Lord, Lord help me just to rock, rock on…
I arrive at my weekly (field) hockey game just as one of my teammates, Lou, is talking excitedly about this great song that’s stuck in her head. She’s asking everyone: do you know it? have you heard this? She starts singing the lyrics: “Just a small town boy…” The rest of the team looks at her, vaguely clueless. I guess they are: (1) under 30, probably under 25! and (2) they don’t watch Glee. And, yes, I am the only one there who knows the song is ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ by Journey.
I hide the fact that I also know every other Journey song pre-1990 and most of the band members’ names. Neil Schon you rock!
But along with that annoying reminder of my age, I can also pat myself on the back this week – please tolerate my braggadocio, it doesn’t happen very often. We had some friends over the other evening, and I was playing a bit of dinner party music – some Gabriella Cilmi, The Black Ghosts, Elbow, Jazzanova, etc. Anyway, their 17-year old daughter asked if she could have a look at my iPod playlists, and then we had a short chat about the awe-inspiring Elbow. So two snaps for therockmom! ha ha
The Chinese New Year started a little over a week ago. The Lunar NY is known as a ‘Spring’ festival, which I can never understand since it usually falls during the coldest part of the year. Even so, I’m going to use that Spring theme to segue in to talking about all the great music I’ve come across in the last few weeks.
Like spring buds on a tree, the webwaves are bursting with fantastic sounds, both old and new. I’m like a kid in a candy store and I share these discoveries with you with unbridled glee.
Two singles in particular are on my continuous playlist these days:
‘Action/Reaction’ by Choir of Young Believers. This band is actually one guy – Danish/Greek singer Jannis Noya Makrigiannis from Copenhagen – and this single is a glorious blend of ethereal melodies and layered vocals. I’m reminded of Animal Collective and The Beach Boys. This is pure pop enjoyment – check it out right now!
‘No One Said This Would Be Easy’ by The Postmarks. Mid-60s. Sean Connery, From Russia With Love, Audrey Hepburn, Two For the Road.
Big sunglasses and a Pucci scarf blowing in the breeze from an Aston Martin driving the coast highway. Monaco to Nice. Mancini to Preminger. Cinematic strings with a slight Spanish flavor. Even the album cover has that mid-century movie poster feel.
Chico O’Farrell where are you?
Those two songs are my current favs, but I’ve also come across some new (to me) singers who are just as inventive and rockin’:
Natty blends reggae with acoustic pop, kind of a singer-songwriter type. The first song I heard from him was a Radio Nova remix of ‘Bedroom Eyes’, but I can’t seem to figure out how to download it from the Radio Nova site. Radio Nova is a French radio station, so of course they can’t make it easy for us non-Gallic listeners! If you figure it out, let me know. Until then, I bought the album, Man Like I, which includes the full acoustic version of ‘Bedroom Eyes’.
V.V. Brown is two parts Dinah Washington, one part Shirley Bassey and one part Rizzo! (Stockard Channing’s Riz of course.) She’s got a fantastic retro voice, without all the vocal theatrics that can be so tiresome (Mariah & Beyonce I’m talking ‘bout y’all). Although her album, Travelling Like the Light is a bit hit and miss, I’m really digging ‘Crying Blood’, ‘Bottles’ and the jazzy ballad ‘I Love You’. V.V. is soulful and classy – makes me wonder: Amy Winewho?
Mike Doughty did this fun, kinda novelty song a couple years ago called ’27 Jennifers’. Anyone remember that? Well, he’s back with his scruffy voice, DIY CD cover and straight-ahead rock-n-roll sound. I like ‘Lord, Lord Help Me Just to Rock, Rock On’ from Sad Man Happy Man.
Last but not least is another Scandinavian find – Ida Maria. You might know her from ‘Oh My God,’ a hit single last year. She’s spunky. She’s worked with Iggy Pop. She’s an alterna-Pink. She’s Norwegian! And she’s made one of the best girls-night-out songs – ‘I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked’.
Check out her 80s-style video:
Rock Moms of the World:
GO OUT! HAVE A DRINK! DANCE! ROCK ON!