New Music by Little Brutes and First Aid Kit

The year is drawing to a close, and while I fully intend to write another blog post about the ridiculously small number of books I’ve read (and the general lack of any achievements, really), I think I should first post some music.

Little Brutes is a band consisting of Rachael Cantu and Harlan Silverman. Rachael Cantu originally came to my attention by having Tegan Quin (of Tegan and Sara fame) contribute backing vocals to her song Saturday. I’ve since bought at least one of her albums, which she kindly signed when I ordered through bandcamp. Her music has featured in a number of TV shows by now and I suppose her career must be going well. Her work with Little Brutes is certainly a different sound now, or at least this little preview song, “Carefully”, is missing the guitar and substituting it with some synth-y goodness. Yes, I admit, I don’t really know how to write about music, so let me just quote the Stereogum review:

L.A. duo Little Brutes have an EP called Desire coming in January, and if all the songs are on par with “Carefully,” it’s going to kill. This song boasts sleek, understated ’80s-inspired production and one of the best hooks of the year. It reminds me of a more crystalline Jessie Ware, which is a serious endorsement coming from me. I heartily advise you to listen.

Listen to Carefully by Little Brutes here.

Obviously this is a perfect opportunity to also mention the lovely song “Wildest Moments” by Jessie Ware (thanks, Stereogum!). Best listened to very loudly. Be sure to check out the very simple video that comes with it.

Last but not least, do yourself a favor and also check out “My Silver Lining” by First Aid Kit. Their music was first recommended to me by a tour guide in Australia. I didn’t realize they were Swedish! And two sisters at that. At any rate, My Silver Lining is quite far from You’re Not Coming Home Tonight, so when I caught it on the radio last night, I first thought it was a Lana Del Rey song or something. (You know, the slightly annoying pouty lady who sang Video Games.) The song is beautiful, with some moody strings in the background and fast-paced percussion, and really, you owe it to yourself.

There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on
And you’ve just gotta keep on keeping on
Gotta keep on going, looking straight out on the road
Can’t worry ’bout what’s behind you or what’s coming for you further up the road
I try not to hold on to what is gone, I try to do right what is wrong
I try to keep on keeping on

Also enjoy their strange but pretty music video that comes with it, which does all sorts of fun stuff with double exposure. Neat!

Alternative links:
Little Brutes – Carefully [YouTube]
Jessie Ware – Wildest Moments [YouTube]
First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining [YouTube]
First Aid Kit – You’re Not Coming Home Tonight [YouTube]
Lana Del Rey – Video Games [YouTube]

Music Monday #42: Frühling by Fiva MC

Hello Music Monday followers! Today, a German song. There’s a lot of good German music out there and I should point out more of it, really. This next artist, Fiva MC (real name: Nina Sonnenberg), is a woman from Munich whose music I came across when I heard it on the car radio. They had a special about German unsigned artists, and while I don’t listen to much rap at all, her songs stuck with me. So I looked her up and found that she also does a lot of poetry slams.

It’s nice to find an artist who seems to care about poetry first and the music second. I like text-heavy songs, and one of the many things I admire about Ani DiFranco is her eloquence, the beautiful, descriptive and poetic songs she tends to write. That is certainly also something Fiva has to offer, even though she chose a different genre.

Anyway, see her German Wikipedia page, then check out the video here:

fivamc

Fiva MC. Click to see this Video at YouTube.

[Or at this alternate link.]

Lyrics via songextmania.com:

Frühling by Fiva MC

Wenn ich an euch denk, denk ich an Sommer auf Wiesen liegen
Bier genießen, reden bis die Worte fließen wie die Isar
in der Stadt die nie Berlin war, großes Dorf mit Schickeria
hier nicht Fiva sondern Nina, geh gern weg und komm gern wieder
mag die Stadt mit ihren Lichtern, ich häng an den Gesichtern,
an den Mädels, an den Jungs, an den Rappern, an den Dichtern
ich bin hier geboren, aufgewachsen, groß geworden und rausgewachsen
mach hier meine Platten, und seit wir den ersten Auftritt hatten,
steht ihr hinter mir und macht mir den Rücken frei,
wenn ich meine Stücke schreib, ist ein Stück von euch dabei,
ich bin glücklich wenn ich teil was ich erleben darf,
und das Rap euch wenig gibt ist für mich kein Gegensatz,
ihr macht mir im Leben Platz, wenn meins aus den Nähten platzt,
und wenn ich zeitlich gar nichts pack, reicht euch auch ein Nebensatz
alles was ich Heute hab, hab ich nur durch euch geschafft!
Rap lässt mich überleben und ihr gebt mir Lebenskraft

chorus:

Wenn es mehr zu sagen gibt außer “was geht ab?” ist es
“ihr seid mir wichtig, ich bin froh das ich euch hab!”
Selbst wenn ich nach außen hart und zu oft viel zu kühl bin
wird’s immer wenn ich euch seh in mir wieder Frühling!

