Album/Concert Review: Nellie McKay / Home Sweet Mobile Home

I’ve always thought Nellie McKay was fantastic, and not just because she posed for my Photo of the Day site (I got a rare non-smiling photo!).

I got Nellie McKay’s latest album on release day. I actually pre-ordered it. I don’t think I’ve ever pre-ordered a CD before.

This album couldn’t be more different than her previous album, but that’s hardly surprising as it was a Doris Day tribute, which would pretty much enforce a certain style. So I’ll ignore that album for now that her previous album is 2007’s Obligatory Villagers.

This album couldn’t be more different than her previous album.

Alright, that might not be completely true. The album definitely has a very Nellie McKay feel to it, but it’s… almost gratifying to see that she continues to grow musically. I don’t think any of the tracks on this album would fit in on any of her previous albums, but it might not be very surprising to find them there – they’d just seem different.

Nellie is definitely exploring some new sounds on this album. From the caribbean almost-reggae Caribbean Time (not to mention Unknown Regge), to the New Orleans sounding Dispossessed and the more mellow , to the South American-ish ¬°Bodega!. It also includes songs like Please and The Portal, which sounds to me like modern day incarnation of a Doris Day kind of song. There are also songs like Bruise on the Sky, which is straight-up current, but somehow without most current music’s inherent horribleness.

It was sheer luck that Nellie was playing a local venue this close to the album’s release. She played here not too long ago (right at the beginning of the year) so I didn’t expect to see her again for a while. We actually had tickets to see Richie Havens that night, but he had to cancel and Nellie came in on very short notice.

Now I have to mention that I really have no idea what her concerts elsewhere are like. I gather that the venue is probably similar (smallish jazz club), but she plays with an extremely local band. And I mean extremely local – they’re usually the house-bad for A Prairie Home Companion, which is an olde-timey-radio-variety-show and could not be more Minnesotan. I’d love to see her play somewhere else, just for curiosity’s sake, but my review is based on the local shows.

This was the third time we’ve seen Nellie play at The Dakota, which is pretty much the only place I really get to see live music at since they’re not insane volume. We had the worst seats we’ve ever had there, which meant we were three tables from the stage. We were kind of behind most the musicians, but the nice thing about that is you can follow along on the sheet music. Anyway.

Some of the songs from the new album (notably the aforementioned Bruise on the Sky) have reached a level of complexity that makes them suffer slightly when played live. This is a stark contrast to many of the songs from her earlier albums, like Sari off 2004’s Get Away From Me which sounds phenomenally better live, with just Nellie and a piano, than the overly-complex rap/slam style on the album.

Those are the only things I can think of that are even remotely close to negative, though.

(Although I can think of something funny – the second keyboard player had an electric piano set to vibraphone for much of the concert… but the opening act had an actual vibraphone player, and he was fantastic, bow-tie and all.)

One thing that alway surprises me when I hear Nellie McKay live is how amazing her voice is. This surprises me because it’s better than on her albums. She has a range that she just doesn’t use in recordings. I have no idea why. She can blast out volumes that shouldn’t be able to physically come out of someone as tiny as her, and she can turn her voice into a tiny silken thread that just wafts lightly through the room, but you know silk is actually super-strong so it kinda grabs you and I think I’ve beaten this analogy to death so I’ll stop now. It’s worth seeing her live just for that, though – you’re definitely going to hear some things you don’t get in her albums.

Another thing you’ll get that’s not on the albums is the chatter. Nellie is very chatty, and she’s a lot of fun. She talks about the songs, and just about what she’s been doing in general. During our show, she showed us a pair of shoes she got at Target earlier, and how well they go with what some people have dubbed her birth-control coat.

It was also an incredibly long concert, and there seemed to be a fair amount of improvisation. I’m not sure how much of it was planned, but given that this was, as I said, a very local band, they couldn’t have possibly had that much time to rehearse (then again, one thing about being a house-band for a weekly radio variety show is that you have to be pretty good at playing many different styles with not a heck of a lot of practice).

She also made fun of Sarah Palin, which is always a bonus.

And she stayed around after the show to sign autographs, chat with people and pose for incredibly silly art projects.

If Nellie McKay is playing anywhere near where you happen to be, go see her. Especially when she’s still playing small venues. I’d like to think there is a group of people who call themselves Nell Heads who live in a bus and follow her around. She definitely deserves it.


Fifteen

There’s a meme going around on a certain social network that shall go unmentioned right now where people are tagged to name fifteen albums in fifteen minutes.

