Thursday, October 30, 2008

Politics isn't the only thing that makes for strange bedfellows

Back in seventh grade, one of my friends loved eating Cheese Whiz on Oreos. I knew she was being sincere because I saw her eat this bastardization of an Oreo on multiple occasions. Eventually I gave in to her persuasions, tried it, and it tasted like… cheese whiz on an Oreo, gross. Lately I’ve been seeing unusual pairings like this, and not only in the political arena. Some of them work and some of them don’t, but hey, you have to try to see if they work for you.

Norah Jones and Wilco’s "Jesus, Etc."
Maybe I am biased toward Jones because her soulful voice and authentic lady-like demeanor. She seems to tell crass women like Pink to shut up about being a strong woman without actually saying so, rather, showing them how it is done. I am probably biased because her father is Ravi Shankar, the famed sitar player. I am definitely biased because she bowled a few games a few years back at Landmark Lanes, my favorite dive bar and bowling establishment in Milwaukee. Anyway, I don't usually like artists that have 13 Grammy wins, but Jones is special. She handles “Jesus, Etc.” very well in Mountain View, California, singing more sweetly than Jeff Tweedy.

This is all well and good, but Wilco also played this same concert, and already played this song in their set. So going back to my previous post about covers, I don’t know what she was trying to accomplish with the song. An instance of good idea - even good execution - but poor timing.

Built to Spill and M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes”

Now this combination works, even though BTS and M.I.A. are much further apart on the musical spectrum than Jones and Wilco. However, by aggregating many musical factors and then averaging them out, both artists rate about the same on a cool scale. M.I.A. is cool for her originality and world music influences, and BTS for their immeasurable contribution to indie rock- being actually musical around all the Pavements of the time. Plus, all the while in the video, BTS looks like they are having fun, a key component of doing covers. They know they will never be a neon-clad pregnant woman, and they aren’t pretending to be- they are more like a cool uncle.

Or for a less quality version with a transition from my (probably, this week) favorite song ever “Car

Jaguar Love
(One part Pretty Girls Make Graves and two parts The Blood Brothers)
Photo via Blush Photo

The former guitarist for PGMG, J Clark, is now Jaguar Love’s drummer, multi-instrumentalist and producer. His influence comes through in that the guitars still sound dance-y, often hitting on the offbeats. However, this isn't enough, as it sounds like he recorded separately from ex-Blood Brothers Johnny Whitney (singer) and Cody Votolato (guitarist). The result sounds more like a mash-up of the two bands than a collaboration. Votolato describes "Jaguar Pirates" as "Almost Beefheart-ish [as in Cap’n] inspired.” That he describes the previous track, “Georgia” as “Baby Huey” inspired - and I’m not sure if he is referring to the ginormous duck or the soul singer- shows how scattered their sound is.
Vagabond Ballroom - Jaguar Love

Extra trivia: Rocky Votolato, folk singer, is Cody’s older brother, and he subscribes to a completely different sound from his brother. I saw Rocky perform at Mad Planet about two years back with Lucero and the very awesomely old-school William E. Whitmore, and Rocky’s performance was incredibly sedate, almost too much so. It seems like both Votolato’s could learn about a happy medium from each other. Sonny Votolato, also of some relation, is in Slender Means, another indie-rock outfit and, of course, also from Seattle.

Guys and skirts

Photo via wardrobe_remix

To pull off the man-skirt, it has to be simple, which the denim accomplishes. His monochromatic stylings also don't confuse, and make him look so well put-together that i didn't even notice the skirt at first. Also, he looks like he could kick your ass in this skirt; I think that is why I like him in it. I also appreciate that he doesn't try to compensate with 'manly' elements in this outfit either. A female could easily wear this outfit, playing with a few different fittings/proportions and look as equally fashionable.

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