1 comments November 28, 2008

The Jezabels

The Jezabels don't actually write their name with an exclamation point, but that's how I say their name in my head every time I think about them, because every I think about them, I get excited. The Jezabels!

Their music has that effect on me.

Hailing from down under (not the down under I'm from, but the other one -- I don't hold that against them, though), the Jezabels started out when band members Heather, Hayley, Nik and Sam met at Sydney University.

As far as I can make out, the band is not signed to a label yet. But it can't be that far away, though, surely? Since they are, quite simply and as Sia would say, magicpants.

I love the messy chaos of their music. In an odd way, they remind me of Sleater Kinney or Montreal's Land of Talk. At first it's like just so much noise (maybe even a little off-key?) but soon their songs needle their way under your skin like a tick, until you're destabilized and feverish with the need to listen to them over and over again.

There are all these separate elements in their music that shouldn't work, but do. There'll be a discordant piano refrain or a meandering baseline that you feel certain will tip the song over into irritating, empty noise doodling. But somehow all the parts coalesce into something not only cohesive, but packing a hefty emotional punch.

I don't know how they do this. But I like it. Very much.

[Jezabels - MySpace]

0 comments November 27, 2008

Rufus Wainwright

Beautiful tortured man, bold of gesture and blessed with an absurd amount of talent, who can resist Rufus Wainwright?

Because, let's face it, who else can get away with lyrics such as these:

I have suffered shipwreck against your dark brown eyes/I have run aground against your broken down smiles/Believe me when I tell you I have no place left to roam/But to go where the wild flowers grow and the stone gardens bloom....

And make us think, not of some lonely teenager writing bad poetry in his small cramped room smelling of smeg and socks (good lord, did I just write that?), but of Yeats or Shelley. It's not the overblown lyricism so much, as the yearning, weary, melancholy way he sings the words.

The group Supermayer have taken Wainwright's song "Tiegarten" (about his then boyfriend, and named for the public park in Berlin) and given us something shining and new. It's still quintessentially Rufus, with his magnificent theatricality intact, but they've transformed his original song into a glittering, forlornly hypnotic ode to love.

I first came across this version of the song thanks to the folks at Good weather for airstrikes. That blog is now defunct because they've decided to start a record label. Oh, reckless optimism. It's a wonderful thing.

So here's Rufus through the lens of Supermayer:

You can hear the original here.

0 comments November 12, 2008

Alfa Rococo

Here in these parts, things have taken a sharp turn for the froide.

L'hiver is breathing icily down our necks, but I have a trick to keep away those winter blues.

It's called Alfa Rococo.

Alfa Rococo have been making all kinds of waves here in Québec -- winning awards and generally charming the socks off folks left, right and centre.

They specialize in inordinately catchy, absurdly enjoyable pop confectionery.

So here's a taste -- I swear it'll make you long for the beach, flip flops and a cool beer on a hot summer day...

[Alfa Rococo - MySpace] [Alfa Rococo website]

0 comments November 5, 2008

Alexandre Désilets

Take flight through Montreal as a papillon...

A stunningly beautiful song, and equally mesmerizing video, from über talented Montrealer Alexandre Désilets:

You can see the 'making of' here. Well worth checking out. Love all the little Montreal details.

[Alexandre Désilets - MySpace]