Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Silver Jews and The Ladies from the Canyon

I realized that the way I listen to music has changed a whole lot since I got my ipod a few years ago. I stopped getting CDs, except for when I was in Madison, and the whole album-concept had pretty much died entirely for me. I was just always after good songs for my playlists. I still am of course, but this spring I started loving the album again. The Silver Jews' Look out Mountain Look out Sea (buy), and a wonderful compilation album called Wayfaring Strangers: Ladies from the Canyon (buy).

These two were not taken apart and dissected by greedy fingers looking for the best pieces. No songs even got skipped (I've always had an indescribable hate for one poor song on practically every album I've ever owned). Yeah. So first things first. Wow, I'm actually having trouble saying something about Look Out Mountain Look Out Sea because I love it so much. I had to make myself stop listening to it a while ago because I was slowly killing it with my love. You see, I hadn't expected it to be this good. After Tanglewood Numbers I thought we had entered a new era, which somehow meant that the Silver Jews couldn't possibly reach the same absolute greatness as with, say, American Water. But I was so so wrong and it's the guitars that just kill me this time. The twanginess and the softness.

Silver Jews - My Pillow is the Threshold

"Throw my thoughts like tomahawks". So perfectly descriptive. It changed how I think about thoughts for ever!

Silver Jews- Candy Jail

Silver Jews- We Could be Looking for the Same Thing

Now, Ladies from the Canyon . You can almost tell that it's a hippie-album from the name right? Yeah? It is. Oh god, it totally is! It's the hippiest album I've ever listened to, and I used to be a little hippie-girl with flared cords and a deck of tarot-cards. It's an amazing album though. It's a collection of 14 songs by women who tried to sound like Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez but never made it big, or at all. Most are strumming on acoustic guitars and sing as sweetly as I imagine only women caught in that bubble of time could. The lyrics are about crickets, special seeds being sown, corduroy mountains and eternal life. Some of them sound nothing like Joni and Joan, but I love them all. That's it, after a 8-year hiatus, I'm totally ready for the singer-songwriter women again.

Jennie Pearl- Maybe in Another Year

OK. So this girl is a 14-year old kid who recorded this and another song with her older hippie boyfriend. It's beautifully eerie, innocent and hopeful. Her voice balances between a slightly uncertain child's voice and the deeper, steadier voice of the woman she might become. The possibilities are endless really. My friend Malin (who showed me this album) and I love fantasizing about her life, because apparently her whereabouts are unknown. Yeah. So we're thinking that she either died in a car crash in California with her possibly drunk boyfriend, or that she moved back to Illinois and finished high school, and is a soccer mom right now. Right now. At the game.

Linda Rich- Sunlight Shadow

This song has a lot of the cheesyness that I don't care for much with this kind of music. But what the hell am I supposed to do?! I like it. I like how the song is just a bunch of questions. I can't help it. It's pretty. I listened to it half asleep in a sunny hammock a few weeks ago and it was perfect.

Shira Small- Eternal Life

Doesn't she sound almost exactly like B.J. Snowden? I mean, she totally sings better, but still. Also, to a Romanian Swede it might sound like she's singing "Assholes are the centers of realization". You could sort of say that right? I'm telling you, it makes sense.