Give and take

I have two very special things for you tonight.

1. Music to pay for, pleeeease: As I told you the last time I posted (ages ago, as it always is), I am still on my sweet indie pop and folk kick (so thank you Neon Filler for the Sally Seltmann tip). This is the reason I am asking you, begging you, DEMANDING you to pre-order Jenny O’s The Home EP.  I’ve been listening to the few songs on Jenny O’s myspace over and over again for a couple of weeks and even tried desperately to find her first full-length album Love and Sleep ANYWHERE TO PURCHASE until I found that she hasn’t released it yet.  This is confusing, but I know you can follow–she has finished her first full-length album, hasn’t released it, and is instead focusing on the release of new music, The Home EP.  Here’s the deal, though.  The girl needs some money (like us!) to release this EP.  As of right this second, she’s 60% funded and has 2o days to go.  Can we make it happen?  I pre-ordered my copy.  She’s got awesome pledge opportunities, too–just pre-order the EP, or pre-order and get a mix CD, or pre-order get a mix CD and have her write you a song, you get the idea.  But!  Don’t just take my word for it.  Listen first.  And then once you’ve done that, you can jet on over to this lovely website to help Jenny O produce her precious music.

2. Music for freeeeeeee!: Sea Oleena is one of those things that just happens to you and you’re not really sure where it came from (it came from Canada, but I mean, how does one find such a thing?).  However, Sea Oleena is Charlotte Oline and her brother, and their album Smudges is currently a free download or stream on their website.  It reminds me of the Laura Gibson/Ethan Rose project, Bridge Carols, in its mix of old, new, altered, and manufactured sounds, but it’s a bit more accessible and acoustic.  Also, the vox are purer, I think.  As an album, Smudges has successfully achieved the “parts of a whole” effect, piecing each track together so the entire album flows like water into itself.

The very short description of Smudges on the Sea Oleena website says the album “is to be listened to as a sort of rough draft; a preliminary sketch to a beautiful portrait.”  This description is perfect.  The tracks are long, flowing, and minimalistic, as if the music just came pouring out in one long thought.  But it’s absolutely lovely.  I love rough drafts.  Brainstorms.  Stream of consciousness.  Jam sessions.  I almost always use the first, passionate thing I’ve written in favor of making lots of edits.  Is this lazy and foolish of me?  Well, yes, probably.  But there’s something so pure about the transition from the mind to the medium, and that purity is definitely found here in Smudges. The website says the tracks will be released at a later date.  Whether they are cleaned up and refined into a final draft, or whether Sea Oleena will release this “rough draft,” it is (and will be) beautiful.  Download or listen here.

A Song That Has Its Own Soul

When I first heard the name Musée Mécanique, I couldn’t help but wonder what to expect.  Are we talking Edgard Varèse here?  Because I am not particularly in the mood for good ole Edgard today.  The band shares, though, that they’ve named themselves after the museum in lovely San Francisco–they “love to make a song that has its own soul, just like the machines they have over there at the museum.”  Now that’s something I’m always in the mood for.

Hampton Roads is an interesting place because we have very few good venues, but the venues we have are pretty cool.  (Then again, it could be like those guys in your college classes who aren’t really that cute, but you are tricked into thinking they are because everyone else in the class is so unattractive.)  So,  I was going through the list today deciding what shows are going on my calendar for the summer, and if you’re local (to me, not to Eric), you’ll be glad to know that Musée Mécanique will be playing with Laura Gibson and The Muckrakes at the Boot on June 18th!  And now I will convince you why you should be there with me.

Musée Mécanique is an indie folk band, but they are not your average indie folk band.  They’ve incorporated some awesome instruments, not just as fun showstopping gimmicks, but as a convincing contribution to the whole.  You’ll hear minimalist influence in tracks like “Under Glass” (how ironic) as violin, oboe, cello, and others are added to the repeating guitar, building to the point of catharsis.  Accordion underbelly on tracks like “Like Home” and “Sleeping In Our Clothes” make their sound incredibly distinct, and although glockenspiel has become an indie staple, when you combine it with melodica, real strings, and real wind instruments…well, it’s pretty different, right?  Micah and Sean’s soft vocals fit comfortably into the ensemble, and I think this is getting to what is most impressive about the lovely Musée–every lyric, every instrument, every solo, every harmony, and every stop and start has its place.  Nothing is random; nothing sounds unintentional.  The result is something that I can only think to describe as whole.  How often do you find music that moves you, and how often are you looking for it?

By the way, since I know all of you can’t be at the Boot w/me… they’re in Chicago on June 6th, Columbus on June 9th, DC on June 15th, and Portland on July 3rd (to name a few).  Find the rest of their tour dates + details on their myspace.