Wenn ich an euch denk, denk ich an Winter und warmen Kaffee,
den 10. am Tag, weil sonst am Abend nichts geht
an jedes Gespräch zum Thema “Versuchs mal mit kochen!”
Ich hab euer Essen genossen doch die Versprechen gebrochen!
Ich denk an Wein trinken, weinen vor lachen, nicht Heim finden,
dann die Uni verpassen und wenn nicht sitzen wir weit hinten
ihr wollt mich nicht an euch binden, das gibt mir Ruhe zum Schreiben
weil ich nicht bei euch sein muss, um bei euch zu bleiben
wir sehn uns zwischen den Zeiten im Zwischenraum
aus kleinen Mädels wurden richtig große Frauen
alle mit dem großen Traum alles wird anders – Fahrplan und Charakterzüge
neue Freunde, neuer Ort, Leistungsdruck und neue Liebe
und wär da nicht Erinnerung wär vieles schon vergessen,
wenn mich Probleme stressen muss ich meine Mädels treffen,
hier kann ich offen sprechen ohne Angst mich zu verletzen
dass sie mich für Schwächen schätzen macht mich ehrlich in den Texten!

[chorus]

Wenn ich an euch denk, denk ich an Herbst und Volksfestbier
an alle Katastrophen die erst nach 2 Mass passiern
an Pass verliern, küssen und sich krass genieren
doch immer in dem Wissen, dass ihr drüber lacht, anstatt zu kritisieren
ich denk an spazieren gehen und übers verlieren reden
weil die große Liebe so viel Platz nimmt, dass wir uns nicht sehn
denk nicht dran ich würde gehen, wenn ihr nichts von mir hört,
ihr seid tief im meinem Herz, es gibt nichts wo ihr stört,
erinnert euch an all die Nachmittage auf meiner Couch,
ihr wisst wo ihr mich finden könnt, wenn ihr mich braucht
durch euch geb ich nicht auf, weil ihr das niemals zulasst
und wenn ich zu lang verschnauf’ sagt ihr “Nina, tu was!”
und an jedem Tourtag hab ich euch am Telefon
und ihr fragt ob ich es gut hab, grade ohne Mikrofon!
Ihr seid für mich die Familie, mit der noch alles stimmt
Rappen lässt mich überleben, und ihr sorgt für den Wind!

[chorus]

Music Monday #41: Hello Tourist by Emil Rulez

It’s summer and it’s the season for traveling! One place I can recommend is Hungary, a little country with an amazing language, pretty scenery, nice people and good wine. Also, good music! The following song is by a band called Emil.RuleZ!, “a Hungarian pop and alternative jazz band” (says Wikipedia). It gives you a little tour of Budapest and is quite funny, so don’t miss out. If you want to listen to some more Hungarian (and other) music, check out the stream of the Hungarian radio station MR2 here.

Check out the song here (or at this alternative link):

EmilRulez

Click to go to the YouTube video of Hello Tourist.

Lyrics via lyricstime.com:

Hello Tourist by Emil.RuleZ!

Hello tourist du bist in Budapest,
Capitol of Hungary
For a little money I will show you
This beautiful city

I’m a student I am 23
I study sociology
On the very famous eötvös lóránd
Science university

Hello tourist on the right side,
Hello tourist on the left side

This is called Danubius
Which is a river and also a radio
That is a bridge which is called lánc
And also one radio

To the right side you can see the buda part
Which is one half of the city
To the left side you can see the pest
And the parliament of Hungary

Hello tourist on the right side,
Hello tourist on the left side

Look at the hill there is a castle
It was the old king’s residency
We have no more kings
Because Hungary is a parliamental democracy

Hello tourist on the right side,
Hello tourist on the left side

I am sure you are tired now
You can to left now this ship hapci
If you liked the tour you can give me now
Some Hungarian money

We will stop now you can go to casino
Bye-bye arrivederci
I hope you enjoyed the sightseeing tour
Auf Wiedersehen bonne nuit

Hello tourist on the right side,
Hello tourist on the left side
Hello tourist on the right side,
Hello tourist on the left side

Music Monday # 40: Crucify by Tori Amos

Tori Amos turns 50 this year, if I’m not mistaken, and although her birthday is only at the end of August, I still think today is a good day to spread the word about her music to all those who are unaware. We were listening to her on a recent road trip, and my co-pilot kept wondering why she’s singing about cheese. My heart is sick of being in cheeeeeeese. Let me assure you that she is NOT singing about cheese. She’s singing about chains. So here’s the video:

Tori Amos in her Crucify video.