I’m going to twist that a bit. I’ve been meaning to start writing posts about music that was defining for me – the bands where I went out and bought every single album, and I’m going to use this as something of an introduction/thought exercise for that. I’m going to go in chronological order, list the Top 15 bands/singers/acts I ever got into, and the FIRST album of theirs I listened to, and maybe throw in some information about why/how/where/etc. At some point I’ll write an actual entry about each of them and expand on that.

So here we go, and again, chronological order.

#1: The Beatles – Let It Be

Ironically, their last-released album was the first album I heard. Mostly because we had it at home – it was one of my mom’s favourite albums. I was probably twelve when I started listening to it. Then started the long, arduous task of buying all their other albums, which is no mean feat when you’re 12 and there’s no such thing as an iTunes Gift Card.

#2: Pink Floyd – The Final Cut

Once again, their last released album! Even funnier, it’s now my least favourite Pink Floyd album (and The Wall is my second-least -favourite) – so much so that I currently own every Pink Floyd album except this one.

I was probably fourteen when I heard it. A friend of mine insisted that he had to lend it to me and wouldn’t take it back till I listened to it. Back then it seemed really, you know, deep. Nowadays it’s just Roger Waters being whiny.

Interestingly, I didn’t actually get into the good Pink Floyd stuff till much later.

#3: Dire Straits – Making Movies

Ah, Dire Straits – proof that there was some good rock music in the 80s. I remember listening to tapes of this album on a walkman while taking the bus to work.

Dire Straits, at some point The Biggest Band In The World, only released five albums. But I’m counting Mark Knopfler’s solo albums in this.

#4: Jethro Tull – Thick as a Brick

This was another album someone lent me and insisted I listen to it. One night I decided it’s time to clean my room, so I plugged in some headphones and put the CD on.

After the first fifteen seconds I was absolutely hooked and knew I need to get everything these people ever made. And I’m going to describe them now.

This album (which is basically one long track) starts with a mellow-ish acoustic guitar riff, followed by the line “Really don’t mind if you sit this one out.”

That was it. The delivery on that is just perfect. It didn’t hurt that this part is immediately followed by a flute (yeah, I didn’t know Jethro Tull were so heavily flute-based), and that Thick as a Brick is basically a phenomenal album.

Incidentally, Thick as a Brick is the first CD I bought on the internet. This was before there were websites. You had to telnet to the store. But that’s another story.

#5: Led Zeppelin – IV

This is almost too obvious that it’s embarrassing. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of Zeppelin anymore for two reasons: first, I don’t think they really had any musical growth. A track from any of their albums would feel right at home on any other album. Second, well, I believe Homer Simpson put it best when he said “There’s Jimmy Page, the biggest thief of American black music who ever walked the Earth.” But everyone goes through a OMG STAIRWAY!!!! phase, and I bought a lot of their albums during that time, so…

#6: Neil Young: Rust Never Sleeps

See, I don’t listen exclusively to British bands!

Late one night I turned on the TV and there were these… weird robed figures with shiny eyes walking on the stage. They looked like giant Jawas. Then this guy came on and played some mellow stuff. Then they rearranged the stage and he rocked the living crap out of the place.

Years later I was listening to this CD on a bus (yeah, on the way to work, but in a discman this time) and when Neil Young said “Rock and Roll will never die” it just hit me that, you know… it kinda had.

#7: Frank Zappa – Sheik Yerbouti

Frank Zappa was just completely, totally different from anything else I’d ever listened to before. It kind of defies description, really.

I remember buying this CD and then listening to it on the bus on the way home (I swear, this is the last bus story) and just trying really, really hard not to laugh the entire way.

A lot of people find Frank Zappa offensive, but those people are jerks (see what I did there?) Zappa hardly ever pulls punches and considers pretty much anyone a valid target. Which is just fine by me. Zappa died way too young. He should still be here annoying the hell out of everyone.

Intermission

There’s a bit of a gap in years between the last entry and the next one. I had moved to a different country and could only take 50 CDs with me. This was well before it was practical to rip and encode your entire music collection – it took over a day to rip one album and there weren’t as many automated tools to name the tracks for you.So there were a few years not having any money, and of reacquiring old music before I could really get into new stuff.

#8 Tom Waits – Nighthawks at the Diner

I was actually on a road trip and decided to pick up some new CDs because I was getting bored with the ten I’d brought with me. This was one of them (there were actually three Tom Waits discs, but this is the one I listened to first). I listened to it while driving late into the night. It’s kind of a perfect night-driving album.

