Friday, July 03, 2009

Today's Video Brought to You by The Fine Taxpayers of America

And thank you so much for giving me a day off, kids. I appreciate it. Moving on.

I heard a piece on NPR yesterday wherein a music critic was reading some album reviews he composed for Twitter. I don't twit, btw, because as you well know, I'm very busy and important and seriously cannot figure out how one has time to twit and do other things. (Much like I can't figure out how to get much of anything done under just about any circumstances). Point is, the guy in question was raised by editors so when he twits he insists on spelling out all the words and using correct punctuation. This necessarily puts interesting constraints on his twitting, as he is (you know this) allowed only 140 characters per tweet (or whatever you kids are calling them). He actually had some very interesting observations on the form; noting that he will never stop reading in-depth commentary on music but that having a constrained form like Twitter, while doing away with the narrative, forces one to get immediately to the point. (Oh, hey, I think we just figured out why Rainey doesn't twit). He likened the process to haiku. Which I thought was lovely

Anytext, one of the reviews was for a band called The Phenomenal Handclap Band. Some of you hipsters may have heard of them. It was new to me and the clip they played was very B52s-meets-the-Cranberries-at-a-swampy-blues-club, which I found quite enjoyable. So I went in search of videos.

(Note: when JP and I were running "Here's the 80s" we (he) had a rule about not playing amateur concert footage in lieu of a video. I have no such issues right here. Except the video has to possess good quality and sound. And that's why we won't be listening to the Phenomenal Handclap Band today).

Fortunately, I remember another artist I've been meaning to look up (also inspired by a piece on NPR and yes, I'm a proud member-listener thankyouverymuch). The interview with her was very delightful, as were the music clips that were played and I have even downloaded some of her stuff to my iPod because I'm like that. She's been lumped in there with the likes of Tori Amos but I think that's way too easy and not remotely accurate, if only because women songwriters are just as easily distinguished from each other as are male songwriters but every damn time a new girl comes on the scene every one cops out with a "like Tori Amos" line and it just bugs the feminist hell out of me. ( perilously close to my soapbox there).

Regina Spektor is a very articulate artist. She strikes me as someone who crafts absolutely every word of every song. (She famously claims to write down very little of her work and that she rarely composes unless she's actually in front of a piano). While this airy-fairy approach may in fact be her method of composition, there is a very intelligent rigor to her lyric. Every word seems carefully selected and precisely placed. And she literally articulates...I love listening to her because there is no sloppiness to her pronunciations, even when she's messing around with accents, languages or forms (which she does). (Part of this comes from the fact that she learned the sounds of English from her father's contraband record collection (Beatles, Queen, Moody Blues) before she understood English. She was born in Russia and didn't emigrate to the US until she was nine).

There is a playful lightheartedness in her playing and singing even if (and when) her lyric tends to darkness. Consequently, you don't have to think when you listen to Regina Spektor, but you can. And sometimes, you can't help it.

I could go on and on but shan't because I feel pretension coming on. Bottom line, I think she is quite delightful and very pleased that she's not above making a good video or two.

Regina Spektor "Fidelity"



Blogger rosemary opined...

Love her...I like that she tells a story in her songs...not everything has to rhyme.

July 03, 2009 10:17 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Too true, Rosie. She's my new favorite listen.

July 03, 2009 3:07 PM  
Blogger Sling opined...

OOH!..Good find!

July 05, 2009 11:09 AM  
Blogger Lorraine opined...

Thought you'd like her, Sling.

July 06, 2009 7:26 AM  

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