bodies of water

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15.
St Vincent
Marry Me
Beggars Banquet
Landmines

The way Annie Clark handles an electric guitar is sheer magic. The first time I heard “Paris Is Burning,” a couple years ago, I said, I have to have more of this music. Finally, Clark came through for me and the result is excellent, layered rock and roll, bursting with sound and image: They gave me a medal for my valor / Leaden trumpets spit the soot of power.

When this album is on, it’s on in a big way; but some songs drag, and I get bored listening to the whole thing (which, I probably don’t need to mention, makes me sad. I wish every song were as good as “Paris.”). But between her physical beauty and presence, and the smart music, she lives up to the hype that surrounded the album and declared her a certified Indie Goddess.



14.
Bodies of Water
Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink

Our Friends Appear Like The Dawn

Everyone talks about Bodies of Water with a little awe; the sheer vocal power harnessed in this record simply makes war on your ears. And when the vocals pair up with the gospelesque lyrics, the result can be sheer beautiful bliss, as in “Doves Circled the Sky.” Even the most hardened blogger might unironically recommend music with such power, turning a blind eye to lyrics like Oh please do not forsake me / where is Your finger upon my lips / and though I sleep in the dirt and the leaves, please touch
my heart with Your tongue
. We’re talking religion like an 1820s tent revival here.

When the music goes wrong, it goes really really wrong. There are promises in songs on this album (one of the few that I bought in physical format) that the vocals simply cannot fulfill — the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak and can’t get to those high notes. So while listeners sometimes might find themselves screwing up their faces like they were eating lemons, the powerful songs like “These Are The Eyes” and “I Turned My Face” outweigh the lesser concerns of which tracks deserve the fast-forward.



13.
The Cinematic Orchestra
Ma Fleur
Domino
As The Stars Fall

Billed as the soundtrack to a movie that may never be made, “Ma Fleur” sets the imagination free to roam. It is a very sensual album, and it just builds up beautiful pictures in the listener’s mind. In places where Swinscoe sings, he just adds to the general ambience instead of trying to drown it out. And he’s got ambience in spades.

The music swoops from the melancholy “To Build A Home” to the jazzy stylings of “Child Song” and the old-timey sound of “Breathe.” “Prelude” really sounds like something that would play over opening credits, and as it zooms in from the crane shot, the viewer can see … your house. Or mine. Or someone you know. What are they doing as we look in the window? Only the
viewer knows for sure.



12.
Cake On Cake
I Guess I Was Daydreaming
Desolation
You Make My Heart Say Yes

Man, I do not care what anyone says about this album. I played it about a thousand times in my car, and it was perfect for LA. See, the thing about LA traffic is, people cut you off all the time for no reason. And so after a few years of it, you start thinking that everyone driving in the next lane is going to cut you off. You stare suspiciously at them, grinding your teeth. “GO AHEAD!” you yell, shaking your fist. “JUST GET IT OVER WITH!”

All this is to say that the pure simplicity of Cake On Cake soothed my road rage. If the song is called “Come On Rainbow,” that’s what the words say: come on, come on (x3) / come on, rainbow. For the entire song. Nothing more, nothing less, but with the sugar-sweet addition of Sundin’s instrumentals. Maybe it would make some people’s teeth ache, but screw ‘em. We want to be happy.



11.
Eisley
Combinations
Reprise
Come Clean

I already wrote paeans to Eisley earlier in the year, so this feels like overkill. OK, in case you weren’t listening before — beautiful pop, better than anything you can find on the radio, put out by a quartet of young’uns in Texas. Did I miss anything? Maybe just that the harmonies are spectacular with a capital Spec.

It’s outsize music; the whole eclipses the sum of its parts. I can listen all day to the soaring, effortless “you / you / you” on “Invasion” and, well, the effortless harmonies punctuating almost every other song. Other standouts: “Come Clean” and “Combinations,” with its wistful country music chorus: I went for so long and I was so wrong / and then I met you and
now I can’t live without you / and I don’t want to; I’ve done that all my life up till now.

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Video hookup

1. The Music Slut leads the pack, of course, with:

A) New Ry Ry video, entitled “Follow the Lights.” Ain’t half bad either. It really sounds like Ry is getting his groove back on. “There was never anywhere to go / but home.” (Home is apparently where Donna lives.)

B) The Who on Jools Holland. Completely unironically singing “hope I die / before I get old.” Psh, I knew they were lyin’. Generation X salutes you, baby boomers! Sic transit gloria mundi, except when you can capitalize on your nostalgia. Oh well, the music is still hawt.

C) Cold War Kids in the Black Cab. I can never decide if I’m totally in love with CWK, or whether they’re just totally pretentious. I call this the Decemberists Dilemma. Haha. The violin on this song is just stunning.

D) PJ Harvey on Leno, circa 93. This is the PJ I was talking about a couple days ago. That quick slip between begging her lover not to leave, to talking about tying him up till he wishes he’d never heard of her.

E) Bjork Unplugged, 1993, “One Day” acoustic. TOTALLY AWESOME.