Interesting note: Tom Waits was the first artist who’s songs I first heard by downloading them off the internet. This prompted me to buy just about every single album he ever released.

#9 Joni Mitchell – Clouds

Joni Mitchell is on the list of People I Should’ve Been Listening To For Ages. Before getting her CDs, I’d actually heard more covers of her songs than her actual versions of them. I got this album because I remembered Judy Collins’ cover of Both Sides, Now.

I do have quite a few Joni Mitchell albums, but I have to admit that the very heavy jazzy ones don’t really do it for me.

#10: David Bowie- Space Oddity

Ok, before anyone freaks out, yes I did say this is in chronological order. However, Bowie is one of those artists where I’d get one of his albums every 3-4 years. I got the first one when I was 16 or 17, and I’ve been getting more every few years, and I’ve only recently decided that, yes, I do actually have a considerable amount of his music. Which is interesting since I have absolutely ZERO interest in anything he did after 1977.

#11: Loreena McKennitt: … I’m not really sure.

Back in 1994 there was a TV show named Due South. It was a Canadian TV show, and regularly featured music by Canadian artists.

One episode featured this one sing that was just beautiful. And I had to wait well over a decade for the DVDs to be released, so that I could buy them and pause the credits to read that that song was called Prospero’s Speech and it was by an artist named Loreena McKennitt. Luckily we had Google by then so I could find that it was part of an album called The Mask and Mirror… which wasn’t available anywhere.

I ended up getting a boxed-set that contained four other albums, and I really don’t remember which ones they were or which one I listened to first, or when at some point all her other albums became available again, but when they were, I bought them, too.

Interesting note: Loreena McKennitt is, to this date, the only artist I’ve found who sells their music online in FLAC format (this is cool, trust me).

#12: Cat Power: The Greatest

One of the very few “I Heard A Review On The Radio” artists. And frankly it makes me a bit sad to talk about Cat Power. I absolutely loved her first six albums, which evolved form very low-key, almost lonely girl-and-guitar sound, to a somewhat more coherent sound with an actual band, but never anything really crowded. And there was always a… vulnerability in there.

One day I was listening to the radio and the DJ said “Up next, new music from Cat Power!” and I was really happy. Then they started playing it and I was “Uh… is that… a cover of Sinatra’s New York, New York??? And a pretty horrible one, at that?” and it kind of all went downhill from there.

#13: Nellie McKay: Get Away From Me

Nellie McKay is the anti-Cat Power. Heard her on the same radio station (where they toned her down a lot). Her musical style and voice also evolved, but she seems to be going in a direction that only improves and works even better for her. Her latest album is basically all covers – it’s a tribute to Doris Day, and it’s just so obvious that she should be doing that.

I think Nellie McKay is the artist I’ve seen live the most times. Which isn’t saying a whole lot for me, but hey.

#14: Leonard Cohen: Songs of Leonard Cohen

Yeah, I know, I should’ve been listening to Leonard Cohen for ages. And I do have vague recollections of hearing him on the radio in the 80s. And I heard a lot of his songs performed by other artists. One day I decided it’s about time I hear his actual music so I bought a whole chunk of his stuff. I really prefer the style of his early stuff.

#15: Fairport Convention: What We Did On Our Holidays

Yeah, I know, I should’ve been liste… wait, I already said that. Ok, honestly, I have NO IDEA how Fairport Convention slipped under my radar. Just no idea. Especially considering that Jethro Tull have been there forever. But hey, they’re here now.


* * *

Epilogue

I want to be clear that these aren’t all the bands/artists I listen to, nor all the ones I really like, nor all the ones I have a lot of albums. They’re just the top 15. Or the first 15 I could think of. Or something. And yeah, I will try to write longer entries about, well, fourteen of them, at least.

Concert Review: Anoushka Shankar

So I was sitting at a jazz club in Minneapolis watching Anoushka Shankar. Something about that is really kinda cool.

For those who have no idea who she is, Anoushka Shankar is Ravi Shankar’s daughter, and Nora Jones’ half-sister. Like her father, she is a virtuoso sitar player.

The sitar being one of the more insane musical instruments known to man. At first glance it seems like any other (really ancient) string instrument. In that it has strings, frets, tuning pegs and a resonance chamber. However, the resonance chamber is basically a hollow gourd, the frets are movable and there are over 20 strings. Most of them provide sympathetic resonance, and only a few (six or seven) are playable. Half of those are drone strings, and the rest are used for the melody. To top it off, there’s no standard tuning on the thing! They usually get tuned according to whatever piece is playing at the time.

