Saturday, December 22, 2007

All That I Want

Have you seen that charming JC Penney commercial where people are shopping on an idyllic street in the snow and a folky Christmas song about ships in a harbor is playing? Well that song is "All That I Want" by an awesome folk duo, The Weepies.

And over at, you can listen to an excellent live show they did back in 2004 in Cleveland. (Unlike in the past, now you can stream it right there on the page - SO convenient!) The show is excellent - a good, long setlist, excellent sound quality and cute between-song banter. (If they sound like an extra chummy folk duo, that's because shortly after they met and formed the Weepies, they also fell in love. In fact, just a few months ago, they had a baby! For their full bio, which is ADORABLE, visit their MySpace page.)

Highlights of the concert include "How Will He Find Me," "I've Got To Have You," "Vegas Baby" and the positively charming "All That I Want," which is destined to become a new Christmas classic.

Happy holidays!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

JPP Review: Feist, The Reminder

Over at Just Press Play, I just posted a review of Amazon's top album of 2007, The Reminder, by Feist. And no, Amazon, I don't agree.

The first 'graph:

Don’t listen to Feist’s album The Reminder with headphones on.

This time, that's all you're getting. For the rest, go here.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Slowhand Christmas

Something about the holidays makes me crave the blues, and particularly Eric Clapton's gorgeous, honeyed version of it. My favorite modern Christmas song is his version of "Merry Christmas Baby" with Sheryl Crow from the Very Special Christmas compilation of 1999:

From that same period, "Cryin' Christmas Tears":

And as an added bonus, here's a clip from the Sessions for Robert J. DVD - my favorite song on that stunning album, "They're Red Hot" (ignore the strange syncing problem and just listen):

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday music that won't make you sick

I'm having trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year - I don't know what it is, exactly, but all of the saccharine Christmas music that I usually crave at this time of year suddenly sounds trite and suffocating.

So the WOXY holiday mixer is a real blessing - like a lot of radio stations, it plays all holiday songs, but they're all indie gems, deep cuts, rarities... All music that won't make you want run screaming from a mall. You'll hear holiday songs from artists like Rufus Wainwright, Fiona Apple, Matt Pond PA, the Flaming Lips, the Dandy Warhols... SO refreshing.

Cue it up and relax into the yuletide spirit on your own terms.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

JPP Review: Alicia Keys, As I Am

Oooops, posted this review a week ago on Just Press Play - almost forgot to cross-link it here.

As usual, the first paragraph:

At times, it seems like everything Alicia Keys touches turns to gold. At 27, she has accomplished more than most musicians can hope to achieve in a lifetime, including winning nine Grammys (so far) and selling over 25 million records worldwide. Her latest release, As I Am, continues the string of pitch-perfect soul/R&B albums that has defined Keys and earned her such a diverse fan base.

For the rest, go here.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

LTF Playlist: Best of 2007

Remember back in the beginning of the year when my motto was "I heart 2007"? Well, now that we're in the home stretch, I can say with some authority that it has been a pretty good year for music. As the year-end lists start rolling in, I thought a new playlist might be a good idea, so with a lot of help from Paste's "Best of 2007" issue (I know, I'm obsessed right now,) I made a a new LTF Playlist that hits a lot of the highlights from the past 11 months. Artists include Amy Winehouse, Bright Eyes, Bruce Springsteen, Feist, Iron and Wine, Josh Ritter, PJ Harvey, the Shins... and yes, even Kanye West made it on there.

Cue it up at right and see if you find something new to love. I bet you will!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Better late than never

Ok, yes... I am a year late to jump on the Regina Spektor bandwagon. Yes, her album Begin to Hope was on the top of all the year-end, best-of lists LAST year. So I wasn't exactly ahead of that wave. But if you're in a similar boat, now is the perfect time to get into Spektor's music, which sounds like a Russian winter in music form. Seriously, what Tchaikovsky was to classical music, Spektor is to modern indie. There are elements of everything from traditional Russian waltzes to the Beatles (remember how the Russians used to go nuts for them?) to modern post-Soviet techno. And it all blends together seamlessly, tied up with Spektor's fascinating and accented soprano. (She comes from Moscow originally, by way of New York.)

A stunning album with too many highlights to mention. The album's ubiquitous single "Fidelity" is just the beginning. Ballad "Samson" is a current favorite of mine, but I have a feeling this is an album from which every song will be a favorite at some point.

Here's the video for "Fidelity":

And here she is performing "Samson" on the BBC's Culture Show:

What is it with Sweden and insanely creative music?

It must be the cold weather, but the Swedes sure know how to make interesting, cutting-edge and insanely creative music. The latest evidence? David Sandstrom & Co.'s amazing cover of Wilco's "Jesus, Etc." on YouTube. What a gorgeous, ethereal, haunting version of an already-amazing song.

I couldn't agree more with YouTube commenter lseymour, who said, "Who spiked the Swedish water table with magic music dust that makes all the music from Sweden so unbelievably good these days?"

(Thanks, Paste!)