One of my oldest and most brilliantly talented friends, poet and all around renaissance woman LKB, is leaving town today. I met her in the fall of 1994, when we immediately discussed the collected works Margaret Atwood and our favorite music. Over the years, LKB introduced me to more bands and artists than I can detail here -- The Magnetic Fields, Elliott Smith (and Heatmiser and Quasi and No. 2...), Neutral Milk Hotel, Nothing Painted Blue (and by extension, Jenny Toomey's work with Franklin Bruno and uh, a little band called The Mountain Goats), John Vanderslice (and MK Ultra), Ms. John Soda, The New Pornographers, The Hidden Cameras, The Russian Futurists ... all before anyone else seemed to be interested in them. Most importantly, she broke me of my weird issues with The Smiths, told me all about Big Star, and made sure I knew about Brian Eno's post-Roxy Music, pre-ambient career.
Over the years, we went to see Ben Folds Five, Garbage, Tricky, Elliott Smith, Liz Phair, and about 50 billion other bands together. She's one of the few people I don't give crap about listening to Bright Eyes as she lived in Nebraska during the nascent years of Saddle Creek and Conor Oberst's career. She, on the other hand, was kind enough to never mock my love for John Wesley Harding, though she did give me a hard time me about liking the Barenaked Ladies and They Might Be Giants back in the day.
We both share an incredible love of horrifically bad (or good, depending on your point of view) pop music of all kinds: classic soul, Scando-pop, prefab UK girl and boy bands, the entire Burt Bacharach catalog, Neil Diamond, the Spice Girls -- you name it. If it's laden with hooks, we love it. She's the kind of person who randomly sends bizarre mp3s over email, like Liza Minnelli and Alan Cumming dueting on "Baby, It's Cold Outside" or a chunk of Tracey Ullman's ouevre; what's more, LKB introduced me to Fluxblog and London Lee's Number One Songs In Heaven, and a few other blogs too.
I'm gonna miss you, Bunny. Take care up there in the wilds of Wisconsin; I suppose it's time for all of us to be moving along. It's weird, but this really is an end of an era for me to see you leaving Austin, and these songs (and so, so many others) will always make me think of you. xo
Elliott Smith -- Waterloo Sunset (live)
Jeremy Enigk -- Return of the Frog Queen
Neutral Milk Hotel -- Holland, 1945
The New Pornographers -- Letter From An Occupant
Catatonia -- Bad Bad Boy
Kelly Hogan -- Sugarbowl
MK Ultra -- Catastrophe Practice
The Handsome Family -- Drunk By Noon
Rufus Wainwright -- Grey Gardens
Built to Spill -- Dystopian Dream Girl
Jimmy Eat World -- Lucky Denver Mint
Brian Eno -- I'll Come Running
Also: We got a shout-out in Jeffrey Barg's "Top Five of the Moment" in the Philadephia Weekly. Glad to know that people are totally buying the hipster tastemaker line! Sweet!
Have you been reading the Obscure Hits of the 80's and Shoegaze Fetish posts at Mars Needs Guitars? You totally should! Oh, and go listen to Antony Hegarty guest on the My Robot Friend track "One More Try" over at Fluxblog. Fantastic!
All hail Shearwater! Kelefa Sanneh gives Palo Santo a glowing review in The Times. I agree, this is one of the best indie rock albums of the year so far. (Other candiates: Matmos, Tilly and the Wall, The Stills, The Walkmen, Neko Case. The Long Winters will shortly be joining this list too.)
I also feel the need to tell you about my summer hair. It's very short and very black with fantastic sideburns; think Liza Minnelli in Cabaret, or, you know, Linda Dano as Felicia Gallant.