Friday, December 28, 2007


This is a bit of a departure from previous entries but I wanted to share this story because it speaks to the power of music, not to mention movies, and the internet.

So I'm spending time with my mom seeing movies in New York that I would never have an opportunity to see otherwise. As I flip through reviews, Into the Wild catches my eye. The movie is based on the best-selling book by Jon Krakauer and was directed by Sean Penn. I won't recap the story, but if you're not familiar with it, do check out the movie website, or, better yet read the book. (Into the Wild has appeared on many critic's Top 10 lists of movies for 2007 and, for what it's worth, I really liked it as well.)

Curious, I look up the movie online, to view the trailer. As the site is loading, music from the soundtrack begins to play. Turns out Eddie Vedder (of Pearl Jam fame) wrote most of the soundtrack except for the song Hard Sun which turns out to be a cover from a band named Indio.

Indio released only one CD in 1989 titled Big Harvest. They did a short tour, and then, for the most part, fell off the map. It turns out the CD was revered by many. Big Harvest is out of print and sold used on eBay with prices starting between $60 and $90. On Amazon it ranges from $114 to $229. To read just how much Big Harvest continues to be loved by people today, click here and here.

From that CD, Hard Sun is just a great song period, never mind that Eddie Vedder's cover (iTunes) is quite good also. It's just one of those songs that you have an immediate reaction to and there's something about the lyrics, the music, that strikes you right away. When the chorus hits, it like an anthem that reaches into your psyche. Oh yeah, Joni Mitchell sings the backing vocals as well -- turns out her husband was the bass player in the band. I can't speak for the rest of the CD as I just got it myself, but as you read from the posts in the link above, Indio's Big Harvest clearly touched a lot of people.

Was Indio a one hit wonder with Hard Sun? For me, I can't say, as the CD is new to me as well. Whatever you do, right now, go download the entire out of print CD here, judge for yourself, and enjoy the music.

Indio's Hard Sun - Music You Need to Hear

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christine Lavin

Whenever I hear music from singer-songwriter Christine Lavin come around in my iTunes library, I always smile.

Somehow, she finds remarkably creative ways to tell poignant, funny and touching stories. There's Sensitive New Age Guys when she asks a bunch of men "Who's concerned about your orgasm?" (...and the men don't answer). To the song Shopping Cart of Love: The Play which tells about the time she got a goodbye note from her boyfriend who left her for her roommate...then she went to the supermarket console herself with junk food...then had too many items in the checkout line...then fell in love with the guy behind her who offered to take some of her items in order to avoid a near riot in the store. The song is nearly nine minutes long and worth every second.

The two songs referenced above are from Attainable Love, one of her early CD's. But Lavin has 19 solo albums and I admit looking at her discography, I've got a lot of catching up (and probably laughing) to do.

I mean, how can you not at least be curious about songs titled:

Tom Cruise Scares Me
The Tacobel Canon
Making Friends With My Grey Hair
If You Want Space, Go To Utah
Getting in Touch With My Inner Bitch
Please Don't Make Me Too Happy
Prisoners Of Their Hairdos
Roses From The Wrong Man
Nobody's Fat in Aspen

Christine Lavin - Music You Need to Hear

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Voice of the Beehive

Can you picture music that's sugary, brash, feminine, sassy, saucy, full of catchy little barbs, and original? If your answer is no, then listen to Voice of the Beehive.

Let it Bee cover
Let It Bee is the group's quintessential work. Released in the late 1980's, this album, (at least in the U.S.) came out of nowhere and ended up charting as high as #11 on Billboard's Modern Rock chart. The harmonies, guitar arpeggios, and lyrics all make for very enjoyable listening. I Say Nothing is instantly catchy and a great intro to the band. Personally, my favorite is Sorrow Floats, but don't overlook the dreamy Man in the Moon, and the Beat of Love either. All of the aforementioned songs are four or five stars on my iTunes.

If that weren't enough, anyone who writes a song titled There's a Barbarian in the Back of My Car from a feminine point of view, is okay by me.

The group's website has a great bio of the band. They have an up-to-date page on MySpace as well. All of their music is available on iTunes.

A reviewer on Amazon sums it up perfectly:

"I wouldn't rate them as a classic or an all-time great, but I agree with the sentiment of the other reviewers. If you want a band that gives you a really alive, fresh feeling when you listen to their music, Voice of the Beehive will do it."

Nineteen years after Let it Bee was released, that feeling is still alive.

Voice of the Beehive - Music You Need to Hear