption, but Laurel Wells designs beautiful, beautiful clothes (for women -- sorry dudes). And So Charmed has the most darling baubles -- for punks, for princesses, for thieves. Spend some money. You deserve it.