Tori Amos in her Crucify video.

If the video’s not working (note: the sound doesn’t start immediately), you might want to go to this alternative link.

And here are the lyrics, for your reference, directly from azlyrics.com:

Crucify by Tori Amos

Every finger in the room
is pointing at me
I wanna spit in their faces
Then I get afraid of what that could bring
I got a bowling ball in my stomach
I got a desert in my mouth
Figures that my courage would choose to sell out now
I’ve been looking for a savior in these dirty streets
looking for a savior beneath these dirty sheets
I’ve been raising up my hands
Drive another nail in
Just what God needs
One more victim

[Chorus:]
Why do we
Crucify ourselves
Every day
I crucify myself
Nothing I do is good enough for you
Crucify myself
Every day
And my heart is sick of being in chains

Got a kick for a dog
Beggin’ for Love
I gotta have my suffering
So that I can have my cross
I know a cat named Easter
He says will you ever learn
You’re just an empty cage girl
If you kill the bird
I’ve been looking for a savior in these dirty streets
looking for a savior beneath these dirty sheets
I’ve been raising up my hands
Drive another nail in
Got enough guilt to start
my own religion
Please be
Save me
I cry

[Chorus:]
Why do we
Crucify ourselves
Every day
I crucify myself
Nothing I do is good enough for you
Crucify myself
Every day
And my heart is sick of being in chains

See also: Crucify at SongMeanings.com

Music Monday #39: A song about L.A.

On today’s Music Monday I’d like to present you with a song about Los Angeles, the City of Angels. There’s actually a Wikipedia page called List of Songs about Los Angeles, which makes this a lot easier.

I chose a lovely song by Dionne Warwick (written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, says Wikipedia), called Do You Know The Way To San Jose. It’s catchy and sounds like summer, and it has this nice 60s vibe to it, which makes sense because the song is from 1968…

Listen to it on YouTube:

[Picture of Dionne Warwick]

(Click me.)

“Do You Know The Way To San José?”

Do you know the way to San José?
I’ve been away so long
I may go wrong and lose my way
Do you know the way to San José?
I’m going back to find
Some peace of mind in San José

L.A. is a great big freeway
Put a hundred down and buy a car
In a week, maybe two
They’ll make you a star
Weeks turn into years, how quck they pass
And all the stars that never were
Are parking cars and pumping gas

You can really breathe in San José
They’ve got a lot of space
There’ll be a place where I can stay
I was born and raised in San José
I’m going back to find
Some peace of mind in San José

Fame and fortune is a magnet
It can pull you far away from home
With a dream in your heart you’re never alone
Dreams turn into dust and blow away
And there you are without a friend
You pack your car and ride away
I’ve got lots of friends in San José
Do you know the way to San José?

Oh, L.A. is a great big freeway
Put a hundred down and buy a car
In a week, maybe two
Tey’ll make you a star
Weeks turn into years,how quick they pass
And all the stars that never were
Are parking cars and pumping gas
I’ve got lots of friends in San José
Ohhhh, Do you know the way to San José?
Hmmmm, Can’t wait to get back to San José

Lyrics from azlyrics.com.

Music Monday #38: Hesta Prynn – Seven Sisters

On today’s Music Monday I’d like to present a song by Hesta Prynn to you. Hesta Prynn, as you may or may not know, was in Northern State, a hip-hop group from New York consisting of four women. I knew of them for a while and had heard a few songs, but I only got to really like them when they opened for Tegan & Sara when I went to see them in Munich. Not only was their performance amazing, they were also very pleasant when I bought a 5,- EUR promo single of them and had them sign it.

For some reason or other, Northern State broke up, but Hesta Prynn is now doing solo stuff, also working as a DJ. You can read more about that on Hesta Prynn’s website of course, but first listen to a song of hers.

This song is called Seven Sisters and it’s typical of her kind of electronica sound. I find it very catchy and I like quirky voices, so this is right up my alley:

Seven Sisters by Hesta Prynn

Women come and women go
Over and over
She’s collecting everything and you’re just getting older
And I will see you through
Til the sun burns us dry
Til the earth grows inside
Til the ending of time
And I will see you through
Til it’s all undermined
Til my curls all unwind
Til you leave me behind

How many times did you get on that bus?
How many times did you make a hot fuss?
I know, I know, I know

Find more Hesta Prynn music on her SoundCloud page.

