Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Concert Preview/Album Review: Cat Power

Chan Marshall's live performances are always interesting. One of my high school English teachers once told me that while he was a Boston University undergrad, he saw her perform at the Middle East Upstairs. According to Mr. K, out of stagefright, Chan faced the back corner of the stage throughout the entire set. Eight years later, her shows are now set in less intimate venues, and her stage fright has dwindled, but the soft, beautiful music is intact.

Her latest release, Jukebox, just came out last week, and it rules. My favorite songs so far is "Song to Bobby", a song for Bob Dylan. Listen to it back-to-back with Bobby D's "Song to Woody", and you'll realize how awesome and powerful it is. There's one other original song on the album-- a sadder but stronger live version of "Metal Heart", which she originally released on Moon Pix about ten years ago. The rest of the Jukebox is comprised of covers, like "New York, New York", Dylan's "I Believe in You". Chan covers James Brown and Aretha Franklin, as well. It's all good stuff. Jukebox definitely doesn't top 2006's The Greatest, but it's for-sure her strongest covers ablum yet. Download some songs here, courtesy of Hype Machine:

Check out Cat Power @ Orpheum Theatre on February 7th. Tickets at

(photo from

--Liz Pelly

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Album Review/Concert Preview: St. Vincent

It is hard to classify the music of 25-year-old Annie Clark, more commonly known as St. Vincent. Perhaps she describes it best on her Myspace page where, under Sounds Like, you will find "hand claps and wry smiles."

St. Vincent has brought colorful creativity to the indie scene, crafting songs with quirky instruments and lyrics that touch on a range of unusual topics, from Jesus to murder. After being a member of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' touring band, she is finding growing success as a solo artist.

On her debut LP entitled Marry Me, St. Vincent offers 11 strong tracks, all of which showcase her charming soprano and signature inventive style. On upbeat tracks such as "Now Now" and "Your Lips Are Red," unexpected shifts of rhythm and pace make each song a musical adventure. She also has a unique way of blending the old with the new. While her music boasts with originality, there is a certain classic element to St. Vincent that shines through in every photograph and in every note she sings -- a timelessness in her music that can be heard on less polished tracks such as "All My Stars Aligned." It is especially evident on the album closer, "What Me Worry," where she sparkles with little accompaniment. Whether she is ripping electric guitar solos or serenading on the piano, St. Vincent is captivating listeners from L.A. to Paris.

While Marry Me stands out on its own merits, St. Vincent's strongest asset is her live show. Her songs take on a new life on stage where she often plays solo; she offers a truly dynamic performance, equipped with her electric guitar, keyboard, two different kinds of microphones and a mic'd up stomp pad.

After heavily touring in the past year, St. Vincent is now headlining all over the country. You can catch her at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge for just $12 on March 1st.

--Jessy Bartlett

Friday, January 11, 2008


Radiohead is also coming to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Toronto, Vancouver, and Washington, D.C. (According to In Rainbows is #1 on the Billboard 200 this week.