The Rich Girls Are Weeping

27 April 2006

I'm kind of out of it today. I'm not feeling well and had to skip lunch with a friend who was in my office interviewing for a job because I couldn't bear to think of food. Gack.

However, I was cheered by the appearance of the most sinfully romantic song of all time on WordsAndMusic -- Peggy Lee doing "Where or When" with the Benny Goodman Orchestra. I've reposted it here due to to the Yousendit-age on Rod's lovely site. Remember, Peggy was sixteen when she recorded this song -- how did that voice come out of her -- strangely world-weary, yet with a dollop of complete innocence? She's so perfect in juxtaposition to the equally wholesome sinuousness of Goodman's clarinet.

Peggy Lee -- Where or When (with the Benny Goodman Orchestra)

In a kind of similar, modernized vein, I've been hooked on the new offerings from Joan as Policewoman and the Sugarplum Fairies lately; Real Life (the album itself seems to be an extended yearning love letter to someone, which totally hits the spot for me right now) and Country International Records, respectively.

I'm a sucker for a certain kind of female voice; generally the more -- at the risk of sounding repetitive -- world-weary (you know, Nico-ish? Francoise Hardy-ish?), the better -- like Sugarplum Fairies' frontwoman Silvia Ryder. I'm also kind of helpless in the presence of the kind of voice that has a warm burr around the edges, like Joan Wasser's -- her range and tone are similar to kd lang and Holly Cole's. So, you know, the two new albums from the aforementioned bands have been on repeat the past few days. (Ms. Wasser's got quite a story, btw -- perhaps that's why her voice is so wonderfully rough-hewn; she was allegedly romantically connected with Jeff Buckley at the time of his death and she's played with Antony and the Johnsons. Antony guests on a few tracks on Real Life.)

Joan As Policewoman -- Real Life
Sugarplum Fairies -- First Love, Last Rites

Bonus: Sugarplum Fairies -- All I Want Is You (U2 cover)

On the other hand, it makes me sad to report that despite my sympathies voiced in a previous post, Ranier Maria are still ... just not very good. Back in the day, I never really cared for the band; they were always missing that elusive something and they still are. The sound still teeters too precariously close to "women's music" for all its manque of old-school Sunny Day Real Estate-ish emo; even more unfortunately, Caithlin De Marrais' voice is still as uninspiring and dull as it's always been, and the loss of Mr. Fisher on vocals on new album Catastrophe Keeps Us Together doesn't help much either. But maybe that's just me -- but, needless to say, I'm probably not going to the show Sunday, even though I am intrigued by tour-mates Ambulette.

I hope I'm feeling less weird and out-of-it tomorrow, this is annoying.


Blogger Pinkie von Bloom said...

I'm surprised that you didn't mention Tanita Tikaram in your list of world-weary voices. It's funny how much we both like her work, but "forget" about her when there are times we should really mention her. Weird. And in retrospect Eleven Kinds of Loneliness (with led track "Elefant") is really, really difficult to listen to. Between "Men and Women" and "The Way that I Want You," it's pretty obvious what that record's about. And it doesn't make for easy experiences. That her voice manifested itself at roughly the same age that Peggy Lee's did is probably merely coincidental, but I'm still just as confused at how the trademark Tanita Tikaram bellow comes out of such a tiny little woman. And now that I think about it? Paul Banks sometimes sounds frighteningly like her. I'm sure he'd be mortified...if he has any idea who Tanita Tikaram is.

Thursday, April 27, 2006 5:46:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

How is it that we're always forgetting about Ms. Tikaram? It's embarassing!

Thursday, April 27, 2006 5:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Rainer Maria blurb voiced my exact opinions. I really wanted to like them, too.

Thursday, April 27, 2006 6:38:00 PM  
Blogger cindy hotpoint said...

When I read Kelefa Sanneh's article about Ranier Maria in the Times the other day, I couldn't remember why I found it so annoying. At first I thought it was because it sounded like he was taking the tone of "Oh, poor Ranier Maria, you should like them because they disappeared for a while everyone they've ever toured with has become famous!" Now I realize I was annoyed because it's yet another feature in a long line of dull features highlighting Mr. Sanneh's pet genre, chick-fronted emo (and emo in general), which I find so bloody tiresome.
I mean, this is the man who's pushing Paramore on us as well. WHATEVS. I expect better from the Newspaper of Record, or maybe I shouldn't, really. The bloody carnage of the music journalism sphere (viz. the recent shakeups at the Voice and Spin) should totally continue its steady march to the NYT arts writers. (Is that horrible of me to say that? I really mean it...)

Friday, April 28, 2006 3:03:00 AM  

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