Author Archive

Bounder over to see THE IVY WALLS.

February 6, 2008

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Even if you’re not on the front-lines of the alternative-rock LA/Hollywood scene with THE IVY WALLS, there is still a chance you may have heard them. If you happened to be watching “MTV’S The Real World: Sydney,” you might have been grooving to “Lovers In Hotels” (their latest full-length album and title track). Or perhaps recently, you’ve opened up an indie music magazine and heard their name listed in the ‘top unsigned/unknown bands’ to listen to. But maybe, just maybe, you waited for The Alternakids to blow your mind (I’m going to assume that).

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I had known about the band strongly for the past two years, but didn’t get a chance to hear them live and dig on the album until ’07. The album quickly became a hit with my so-called ‘traveling collections’… let me explain. Although I listen to a lot of music at home, it’s a rare treat for an album/band to get to travel in my car or follow me to a workout — being blared on the gym stereo. These select few albums get played more than the 5 pop songs on a music station, so it’s crucial they got the talent to survive. The Ivy Walls have it. They offer that unique blend of alternative indie-rock sound, entrenched in musical obsession.

The Ivy Walls – Pacify

 

I was given an opportunity to have a few moments with Jeff Yanero, lead singer and ‘creator’ of The Ivy Walls. And in true artist fashion, he slowly revealed himself — and the rare untold fact that ‘MySpace actually works’:

LL: WHAT WAS YOUR PATH FROM WHERE YOU GREW UP TO HOLLYWOOD MUSIC SCENE?
Jeff: wow..I can barely retrace it because it’s so ridiculously winding..but I grew up in West Virginia..I went to school in Florida as well as Las Vegas..After just over a year in Vegas I dropped out and went to New York..That was the best move I ever made because at that point I was disenchanted with everything I’d ever done and it was there that new worlds began to open up for me..Things I didn’t realize were available to me before were revealing themselves as possibilities..It was around then that I got involved with the arts which through a few twists and turns landed me in L.A.The first few months of Los Angeles can really set someone back..Especially if you don’t know who you are or at least who you wanna be..I see these kids just getting here these days and they don’t know there assholes from there elbows..Anyway after a short stint of figuring that out for myself I was able to get an apartment of my own which was unheard of in New York..My Grandma gave me the money for the security deposit and I just began spending days on end reading and writing, working on bad songs, and painting..At one point I enrolled in a life drawing course at one of the community colleges because it was free and it was during that period that I met Ryan (Guitar/Synth) and we started writing songs. We started first in his apartment and would every week test our songs at a local open mic..We were usually piss drunk by the time it was our turn which may have been the only thing entertaining about those songs..But those were valuable times as we still use the creative language that we developed back then to communicate our ideas today..So after some rocky periods of begging, borrowing, and stealing other musicians to play with us, we finally had our shit together enough to actually start a band that we could call our own.

LL: WHAT WERE/ARE SOME OF YOUR MUSICAL INFLUENCES?
Jeff: We love “Broken Social Scene”..and the standards “Radiohead, The Beatles, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, The Cure”..Do we sound like any of these bands?..I hope so but shit I don’t know.

LL: YOU’RE LISTED AS “VOCALS/PIANO/GUITAR” ON “LOVERS IN HOTELS” ALBUM. DID YOU HAVE ANY FORMAL TRAINING FOR ANY OR ALL?
Jeff: I have taken a voice lesson or two but no real training..A lot of what we’ve become as far as our progress is a result of recording..So far it seems like every group of songs which turns into every EP or Record is a bench mark not only of where we were with our sound at the time but also our abilities..It’s like an actor seeing himself on camera..after a bit you begin to know what works for you and where and how you can either stretch or pull back.

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LL: HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME “THE IVY WALLS” AND WHAT BROUGHT THE BAND TOGETHER?
Jeff: We were in a band called The Fade that just never hit the mark for us..I had the name “The Ivy Walls” put away for awhile during the last months of The Fade so when it came time for that project to dismantle I already had the vision of where we were going..The Ivy Walls reminded me of that moody and introspective period on the east coast..That’s really it..it was mostly just a satisfying notion..At this point RV and I were working together more efficiently then ever..We learned our lessons with The Fade and The Count had always shown us the loyalty of a brother so we just needed to find the right person on the drums..we had used our friend (producer) Erik Colvin’s drummer from Neuromance (Clive Tucker) for a few songs and after playing with Clive we knew how essential a great drummer was going to be..We really enjoyed Danny for his time in the band but this is a tough game..There can be a lot of stuff to get you down when you’re at it day after day..When Adam came in he was one of those guys that we hoped would be looking for a project like ours..We had a lot of talks about hoping he realized the potential in the room.. After a few rehearsals he asked me if Ryan was gay and called Rodrigo”Ricardo” at that point he just became one of us.

