Tag Archives: Listening Lab

Listening Lab: The Blow

I played the first few bits of “My Cake” for Hannah and she said it reminded her of The Blow. Without furthur ado, I love everything about this song.

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Listening Lab: Over the Rhine

There’s a song called “The Laugh of Recognition” on an album called The Long Surrender which is the latest release in the 20-year career of the husband-and-wife duo from southern Ohio called Over the Rhine. I love them. Karin Bergquist says this on the band’s website of the new album’s title: It speaks to our ongoing desire to let go of certain expectations (and much of what we are so convinced we know for sure) in favor of remaining open and curious. It seems like many of our friends are currently wrestling with various forms of ‘letting go,’ so hopefully the ideas conjured by the title feel somewhat universal. And I think the title speaks to the arc of a lifelong commitment to writing and performing regardless of recognition. Learning when to work hard and when to let go. Learning to leave room for grace to billow our sails occasionally. Learning not to white-knuckle everything.

Here’s to mystery, and tenacity, and the knowledge that wide eyes and wisdom aren’t mutually exclusive.

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Listening Lab: Tanya Donelly

I fully intended to post my interview with Tanya Donelly to coincide with her concert at the Brattle Theater. I did not. That’s one of the reasons God invented Listening Lab. So. Here’s to the trail that leads from Throwing Muses to the Breeders to Belly to Doula, and spirits big enough to embrace motherhood and a musical life, and writing songs for your kids that don’t suck. Or is it songs that don’t suck for your kids? Non-sucky songs directed at your kids? The grammar is a drag. The song is not.


Tanya Donelly – Keeping You (video) on MUZU.

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Listening Lab: Fountains of Wayne

Power pop is my own personal classic rock. The good stuff is evergreen and in heavy rotation around here. Fountains of Wayne are masters of the form. Smart. Winsome. Punchy. Witty. Their songs make me so happy. They also make me sort of sad. I can’t really explain how this works but I think the combo is the secret ingredient. Sky Full of Holes is Fountains of Wayne’s new album and “The Summer Place” is a Cheeveresque snapshot that opens with this line: “She’s been afraid of the Cuisinart since 1977.” Actually, so have I. Here’s to warped time and concentric states of mind and the impossible fact that everything and nothing changes.

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Listening Lab: Thomas Dolby

I am so not surprised that Thomas “She Blinded Me with Science” Dolby is releasing new music via a global transmedia game set in a dystopian vision of the 1940s where the earth’s magnetic fields have been reversed, the climate system is destroyed, and inhabitants survive by forming tribes and trading relics in a sea-going barter society that morphs with each player’s moves. The guy built his first synthesizer when he was 18, from salvaged electronic components and mail order kits. When synth-pop v.1.0 went the way of the dodo, he headed for Silicon Valley to invent the Beatnik polyphonic ringtone engine that’s embedded in three billion or so mobile phones. There’s a pattern here.

I entered The Floating City yesterday and am piloting an anchor handling tug called the Albert Einstein with landing gear, headphones, some chemicals, a metal bird, and a trench coat in the cargo hold. I am  very confused, but that’s not Thomas Dolby’s fault.

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