one faint deluded smile

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Some Modern Songs

You can tell 'em a mile off... the serious singer / songwriter with everything to say and, in the past... unfortunately... the means to communicate their attitudes to millions. You can blame Dylan all you want but, really, it's been around ever since a person plucked few chords and sang along to them.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young! Well, there's a quartet that easily make people sick half of the time. And with good reason too - slightly mawkish pontification by egos the size of blue whales is not the thing you'd look for in a listening experience. But you can't just dismiss them. Their influence was mamouth and, let's face it, the sound they made when they sang together was like nothing else on earth. Crosby and Nash created their first 'duet' 30 years ago and have finally put out another. Obviously it's a bit tired sounding and has that slick L.A. session sound but, god, they can still sing like angels and they can still write songs that no-one else can.

mp3: LuckDragon

Ellen Fullman looks like part of this crew in the picture above with her "Thinker" pose but you can tell she's really from another planet altogether just by looking at the twinkle in her eyes. She's spent the past 10 years stringing up long strands of piano wire in half deserted spaces making ethereal, slightly discordant drones: tones that sound, at first hearing, so obvious that you wonder why no-one else has made them. And then, this year, she comes out with a delicious mingling of her avant whirrings with outright old time, American folk. Now that is the kind of singer / songwriter we really need.

mp3: Empty Building

White Magic, in comparison, are a bit of a dissapointment. Their recent EP starts off with a truely fabulous song and then lurks in indie music areas that are as well troden as you can possibly imagine. Why they can come up with a song that has shifting time patterns, off-kilter vocals and a real sense of adventure and then revert to mediocrity is beyond me.

mp3: One Note

The Kings of Convenience are a more post-modern thing altogether. They're so obviously taken with Simon and Garfunkle that they even mention it obliquely in the first song on their new release. When you listen to their albums you can hear the influences distinctly and it can get awfully tiring. But every so often a song will pop up that makes you glad you're alive to hear it.

mp3 : Misread

And, finally, in this little batch of songs, Kevin Tihista makes it plain he's not like the rest of us. And, by gum, I can actually relate to the lyrics of this thing - disconnection, obsession and love above all. Hey, I suppose he's communicated with me somehow! I didn't think it was possible.

mp3: Family Curse


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