LL: HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE ‘THE IVY WALLS’ SOUND?
Jeff: I would say melodic yet driving..I think there’s a dreaminess that we tap into when we’re at our best..Someone (maybe LL) once said our sound was cinematic..I’ve always liked that.

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LL: “LOVERS AND HOTELS” IS A WONDERFUL ALBUM. I CAN’T GET ENOUGH IT. CAN YOU TELL US THE STORY ABOUT MAKING THIS ALBUM? I KNOW YOU HAD SOME HARD-TIMES ALONG THE WAY… WHICH INCLUDED NEAR DEATH AND HOSPITAL VISITS. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED, AND HOW IT MOLDED ITSELF INTO THIS ALBUM?
Jeff: Yea it was a year of challenges and changes..I passed out the day after a show in Silverlake on August 9th..I was having wacky heartbeats and nobody could explain why..The tests would take weeks to get approved by insurance and in the meantime my Mom had come out to look over me..At that same time my Grandfather was really ill and in September I went home with her not knowing what was the matter or when I would be coming home. The trip proved to be important as it was my
last visit with my Grandfather and on ‘September 11th’ I flew back to L.A. scared shitless. That night I went to see Willie Nelson and Ryan Adams at the bowl and as I sat there I couldn’t even enjoy the
show..I was always weak and now a nervous wreck and my heart never seemed to beat appropriately for the moment..The guys in the band we’re incredibly patient..I don’t know if they ever considered looking for another band but we had a lot of jokes about rockstar INXS..I told them if they ever did to me what those shitheads did to michael hutchence that I would haunt them forever. So during October RV and I layed down a couple rough tracks off the cuff one of which was “halloween”..By Thanksgiving I would being given a diagnosis of Dysautonomia that was corrected as quickly as it came about with a low dose of a blood pressure medication..A few days later my Grandfather died and we hung things up for the rest of the year..If we hadn’t already done so much at that point I’m not sure what would’ve become of Lover’s in Hotels..For me it was “The Bombs are Falling” that tied everything together..It was encompassing of my life and also of where I hoped our sound was going.. That year really aged me.

The Ivy Walls – Halloween

LL: I GET THE FEELING YOU’VE THAT YOU FEEL THIS ALBUM IS SOMETIMES LIKE TWO DIFFERENT MOODS OF YOUR LIFE? CAN YOU PICK OUT TWO SONGS THAT REALLY SHOW THE DIFFERENCE, AND REVEAL WHAT WHAT EMOTION/TIME WAS COMING ACROSS?
Jeff: I think Faster was one those bratty moments of talking about things like being up for days and wanting someone not to leave you..I wish I could always carry a load so light..I think Halloween shows the darker side that we were experiencing..I felt really desolate during that period.

The Ivy Walls – Faster Faster

LL: THE TITLE SONG WAS RECENTLY ON MTV’S REAL-WORLD: SYDNEY? HOW DID THEY FIND YOU, AND HOW DID THAT COME TO HAPPEN?
Jeff: It was pretty simple..They contacted our Myspace.

The Ivy Walls – Lovers in Hotels

LL: WHAT’S YOUR METHOD FOR WRITING MUSIC AND LYRICS? ARE YOU ALWAYS MUSIC BEFORE LYRICS? DO YOU HAVE ONE SET STANDARD PATH THAT INSPIRATION SEEMS TO FIND YOU? DOES A SONG JUST SORT OF REVEAL ITSELF TO YOU, OR DO YOU REVEAL YOURSELF TO YOUR MUSIC?
Jeff: We do it every which way..RV is a very prolific guitarist..We moved into the same building because of our excessive song writing bursts..It’s nothing for one of to be at the other’s door at 2 in the morning with a guitar strapped on saying “you gotta hear this”..Lyrics are crafted several ways..Sometimes they come with the music, other times they are notions that have been waiting for a home, and sometimes they are crafted for the song.

