Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another installment from your internet DJ.

The context of the total musical rabbit hole I jumped down today is this: Chanticleer made a music video. It's a cover arrangement of a song I'd never heard of, "Cells Planets," by the band Little Grey Girlfriend, which I'd also never heard of. Chanticleer, FYI, is the renowned men's chamber choir that my good friend (who I think is going by Disparate Houseboy in the comments, what up DH) toured the world with for years. We used to see a lot of the Chanticleer doods.

Here's the video. The big hat tip goes to BCSM.

So that's good, right? It's beautiful. I like what they did story-wise, and it makes good sense for a bunch of people who are constantly touring. But then I was all like, what is this song and where did it come from? Which led me to Little Grey Girlfriend. And then to Emusic, where I downloaded the album that "Cells Planets" is on.

I really want you to listen to the original track, so just do me a favor and click the link and start playing the song while you read this, unless you're in one of those "I don't have time for music and video" modes. I completely understand. Just come back later.

Or you could watch this, one of their two music videos, this one for the song "Fulfill."

This is an interesting band. For obvious reasons, I am always in favor of melodies that have more than three notes and singers who have a wide and beautiful range. The singer, Erika Lloyd, has a music degree from the opera factory (Indiana), which seems to be a key point in her biography (let's be honest: it would be in mine, too, if I ever did non-classical musical endeavors). I doubt she gets much work/attention as a classical singer, but that's kind of beside the point. The point is that she's great in this band and I really like her songwriting. And her voice reminds me of someone specific that I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly, yet, so I'm posting for you a bunch of other people that either sound like her or kind of exemplify that which I dig in (non-classical) singing by ladies.

The first one, and one Erika Lloyd really reminds me of, is Laura Nyro. I could swear I blogged about Laura Nyro before, but maybe I just posted songs on facebook and imagined the bloggin. I believe I had this master plan to unveil the fact that I started listening to her because of the De La Soul song "Trying People," which I really loved. The song sampled a Laura Nyro joint called "Blackpatch" as performed by the 5th Dimension. I'm skipping the video because this post is already ridiculous enough, and because I couldn't find all the, ahem, De La Soul documentation I needed on the youtube for you. That was another whole rabbit hole, seeking out the source of the sample lo these many years ago, but I am so glad I did it because Laura Nyro kicks ass. This is "Gibsom Street."

I discovered and became enamored of the band Fleming & John basically right after they stopped operating as a band. They've been doing other stuff, just not putting out their own records. Fleming is the singer. This is "I'm So Small." It's allll about the chorus. This whole record, The Way We Are, is full of great hooks and great writing. I can't believe it's not on my ipod already.

So Adele. I cannot get enough of this voice. There's a clip of her singing on Jools Holland more recently that's been circulating the innertubes lately, and even though I know I'm hearing vocal damage on "Someone Like You" (sorry, occupational hazard), I dieeee when I listen to her. This one, "Daydreamer," is older, from her first record and probably before touring etc took its toll on her voice. What I love about it is the amount of control and stylistic finesse she has, especially for someone so young. Listen to the whole thing, but the money starts at about 1:00.

Okay, I struggled with which Kate Bush song to post because I love so many of them, but I think this one, "Rocket's Tail," is my favorite. I listened to this tape, yes cassette TAPE, constantly in high school. I remember rainy days with all of my beads and findings spread out on the dining room table, listening to The Sensual World and making jewelry for hours. How did I not turn out to be more of a patchouli-scented gypsy dancer? I ask you. Anyway, I love that her backup singers, here and on the rest of the album, are a Bulgarian trio.

Aside: aren't fan slide shows posted with songs on youtube hilarious and awesome?

Aw hell, here's bonus Kate Bush: the video for "Army Dreamers."

Basically if you like piano rock, and you wish Regina Spektor would come out with another record but maybe use lots more backing vocals and be a little weirder as in days of old, Little Grey Girlfriend will totally tide you over.


  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE Kate Bush. I am partial to Wuthering Heights, but pretty much everything she does is fabulous.

  2. Thank you for posting this! I love Chanticleer and I needed their version of "Cells Planets." Wow.

    Also, I am now loving Fleming & John.

  3. I should've said that some of Little Grey Girlfriend also sounds like Pirates-era Rickie Lee Jones, and there are obvious Joni Mitchell influences and Tori Amos parallels to be drawn. Is it weird that I never was a Tori Amos fan? I liked her fine, just never got drawn in to full-on lurve, probably because I had Kate Bush.