Friday, June 26, 2009

R.I.P. MICHAEL.

Well, regina spektor's Far is now the top selling non-Michael Jackson album on iTunes. Jackson now occuppies 7 of the top 10 spots on iTunes album sales.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

MAYBE I SHOULDN'T ADMIT THIS...

I probably could have been more discreet, but I was busted on the highway today singing the dolphin bark part of Folding Chair by a perplexed-looking passing driver.

ROLLING STONE SEES FAR

Rolling Stone
gives Far 4 stars.
The Russian-born Lower East Side piano punk has the European yelp of Bj√∂rk, the loopiness of Fiona Apple, the too-much-information torridness of Tori Amos and the slanted critical eye of Liz Phair. But none of those girls ever interrupted a song about long-term commitment to uncork a flurry of dolphin noises, as Spektor does on "Folding Chair," one of the stranger — and catchier — moments on her excellent third major-label record.
Los Angeles Times (3 1/2 stars)

And for those you who want the physical version of the CD, but still want the bonus tracks, you can buy them individually from iTunes. This is what I hoped (and should be able to do) with Let It Roll...

Monday, June 22, 2009

REVIEW: FAR





































Whether Regina Spektor is your cup of tea or not, the fact of the matter is Far could be one of the biggest success stories of the year... at least it should be. And a guy whose music we’ve been following for decades is right in the thick of it.

Her songs are sometimes kitschy, sometimes funny and in a few instances on Far, quite thought provoking. And it’s all done outside the parameters of the traditional “verse/chorus/verse/chorus/solo/chorus/end or fade” song structure.

This is one of those CDs where having the lyrics to follow along helps a lot. What struck me the most, though, is how Jeff’s producing rises and fades and rolls through the emotions with her lyrics more than I think I’ve ever heard him do before. I hoped Regina Spektor’s quirky and Jeff Lynne’s trippy/moody would make for a good match. It did.

Blue Lips – after a month, this is still one of the most spectacular recordings I’ve heard in ages. It just absolutely soars.
Folding Chair – I can directly relate the lyrics of this song to someone I know. That just makes this song 10 times more fun to listen to. That, and the dolphin bark.
Genius Next Door –Just like Jeff Lynne productions that run 3 minutes or less, there’s not a wasted second. Such a haunting mood… and from what I’m reading, a heavy fan favorite.
Wallet – Classic example of how specific her lyrics can be. When it dawns on her that she can take the wallet to the local Blockbuster and the music rises in intensity as she sings it?? I mean, that’s great record making.
The Sword and The Pen- When you peel away the advant garde nature of this track, you’ll actually find a very sensibly composed track just like the others. It's a grower.

Outside of the Jeff Lynne tracks,:
The Calculation –Perfect lead-off track. It makes me dance from room to room with the iPod on. Laughing With – outstanding recording
Human of the Year - that dramatic silence after the huge build up?? Stop your heart staggering.
One More Time With Feeling – still dancing with the iPod on.

Of course, some songs hit you better than others, some may come across too quirky or too cute. But overall, I’m totally gushing over it. All of it. Are Regina Spektor’s songs for everyone?? Of course not. But if any of them do grab you, be forewarned that it’ll probably be a while before it lets go.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

REGINA INTERVIEW

Posted to ELO Forever Message Boards:

FAR AND WIDE

Regina Spektor's Far is the Featured Album of the Week at WXPN, which those of you who have heard of Live at the World Cafe already know it's a great kickoff for a new album. WXPN is probably the biggest and best college (member supported) radio station in the country based out of the University of Pennsylvania and they have a huge following. Far will get heavy airplay, especially this week.

And even more exciting, there's an excellent article about Regina Spektor in the New York Times with a few new quotes from Jeff... sent via e-mail. :-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

MORE HARRISON TO ROLL OUT?

UPDATE (July 2): Lynn Hoskins from Showdown, The Official ELO Mailing List has an official response to these reports and revealed it to the Beatles News Briefs at the Examiner.com...

"At some point, someday, Jeff may get involved. As of now, there is no schedule and there are no plans."

Original Post:

If reports are true, including this one from the NYC-based The Improper, there will some new George Harrison material with Jeff Lynne and Dhani Harrison at the helm again. Contactmusic.com is going a step further saying that Jeff Lynne has basically agreed to do it.

Olivia Harrison has been doing the rounds on behalf of Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison and has been mentioning that George has a lot of unfinished material, some songs more completed than others.

That would be great news, but you know what? I have a bone to pick with the Harrison camp/record company. On top of the anger so many Harrison fans feel about Let It Roll, whether founded or not, the buyers of the physical CD now to contend with the fact they have to buy Let It Roll again to get it's digital only bonus track. I wish they would learn how to market in the digital age better.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF FAR

I'm actually waiting to write more about this until I get a CD... the stream quality is masking a lot of sounds.