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LL: THE FIRST TIME I HEARD “THE BOMBS ARE FALLING”, I WAS VERY IMPRESSED BY THE ENTIRE ENSEMBLE OF SOUND — THE MOOD IT EVOKED, PRESENCE IT CREATED, AND ATTENTION IT COMMANDED, AND ALL WITHOUT FEELING ‘HEAVY.’ I THINK YOUR MUSIC IN GENERAL HAS A SENSE OF INNER-HOPE, EVEN IN ONE’S WORST OF MOMENTS ND TIME. DO YOU FIND THIS TO BE THE CASE WITH
YOURSELF? DO YOU FIND A THEME OF INSPIRATION SURROUNDED IN DARK CORNERS OF YOUR MUSIC? OR DOES IT FEEL ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FOR YOU?

Jeff: I think that minus the year prior to the release of the record that our mission has been very youthful and full of good people and fortune..I think that through the years we’ve helped each other not let things get too heavy..I think music is a big part of that for us..I think that sense of hope is what drives us to keep coming back and doing this together.

The Ivy Walls – The Bombs Are Falling

LL: ARE THERE ANY OTHER LOCAL BANDS YOU LIKE?
Jeff: of course.. Midnight Movies, Neuromance, and Erik’s new project “Modified by Man”, a faulty chromosome, Winston and the Telescreen.

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LL: I KNOW YOU’VE BEEN WORKING ON SOME NEW MUSIC. WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM FROM THE IVY WALLS IN ‘O8?
Jeff: Lots! We’re gonna play a few new tunes at The DERBY ON Feb. 5th.

LL: WE SHARE SOME MUTUAL FRIENDS, AND SOMETIMES YOU GET REFERRED TO AS “BOUNDER” AND VICE-VERSA TO THEM. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THIS?
Jeff: (Laughter)hahaha! only one of the other bounders could do that..ha,ha.

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Visit THE IVY WALLS at their MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/theivywalls), and come out and celebrate Super Tuesday night at the world famous Derby in Los Angeles (2/5/08) at 11pm with a vote, and a show of support for The Ivy Walls — Or catch them again sometime this year, and of course buy their album “Lovers in Hotels” (available on itunes too) and enjoy. Until next time…

— fearless23 (aka. LL).


									

PLEASE the band by giving PLEASE a listen.

May 4, 2007

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I wasn’t sure what to make of this band when I first gave it a listen via the website (www.pleasetheband.com), youtube, myspace, etc. There was certainly something catchy about some of the songs, but how would it transfer live? ‘Really well’ is the answer. I like my stuff to rock for the most part, and can do without the ‘song-and-dance’ to get to it. I was unsure, but once I stepped into the Temple Bar a few weeks back and caught PLEASE live, my nervousness was squashed. They destroyed the competition (I mean the other bands playing around them) that night… and even though (I’m sure they would admit) it wasn’t technically their best. But that’s what is great about something live — you can come and deliver quality without perfection, and still own the joint.

PLEASE – Flush

http://www.ezarchive.com/original/thealternakids/01flush.mp31

With a last minute booking, I was fortunate to catch them again at the Universal B&G in my neighborhood. Please wowed the unsuspecting new audience of listeners. I’ve heard a wide-range of PLEASE comparisons… a cool Barenaked Ladies with some edge, what the Gin Blossoms wish they were at their best, a trendy Calexico on gin. But how about just some damn enjoyable music? That’s what I prefer.

PLEASE – Smoke ’em Out

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The album is called “Broken Little Songs”, and I would recommend it to most (it’s even nice to give as a gift). One description of the band on their website is, “Their sound is a tasty retro cocktail with the punch of a contemporary blend mixing Herb Alpert and early Bowie with a dash of Coldplay.” Maybe? I heard a female-friend (Shelli) listening to the “Feelin’ Melancholy” cd version say (with the up-most respect and enjoyment of the music), “It reminds me of the muppets. I like it!” Meaning she found her head bopping, body moving, and having a joyful carefree feeling while riding along in the car. After that song, it rolled into one of my favorites and far contrast from the previous mood, “Jurisdiction” – a usual closer if you catch them at a club near you. “I like my things tiny and silver/ she likes hers great, big and gold/ I’m just a poor boy living up/ in this rich girl’s world” are just a few of the fun, yet strongly delivered lyrics from front-man of this six-player masterpiece, Donnie Stroud.

