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The Songbirds: Vol 2

August 5th, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Harris Tweed
It’s cheating a bit to include in a review of “songbirds” a group, but Harris Tweed’s wonderfully talented singer Cherilyn Macneil is a bona fide songbird, as the songs here, from last year’s debut The Younger, bear out. “Ode To Confusion” is how Regina Spektor might sound if she was cute. The other two might recall Brandi Carlile: a bit of guitar, an ear for a good melody, and poignant lyrics. And the oddly-titled “Le Musketeer est Brave” features one of my favourite lines at the moment: “In my dream I am running, I”m casting off my shoes and socks and my broken heart.” Music to fall in love with. Londoners can catch Harris Tweed on September 23 & 25 (for Scottish and German dates see their MySpace page).
Harris Tweed – Ode To Confusion.mp3
Harris Tweed – Beautiful Mystery.mp3
Harris Tweed – Le Musketeer est Brave.mp3 (previously uploaded)

Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile’s name may suggest an airhead pop princess; but that is one thing she certainly isn’t. Expect her sophomore album The Story to create a lot of attention. In a way, it could be a pity when the Grammy nominations come in, because that kind of recognition usually spells an end to an artist’s credibility, leading to unwarranted vilification because people with less good taste than we are have are now buying the music we of the impeccable taste have hyped in first place (irony metres are on, yes?). Whatever happens, The Story is a gorgeous album, fusing folk and country (as on “Have You Ever”) with the occasional dash of guitar rock (“My Song”). Add Carlile’s exquisite songwriting skills and distinctive voice to the mix, and you have something quite special.
Brandi Carlile – My Song.mp3
Brandi Carlile – Have You Ever.mp3
Brandi Carlile – The Story.mp3 (previously uploaded)
Brandi Carlile – Throw It All Away.mp3 (previously uploaded)

Hello Saferide
Hello Saferide is Swedish indie-folk singer Annika Norlin, who picked up a massive amount of deserved Internet buzz over the past few months. “The Quiz”, from last year’s long-titled EP, remains a favourite song of mine; hell, it made me fall in love with Annika (evidence here). That song makes reference to her being “still scared of feet”, following up on the original revelation in “Get Sick Soon”. It’s a cute song, in which Annika hopes that the object of her love would catch the ‘flu so that she might lovingly nurse her guy. “Best Friend” has a similarly quirky sentiment, expressing affection for her best friend by way of wishing that they might be lesbians so as be in love with each other. Get free Hello Saferide songs here. And check out her great new single over at this fine blog.
Hello Saferide – Get Sick Soon.mp3
Hello Saferide – My Best Friend.mp3


Sarah Borges & the Broken Singles
You’ll hear a lot about Sarah Borges yet (perhaps you already have). Somebody used the term “honky tonk country”, which isn’t totally off the mark, but Borges’ music has many more layers. Certainly you pick up the smells of bars, beer and cigarettes hearing this attitude-filled stuff — and I’m not talking Billy Ray Cyrus linedancing crap either. This songbird snarls and roars and dictates her own terms. And you just know that the hapless Broken Singles will be discarded before you can say: “Fuck off, Gretchen”.
Sarah Borges – Come Back To Me.mp3
Sarah Borges – Lonely Town Of Love.mp3

Suzanne Vega
Vega is one of the godmothers of the current lot of songbirds. Songs like “Marlene On The Wall” borrowed from Joni, Rita and Carole, but they also set the template for those who’d follow. These tracks are from her new album, Crime & Beauty, which has received mixed reviews. Granted, half of the album is musically rather forgettable, but when it’s good, it really is good. I especially like the Carlos Jobim & Astrud Gilberto vibe of “Pornographer’s Dream”, which is a bit incongruent with the subject matter (for a companion piece, seek out The Weepies’ “Dating A Porn Star”. And, yes, The Weepies’ very incredibly desirably lovely swoonable Deb Talan will be featured soon). But Vega’s power never resided in her melody, less so in the vocals; Vega is a songwriter, and you connect with her on account of the lyrics. And thee, Crime & Beauty is totally rewarding.
Suzanne Vega – Pornographer’s Dream.mp3
Suzanne Vega – Frank And Ava.mp3
Suzanne Vega – Angel’s Doorway.mp3 (previously uploaded)

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  1. Anonymous
    August 6th, 2007 at 16:39 | #1

    Just wanna say thank you for your blog. Without your comments I think I would not have listened to artists named “Brandi Carlile” or “Mindy Smith”, or to the great South African song Paradise Road.Rhubed (from Hamburg)

  2. "Betty"
    August 6th, 2007 at 20:17 | #2

    Nice songbirds posts…Great selection! Cheers!

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