Saturday, March 20th, 2004

Whip Smart

I cashed in one of my frequent buyer cards at a local used CD shop on the Nellie McKay album Get Away From Me, mostly sound unheard, based on the press/hype around her. After all – what’s a free bonus CD for if not taking a chance? Well it was a good decision on my part – this is remarkable record. Okay, maybe it’s not the album that’s quite as remarkable as the artist. It’s already been said to death, but is worth repeating – it’s amazing this girl is only 19 years old. Only the liberal amount of pop culture references gives tell to where she’s coming from, generationally-speaking – otherwise her showtune-y jazz/pop tunes sound timeless and the songcraft – both performace and lyrics – is really remarkable. Let me be clear – I’m not offering praise in a patronizing, “wow this is good… FOR A KID” sort of way. I’m saying “Wow this is good… FOR ANYONE”. That she’s still a teenager just adds to the mind-bogglingliness of it all.

And furthermore, this girl is smart – from the wit that’s apparent in her lyrics, you get the feeling she’s like that scary-brilliant girl in high school who seemed to be operating at a level so far removed than everyone else that it was impossible to even talk to so you didn’t even bother. While musically this record occupies a space quite separate from what I usually listen to, I can see myself really getting into this. There’s an energy, verve and sass here that’s really rare. As I said before, it’s a good thing that I’m missing her Toronto debut at the El Mocambo next Thursday for a sure thing (Ted Leo), because I get the feeling that her live shows are a riotous good time. In addition to the official site linked above, there’s a fan site here that has a number of live and demo mp3s available for your listening pleasure.

Hmm, I seem to have had a real red-heavy photo thing going on the last few days.

Sarah Harmer’s new single “Almost” is doing better at American MOR radio stations than in Canada. It’s probably a sure sign of aging that I’ve been spending so much time championing the new queen of adult contemporary radio formats.

And speaking of feeling old… another of my university friends had his first child this past week. Congratulations to Jeff and Kim on the birth of Marly Catharina Ellen. What a great name.

np – Songs: Ohia / The Magnolia Electric Co.

By : Frank Yang at 9:44 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. [Juan] says:

    I’m here to testify that her performances are a "riotous good time" and more! I love her onstage wacky banter