“Underground Lounge Rock”? That’s what the quote for their MySpace page says (http://www.myspace.com/pleasetheband). Well that’s certainly one way to stick them in a ‘genre’ of music, but with any luck in the not-so-decent future — PLEASE and the audience it is creating will pull them ABOVEground and into play-lists of the many (not the few). But one can only hope.

PLEASE – Hopes Up

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PLEASE – Like I F*cking Care

Really…. Enjoy!

–fearless23

…HEAR SOMETHING LIVE (you never know until you taste):

May 4th (fri, 11:30p) PLEASE @ “The Hotel Cafe” in Hollywood, CA (www.pleasetheband.com).

May 9th (wed, 9:30p) AUTOMATIQUE @ “Molly Malone’s” in W. Hollywood, CA (www.automatiqueband.com).

May 12th (sat, 9p) COLONY OF ECHOES @ “Extremes” in Orange, CA (www.myspace.com/colonyofechoes).

JOE THALMAN, the interview.

January 28, 2007

I heard of Joe Thalman (http://joethalmanmusic.com/) a few years back. And although I didn’t truly know his music, or even heard a show of his at that time — I knew the name, and there was a buzz surrounding him (even if he didn’t know it yet). I got to truly experience Joe’s style and gift of music sometime afterword when a friend of mine joined his band. To attend a show (or just give a listen to Joe’s music), it’s nearly impossible to deny he has been blessed with a musical talent for songwriting and play.

Joe Thalman – Tonight

I find Joe’s lyrics and music truly paint a mood. Although that mood may intend to be dark when he first builds a song, there is ‘brightside’ to it that drips through cracks by the time he masters it. No one can listen to “Tonight” and not feel they’ve been in a similar situation. On another extreme, you have “Down” which can bring the ladies out the seat and dancing on the tables. It’s seems to be becoming an instant classic amongst the LA indie rock scene with anyone who takes a listen.

Joe Thalman – Down

As many artist tend to shy away from to much spotlight, Joe is no exception. But I was finally able to track him down and force him to answer a few questions. Minus a few personal notes that Joe dodged, here is what he had to say…

LL: Joe, you recently played a part in the “1st Annual Red Xmas Charity Bash” here in Los Angeles, which benefited St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Was it a success? How was the night in general, and the vibe of everyone when they know it’s for a good cause?

JT: Our First Annual Red Christmas Charity Bash was a success. This was something I have been wanting to get involved with for awhile now. I along with Nico Stai and Frankel each performed acoustic sets. The total feeling of the room was definitely positive. All the ticket sales and all merch went to the St Judes Children Research Hospital. Its really important to me to try to do a few charities a year to give a little something back. Its easy to live in L.A. and get to play music and take things for granted. Sometimes its necessary to get some perspective on how lucky some of us are and do what we can to help out those less fortunate.

LL: Nico Stai played the show as well. I’ve seen your names listed together many times at various joints… what’s the connection between you two?

JT: Nico Stai is an outstanding musician that I met while living here in L.A. and has become a good friend of mine. I highly recommend everyone to pick up his new record “Park Los Angeles. I havn’t taken it out of my stereo since the first time I’ve heard it. People will be hearing his name alot soon you can bet on that.

LL: Can you tell us a little about your past? I know you just didn’t wake up one day in New Jersey and say ‘I’m moving to LA to be a rock-star’. What has been the journey and the stops along the way?

JT: Yeah, well I eventually made LA my home by way of Nashville, through Philly, before leaving New Jersey. My route had to have been the most indirect way and was completely well beyond my means. But no, I didnt wake up one day and make the decision to move. It took many mornings, after even more sleepless nights to finally wake up and develop, play, and produce my songs. Los Angeles to me was and is the perfect place to do that. Oh and the weather aint too bad either.

LL: Speaking of the LA Indie band scene, how did you meet and form a team with actor-drummer, Tommy Villafranca (your drummer when you play with the 99’s)?

