Tag Archives: 2018

Today’s Top 5: Suspended in Time

A mere two weeks after our last snow event, summer visited the Delaware Valley yesterday and Friday. Temperatures hit 84 degrees Fahrenheit both days, and then skipped out the backdoor last night. It’s a chilly and damp 50 degrees as I type, 9:02am Sunday morn, and the weather forecast for the week all but guarantees that the comforter will return to the bed tonight, and that the cat will be back beneath it, between my feet, for at least part of the evening.

Anyway, enough of the preamble. For yesterday’s Top 5, I looked back 40 years. For today’s Top 5: Suspended in Time. Just ‘cause.

1) Juliana Hatfield – “Suspended in Time.” Way back in February, I wrote of the announced track listing for the Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John album that “[t]he only change I would make: swapping out ‘Suspended in Time’ for ‘Come on Over.’” So it stands to reason that, now that I’ve lived with the album for a week and a half, it’s become one of my favorite songs from the set. It just floors me.

2) Courtney Marie Andrews – “Warning Sign.” I’ve shared this song before, but not this specific performance from the Schubas Tavern in Chicago on March 31st. On it, Courtney lets loose her inner Aretha…

3) First Aid Kit – “Fireworks.” To be honest, I’d just about forgotten that Ruins was released this year – seems like a lifetime ago. But here they are, on Jimmy Kimmel Live last week, performing my favorite track from the album.

4) The Staves & yMusic – “The Way Is Read.” Uploaded just last month, this performance is spellbinding. The song, of course, is from the Staves’ collaboration with yMusic, The Way Is Read.

5) Lone Justice – “East of Eden.” I mined this YouTube gem on Friday night: Maria McKee and Lone Justice circa 1985. The song is still a shotgun blast of sonic newness to my ears, as is their self-titled debut as a whole. (And I didn’t realize until just now that I bought it 33 years ago this week.)

And because one LJ song or clip is never enough, at least for me this morning, here are a few more… 

And, finally, “You Are the Light.”

Today’s Top 5: New Sounds, Vol. XXVIII

The calendar aside, spring hasn’t quite sprung in my neck of the woods. We had a morning of mad snow last Monday followed by a string of mostly dreary days and cold nights. But if the historical trends recorded by the Weather Underground are an accurate predictor of what’s to come, soon enough daytime temps will spiral consistently into the 60s and the chilly nighttime temps won’t cause heaters to kick into overdrive.

Anyway, although I’ve spent much of the past week immersed in Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John and Courtney Marie Andrews’ May Your Kindness Remain, a few new and recent sounds and artists have percolated through my psyche.

1) Savannah Jeffreys – “What It Feels Like.” My introduction to Savannah came last year, when she lent her wondrous voice to her dad Garland’s stirring “Time Goes Away” on his 14 Steps to Harlem album. The three-song Voice Memos EP, which is available on all the usual outlets, conjures a young Alicia Keys. (Diane dubs the sound “New Jack Old School,” for what that’s worth.)

2) Faustina Masigat – “Intervention.” The video dates from last summer, but the song is one of 11 gems on Faustina’s self-titled debut, which was released on April 5th. It’s a hypnotic set that I plan to revisit in the coming week.

3) Sarah Shook & the Disarmers – “New Ways to Fail.” I discovered this outlaw-country delight via the Highway Queens blog. 

4) H.C. McEntire – “Red Silo.” H.C.’s Lionheart album is an absolutely addictive album. Here she is singing one of its key tracks, “Red Silo,” at the album’s release party in February. (I plan to review the album in full at some point.)

5) The Yearning – “Do You Remember?” The Wales-based Yearning, who conjure the sweet pop confections of the 1960s, always capture my ear. They’re currently on tour in Japan. This song is one of the highlights on their recent EP, Take Me All Over the World.

Lucy Rose in Philadelphia, 3/31/18

British singer-songwriter Lucy Rose delivered a spellbinding set at the Boot & Saddle in South Philly on Saturday night, the last stop of her month-long North American tour. Her voice is ethereal and otherworldly, and her humor is wry and self-deprecating. (For proof of the latter, she apologized for bringing folks out on a Saturday night, when people should be out having fun, to hear her downcast songs.)

Perhaps because it was the tour’s last night, she veered from her planned setlist and took requests from what looked to be a packed house. That led her to perform “Scar” and two songs that, honestly, I would have been disappointed if she hadn’t sung: “Floral Dresses” and “No Good at All” from her 2017 Something’s Changing album.

“No Good at All” was requested by many folks in the audience, including Diane and myself. After singing “Morai,” a stirring song about fate, Lucy rushed to the edge of the stage and gave Diane a choice: “Second Chance” or “No Good at All.” The former is a great song, but the choice was a no-brainer – “No Good at All” is pure melodic bliss. As a result, we were treated to a wondrous, slightly slowed-down rendition of it that morphed into a sweet audience sing-along toward the end. (I’d upload my video to YouTube, but the autofocus went wonky and turned Lucy into a blotchy blur.)

The main set concluded with “Shiver,” the song that introduced Lucy to the anime crowd. That, too, turned into a sweet sing-along.

The non-encore encore was a hypnotic “Nightbus.” (I describe it that way due to the Boot & Saddle’s set-up, which requires performers to descend into the audience to leave the stage.) In all, it was a hypnotic set that conjured the early ’70s. Her vocals are reminiscent of Joni Mitchell’s while her songs conjure Neil Young’s.  

The only negative: the set’s brevity. In all, she was on stage for about an hour. Given that she possesses a catalog of wondrous songs, such as “Soak It Up” from Something’s Changing, the recent “All That Fear” single, and past classics “Nebraska” and “Don’t You Worry,” she could have easily stayed on stage for another 15 or 20 minutes.

(Just as an aside, one day she should tour with the Staves – all four on stage together for 100 minutes or so, alternating songs and harmonies.)

The set (I may be missing a song):

  1. Is This Called Home
  2. Strangest of Ways
  3. Middle of the Bed
  4. Scar
  5. Floral Dresses
  6. Moirai
  7. No Good at All
  8. Love Song
  9. For You
  10. Shiver
  11. Nightbus