Music Monday #37: IamRiva – Kiss Me (Ed Sheeran Cover)

On today’s brief Music Monday, the first one after a long time, I’d like to show you a song by IamRiva (that’s her SoundCloud name). It’s a cover of Ed Sheeran‘s song Kiss Me (look for it on YouTube if you like), which I hadn’t even heard when I came across the cover.

I have to say that although the cover version isn’t nearly as polished (it has some noise in the background like she recorded it in her bedroom with her computer fan going), I do prefer her version. She does have a beautiful voice. Enjoy!

Lyrics from azlyrics.com:

“Kiss Me” by Ed Sheenan

Settle down with me
Cover me up
Cuddle me in
Lie down with me
And hold me in your arms
And your heart’s against my chest, your lips pressed to my neck
I’m falling for your eyes, but they don’t know me yet
And with a feeling I’ll forget, I’m in love now

Kiss me like you wanna be loved
You wanna be loved
You wanna be loved
This feels like falling in love
Falling in love
We’re falling in love

Settle down with me
And I’ll be your safety
You’ll be my lady

I was made to keep your body warm
But I’m cold as the wind blows so hold me in your arms

Oh no
My heart’s against your chest, your lips pressed to my neck
I’m falling for your eyes, but they don’t know me yet
And with this feeling I’ll forget, I’m in love now

Kiss me like you wanna be loved
You wanna be loved
You wanna be loved
This feels like falling in love
Falling in love
We’re falling in love

Yeah I’ve been feeling everything
From hate to love
From love to lust
From lust to truth
I guess that’s how I know you
So I hold you close to help you give it up

So kiss me like you wanna be loved
You wanna be loved
You wanna be loved
This feels like falling in love
Falling in love
We’re falling in love

Kiss me like you wanna be loved
You wanna be loved
You wanna be loved
This feels like falling in love
Falling in love
We’re falling in love

Music Monday #36: An Horse

On Monday, April 4, 2011, I went to see An Horse in concert in Frankfurt. An Horse [-> Wikipedia], as you might know, are a very cool band form Brisbane, Australia. They’ve opened for Tegan and Sara before, which is how I personally found out about their existence.

Their first full album is Rearrange Beds and it came out in 2009. I have listened to it many times and I like it better with each listen. Maybe you will, too. When I read that you can pre-order their next album, I did so very quickly. I ordered it on vinyl, the reasoning being that the price was the same as the CD, vinyl has bigger artwork, and I’ll most likely listen to it in MP3 format most of the time anyway.

The venue they performed at was called Das Bett, a rather small club in Frankfurt. The support act was a band from Cologne, Periscope, and while they put in a lot of effort, I thought it was hard to get into the music. Then again, I always find it hard to judge live music. It’s usually rather loud and the vocals aren’t very clear. When The Jezabels opened for Tegan & Sara in Melbourne, I thought they were okay, but I only really got into them when I listened to their EP at home.

At any rate, once Periscope ended their set, An Horse took to the stage. It was almost sad that only about 50 people came to see them, but An Horse still seemed happy, considering it was a Monday night. “Who does that? Who goes out on a Monday night? I never do that,” Kate said. “But I don’t go out on Friday night either.” They played some old songs, which were great, and some new songs, which were cool, too, although I didn’t understand much of the lyrics. I found Damon’s drumming quite impressive, and it still amazes me how this small band of only two people can produce as rich a sound as they do. One Fender guitar, one drum set, two harmonizing voices – apparently, that’s really all you need.

They warned us ahead of time that they wouldn’t do an encore, as encores are awkward, and besides, they had already played all the songs they know. So after the final applause, we went over to the merchandise table and I bought one of their T-shirts to support them. It has a severed hand and a bird on it, and as Damon was standing nearby, I asked him what the meaning of the shirt was. He told me they just had a friend in Melbourne do all their designs, and they usually liked what she came up with. So basically, it didn’t mean anything, it was only meant to look nice.

All in all it was a very nice gig and if they ever play anywhere near you, do go there and support them. Then you can say leter, “Hey, I already knew them before they were really famous.”

Music Monday #35: Songs about driving

On today’s Music Monday I would like to talk about three songs that are about the road, about driving. The road movies of songs, basically.

Let’s start with I Drove All Night, a song written by Steinberg & Kelley initially for Roy Orbison. It was a hit for Cyndi Lauper in 1989, and later for Céline Dion in 2003.

The songwriters Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly may not be household names to most people, but they were behind many well-known songs and seem to just churn out hit after hit after hit. They were also behind Eternal Flame and In Your Room by the Bangles, Like A Virgin by Madonna, I’ll Stand By You by The Pretenders and Alone by Heart, just to name a few.

