After many months I'm happy to introduce the new look and feel of SomethingGlorious. This blog has been a labor of love in its continual evolution. This new design is the culmination of hard work on the part of a couple of people who I owe a lot of thanks to, namely Dru Jennet, who cleverly crafted the look and feel, and Aaron Bailey, who pulled the whole back end together.
I hope you enjoy this new site as much as I do and continue to discover the things that I love.
What is it with Scandinavia producing such amazing groundbreaking artists? Annie. Jose Gonzalez. Sondre Lerche. Royksopp. Kings of Convenience. um, Abba.
Now comes another singer that has been blowing my mind since I got his CD a few weeks ago: Kristoffer Ragnstam. Not only does he fit the bill of hot rocker (well, 'cause he's really good looking), but he produced a CD of some of the most refreshing new music I've heard in a long time. His story is an interesting one:
When Kristoffer decided he wanted to make music, he didn't know how to play any instruments so he taught himself to play drums. And why did he learn music? To get chicks. He not only learned to play drums, he studied how they were built so he could add his own enhancements and eventually started building drum kits in the basement.
Eventually he got into sampling and using sequencers after being introduced to hip-hop by a couple of Americans. And thank god he did because it's been a fantastic influence on his music. At first listen, it was hard to peg any comparisons. But after checking him out more, it was even harder. This is one of the first CDs to play with mixing rocky rhythms with drums and other funky sounds since Beck put out Odelay.
Ragnstam's playful music is long overdue. It's time for a good party album and this is it. There's no messing around here trying to impress anybody. He seems to be making music for himself because he likes doing it, not necessarily to sell millions of records on the strength of one single. And that's due to the fact that almost the entire album is lovable.
From the melancholy intro that seamlessly bumps up against "Breakfast By the Matress," a gleeful opening track that sets the pace for the rest of the album's no-holds-barred, relationship-fueled 13 tracks. Is Rangstam trying to win us over with his punky drumming and flirtatious, breathy vocals? Or kick start the party with the electro-tinged '80s rhythms? Perhaps he wants his listeners to groove to the soulful, walk-through-the-park hooks of "Lonely Lane," a song right out of the '70s love era. Every track on the album stands out on its own merit and the path from start to finish is a rollercoaster of good times with surprises at every turn. The biggest surprise is just how good this CD is.
This debut, which was set to hit the U.S. in September is now pushed back (foolishly) to February. Ragnstam is currently scheduled to tour the States in November, at which time he'll have recorded a short EP of newer material (newer compared to everything else people here have heard?!). It looks like Europeans and the Japanese are going to treasure him first since he's playing shows in both places before coming here. While you wait to get your fill, have a fix and listen to his music.
You won't be disappointed. Trust.
Check out some mp3s:
A friend just turned me on to emerging NYC band Elizabeth & the Catapult. He said he wasn't sure if I'd like it because it was "too jazzy," which I'm not sure what that means, but the moment I heard the funkiness of this Greenwich Village-raised chanteuse I wanted more. It's a playful blend of jazz and pop with layered strings and tight, plinky guitar. Her voice is another thing -- sexy, poised, mature and ageless. Even though there's only two songs on her MySpace page, I know I want more. I mean, when someone says they're influenced by Joni Mitchell, the Beatles, Elliott Smith and Ella Fitzgerald and sounds like "birthday cake," how wrong can it be? Elizabeth has drawn comparisons to Fiona Apple, but personally I think she's better.
check out Elizabeth & the Catapult MP3s.
Jill Cunniff, former frontwoman for all-female downtown hipsters Luscious Jackson, has her first solo album, City Beach, coming out in October. I just came across some MP3s on MySpace and have mixed feelings. The first two songs are ok; they're a little light and wispy and I was expecting a little more punch, which kind of came with the third track, "NYC Boy." With its computer enhancements, sampling, horns and Jill's breathy vocals, it reminds me a lot of Luscious Jackson, which broke up back in, what, 1999?! Maybe that's why I like it. I'll have to wait to hear more music to make a full judgment.
Check out NYC Boy.
The deodorant I've been using for about the last 10 years was discontinued (I hate when companies do that, btw) and I've had to figure out what's going to help keep me dry and stink-free during the day. I'm not a fan of the male-centric deodorants, where the scent is musky or leaves you feeling like you just left a locker room in 1965. The other day, I happened into the Kiehl's store and found their Superbly Efficient Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant Cream displayed in a bin on the counter. Out of curiosity, I grabbed a tube and have been pleasantly surprised with the results.