Oh, and sitar pieces are usually 10-25 minutes long.

Being able to play the thing competently is an achievement in and of itself. Anoushka Shankar is one of (if not THE) best players in the world.

A few words about the venue before I go back to actually writing about the show.

The Dakota Jazz Club is an interesting concert venue. They usually feature, believe it or not, jazz acts. In recent years they’ve been expanding their horizons a bit, which is why I was able to see Nellie McKay (who is a BIT jazzy at times), Suzanne Vega (who’s not really jazz at all) and Judy Collins (a mainstay of folk) there over the past few years.

It’s basically a restaurant – during the show you get to sit at the restaurant tables/booths/bar, and the full menu is available. It’s a bit pricy and sadly very fish-heavy (though they’ve recently become accommodating to vegetarians). You can basically get dinner along with the show.

What I like most about it is that it’s not loud. I don’t know why concerts at ‘real’ venues, even small ones, tend to be so unbelievably loud. The Dakota is a very small place and they use the bare minimum of amplification. After all, it’d almost be possible to hear the music with NO amplification.

Being a small restaurant-ish place, you also get to sit pretty close to the action. We’ve gone to a couple of shows there where we literally had our feet on the stage.

They also seem to be pretty much OK with cameras. Most shows I’ve been to had people taking photos (with the flash on!) all night long. I hate being intrusive so I tend not to do that. Today I actually brought the REAL camera, which should be able to take decent photos without a flash (50mm f/1.4 lens, high ISO, this should be on the other blog).

And of course today they ask people to please not take photographs. I’d have tried to sneak some anyway, but it’s hard to be subtle with a huge camera. I did take one ‘photo’, and yeah, that’s it up in the corner. Great photo if you’re a ghost hunter.

Oh yeah, there was a concert in there somewhere, too.

The first thing you notice when Anoushka Shankar walks onto the stage is that she’s tiny. Really tiny. I had no idea. And sitars are HUGE, and played whilst sitting cross-legged (did I mention THAT up there?).

She had an ensemble of musicians playing other traditional Indian instruments. Two percussionists, a guy playing various flutes, and a guy playing a… uh. A drone instrument that’s very similar to a sitar (stop me if I’m getting too technical). They all got to feature their own solos (except for drone-guy) and were all amazingly talented musicians in their own right. The vocal percussion demonstration was especially impressive.

Anoushka was definitely headlining the thing, though. It’s always great to watch someone who’s just so good at something that they make it look easy, and this was no exception. Oh, another thing about the sitar, you play it while it’s basically facing away from you so you can’t actually see the strings or frets. Not that it really matters, since she had her eyes closed for a lot of it.

They played some of her own compositions, one of her father’s (though re-arranged by her), and a couple of traditional tunes.

One of her compositions was a collaboration she did with a flamenco pianist who’s name escapes me even though I was going to look him up when I got home. There was no piano in this show (The Dakota usually has a near-ubiquitous grand piano on stage, but sadly did not this time) so the composition was rearranged for the current group of instruments, and is apparently still evolving. It was very interesting to hear recognisable flamenco strands coming out of a sitar!

Another composition was a collaboration between Anoushka and the two percussionists. That was the one that had the vocal percussion. Vocal percussions is exactly what it sounds like, and yet it sounds nothing like you’d think. It was presented almost like a musical discussion between the two.

They played for a bit over an hour, and I think they only played five different pieces!

If you enjoy sitar music, or even if you’re not sure you do and are curious to find out, and this tour ends up anywhere near you, I highly recommend it. Or you can buy some of Anoushka Shankar’s CDs (her “Live At Carnegie Hall” album is my favourite). Or look her up on youtube!


Links:
Anoushka Shankar’s Official Website
The Dakota jazz Club’s website

Album Review: July Flame / Laura Veirs

Laura Veris’ latest album, “July Flame”, was released in January. I’d been meaning to check if she’d released a new album because I figured she was about due (in more ways than one, actually, she’s expecting her first child soon) but kept forgetting till a couple of weeks ago.

I figured I’d listen to it for a while before reviewing it, which I have now done.

And then realised that I actually haven’t got the faintest idea how to write an album review.

