Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Song of the Siren byThis Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins and The Lovely Bones

I have always liked the Cocteau Twins and the beautiful voice of Elizabeth Fraser. Many years ago, she contributed vocals to the group This Mortal Coil. One of the songs they recorded was "Song of the Siren", written by Tim Buckely back in the 1960's. She gave this song a whole new life back then, so I was very happy to see it used in the new Peter Jackson film, "The Lovely Bones." It comes in on a key scene near the end of the movie. Perfect fit for the scene. The Cocteau Twins song "Alice" is also used in the film in one of the first key scences, another perfect fit. I won't post the parts of The Lovely Bones - you can find them on Youtube.

Elizabeth Fraser has one of the most beautiful voices in music. The songs stand well on their own, but are even better in the film. Lovely Bones is a depressing movie. I have a 12 year old daughter, so parts of the film was disturbing. I did read the book, and enjoyed it. The movie was not as good as the book, as often happens.

Check out the Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil.

Tim Buckley's version

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Video by Maya Lin - Chopping A Tree

This video by Maya Lin is making the rounds on the intenet. It is called "Chopping A Tree" and puts the effects of deforestaion on another perspective - how long, according to the current daily rate of deforestation, would it take to eliminate the great parks of the world? Music is by Brian Eno, from his Apollo soundtrack of the early 1980's.

Maya Lin - Unchopping a Tree from What is Missing? Foundation on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Last FM Favorites

I do not have much to write about these days - busy with work and trying to stay warm during this cold snap. However, I have been enjoying the website, for the last few days. If you are not familiar with the site, it features thousands of artists in all styles. There is a radio station for each artist and a feature that links to similar artists. A few of the bands I have found are:

Flunk - from Norway. I heard one of their songs, Play, in the PBS series, Carrier. Excellent band if you like female vocalists in the style of Bjork. I like the guitar work - simple and effective.

Hope Sandoval - one of the most low-key, shy singers around. I enjoyed Mazzy Star back in the day - still do - and found that she has a new band, Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions. She has one of the mose angelic voices around. Most of the new music is acoustic.

Steve Roach - Always a favorite ambient artist. Close your eyes, put on headphones and transport yourself to another place. Long time fan, although some of his music leaves me cold.

Utopia - a went back in time to visit one of my favorite bands of the late 1970s. This band was the brainchild of Todd Rundgren. It was great to hear "The Last of the New Way Riders'" again. I absolutley have to rebuy these releases. It makes me feel 15 years old again, when I did not wake up every morning with a sore back.

Purr Machine - longtime Betsy Martin fan going back to her first band, Caterwaul. Purr Machine is more electronica. Betsy has a very unusual voice that may annoy some, but I love it for that very reason. Caterwaul rocked in the day, but were not successful.

Shawn Lane - one of the most gifted, influential and unknown guitarists ever. Shawn died years ago, but his music lives on here, with much of his catalog on the website to enjoy. Shawn was a legend, who played in Black Oak Arkansas when he was all of 14. He was a music prodigy, who also played piano and drums. Shawn played ALL of the instruments on his Powers of Ten CD. Late in his life he was heavily into Indian music and was very popular in India. He died too soon.

Bjork - I love Bjork. Her listing on LastFM features recordings of her as a young girl and as a singer in 1982, before the SugarCubes. What a voice. I did not care for the Sugarcubes only because of the annoying guy who insisted on talking instead of singing on many of the songs. I was glad to see her go solo. She does things her own way, experiments in different styles of music and singing. Her song Birthday is fantastic. The video for All is Full of Love is very good, as well.