One of my favorite new artists from the past couple of years is Nicole Atkins who, both with and without her band, The Sea played several sets at SXSW over the past couple of years and who I’ve seen live 4 or 5 times in the same time span. Her song “The Way It Is” gives me shivers every time I hear it. The first time I heard her excellent debut CD (which I wrote about back in November of 2007) I compared the sound to long time David Lynch collaborator, Angelo Badalamenti and what do you think I saw when I just perused Nicole’s Wikipedia entry?
“Atkins also feels a kinship with Angelo Badalamenti, who has scored many of Lynch’s films. She once emailed an mp3 of “The Way It Is” to Badalamenti, who is said to have replied, “I think our Sicilian great-great-great-grandparents must have laid down on a picnic blanket in the park and done something together, if you know what I mean.” Atkins subsequently received an invitation to Badalamenti’s home in Morristown, New Jersey to talk music.”
All I have to say to that is “Ha!” At any rate, I saw Nicole at SXSW 2008 and it was a typically fantastic set and she was wearing an absolutely stunning dress. See?
More pix on my Flickr stream, here.
And Then There’s The Music…
After 5 days of Film and Interactive screenings, panels and assorted mischief, there’s music. Last year my feet hurt so badly I could barely walk in the mornings. I was under the impression that it was simply a matter of me being too old to pogo (mosh, skank, slam) but it turned out to be Plantar Fasciitis, which has now gone, so this year, I’m in the pit! (Yeah….right.)
The latest big news to come out of the SXSW camp? R.E.M., baby! They will be playing in support of their upcoming album Accelerate which, as its name implies, is apparently chock full of rock-pop goodness. That alone should be a reason to do the Snoopy Happy Dance for R.E.M. fans who are less than thrilled with their recent “adult contemporary” sound, but wait! There’s more:
Also confirmed this year:
Continue reading SXSW 08: A Little Music Preview
To some of my friends, people like Matt Dentler, I can be a little behind the curve, music-wise. Of course he works at possibly the best place on the planet to get the jump on new music, so I don’t feel too bad about that. Then there’s my nephew Michael who used to be one of the people I looked to, to learn about new music, but he went and got himself a “real” job and now he doesn’t have enough time to follow these scene as closely as he used to, so now I tell HIM about new tunes. That said, for the great number of people out there, I am still what you might call “ahead of the curve” when it comes to new tunage, so without further ado, here’s a pair of new CD’s that actually have more in common than one might think, while being decidedly individual, too.
Nicole Atkins & The Sea – “Neptune City”
Oh lord. I have to say that not since Antony & The Johnsons have I been bowled over by such a voice and such a debut CD and to think it’s all because of an email from concert promoters Live Nation. Seriously. I got the email, looked at the picture of Ms. Atkins and thought My god, she’s hot. (Yes, sometimes I’m that shallow.) Then I went to her MySpace page and heard “Party’s Over,” “Maybe Tonight” and “Brooklyn’s On Fire” and I was completely hooked.
The best thing about this CD? As fantastic as those tunes are, they aren’t the best on the disc. That honor belongs to broken heart ballad extraordinaire “The Way It Is.” Opening with a sensuous mix of breathy vocals, bass, strings and guitar, it evokes mid-90’s Siouxsie sharing a martini and a good cry with Angelo Badalamenti, but not without a healthy dose of self-respect. For 2 verses it slinks along, threatening menace and then Atkins’ voice opens up and the heavens are laid bare. Maybe I’m a little biased (genders reversed, this song is eerily appropriate to my current state of mine, in parts) but I’d like to think I can still recognize a special song when I hear one, personal emotions aside.
And in my ears, my blood is just roaring,
’cause he’s the only one I’ve ever wanted.
I suppose that’s just the way, it is.
This song shivers my timbers more than any in a LONG time.
Continue reading Nicole Atkins & Siouxsie Sioux – Two CD’s You Should Buy…Now