Most reviews I’ve read go into great detail comparing each track to every other piece of music ever written, speculating about influences, and labelling the hell out of everything (“This track is rockabilly with some ska influences and a slight degree of Cambodian Folk Music influence coupled with funkadelic chocolate frosting and a parrot.”)

I don’t have the ‘expertise’ to do that, and frankly I’m happy about that. So lets start over.

I discovered Laura Veirs back when I used to troll around music stores and get interesting looking CDs. I bought “Year of Meteros” because of the photo of her on the cover – she looks like a total nerd, and I loved it.

Laura Veirs’ music has been described as “folk rock”, “acoustic rock”, and the ubiquitous “indie” made even worse by adding a “pop” suffix. I don’t know why people are trying so hard. It’s rock, plain and simple, R-O-C-K rock. Sometimes it’s just a girl singing with an acoustic guitar, sometimes it’s electric guitars that can even get loudish, and drums, and everything else that, you know, what rock music is.

Most of the new album is pretty quiet. Not “acoustic” – there are clearly electric guitars and effects – just quiet, in a laid back, relaxed kind of way. This is really what Laura Veirs does best. Her voice lends itself to “relaxed”.

Speaking of her voice, it does seem occasionally more processed on this album. Not “auto-tune” processed – it’s still very much her voice. Just that vocal effects like compression and reverb and that thing where it almost sounds like you’re talking on a phone are more prominent on some tracks. There are also a lot more harmonies with the rest of the band, rather than just Laura Veirs singing on her own.

It doesn’t have any tracks that’ll take the place of my favourite Laura Veirs song, which is “Cast A Hook In Me”, from her previous album, Saltbreaker. That’s hardly a fair contest, though, since that’s just an excellent song and is one of my overall favourite tracks by anyone.

It does have some really good tracks, and is a very solid rock album, which is rare to see nowadays. No BS, no gimmicks, no shock-for-sock-value, no selling out (I’m looking at you, Liz Phair). Well worth the wait, and I hope that Laura Veirs doesn’t take too long to record a new album, new baby notwithstanding.

Oh, when I bought her album off her website, it arrived with a hand-written Thank You note. Take that, major labels!


Some links:
Laura Veirs Official Website, where you can buy her albums and get free tracks from July Flame.
“Cast A Hook In Me” video on YouTube.
Interview with Laura Veirs (and her band) talking about the new album. Amongst other things.

Meet the newest addition to our family

Yup, we got a ukulele. K has always wanted one and I’m not one to say no to getting another musical instrument.

While we were trying them out, someone at the store asked us if we play the ukulele. I said “No, why would we want to get an instrument we already know how to play?”

I think I should get a T-Shirt that says “That was rhetorical.

My First CD

TThe first CD I ever bought, which was Rubber Soul by The Beatles.

This wasn’t the first album I bought. The first album I bought was a cassette! by the time we started switching to CDs I had quite a collection of vinyl albums, too. Well, quite a collection for a 16-year-old at the time – I think I had about 15 of them.

And I sold every single one of them in order to be able to afford that ONE CD.

Which, incidentally, is juuuust above 35 minutes long. I sold 15 albums (at least one of which was a double album) for 35 minutes of music. Luckily, 35 minutes of the best music ever recorded (ok, maybe 33 minutes. I really can’t stand the last track, The Beatles’ Abusive Relationship Songs would be a totally different topic).

It makes more sense when you know that both our record players broke about the same time and my mom decided to just go ahead and get a CD player.

CDs cost a fortune back then (imagine paying $50 for an album!) so it was quite some time until I got another CD. Luckily I really liked this one!

Why I Still Buy CDs

Yup. I still buy CDs. I have several hundred of them, and I have no plans to stop anytime soon. Since this seems to be rare nowadays, I thought I’d explain why.

Before I start, though, I have to mention that, yes, there are some advantages to buying music online. Being able to select tracks, for one. Albums might end up cheaper. You can always download album art and lyrics (plus album art really hasn’t been the same since we moved away from vinyl).

  1. Stealing Doesn’t Count
  2. Figured I’d put this one right up at the beginning. Yes, we all know you can download whatever you want online, but contrary to popular belief, that’s still wrong.

    Now I’m not morally opposed to a… shall we say, try-before-you-buy kind of experience. Download some music, but if you like it, you really should buy it.

  3. It’s A Physical Object
  4. I can hold a CD. I can pick it up, move it around, put it on a shelf, or put it in a box in the attic. Which is what I actually do. The music gets copied to the computer, then the CDs get put in a box in the attic. More on why that makes sense later.

