Wednesday, November 30, 2005

for your listening pleasure... can listen to some of the artists reviewed and previewed on Bohemian Hearts at the AuralSpaces radio blog . You can also find the link under the Open All Night section. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Jem in Boston...

Jem came to Boston on Wednesday November 9 for a show at the famed Paradise Club. In case you don't know who she is, Jem comes from Wales, is very talented and her debut CD, Finally Woken shows that this singer/songwritter is more than another Dido or Beth Orton. Instead, her songs are combinations of sizzling electric guitars, trip hop reggae and heartfelt ballads that stir the soul.

At her live show, the last in the U.S. this year, even though evidently tired from the tour, Jem brought her songs to life to the delight of the audience. Some of best songs were "24", "Come on Closer", "Save Me", "Wish I", "Missing You", a tribute to a dead friend,

...All the wonderful memories
just make me fall apart
And it feels like somebody's
stabbed me in my heart
I wish this could be
a happy song
But my happiness disappeared
the moment you were gone

a rousing rendition of "Sweet Home Alabama" during the band intro, and my personal favourite, "Falling for You", a song about the heartaches associated with allowing oneself to fall in love, the subsequent and almost always guaranteed breakups, and the inevitable unwillingness to wanting to fall in love again:

...It's true I've become a skeptic
How many couples really love
Just wish I had a crystal ball
To show me, if it's worth it all

Coz I can feel it, baby
I feel like I'm falling for you
But I'm scared to, let go
I'm scared coz my heart has been hurt so
And I've got to be sure
Coz it's been so long
And I cannot take the pain again
If it all goes wrong

Love, Peace and Understanding...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

what music now?

Some of these CDs (The Shortwave Set, Ivy) came out earlier in the year and as we are nearing the end of 2005, it's good to go back, listen again and review some of them.

  1. The Shortwave Set - The Debt Collection
    This is not your average white band. Instead it's a group of three friends from Deptford on of London's artsy neighbourhoods, who have created easily one of the best and innovative CDs this year. Just listen to the magnificent "Is It Any Wonder". How can you best describe this music? Urban electro-folk? Perhaps. Maybe we just call it inventive pop. Whatever you call it, I don't think you'll easily find a voice evoking such feeling of longing and love as Swedish singer and guitarist Ulrika Bjorsne does on the achingly sublime "Repeat To Fade". The music comes courtesy of, according to the band, Greenwich Market's junk-shop broken instruments, acoustic guitars, found sounds, all collaged together with a sampler. It's not as if these musicians are not talented on their own. On the contrary, The Debt Collection is full of strong and talented songwriting such as the songs mentioned earlier, as well as "Roadside", "Head To Fill", "Figures of '62", and the closing "Yr. Room". Even though The Debt Collection was released in the summer, it will definitely keep you warm during winter.

  2. Ivy - In the Clear
    Wonderful pop music featuring Paris-born Dominique Durand and some fine guitar and fellow band members Andy Chase, Adam Schlesinger as well as guest appearances from Smashing Pumpkins' James Iha and Fountains of Wayne's Jody Porter. Ivy became known to wider audiences with the song This Is The Day from the movie There's Something About Mary. This is the band's fifth release finding them in the familiar trip-hoppy, uplifting and romantic environment they have meticulously crafted over the previous releases. "Keep Moving" must be one of the best pop songs of 2005 together with Royksopp's "Only This Moment". How can someone resist Durand's melancholic smooth vocals, with just enough of that French accent?

    Other standout tracks include "Thinking About You", "Tess Don't Tell", "Four In The Morning", and the St. Etienne-, even 60s-influenced "Cornerns Of Your Mind" with its longing lyrics of the isolation that relationships often harbour, "and it only goes to show/there are worlds I'll never know/ there are rooms I'll never find/ in the corners of your mind". The CD closes with "Feel So Free" featuring former Girls Against Boys frontman Scott McLoud on vocals with Durand.

  3. Paul Weller - As Is Now
    The latest release by the once-frontman of The Jam finds him at his best. Paul Weller continues to write well-crafted songs with the same intesity as he did 30 years ago for the Jam and for the more jazzy Style Council. "Blink and You'll Miss It" is a great example of the white-soul pop only Weller can write. "Come On/Let's Go" features fast and louder guitars last heard on Jam's In The City. "Here's The Good News" has an almost-cabaret quality to it with its plonking piano and trombone. The piano ballad "Pan" will transport you back to the Style Council days, although in my opinion, it does not come close to the majestic "Paris Match". With the sunny tempo of "I Want To Make It Alright", Paul Weller has written a touching love song of incredible honesty and maturity, complete with a great jazzy guitar part. Definitely a CD that will be playing at home and car often over the next few months.

  4. Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley - Welcome to Jamrock
    Damian is the youngest of Bob Marley's sons and he is proving to be as aggressively political as his immortal father was. This third CD comes after the 2001 Grammy winner Halfway Tree which was referring to the intersection of Hope Road and Three Mile leading to the ghettos on one side and to the uptown, "posh" areas of Kingston on the other, and serves the same socially conscious missives. "Out in the streets they call it murder!" proclaims Ine Kamoze (through the sample) and Marley serves a polemic in "Welcome to Jamrock" about the inequalities of modern life, the wasted education, basic as it may be, and the trickery of politicians. The rest of the CD is a great mix of reggae, dancehall, and hip hop, featuring samples from Bob Marley on many songs such as "All Night", "Move", and "Pimpa's Paradise". This last song is a remake of Bob's original from the Uprising record, and Damian has done a great job in updating the story of drugs dealing and prostitution.

    "There For You", "The Master Has Come Back", "Beautiful", "Hey Girl", and "Road to Zion" are worth more than just one listen.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

thoughts from the front...

wilted flowers from a forgotten feast
stare at me from the vase,
and i stare back
what do you use as a measure for this gap?
the distance from here to the moon,
the miles between two cities,
the countless pebbles of an autumn's empty beach,
the space between your body facing away from mine,
even as you lie next to me?