Photo by David Greenwald
I’m glad Marty won. Children of Men should’ve at least been nominated for Best Picture, though.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Emily Jean Stock”: mp3
“You look so neat / every day is your birthday.” Alec Ounsworth’s delivery is what sells both his songs and his records. This opening line marries his trademark weariness to a bright-eyed optimism, and it couldn’t sound sweeter even as dissonant notes purposefully intrude on the song. I was a big fan of the band’s debut but found Some Loud Thunder lacking — except for this song.
(Buy Some Loud Thunder direct from the still-unsigned band)
The Good, The Bad & The Queen – “Nature Springs”: mp3
Why aren’t people talking about this album? Sure, Damon Albarn’s flooded the market with his fake bands lately, but The Good, The Bad & The Queen is the real deal, an album of post-millennial, living-with-war depression executed simply and stunningly. With its woozy crescendoes and modern-age pessimism, this could be a Radiohead song — no small thing for a guy who’s always been Mick to Thom and Johnny’s John and Paul. I suppose that makes Nigel George Martin.
(Buy the band’s self-titled debut from Virgin Records)
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – “Sons of Cain”: mp3
Ted Leo is one of my heroes, and not because his music is some unstoppable force. Elliott Smith leaves me awestruck, Ryan Adams tears me to bits (Elliott does too, for that matter); Ted Leo makes me happy. It’s simple, really: skinny guitar riffs, punk energy and Elvis Costello songwriting. Ted’s latest goes epic, or at least longer than usual, but that just gives us more to love.
(Living With the Living is due March 20 on Touch and Go)
The Rob Gordon Shuffle is a weekly Sunday rundown of fascinating songs without particular regard to genre or timeliness. It is absolutely not a top five. To read further installments (or check out more new and upcoming albums), click below.