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Archive for the ‘New Wave music’ Category

There aren’t too many Joni Mitchell covers I really love — even Tori’s “A Case of You” (or KD Lang’s, for that matter) doesn’t quite cut it for me.  But I really love Austra’s version of “Woodstock.”  Joni’s music is pretty untouchable — it’s on a plane higher, more evolved musically and lyrically than most people can hope for either from themselves as musicians or as listeners.  But somehow the level of emotion and awe and earnestness in Austra’s cover is totally right-on.  So different from the original, yet totally capturing the essence of what the song is all about — hope, revolution, peace, transformation, epiphany of and through a new way of looking at life.  Katie Stelmanis of Austra and Joni are both Canadians, for what it’s worth.

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Unfortunately, I can’t stand WNYC’s John Schaefer, BUT to his credit, he has introduced me to a small handful of incredibly awesome bands, including this one, Austra.  Austra is lead by Canadian singer/pianist/musician, Katie Stelmanis.  The group is sort of 80s New Wave meets 2012.  I could cite a band or two that I think fall into a vaguely similar category, but I’m trying not to do that these days, because I feel like it pigeon-holes bands.  The music I love is generally one or both of the following: extremely emotionally charged (think: Tori Amos, Nine Inch Nails, the Cure) or other-wordly (think: Kate Bush, David Bowie, Stevie Nicks, Florence +the Machine), and I think Austra falls somewhere in the middle of these two.  Visually, they’re a bit eccentric (I mean, what is with those pretty twins dancing on the sidelines anyway???), but the whole presentation enhances their uniqueness.  The girl drummer with the deadpan look and the glasses?  Awesomeness.  The music is atmospheric, moody, usually thick in texture, and just beautiful all around.  Oh, and danceable.  🙂  A friend or two has tried to introduce me to some current bands that are popular these days with people with tastes similar to mine: Interpol and Band of Horses, for example.  BOR-ING.  Austra is NOT boring.  Their sounds make for great running music, and they remind me what music can be — powerful, emotional, visceral, imaginative.  Austra is great.  Check them out.  “Darken Her Horse,” by the way, starts very slowly — almost like a religious chant for the two minutes or so — and then it kicks into full New Wave glory!  Enjoy.

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Natasha Khan (AKA Bat for Lashes)

Thanks to my friend & fellow-musician (and Tori fan, I might add) Jodelle, I discovered Bat For Lashes about 10 days ago, and have been pretty much listening non-stop.  I bought both her (Natasha Khan, AKA Bat for Lashes) records, “Fur and Gold” and “Two Suns,” plus a live recording which includes some tunes off both records.

To me and my taste, BFL is the perfect combination of many influences mixed with Natasha Khan’s general uniqueness.  She probably gets really tired of these comparisons, but a lot of her stuff sounds like a combination of Kate Bush (esp. Hounds of Love), 80s New Wave music (particularly on Two Suns), a tiny bit of Tori here and there, Dead Can Dance, Bjork (although I shudder at how “cool” Bjork has become particularly in artsy-fartsy jazzy scenes…yuck, sorry…yuck…too trendy for my taste…not “yuck” to Bjork herself, but I mean, the Bjorkestra?  Wtf?  It’s just a bunch of jazz musicians who – had they known me in middle school — would have thought I was a total weirdo because I listened to the Sugarcubes not to mention other uh, “alternative” bands.  And now it’s suddenly the super cool thing to do to be into her?  Sorry, maybe this is not fair to say).  I digress.  But really, at the end of the day, BFL is so eclectic and original…just too exciting!  Some of it is danceable, much of it super moody & atmospheric, lyrically filled with mythical imagery (‘a knight in crystal armor’ and ‘we saw the queen in the sky’, etc.)…GORGEOUS, imo.  Her music really takes me on a mental and visceral trip…it’s great to daydream to, it’s great to work out to, it’s great to relax to, get dressed up to go out to, etc., etc.  So many beautiful elements!  And serious tribal percussion going on on Two Suns!  Special thanks to Jodelle (whose music is fabulous, I might add) for introducing me to this incredible music.  http://www.batforlashes.com/

And Natasha Khan has the best fashion of just about anyone I’ve ever seen…maybe since Tori’s 2001 Strange Little Girls tour or 2005 Original Sinsuality tour.  Those were the best fashion-wise.  Natasha rules!  Happy listening…and viewing…

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Natasha Khan (AKA Bat for Lashes)

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