Music Monday: Turning My Heartbeat Up

I’m a bit of a sucker for songs which are self describing ie mention specific instruments which kick in as they are mentioned. My favorite of the genre is “Turning My Heartbeat Up”:

Argh…there’s another Motown classic that has a similar schtick but I can’t recall it right now. Boo memory!

“Pull Shapes” has a bit in the middle that does the same thing:


Memory finally dredged up “Dance to the Music”:

Which really is the archetype of the genre.


Music Monday: Trouble

The Shampoo version:

Love it! I’m working my way through their catalog and they are exactly my cup of tea. Girl Power rocks:

They definitely have a characteristic sound (shouty verses seem common) but I’m a sucker for bubblegum power girl punk. It makes me happy.

Shampoo seem paradoxically ingenuous and posey. They clearly are hamming it up but it’s always very relaxed and fun.

Music Monday: In This Land

Sweet Honey in the Rock is worth a lot of your time. The bookend songs from their album In this Land (including the titular song) are among their best. They don’t have good YouTube but here’s the Spotify playlist for them.

It’d be interesting to see an update to “In this Land” because there’s even more to not understand.

It’s interesting how weak their presence is on the web. Their lyrics aren’t available! They were an amazing group with a long history.

I guess being on The Streamings is something.

Music Monday: The Great Correction

We’re off to see Joan at the Bridgewater tonight (3rd time!). Plus, the video for “The Great Correction” came out:

It’s a photo/clip video and the photos/clips are pretty compelling as such. There’s some trickier going on (see around 2:35) where I suspect that they cut out a foreground element and then zoomed it separately from the background which gives a subtle emphasis without getting the Ken Burns look that slideshow software puts on us.

Eliza Gilkyson’s video ends up with the Ken Burns look:

Both the videos and performances provide interesting contrasts. Joan’s voice fits the weariness of the song better and I think the overall recording is a bit tighter (which I prefer for this). Videowise, Gilkyson intersperses quotes with the images…each quote introducing a “chapter” of images. Visually, I find the Ken Burns effect overwhelmingly distracting here. It’s a long video to look like a screensaver. In this respect, I think the Baez video made much better choices.

Of course, the narrative in the Baez video is difficult for me to discern. There are fade outs, but I don’t get what they mean. The images are often interesting (kids protesting! so cute!) but I struggle to figure out how they align with the song.

I feel in general this way about the “sequence of images (moving or otherwise)” in the series: They don’t give me enough of a hook to get me to rewatch. The marriage of visual and music isn’t there (or maybe it is but I can’t invest enough to see it). The are mood oriented and indirect where the songs are generally didactic and straightforward (with plenty of mood, of course, but mood is more backgrounded or working as part of the ensemble rather than unmoored from aught else and centered).

I’ll really be interested in the “Whistle Down the Wind” video.

Music Monday: If You Want Space Go To Utah

Christine Lavin is emerging after a family related hiatus. I’ll write more at some point but here’s one of the first of her songs I obsessed on:

The first I ever heard I only heard barely while a young women I liked softly sang along. That moment is embedded in my mind. The song is awesome as well:

A lot of her best songs involve sharp little portraits interspersed with a more themey chorus. “Aspin” is a good example of that. She has some amazing shaggy dog stories but they are more extended jokes with a big punch line. These are more vignettes deftly strung together. “Giant TV Screen” has more of a running story but is firmly in the vignette genre.

I love these because she is so economical yet rich in her sketches. They’re often funny or teasing but not mean. They feel homey but expand my world with glimpses of other people’s lives.

Music Monday: Grammy Winners

Well, as I said, Whistle Down the Wind didn’t win best folk. Instead, the Punch Brothers album, All Ashore did. I’d never heard of them before. Reading their Wikipedia page suggests that they could easily be a critical darling, so maybe that’s it?

I’m listening to it now and I’m finding it actively unpleasant. And I don’t think it’s just or even primarily sour grapes. The snippet of Gautier’s Rifles and Rosemary Beads I got accidentally when cueing them up seems appealing.

As the opening instrumental bits of the opening track started up I was hopeful. It seems like it could be nice bluegrasses, but the first four songs made me unhappy to listen too. The sixth,” Jumbo” at least doesn’t hurt my ears:

Though it does seem to go on for a long time. And the chorus isn’t nice, And the last verse, eh.

Ok this definitely isn’t anywhere near my cup of tea. I’m giving up and going to listen to Gautier.