  5. DRM
  6. Yeah, you can buy DRM-free music online, but it’s still not ubiquitous.

  7. Freedom
  8. Say you buy a track in iTunes. It’s not really super easy to ditch iTunes and go somewhere else. Yes, there are other online music stores, but lets face it, iTunes is pretty much the top dog.

    When I buy music, I want to be able to listen to it in my living room, in my car, in the gym, while walking the dog, while kayaking, wherever. I want it on the CD, on CD-Rs, on my media center computer, on my MP3 player, on a USB thumbdrive, on my cellphone, etc. I want to be able to copy and move my music around to wherever I want. I don’t want any restrictions.

  9. Lossy vs Loseless
  10. I mentioned earlier that I copy all the music from my CDs to the computer. Lossy compression is the reason that makes sense. It’s also the most nerdy.

    Raw data on a CD takes up a large amount of disk space. An MP3 file (or a WMV file, or an AAC file, or an OGG file) is a compressed version of this file, and so it takes much less space (on the order of a 90% less space). The compression scheme these files use is what is called “Lossy” compression – which means that the content actually CHANGES. If you uncompress an MP3, you don’t get the original track. You lose some data, and therefore quality.

    Compare this with loseless compression, like you’d get with a ZIP file. When you uncompress a ZIP file, you get the exact same file (or files) back.

    There are loseless compression formats available for music. FLAC is the most popular one nowadays. The data in a FLAC file is exactly identical to the original music track. The downside is that these files are much larger than an MP3 file (about 50% smaller than the original track rather than 90% smaller).

    The value in this is that, with loseless compression, you have a 100% complete copy of your CD. You can always uncompress it and burn it back to a disc with no data or quality loss.

    Data formats tend to change over time. MP3 may be ruling the roost today, but there are other, superior formats. Perhaps some day we’ll want all our music files in a different format, for whatever reason. You can uncompress your MP3 files and recompress them in the new format, but doing so definitely results in data loss. Not so with loseless algorithms like FLAC – you can recompress your music into whatever format you like, as many times as you like, with no data loss at all.

    I’ve seen albums for sale in FLAC format online, but the prices have been exactly the same as a CD!

  11. SACD
  12. I’m only half-serious about this one, but there are other music formats available on CDs, or CD-like media. SACD and DVD-A both provide much higher sound quality, and (optionally) full 5.1-channel surround sound, as opposed to CDs plain-old-2-channel stereo.

    I’ll have to write more about those some other time.

It's Just Not Working Out: Neko Case

Have you ever met someone new and really, really wanted to like them, but you just can’t?

That happens to me with music sometimes. Neko Case is a good example.

I’ve heard of Neko Case a good while ago, of course, but never actually heard her music, since I don’t really get exposed to new (as in recent) music very often. A few months ago, I heard her on Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! which is not a music-related show, but it sparked my interest.

They did play a snippet of her music, so I did get to hear that she has an amazing voice and is obviously very talented. Even more important, she was a smartass. And not only was she a smartass, she was the same kind of smartass I am! And she’s, uh. A redhead. So what’s not to like?

So I went and got a couple of her albums. Yes, I actually buy CDs when I find someone interesting enough. Yes, physical CDs. I got Fox Confessor Brings the Flood and her latest album, Middle Cyclone.

Neko Case’s music has been described as… well, about a thousand different ways, most of which involve the words “Alternative”, “Fusion” and “Indie”, which technically mean “we have no idea”.

Now I’m not saying I have a better description, but sadly I just can’t really get into it. Despite the voice and talent, I just can’t get into it.

She does have some good tunes that I do like. Although off the top of my head I can only think of one (Margaret Vs Pauline, which is strangely the first track I listened to!). Most of them, though… I just have to hit Skip a minute or two into them.

I’m sorry, Neko. It’s not you, it’s me. I think you’re crazy talented, but we’re just not right for each other. I’ll put your CDs in the same box as Indigo Girls, Patty Griffin and Jorge Drexler. And I’ll keep an eye (and ear) out for your next albums, because I’ll be happy to give this another change… some day.

The Who's On First

Roger Daltrey is the frontman for The Who.

Pete Townshend is the guitar player for The Who.

I’m writing this down because normally I can only keep one of their names in my head at the time and drive myself nuts trying to remember the other guy’s name.

Strangely I have no problems remembering John Entwistle and Keith Moon. Although I DO occasionally confuse them with John Paul Jones and John Bonham.