Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Tristan Prettyman’

Bouncing echoes in the wind

September 7th, 2009 8 comments

Should there still be people who think of Google as t-shirt clad rebels against The Man, let them be disabused of their folly. Quite in contrast to the image Google seeks to portray, they are a corporate branch of The Man, not the Internet”s equivalent of cuddly mineral-water drinking Ashbury Haights hippies.

Among Google”s service is Blogger (with the blogspot.com addresses). Those who follow such things will know that Blogger indiscriminately deletes posts in response to (supposed) DMCA notices alleging copyright violation. Google will not tell which part of an offending post breached copyright, and I have come across cases where posts were deleted in supposed accordance with the DMCA, but did not feature copyrighted material. Google has every right to protect themselves from real threats of legal problems, but they seem to be doing more than that. The deletions are indiscriminate.

Presumable there is pressure from the music industry (or perhaps Google has a stake in the industry). If so, it is a shame that record companies fail to distinguish between blogs that upload the latest Madonna album before it is being released, and those that post mostly old and often out-of-print music. A blog of the latter nature was Whiteray”s excellent Echoes In The Wind, which last week was deleted in its entirety, without warning. I cannot see how the music industry is being crippled by a blogger sharing the obscure sixth track of Boz Scaggs” 1969 album. But, of course, Whiteray has no idea what content produced complaints “” if any “” from copyright holder.

echoes

Echoes In The Wind: nuked by Blogger

In the last few weeks, I”ve had messages from members of two “˜70s groups, the Persuasions and the Flaming Ember, thanking me for posting their music. Circumstantial proof that some artists do support what blogs like mine and Whiteray”s and many others are doing. We hope to introduce readers to music we are passionate about, or make them aware of a relevance that may create interest. Much of that music is out of print or otherwise rare. We all hope that the interest we hopefully generate will animate some people to buy the albums. All of us are happy to take down music should the copyright holder ask (they needn”t even be polite). Few of us, if any, try to make money out of this blogging thing. There are no ads on this blog, there were none on Echoes In The Wind. We do invest much time and, I hope, talent for the love of the music.

So Echoes In The Wind has been nuked. An archive representing years of work is gone (though Whiteray has saved his drafts in Word documents). But there is some good news. As of tomorrow, Tuesday, Whiteray will be back, not on Blogger but on WordPress. Visit him in great numbers for a housewarming at http://niagaseohce.wordpress.com/

To celebrate, a few songs with appropriate titles. All fine songs. Buy the albums.

Joseph Arthur – Echo Park.mp3
A lovely, haunting ballad from Arthur”s excellent 2004 album Our Shadows Will Remain.

Jimmy Dludlu ““ Echoes From The Past.mp3
Great Afro-jazz track by the South African guitar virtuoso, from the classic 1997 album of the same name.

Tristan Prettyman – Echo2.mp3
Gorgeous track by a gorgeous singer in the folk-tinged pop mould with which Colbie Caillat has had deserved success lately.

Dar Williams – Echoes.mp3
Williams has recorded many albums; this song is from a favourite of those, 2005″s My Better Self.

On current rotation

March 22nd, 2008 4 comments

When I started this blog, my idea was to flag new releases I enjoy while occasionally dipping into the archives of pop. As it has turned out, I’ve had greater fun doing nostalgia. But that means I’ve sometimes neglected the original purpose of this blog: to promote new music which I like. So, here are some songs from new releases (and one that is a year old) which I am listening to at the moment.