I Drove All Night is basically a very cheesy love song about someone who drives all night to be with the person they love. What I like about it is the image of someone actually driving for hours along a dark, long, straight and probably mostly empty road, simply to spend some time with the other person. So driving is the effort that is made to be with someone else. Sweet.

I was dreaming while I drove
the long straight road ahead
to taste your sweet kisses
your arms open wide
this fever for you is just
burning me up inside
I drove all night to get to you

[Read the complete lyrics at azlyrics.com.]

(Listen to the song on Grooveshark or look for it on YouTube.)

While I Drove All Night is lyrically simple, there’s always Ani DiFranco who can talk about the most trite things in such a way that it becomes extraordinary. At least that’s how *I* feel about her lyrics. Here’s her take on driving.

cloud blood smudge smeared on the sky
it’s dawns roadkill
i’ve been driving since midnight
and i’m driving still

stop on the top of the ridge
just to feel the wind on my rand mcnally
then i feel the air grow cold
as i drift in to the first blue of the valley
and you’re wondering how far down you are on my
call back list
but you don’t realize
everytime i find i’m by a phone the landscape shifts

[Read the complete lyrics at danah.org.]

(Listen to Cloud Blood on Grooveshark.)

In this song, especially with the way the music sounds, driving feels more like something monotonous. She’s been driving since midnight, the sun is coming up, she’s tired and taking a break. She gets cold, keeps on driving, her road map by her side. Maybe she’s driving to get away from someone (literally and metaphorically), or maybe she’s just thinking of the other person now because the monotony of driving doesn’t offer enough distraction so that she ends up thinking about whatever went wrong in her relationship.

The “every time I’m by a phone the landscape shifts” line is not part of the driving imagery, but it’s my favorite line in the song. You know, because the other person might be annoyed or disappointed that she doesn’t call, disappointed about how far they have fallen on Ani’s list of priorities, when in reality whatever happened is still a big struggle for Ani, and every time the opportunity to call opens up, it starts dominating her thoughts. Well, that’s my take on it, anyway.

The song ends with more tiresome and exhausting driving. Oh, she puts it so well.

it’s been way too long
since i’ve been behind the wheel
headlights guiding me right through the dark
i feel
dry eyed, trying to resist
sleeps first kiss
everytime i have time to think
i think of this

And lastly, there’s the song Road Trippin’ by the Red Hot chilli Peppers, which is basically the description of a fun road trip with friends, of leaving everything behind to get away to some fun times. One could argue that the song also implies drug use, but I personally don’t see it that way. To me it’s about getting your friends and some snacks and going “anywhere”. The destination doesn’t matter as much as the way to get there.

Road trippin’ with my two favorite allies
Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies
It’s time to leave this town
It’s time to steal away
Let’s go get lost
Anywhere in the U.S.A.

[Read the complete lyrics at azlyrics.com.]
(Listen to the song on Grooveshark.)

Links:

Music Monday #34: Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton in the 60ies.

Dolly Parton in the 60ies. Yes, she used to be cute.

When I woke up this morning and – still lying half-dead in my bed – switched on the radio, they talked about how it’s Dolly Parton’s 65th birthday today. Happy birthday, Dolly Parton!

Of course with news like these, when they start talking about songs she recorded in the past and her success and they use the past tense, it’s kind of creepy because you’re like, “Okay, why are they talking about Dolly Parton? Did something happen to her? Oh, the suspense!” And then you’re relieved when they say it’s her birthday.

But anyway, the point I want to make is that Dolly Parton, who by the way grew up very poor as the fourth child of twelve, has had an amazing career and wrote some amazing songs. She’s also a very successful business woman. In case you’re unaware, Dolly Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You”, which later was a big success for Whitney Houston, too. But more interesting still is that Elvis Presley wanted to record it. Dolly was thrilled of course, until she found out that by recording it, he also wanted to get half the publishing rights to it. So she stood up to the ‘King’ and said no. And now she’s super rich.

And while she may be slightly scary these days with all that make-up and long fingernails and all sorts of other enhancements, I think her manner is quite endearing, as is her Southern twang.

You can watch her perform ‘Jolene’ in 1974 [alternative link] or watch her perform ‘He’s Alive’ in 1989 [alternative link]. That one actually gives me goosebumps, even though I’m an atheist. Or watch her perform ‘I Will Always Love You’ [alternative link]. Or listen to her song Travelin’ Thru, which she wrote for the movie Transamerica and for which she received an Oscar nomination [alternative link].

Or if you can’t stand Dolly Parton for some odd reason, at least listen to the White Stripes’ version of ‘Jolene’ [alternative link].