The one thing that's kept me sane for the past few days is the new album from Rubicks, In Miniature (due out Aug. 14) -- this of course, would be what I wanted to post yesterday when my FTP client was being janky. So, naturally, marathonpacks totally beat me to the punch, posting the totally hectic and wonderful "Actress Model." I'm totally digging on that song as well, but I'm slighty more taken with the first single "Midas," which contains the utterly heart-rending plea to a lover: "don't try to change me with your midas touch/what's your plan for me/all that you touch, all that you hold is turning to gold." Vanessa Redd's delivery suggests a defense delivered through clenched teeth to a man who just won't listen, and treats her less like a person, and more like an object.
Rubicks -- Midas
I can't tell you exactly why this album is working for me as well as it is -- because there's certainly some weak-ish spots (there's some borderline Cranberries and Elastica retread territory here and there), though it's nothing crippling. And it's so much more interesting than the recent/upcoming solo offerings from Stars' Amy Millan and Metric's Emily Haines, both of which have been vaguely disappointing. The reason I mention this is that Rubicks has more than a smidge of the Broken Social Scene crowd's epic sound while still preserving a more focused lyrical energy and content of someone like, say, Kate Bush without the sometime precious ridiculousness of say, Goldfrapp. (I'm pretty certain, though, that they don't sound like "The Strokes with a girl singer...")
Rubicks -- Popmobility
Speaking of Kate Bush and pointed lyrics, The Puppini Sisters' cover of "Wuthering Heights" has totally weirded me out -- the bubbly, springy delivery makes me think they just don't get the song at all. At all.
The Puppini Sisters -- Wuthering Heights
As a matter of fact, I'm still not sure what I think of these ladies, who seem to be vaguely on the Nouvelle Vague-and-The Pipettes bandwagon and who sound like they've listened to more of the Manhattan Transfer's back catalog than the Andrews Sisters' ouevre -- too much be-bop and not quite enough swing. It's clear that they can totally sing, though -- and well at that. As an added bonus, they bring the camp missing from both the Pipettes and Nouvelle Vague. However, their versions of Andrews Sisters stalwarts "Sisters" and "Bei Mir Bist Du Schon" somehow end up really bland, and are just ill-advised. Perhaps some things just really shouldn't be redone?
(I also wanted to post their cover of The Smiths' "Panic," which is actually quite charming, but yes, blame the FTP client. If there's interest, I can always put it up later... The Puppini Sisters also tackle Blondie's "Heart of Glass" (less successfuly) -- along with the usual suspects "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" and "Mr. Sandman," and a handful of other standards.)
However, I'm totally taken with A-teens-esque West End Girls, who, you guessed it, are two 16-year-old Swedish girls who've recorded a totally popglossy album of Pet Shop Boys covers. It's seriously fantastic.
West End Girls -- West End Girls
West End Girls -- Being Boring
Courtesy of Each Note Secure: a handy guide to avoid being That Guy at a show. You know, That Guy in the band shirt?