Sunday, February 26, 2006


An interesting article on Broken Social Scene in particular and a larger issue in general in today's NYT magazine. I read it in light of the minor fuss I've heard regarding some comments made by US athletes - or in connection to US athletes - at the Olympics I've not watched, comments to the effect that competing is enough, winning is a bonus. The spirit of the Olympics and all. Wags in the sports sections have been bemoaning the lack of emphasis on winning - one complained that his six year old son got a trophy just for competing, and in the son's t-ball league they didn't even keep score (though the parents did in their heads). And now here is a band and a music scene who seem more interested in collaboration than competition, community than individuality. Something is going on, culturally, an emerging pushback, if yet only on the scale of reexamining ambition in the grids of global capitalism and, perhaps, the shadow of a certain country's bumbling and bloody failures at global dominance. S'worth watching.

Music from:

William Orbit

Tom Vek

Mary Timony

The dBs

Teenage Fanclub

Mirah (do try this one if you only try one)

A friend mailed me and asked me for my opinion about my reaction to Fiona Apple's latest album and for suggestions on similar artists. I confessed to not particularly caring for Apple's earlier works and, because of that, not having sought out the new one. I then went to, a service that allows you to build "radio stations" based on a particular artist; it then will play that artist and other artists that pandora's listeners have identified as similar. The listener is asked for her opinion for each song that is played - yes, this should be on this "station," no, this song shouldn't. I created a Fiona Apple "station" and heard about four songs from the new and earlier albums (and haven't changed my mind about Apple's music - it's not awful, it just doesn't move me) and six cuts from bands/artists I'd never heard. One song, by a band called Arkade was interesting.

But his question got me thinking about Jane Siberry, who I used to listen to always, who put out a stretch of albums - The Speckless Sky, Bound by the Beauty, The Walking, and the exceptional When I Was a Boy - that I think (thought?) brilliant. I saw her band at Goucher College in Towson for The Walking tour, saw her solo at Gaston Hall at Georgetown University for the When I Was a Boy show (and how cool to walk 200 yards from my desk to a concert), two of the best concerts I've ever attended. (Gaston Hall is on the top floor of Healy, the oldest building on campus, and feels like a medieval church - Siberry singing, just her and her guitar, "Calling All Angels," was goosebumpingly magnificent.)

If you click on the radio link you can hear samples of some of Siberry's songs as well as other artists on her Sheeba label. Me, I'm heading to my stacks to find the old plastic. More on Siberry, including the choices she's made in her art since When I Was a Boy, later.


Anonymous Paula Temple said...

I was at that show at Kraschauer at Towson too. Thanks for that memory.

Siberry has moved so far from the music of hers that I love it makes me wonder if she never cared for it in the first place. I hope it's just her eccentricity.

5:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home