I've used sprays, dry, crystals, "invisible" roll-ons, but never have I used a cream-like lotion. I'm not sure why this works better than most other deodorants I've used, but it has orange, lemon and linseed extracts, moisturizes the skin, is scent free and has 24-hour protection.
Whatever it is, I'm sold on it. I don't even care that it costs about 3 times as much as my old stuff. It works better and lasts longer.
The other night, Amy Sedaris went on the Colbert Report to plug her new movie, Strangers With Candy, the wacky tale of Jerri Blank, a boozing, ex-con, sex fiend who goes back to high school. If you watch the YouTube clip, you almost believe the duo had never met. But the reality is they're old friends and writing partners. In fact, Colbert co-wrote the SWC TV series and movie. Their banter during the segment is out of control -- and make sure you watch until the end.
SWC is currently in theaters and Sedaris has a hilarious website.
Have you seen Dave Chappelle's Block Party yet? No? Get off your ass and rent it or get it from NetFlix now. I can't believe I haven't seen this sooner. I was on the edge of my seat for almost 2 hours. Who else besides Dave Chappelle can gather a group of artists like this? Jill Scott dueting with Erykah Badu backed up by the Roots?! John Legend singing with Kanye?! ?uestlove drumming for everyone?! Common and Erykah. Mos Def (man, that cat is talented). Big Daddy Kane?! Talib Kweli. Dead Prez. And then, BAM -- Lauryn Hill.Pras.Wyclef -- Reunion!! I mean, getting the Fugees back together? Who does that?
The energy that ran through that event -- even the preparations leading up to the day in Bed-Stuy -- were magical. Dave Chappelle's fame and good fortune allowed him to give back to the people, to spread a positive vibe commanded by music. This is the true spirit of hip-hop. One Love.
Seriously, to gather that caliber of musicians, artists, rappers and singers together for one event -- and to bus in all those people from Ohio -- takes a big heart and a lot of muscle. But to do it so humbly ... impressive.
Man, I wish more of that kind of shit went down. Gathering thousands of people together for a free concert where no one has a clue who's going to perform and to get surprise after surprise -- now that's the way to put on a show.
Having just really visited Brooklyn for the first time for a decent length of time, I get it. I understand -- and feel -- the passion that people feel for that city. Brooklyn is a special place that's teeming with energy and verve. People there have a strong love for their home. I mean, the music festival in Prospect Park is called Celebrate Brooklyn. Every artist on that stage during the movie give big props to Brooklyn -- and now having the experience, I know why.
Seriously, you haven't gone to get the DVD yet? Go. Now.
Design Within Reach recently launched a new line of stylish, high-end pet products at mid-range prices. For the pet enthusiast who has a desire for style and flair in their home, these are definitely up your alley (I was going to write some kind of play on "barking up the right tree" line but thought that a little schmatzy).
Their Bent Plywood feeders, Mija Lucite Bed and Pet Bunk are gorgeous. They're all done with a little bit of a modern touch. While most pets really don't give a shit where they're getting their food (seriously, have you ever seen a dog turn down a meal because it wasn't served in a fancy dish?), savvy pet owners should snatch these up.
I know I might get castrated for saying this but I thought Regina Spektor's debut, Soviet Kitsch, was really overrated (kind of like Fiona Apple's new "groundbreaker" ... uch, snooze.). But, after hearing the first single off Regina's new album, Begin to Hope, I might just have to give my fellow Jewess a second chance. This song is sweet, sexy and coy with colorful lyrics, some hand clapping and dramatic piano. She has a powerful voice that has a slight Bjork whininess to it. She even name checks "November Rain" -- how many anti-folkies are going to talk about hearing Axl on the radio?
Stream On The Radio
Buy Begin to Hope
Thanks to Gorilla vs. Bear for making me want to listen to it!
Justin Timberlake is reportedly trying to kickstart pop music while bringing "SexyBack" at the same. His new Timbaland-produced single is out on the Internet sans JT's signature ball-grabbing falsetto. It definitely has a sex-filled undercurrent with slightly drab lyrics. It's actually catchy -- kinda sounds like Britney's "I'm a Slave 4 You" -- maybe she had a bigger influence on him than he's letting on. Cameron who?
Good? You tell me...post comments below.