The Revenge of Bits & Pieces (a/k/a More Random Stuff)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Just a few more odds and ends while I plug away on two more mega-long posts. 

I had a job interview on Friday, which I thought went well. You never know how it will go these days, of course, but I liked the people, and it would be a stable position (she said hopefully), which would be a nice switch from the last few gigs I've had. 

It would be a haul (55 minutes each way), which is a bit of a drag. All of my doctors and the nearest trans-friendly electrologist are an hour away. On the plus side, I'll have lots of time to perfect my voice, though, right? Anyway, please cross all available fingers and toes. Especially the ones with cool nail polish on 'em...

With that out of the way, on to the fun stuff!

After I posted some of my favorite albums from last year, I was appalled to discover I'd left out two of my favorites, I suspect because I listened to them so often that they felt like old friends by the end of the year. Nevertheless, here are two more you won't regret giving a spin. Or download, if you're actually living in the current century. :c)

Nicole Atkins: Mondo Amore
Yet another act from New Jersey (along with other faves Real Estate and Fountains of Wayne). What the heck is in the water down there? Wait, never mind… Just kidding, any New Jersey-ites! Anyway, she released a terrific debut album, Neptune City, a few years ago. Shortly thereafter, in rapid succession, her record label dropped her, her band left her, and her boyfriend dumped her.

Well, one listen to Mondo Amore is all it takes to realize how foolish they were. Her songwriting is sharper than ever, and her titanic voice is a thing of beauty. She's also very sweet, as anyone following her Twitter feed can attest. Oh, and she has great hair. :c) 

Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues
Their debut Sun Giant EP and subsequent self-titled debut are astonishing, particularly when you realize that lead singer/songwriter Robin Pecknold was only 20 at the time. Having seen them live, I can attest that they can walk the walk when it comes to pulling off their stunning multi-part harmonies live.

Like all great artists, they were determined to expand their scope as they moved forward. They scrapped a near-complete album and started from scratch when it didn't meet their expectations. Helplessness Blues, the result of that effort, shows that they made the right call. It echoes the strengths of their debut and builds on them by expanding their sonic palette. The second album is often when the pretenders fall to the wayside; Fleet Foxes are clearly in it for the long haul.

Here's "Sim Sala Bim," a tune from the new album:

Here's Robin Pecknold, solo, in London back in 2008 with a stunning solo version of "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song"  from their debut LP:

And here's "Mykonos" from their Sun Giant EP, this time with the full band:

And here's a cover of the aforementioned "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" by First Aid Kit, a two teenage sisters from Sweden. Their harmonies more than do justice to the song's delicate beauty.

And here's "The Lion's Roar," the title track to their brand-new album, which is sure to be one of my favorites of 2012 based on my initial impressions:

Last but not least, I also decided just before Christmas last year that it was time to come up with a name that fit a bit better than Kelly. It's a fine name, made even better when it's spelled with an "i" - or so I'm told on good authority <cough cough> ;c) - but it never felt right for me. But I found one that felt right the instant I laid eyes on it. 

I'll write up another post with the new name and a link to my renamed blog soon. At the moment I'm wiped out from my interview and six hours of driving, so it's time to call it a night. 

Have a good weekend, one and all!


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