Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The wisdom of the populace...

The year-end best-of lists will flow in steadily in the next few weeks, and Amazon is early on the bandwagon, declaring Fesit's The Reminder the best album of 2007. But I think the Amazon customers top 100 is actually a little more interesting. The wisdom of the populace ranked Feist at 11th (a more appropriate placing, in my opinion) and included some real surprises, including Neil Young, Pink Martini, Lucinda Williams, and the Once soundtrack, as well as LTF favorites Patty Griffin, Wilco, Amy Winehouse and the Hairspray soundtrack. And that doesn't even cover the top 30.

I have to say, it gives me a whole new faith in democracy when I see that Joni Mitchell, Rufus Wainwright, Colbie Caillat, Spoon, Stevie Nicks, Elliot Smith, and Mavis Staples all made the American public's choice for top 100 albums of 2007.

Check out the list here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Singular Obsession: Holiday edition

I am pleased to announce that after a short musical dry spell, I have emerged with a new, holiday-themed singular obsession. This one came via the Paste Magazine Dec./Jan. music sampler.

The song? "It Really Is a Wonderful Life" by Mindy Smith. But you don't have to be a Paste Magazine subscriber to enjoy it (though why aren't you a Paste Magazine subscriber? Right now, they're offering a pay-what-you-want subscription plan!) Check out Smith's MySpace page to hear the retro-lovely, tiki-jazz-tinged holiday gem.

Just don't be surprised if you get the urge to listen to it over and over and over again. It's that infectiously charming. Happy Thanksgiving (a few days late)!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Finally catching up

Speaking of, they are finally catching up with me - three of the artists I told you about last summer are currently featured on their "artists on the rise" You Oughta Know feature: Sara Bareilles, Colbie Caillat, and Feist.

Ok, so Vh1 is a little slow on the uptake for Lost Things Found's tastes, but the good news is that as part of the series, all of these artists recorded live, in-studio versions of their songs which are available to watch online. As usual, Sara Bareilles totally blows me away - I just love her soulful, powerful voice. And the 3-part harmony intro on "Bottle It Up" is a really nice update. "Many the Miles" is still my favorite and this version is PERFECT.

Colbie Caillat's set is extra laid back - you can almost hear the ocean waves lapping in the background. And I really love the ringing, mandolin-like quality of the guitars.

And last but not least, Feist performs the now-ubiquitous "1 2 3 4" along with a couple more tracks. What I love about Feist is she never phones it in and she never performs a song the same way twice - this is the rockin' out version of "1 2 3 4."

There's a bunch of other unplugged stuff on the site, too - see if your favorites are there!

And remember, you heard it here first.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wilco on ACL

Nodding off to sleep last night, I discovered that Austin City Limits is showing an hour with Wilco this week - it was well worth the lack-of-sleep hangover today just to stay up and watch it. I love Wilco's albums, but I really believe they are the best live band out there right now. Nothing trumps a live Wilco performance.

Visit to find your local viewing schedule or go to the web site to watch selected video and and interview with frontman Jeff Tweedy. The ep features a lot of songs from their new album, Sky Blue Sky, which is excellently complicated and mellow at the same time. (Spin Magazine says it's "a near-perfect album by a band that seems, finally, to have found their identity.” I'm not sure I'd go that far, but it's good.)

How can you resist that lovely 3-part harmony on "You Are My Face"?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I can wait, I can wait, I don't want to wait's The Leak is currently streaming the new album from Alicia Keys, called As I Am. As with everything Alicia Keys touches, it is awesome. Highlights so far are "No One," "Tell You Something" and "Lesson Learned," which features John Mayer.

But don't take my word for it, listen for yourselves. That is all.

(Except for this: How awesomely Diana Ross-like does she look on that album cover)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

To another island in another life

Remember a few posts ago when I told you about the Old Navy commercial featuring Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am" and I said the commercial didn't do the song justice? Ok, well, I have since downloaded the entire album, and the 30 seconds you hear while perusing Old Navy sweaters, as great as it is, doesn't even begin to hint at the awesomeness of this label-less album.

(By the way, I purchased the album through Amazon's new DRM-free download store and I cannot say enough good things about the experience. Finally, someone has freed me from Steve Jobs!)

I really love her voice, a hint of Lisa Loeb's little-girl-lost quality mixed with jazz phrasing is a perfect counterpoint to the rich folk-pop she writes.

Here's a couple raw live performances of songs on the album, but keep in mind the album sounds much fuller, richer, greater:

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

JPP Review: Jeremy Fisher, Goodbye Blue Monday

My latest review is up at Just Press Play - this time it's Jeremy Fisher's debut album, Goodbye Blue Monday.

The first paragraph:

Alt-Americana has many pedagogues, but all too often they miss the mark by too carefully mimicking the genre they set out to honor. It can be limiting to compose mainly on acoustic guitar and find fresh ways to incorporate a harmonica lick or a tambourine backbeat. Those who try to adhere too closely to Americana’s strict mandates often sound derivative or throwback-y rather than emergent. Which is why Jeremy Fisher’s debut album, Goodbye Blue Monday, sounds so remarkably fresh and listenable – it’s alt-Americana without the heavy weight of reverence dragging it down, and he’s not afraid to stray from the traditional when it suits his sound. You’ll hear elements of early 1950s rock ‘n roll, folk protest, and mountain music woven in with more mainstream pop sounds as well.

For the rest, go here.

For your viewing pleasure, here is the video that started it all, Fisher's homemade stop-action video for "Cigarette:"

Friday, November 02, 2007

Still got some work to do

So those who know this blog know of my total admiration for and adoration of Fountain's of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger - I've said it before but I'll say it again: I think he is absolutely the best pop songwriter and producer working right now.

So it shouldn't have come as such a surprise to find out that he was in charge of most of the music for the Hugh Grant/Drew Barrymore romantic comedy Music and Lyrics, especially since I specifically remember reading reviews at the time that mentioned how surprisingly good the music was from this otherwise mediocre movie.

I Netflixed it recently and completely agree with the reviewers - the music is surprisingly good (Schlesinger is no stranger to writing clever pop music for movies - prior to this, he wrote songs for the Josie and the Pussycats movie as well as the hit single from That Thing You Do! which went out to place in the actual Top 40 charts.)

But the best surprise to me was a track playing over the closing credits by the band America, whose comeback album Schlesinger was also producing around the same time as this movie came out. The track is called "Work To Do" and it's included on that album, called Here & Now (and also well worth checking out.)

But to hear it now, check out this movie montage of Music and Lyrics set to the song: