I just want to throw a quick "shout out" to Denver DJ, Robbie Knight, who is, in her own words, a frequent reader of my blog. Thanks for logging on, Robbie. She can be heard on radio station KQMT, "The Mountain" at 99.5 on the FM dial (one of my personal favorites). Robbie also has her own page over at the Mountain's website.
Here's some of the music playing in my ears this week (and recently loaded onto my new iPod):
The Barenaked Ladies - Are Men
This is a very nice album for fans of the Barenaked Ladies (of which I am one). The ironic wit and clever lyrics that fans have come to expect from the guys is there, as are the hummable melodies. The instrumentation and vocals are as tight as ever. Unfortunately, this is no Born on a Pirate Ship, but maybe it doesn't have to be. Is it necessary that every album in a band's portfolio out-do the one previous? The record labels would say yes, but we as music fans don't necessarily have to do the same. This album doesn't set the world on fire, but it's still pretty good. One particular highlight: the Bush administration is taken to task in the scathing, "Fun & Games" as only BNL can do.
The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
When a band from Portland, Oregon adopts a name that references the 1825 Russian revolt in St. Petersburg, you can bet that this isn't going to be your average indie rock band.
The subject matter is very literate. Three of the songs are inspired by a Japanese (if I remember correctly) folk tale about a poor man who rescues an injured crane, nurses it back to health, and sets it free. The next day, a woman arrives at his door. They fall in love and marry. She tells him that she can make him rich by weaving silk, but he must promise never to watch her while she weaves.
As the man becomes richer and richer, he becomes greedier and greedier, wanting his wife to weave more and more silk. He doesn't notice that her health is decreasing rapidly. One day, he can't help himself, and he goes to her weaving room and opens the door. There he sees a crane at the loom, plucking feathers from it's skin and weaving them into silk. The crane sees him and flies out the window never to return.
Another song, "Yankee Bayonet" is a sad and beautiful duet about a Union soldier and his love back home.
Musically, this is the best Irish rock/pop band I've ever heard that isn't actually from Ireland. I really love this album, and I highly recommend it.