Tift Merritt – Keep You Happy.mp3
Tift Merritt – Morning Is My Destination.mp3
I can’t claim to know much about Tift Merritt. The new album, Another Country, is her third. I have not heard the previous albums, but the buzz has been good. Another Country may become Merritt’s breakthrough album. Merritt swings between country, alt.country and folk-pop, which places her alongside the adorable Mindy Smith, another singer who is receiving attention only in her 30s. Another Country is a gentle but engaging exercise, one for Sunday mornings. Keep You Happy, with its Wilcoesque guitar, has a depth which may at first not be apparent, while Morning Is My Destination fuses alt.country sounds (even more Wilco guitar here) with classic country rock.
Tift Merritt on MySpace

Landon Pigg – Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop.mp3
Another singer-songwriter with shaggy hair and a funny name… His 2006 solo album, titled LP, was a pleasant folk-pop effort, but lacked a killer track. Pigg delivers such a track with Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop, an entirely sweet acoustic song which will doubtless end up on the soundtrack of a quirky independent movie (think Garden State). This is a song that should have featured in the Love Songs for Every Situation series (guess in which part). I hope the coffee shop in question an independent joint, not bloody Starbucks. And I hope that Pigg won’t sell his soul by letting Starbucks use this song for an advertising campaign; the song is far too lovely to be tainted by the stink of capitalist globalisation.

Tristan Prettyman – Madly.mp3
I loved Tristan’s 2005 debut album, Twentythree, a slice of California Dreaming which was trumped last year by Colbie Caillat’s entirely lovable album. I had sort of hoped that Tristan would in turn trump Colbie with more of the same. Instead, on her second album, Hello, Tristan suggests musical growth, and a welcome country influence. The beach vibe is still evident (see Madly), but many tracks are darker and more complex than those on the debut (California Girl sounds nothing like the title suggests). At first I was thrown by this; my expectations thrown, I was disappointed after the first listen. Having put the thing on rotation for a bit, I’m falling for it. (More Tristan Prettyman here)

Joshua Radin & Ingrid Michaelson – Sky.mp3
Joshua Radin’s We Were Here album was my album of 2006. I love the man’s gentle voice, his Drake-channelling acoustic sound, and I really enjoy his lyrics. I’ve read that Radin’s soft sound was forced by their production in a NYC flat. Sky, his new duet with the wonderful Ingrid Michaelson is upbeat and poppier than previous material. The rest of the four-song Unclear Sky EP (an iTunes special described by the singer as a teaser for the upcoming album) is more like the Radin we know, understated and intimate. Lovely Tonight, which should be on the CD later this year, is a gorgeous duet with Catherine Feeny, one of my favourite songbirds (whom I featured here), featuring guitar work by Ryan Adams. (More Joshua Radin here and here)

Counting Crows – When I Dream Of Michelangelo.mp3
Adam Duritz and pals are releasing their first studio album in five years, following the critical failure Hard Candy. Actually, there was much that is good on Hard Candy, though the true quality of some of the tracks revealed themselves only when performed live, as the fine New Amsterdam live album showed. Listening to Counting Crows albums requires patience; not unlike hearing an album by their spiritual godfathers, The Band. On my first listen, I didn’t much like the new album, Saturday Nights And Sunday Mornings. After the second listen, I liked it better. A few listens further, and I’m sold on much of the album. Apparently the first, rockier half is a band effort, while the second, more reflective half is something of a Duritz solo project (as if anyone ever remembers any of the other Crows). The tracks I’m posting are the immediate stand-outs; the former a rock tune in the manner of The Band, the latter a slow-burner in the manner of, er, The Band.
Counting Crows homepage

Laura Veirs – Saltbreakers.mp3
Laura Veirs – Pink Light.mp3
Laura Veirs on MySpace


The Songbirds: Vol 3

August 10th, 2007 3 comments

Rosie Thomas
Four very good albums down the road, and Rosie Thomas remains obscure enough to impress the Eva Cassidy Consensus — the type of people who rave about this posthumously overrated singer as if there aren’t dozens better ones — with something superior. Detroit-born Rosie (by all accounts an utterly delightful woman) knows how to create a mood. Relaxed, cute and humorous one moment, you wish you were with her to share a giggle, next she moves the listener to tears with her beautiful melodies and poignant lyrics. Songs like “Much Farther To Go”, with the gorgeous arrangement and the sad lyrics (“Sometimes I cry when it’s late at night, and you’re not there to lay next to me. Morning breaks and the sun warms my face…how I wish it was you warming me”) reach deep into the listeners’ soul. Likewise, “If This City Never Sleeps”, which opens Rosie’s latest album, communicates in sound and words the sort of undefinable yearning that makes us sigh uncontrollably for no good reason.
Rosie Thomas – If This City Never Sleeps.mp3
Rosie Thomas – Say Hello (with Sufjan Stevens).mp3
Rosie Thomas – Much Farther To Go.mp3

