Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spotify Treasures

I've been using Spotify now for about six weeks.  Often I'll just be wasting time on the computer so I have an excuse for listening to whatever comes to mind and explore whatever.  This week it's been the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe's movie 20, a documentary about Pearl Jam.  Great stuff.  Before that it was NWA's Straight Outta Compton.  I don't fancy myself a rap fan, but what the heck-and honestly it wasn't half bad.

Every so often however, I really have run across some great artists and great songs that set me to digging deeper and really enjoying what I found.
Florence Welch leads the Machine on the David Letterman Show
First off, I listened to the new single from Florence + the Machine, What the Water Gave Me.  I enjoyed it so much I promptly listened to their album, Lungs.  It's good stuff.  Sounds similar to other bands I've heard with Florence Welch as the awesome vocalist with a powerful, ethereal voice, thoughtful song lyrics and solid if unspectacular musicians in support.  Florence has attracted a lot of attention to herself and some have speculated she might go solo.  She could definitely pull it off, but the long and short of it is this band is good now and worth a listen.
Andy Stacks and Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak performing.
One of my former students sent on a cut from Civilian by Wye Oak, an indie folk/rock duo from Maryland.  Great vocals by Jenn Wasner and solid rhythms from drummer Andy Stacks with great lyrics make this band a great 2011 exemplar of the genre.  Thanks Kristin.
84 year old Tony Bennett collaborates with 27 year old Amy Winehouse on Duets II
I bought the first Tony Bennett Duets album when it came out a few years back.  It was nice, but they were mostly duets with the usual suspects:  crooner soundalikes Michael Buble and Josh Groban, Barbara Streisand being ridiculous.  A couple of weeks ago Duets II came out with the ageless Bennett and a bunch of new pairings.  Yes, Buble and Groban are back, but so is his recording with Amy Winehouse on Body and Soul.  I'm not a big Winehouse fan, but she was just great on this song, with voice reminiscent of Billie Holliday.  Another great song is The Lady is a Tramp with Lady Gaga.  For those of us who think Gaga is good but just too captured by the Weird Side of the Moon, prepare for a shock.  She is absolutely fantastic with a voice that would fit right in with the female jazz singers of the 40's and 50's.  I'm still poring through this album, but it's definitely worth your time. 

Of course I've also been mining the other stuff, artists I knew pretty well or at least knew of, exploring Radiohead, the Kinks, Sammy Hagar, and a host of others.  I'm off now to answer that age old question:  Who is better:  Bangles or Go Go's?