JT: Tommy Villafranca is one of those guys that everyone should have the pleasure to know. He always has a smile on his face and exudes passion and determination in everything his does. I met him shortly after moving to L.A. at some crazy drunken downtown L.A. New Years Eve party. He was the only person other than me wearing cowboy boots…after talking for about 30 seconds I knew he was the drummner I wanted.

LL: The “These Days” EP is great by the way. I recommend it to everyone out there to purchase a copy (available through cdbaby.com). Are there plans for a full-length album maybe in the next year? What’s your plans for 2007? Do you plan to tour? Is the plan to do more solo or full-band performances?

JT: So far this year has been pretty hectic but right now I have one more show this Tuesday (1/30/07) at the Knittingfactory in L.A. (Hollywood) before I go back in the studio to record my new solo acoustic record with producer Jeaux Messacappa of the band “Lady Sinatra” and formally of the Symptoms fame. I have a new collection of songs that I need to put out there before I can begin the new record with the full band. These songs are extremely personal to me and I found that I cant begin work on a new record with the full band until I put these songs to bed and give them there place.

LL: Sticking with talking about the music for a few minutes. I’ve heard you compared with various alternative, rock, and alt-country bands and names. Who do you see as some of your strongest influences?

JT: There really are an unlimited amount of influences out there that really got to me over the years. Beginning with Motown artists like Wilson Pickett and Sam Cooke, to Bruce Springsteen, to the Cure, all the way up to the Deftones.

LL: Is there a modern day band or two that you find yourself listening to recently? Or who would you go see live if there were in town tomorrow?

JT: Lately I have been into alot of Cat Power…and there’s always time for the Stones, Gram Parsons, and some Whiskeytown. As far as local acts that I am really in to right now…well I have already mentioned Nico Stai. So how could I not mention Fontaine. She is incredible as well. We played a few gigs back in New York and Philly together and continue to play shows out here in L.A. as well. She actually performed vocals on the song “Tonight” off my EP “These Days.” Her record “The Chemistry Between Us” is truely touching and beautiful, a must have.

LL: Last, but not least. We’ve heard rumors of a time when you were living in former Orson Welles’ mansion in the Hollywood Hills. How did you pull that off? Do you have any stories (maybe ghost stories) to go along with amazing parties?

JT: Yeah its true I did live up in Orselle Welles old home in the Hollywood Hills for the majority time that I have been here in L.A. As you can imagine I do have plently of ghost stories. Too much to tell now but defintely for another time. The house is currently owned by a good friend of mine and he took me in as an up and coming songwriter shortly after I moved here. I saw more than my fair share of debauchery over the time there and consequently wrote the majority of the new record while living (recovering) between those walls. If you listen closely to the new songs you just might hear a few ghosts and lost souls coming through… 🙂

LL: Thanks for the time, Joe. We look forward to catching you live again in 2007!

Joe Thalman – 12th & Porter

http://www.fileden.com/files/2006/10/4/260725/04%2012th%20

Hopefully everyone in the Los Angeles area who has a chance, can catch Joe Thalman (http://www.myspace.com/joethalmanthebrightside) at The Knitting Factory this Tuesday (8:45pm). You won’t be disappointed you did. — fearless23.

Editors Note: Apparently they’ve gone mad over at Stones Throw records, and they’re giving away another free album on their website. Chrome Children vol. 2 just went up last night for free download (That’s the second full album already this year). I haven’t listened to it yet myself but initial reports are telling me it’s niiiiice. Go check it out.

Best of 2006: #7 CALEXICO – Garden Ruin

January 11, 2007

Garden Ruin

GARDEN RUIN is officially the band’s fifth full-length album. But for those who are fans, we know this is mainly because they like to stay on the road traveling and touring. Thus they have an enormous collection (dating back to 1996) of EP, live, and “tour-only” cd’s that are amazing too. Calexico is known for constant change and surreal sound. I’ve found myself in the past describing their released music as ‘southwest-mex alternative rock sound, that one should listen to while driving through an empty desert.’ But this album is much different, and yet, still brilliant.