Having said that, she has got to get high marks for this record.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

REVIEW: LET IT ROLL

As an ELO fan who has seen dozens of compilation CDs come and go over the years, I found it rather amusing to watch George Harrison fans completely blow a gasket over Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison. Nevermind the track list, they wanted 2CDs.

I feel their pain. Really I do. Then again, it didn't take ELO until 2009 to get a career-spanning collection either.

But here we are at last. 19 songs with practically no pause in between the tracks whatsoever. Frankly I don't think there was room for it. All the hits the masses remembered are here: My Sweet Lord, Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth), What Is Life, Got My Mind Set On You and Blow Away, which was a radio staple when I was growing up... at least the radio station playing in my house at the time.

It struck fear into my heart when I read the live tracks were cross-faded with their neighboring tracks, two of them rarities. Turns out, not so bad. When We Was Fab (again not crediting Jeff Lynne as a co-writer) suffered the worst, but it works anyway. The lone Jeff Lynne-produced rarity Cheer Down sounds hugely improved, by the way.

So, what's the problem?? Well, three of his albums were completely shut out of this collection. Two of them are still awaiting the remastered treatment. I thought Crackerbox Palace would make a good way to shake up the track list's steady pop/rock flavor.

But folks, we're in the era of the iPod and/or digital playlist now. I've long thought that while having a good comp CD (or two) for the masses is essential, having the original songs in their original context (ie their original albums) should be a bigger priority. And in this new age of buying music piecemeal, it's easy to make a playlist with your favorite hits and select album tracks. Better comp CDs and remasters would offer unreleased session material, but let's not split hairs for this one. I wasn't expecting it on this. Bonus material on Harrison releases, in general, has been skimpy at best.

In the end, the songs sound great. It's a good CD to have handy in the car. And using this CD as a guideline, I'll build a George Harrison playlist that'll keep me happy for a while.

By the way, there's also chatter that there will be a George Harrison demo as a bonus track for the digital download edition of Let It Roll...

UPDATE: The bonus track is a demo of Isn't It A Pity... immediately following the full 7 minute version.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

PREVIEW

Samples from all 15 tracks from Regina Spektor's Far Special Edition are available to hear on Amazon.

I'm still deciding whether I'm gonna hold off until release day...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ROLLING STONE ENDORSES

In the June 11, 2009 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Regina Spektor's Blue Lips is on the weekly Hot List.

Quirky New York piano chick teams up with ELO/Wilbury mastermind Jeff Lynne. Heads up to sensative-type dudes: This is like Spanish fly for your Dave Eggers-loving S.O.

Wow.

(Hat tip: Dave)

Monday, June 8, 2009

FACING REGINA

FTM has a nice layout with pictures and the complete credits for the Jeff Lynne-produced tracks on Regina Spektor's Far. The Sword and The Pen is the fifth track they've worked on together and is included on the Far Special Edition and digital download.

Far is out two weeks from tomorrow... and the Laughing With EP (mentioned below this post) with Folding Chair is released tomorrow.

Friday, June 5, 2009

FAR BACK



Here's a look at Far's back side as we're now less than 3 weeks away from release day.




On Tuesday June 9, there will be a Laughing With EP for sale at indie record shops around the US.

Track list:
  • Laughing With
  • Folding Chair (produced by Jeff Lynne)
  • The Call
  • The Noise (live)
If you like what you hear so far, and you're able to, buy the CD and support the artist!! OK, enough preaching.

Monday, June 1, 2009

FOLDING CHAIR - LYRICS

Come and open up your folding chair next to me
My feet are buried in the sand and there’s a breeze
There’s a shadow, you can’t see my eyes
And the sea is just a wetter version of the skies

Let’s get a silver bullet trailer and have a baby boy
I’ll safety-pin his clothes all cool and you’ll grafitti up his toys
I’ve got a perfect body, though sometimes I forget
I’ve got a perfect body cause my eyelashes catch my sweat
Yes, they do, they do…

Now i’ve been sitting on this abandoned beach for years
Waiting for the salty water to cover up my ears
But every time the tide come in to take me home
I get scared, and I’m sitting here alone
Dreaming of the dolphin song…

Maybe one day you will understand
I don’t want nothing from you but to sweetly hold your hand
Till that day just please don’t be so down
Don’t make frowns, you silly clown

Just come and open up your folding chair next to me
My feet are buried in the sand and there’s a breeze
There’s a shadow, you can’t see my eyes
And the sea is just a wetter version of the skies

There’s a shadow, you can’t see my eyes…
There’s a shadow, you can’t see my eyes…

UNFOLDING FOLDING CHAIR

What is he hitting? Or is that clapping...??

This is going to cause critics to pull their hair out in clumps.

I think it's refreshing to hear him produce this way.

Her dolphin bark is hilarious.

NOW STREAMING - FOLDING CHAIR

Regina Spektor's Far continues to trickle out. Now, the Jeff Lynne-produced Folding Chair is streaming on Regina's MySpace page. Thoughts on that as well as soon I give it a few listens.