Here's some of what's been filling my ears this week:
Barenaked for the Holidays - The Barenaked Ladies
If you're looking for an alternative to the same old Christmas carols (and by December 24th, who isn't -- they've been playing in the stores since Halloween), give a listen to this little gem from BNL.Delivered with tongues firmly in cheek, you may never look at Christmas (or Hanukkah) Carols the same way again. (Their rendition of "Deck the Halls" using only the words "Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young" as lyrics is not to be missed.) In addition to re-interpretations of old classics, there are a few original holiday tunes delivered with BNL's trademark acerbic wit and clever musicality. This album is not just for Barenaked Ladies fans. It's a nice way to unwind after a hard day of slugging it out with soccer moms for the last TMX Elmo doll.
Foiled - Blue October
My old schoolmate Erek's older sister. (Big sigh.) I had such a crush on her. I auditioned for my first school play because I knew she was going to be there. (Yep. She's the one you can all blame.) I used to spend hours and hours hanging out at Erek's house just on the off chance that Maija might be there or come home at any moment. It was at Erek's house that this old country boy was turned on to the music of the Psychedelic Furs and the Cure, among others. The British underground new wave sound of the 80's became indelibly associated for me with the Gillespie household as well as the brunette Finnish goddess, Maija. In fact, I even went on a road trip with Erek, Maija, and a few others to see the Cure in concert at Fiddler's Green (when it was still called Fiddler's Green. Thanks for stomping on my adolescence, Pete Coors!).
So what does one of my schoolboy crushes have to do with an album that was released just this year? Well, like many people who purchased this CD, I picked it up on the strength of the single "Hate Me." As is often the case, the single that gets the most radio play is the one song that is most different from all of the other songs on the album. (Did anybody else pick up the Finger Eleven album a couple years ago because of "One Thing"?) That's not necessarily the case with Foiled. Justin Furstenfeld's gravelly, angst-ridden vocals are a signature part of this band's sound, and, if you like "Hate Me," you will probably like the rest of this album. For me, though, the overall feel of this album evoked one particular memory.
Kind of Blue - Miles Davis
I am not going to review this album. If you have it in your collection, then you already know. If you don't, go buy it. Now. Don't make me smack you, piggy.