F) The Cure in Amsterdam, “the Forest,” 1980. Robert Smith, pre-persona. Twelve years later, this song rocked my world, I’m not even kidding. Oh Robert, I miss the days when you weren’t a caricature of yourself.

G) Tori on The Current, doing Leather. Oh Tori, I miss the days … well, whatever.

2) Via LAist, an amusing misheard lyrics video, featuring one of my favorite workout songs: Sean Paul’s “Temperature.”

3) Via Stereogum, a fun video for Bishop Allen’s “Click Click Click Click.”

4) At Fabulist, Olga takes us back to the early days of Rilo Kiley with “The Frug.”

5) Via Skatterbrain, some good old fashioned pop from Lykke Li: “Little Bit.” Feel free to chair dance.

6) Muzzle of Bees revisits last years’s #3 awesome album. “So how do you feel about being dead?” “I don’t know … my neck hurts.” I LOVE YOU BLACK KEYS.

7) Since Bodies of Water and Stereogum are BFFS, you can see clips there from BoW’s “Takeaway Shows.”

8) Awesome vid from *my* new BFF, LoveLikeFire: “I
Will.”
(via Rock Insider).

9) ECEU finds one of my fave James Taylor songs, You Can Close Your Eyes, It’s Alright.

10) LAist notes that KT Tunstall turned up to support the WGA a couple weeks ago and someone took a video of her doing “I Want You Back”.

11) Idolator puts the spotlight on Melissa Auf der Maur’s “Followed the Wave.” *sigh* She’s so beautiful. If Foo Fighters had a girl twin, Auf der Maur would be it.

12) Via Electroqueer, Roisin Murphy at the Swarovski fashion awards doing “Overpowered.” I love that hair!

13) IGIF brings us back to the 10 year old video for UNKLE & Thom Yorke’s “Rabbit In Your Headlights,” which I had never seen, though I love the song. What a creepy video, but perfect for the song.

14) And last but not least, new Postmarks video via Stereogum. “Let Go,” all hazy and sunny and green, showcasing one of the best songs on a great album.

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Paid Off Mix

This one’s for my sister Juliette. Notwithstanding my previous driving mix, I think if you make a driving sing-along mix and you don’t include some Pet Shop Boys, you have no cachet whatsoever. As with my previous mix, this is intended to be played in the order given. I have however included single links for those persons unable to listen to mixes (*shakes head*).

JCarmix cover

Juliette’s Paid Off Mix (.rar file)

01. Madonna — Hung Up
02. The Beatles — Back In the USSR
03. Cake — Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps
04. Nelly Furtado — Maneater
05. Bodies of Water — Doves Circled the Sky
06. The Ballet — In My Head
07. Pet Shop Boys — It’s A Sin
08. US3 — Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)
09. The Strokes — Modern Girls & Old Fashioned Men (f. Regina Spektor)
10. Amadou & Mariam — Chantez-Chantez
11. Pop Levi — Blue Honey (Hollywood Version)
12. Sinead O Connor — You Made Me the Thief Of Your Heart (12″ mix)
13. Patrick Wolf — The Magic Position

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I remember in a sunday school class many years ago, my teacher (who eventually became my mother-in-law, for the record) was trying to teach her recalcitrant students that music could reach your soul and create a feeling of awe, even if it wasn’t “church sanctioned” music, i.e. hymns. I can’t remember what all she played, except I think there was a Led Zeppelin tune in there. It was a radical idea to all of us hymn-singers when put so baldly, but as a devoted listener I knew it already somehow, because like most teenagers, I got a feeling-fix out of music.

If you don’t believe that you have a soul, then pick another more physical organ. Heart? Brain? I believe in a soul, and part of the reason I believe is how I respond to music. Not just church music — you listeners know what I’m talking about. I felt almost spiritual one time in a Tori Amos concert when she was singing “iieee.” Don’t tell anyone at church — except my mother-in-law. She understands.

So in that spirit (pun!) I present Bodies of Water. A combination of enthusiastic, “Hair”-style singing (i.e., “This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius”), gospel, and indie rock, it’s enough to delight anyone looking for an uplift. Of course I don’t mean that Bodies of Water is just touchy-feely, love-you-love-me music. The music’s purpose, such as it is, can be summed up by a quote on their myspace:

Bodies of Water aren’t providing a soundtrack for catharsis, surrounding the listener with “good feelings” or “bad feelings.” They only hope to give encouragement in the lone struggle against adversity, to proffer up a thing to be internalized (and evolve therein) or die.

Perhaps then, Bodies of Water does not provide outward spirituality, but a conduit to your inner thoughts so you can find your own; and no more joyful noise than this could accompany that journey. July 24th sees the debut of their new album, “Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink” (and then we’ll all presumably confess that Bodies of Water rocks).

Bodies of Water – Site | Myspace |

[Note: tracks have been removed. Please contact me for a copy.]

Bodies of Water — These Are the Eyes
Bodies of Water — I Guess I’ll Forget the Sound, I Guess, I Guess

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