Catherine Feeny
One of those chance discoveries that make you feel great love for chance. I have not heard Catherine Feeny‘s debut, but her sophomore album Hurricane Glass, released last year and re-released this year, is quite excellent. Where is the buzz for this wonderful talent? Born in the US, Feeny lives in rural England; and the influence of two different rock tradition shows. Hurricane Glass is an intimate album with intelligent lyrics telling of of struggles with regret, disillusionment, insecurity, and melancholy, often mitigated by a sense of hope. I love this line from the excellent opener “Touch Back Down”: ” I have got to learn not to go choosing the ones who don”t choose me. I am always picking the fruit that”s furthest on the tree; it”s sweetest to me.” It should be fairly easy to get hold of “Mr Blue”, which has featured on a few soundtracks, a sweet song with a brilliant flugelhorn interlude. If re-releases qualify for consideration when we compile our Albums of the Year lists, Feeny will surely have a crack at inclusion in mine.
Catherine Feeny – Touch Back Down.mp3
Catherine Feeny – Hush Now.mp3

Sarah Bettens
Bettens is a half of the Belgian twosome K’s Choice, an act that is not as well known as it ought to be, despite releasing a string of fine albums since the early ’90s. In 2005 Bettens released her appealing solo debut, Scream, which veered between intimate ballads and alt.rock. In keeping with the songbird theme, I’ve picked up two of the slower songs. “Grey” was just a bonus track, which is puzzling; to me, it’s the best song on the album. The piano-driven song is not only very beautiful, but has thoughtful lyrics about the depth, fears and transience of love (“I have tasted happiness, the innocence of joy. Do we pay a price for every moment we enjoy? I can make you promises, but even I can’t say if everything I feel for you will never go away”). “Stay” is a bit more upbeat and quite catchy; I particularly enjoy Sarah’s hoarse voice.
Sarah Bettens – Grey.mp3
Sarah Bettens – Stay.mp3

Kathleen Edwards
Another talented alt.country singer doomed to remain stuck in the ghetto of tastefully compiled soundtracks (including the exquisite Elizabethtown OST). Life is very unfair. Canadian Kathleen Edwards, who recalls the likes of Lucinda Williams, has supported Dylan, the Stones, and more importantly, the excellent My Morning Jacket. Edwards anticipated the general apathy towards her music when on her 2003 debut Failer she acidly dedicated a song to the radio playlist compilers, “Another Song The Radio Won’t Like”. The catchy number deserved to be playlisted. Alas, Kathleen isn’t big in the blogosphere either (the absence of new material since early 2005, of course, has something to do with that). Well, this blog loves her.
Kathleen Edwards – Summerlong.mp3
Kathleen Edwards – Another Song The Radio Won’t Like.mp3


Tristan Prettyman

Tristan Prettyman came recommended to me by somebody who likened her to Jack Johnson, whom I like in only tiny doses. Her name also put me off from investigating her music. Then I saw the CD cover of this Californian singer’s debut album, and just had to hear what she sounded like. Happily, it was all very nice indeed (an appearance by her boyfriend Jason Mrzaz notwithstanding). Prettyman is breezier than most contemporary songbirds, and on occasion her sound does indeed recall Johnson. In fairness, I think her Twentythree album, released in 2005, was a bit patchy. But where it is good, it hits the right spots. Like these two tracks, the first a sweet ballad, the other breezily upbeat:
Tristan Prettyman – Melting.mp3
Tristan Prettyman – Always Feel This Way.mp3