Calexico – Bisbee Blue

You’ve heard that ‘Location’ is everything when buying a house or starting a buisness, well maybe the same can be said for creating a musical masterpiece. At the very least, location can bring on inspiration — and Garden Ruin is a reflection of that thought. This album was written in the southeast Arizona Victorian mining town of Bisbee — and recorded in Tucson. Joey Burns (vocals, lead guitar) describes why on the bands website (www.casadecalexico.com) , “…it’s always 10 degrees cooler in Bisbee than in Tucson. Our friend… recommended we practice in on an empty fourth floor flat above his friend’s restaurant, Cafe Roka. It proved to be inspiring on many levels. Great food,… down to Earth people, and no working cell phones,… barricaded inside a deep ravine.”

Calexico – Roka

The album opens with “Cruel” (also the first single and video) — which is said to be a reflection on environmental corruption. Ending with the lyrics “Even the horizon is gone/ Weather flees underground/ Future’s left to wallow in fortune’s waste.” Immediately, we see “Burns addressing contemporary America rather than the mythical Americas that were his source of the past.” But there is true definition to this album that many of Calexico’s previous may have not had. At first listen, you might shift in your seat, looking for the rough edges of the other albums. Make no mistake, this album is produced — and produced well by JD Foster.

Calexico – Letter to a Bowie Knife

“Letter to a Bowie Knife” talks about religious fundamentalism, yet political extremism is felt throughout the album, without lacking the musical harmony that Calexico has been known to join from a variety of sounds. This album is one of growth for them. It moves them forward into a new arena of musical genius. Never have they made a more ‘complete’ album. From top to bottom, they provide a sound and mood on this album that translates into immediate satisfaction of one’s inner-being. Just lay back and enjoy it’s soothing, but not smothering, ride into musical bliss.

Calexico – All Systems Red

The eleven song journey on Garden Ruin ends with “All Systems Red.” Which I must say is an amazing song to hear performed live, because it’s Calexico allowing themselves to howl and let it the guitars rock out (in an unusual fashion). The crescendo on the album loses something once you’ve experienced it in concert — but it’s still a treat. With fast-stabbing lyrics of “Everything you hear is distored in your head/ I want to tear it all down and build it up again” and “…words forming barely have a voice/ It’s just your heart breaking without choice.”

Calexico – Nom de Plume

If you don’t have them in your collection, I beg you to give Calexico a chance. And find out why they made The Alternakids top 10 of 2006. You can also vote for them at PLUG: Independent Music Awards for the “Americana Album of the Year” which is richly deserved. They are a blast to hear Live, so I urge you to catch them in concert and give a listen to thier full sound. I leave you with a little video that gives you a piece of Calexico magic live, with there incredible version of “Alone Again Or” (unfortunatly not available on Garden Ruin).

I’ll allow John Convertino (drums, percussion) to give the final word on Garden Ruin with, “There are monsters lurking all over it, even in pretty bits.” Enjoy something new. Happy New Year readers! — fearless23

calexico

Need some new Christmas music? How about a Barenaked Sarah McLachlan instead?

December 24, 2006

I like Sarah McLachlan, and I LOVE her voice. There, I’ve said it.

Two other facts you may not know: 1. I’m not gay. 2. Sarah isn’t either.

And it’s taken some time to come clean with this… but yes, I’ve been to a Barenaked Ladies show too. It was almost 10 years ago, and I went kicking and screaming with a girlfriend at the time in Palo Alto, CA. But you know what, they were damn entertaining. Complete with crowd chemistry, stage presence, and some fun rock.

That all being said. I’ve come across some Christmas albums from the before named artists. Sarah McLachlan’s long awaited recent release of WINTERSONG. And the Barenaked Ladies (now a few years old) album, BARENAKED for the HOLIDAYS.

Bare Naked Ladies – Jingle Bells

BNL’s holiday album is more traditional in the sense it has lots of classics — but not as many as would think with a 20 song line-up. After starting strong with “Jingle Bells” and “Green Christmas”, they continue to roll into some “Hanukkah Blessings”, “O Holy Night”, and “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah” as well.

Bare Naked Ladies – O Holy Night

Bare Naked Ladies – Do They Know It’s Christmas

This album includes seven orginal tracks! And as expected, the BNL’s tackle all the hits, and not-so-xmas hits, with their usual wit and tongue-in-cheek humor. And since she is the next topic, I’ll point out that Sarah McLachlan joins the wild bunch on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

Bare Naked Ladies (feat. Sarah McLachlan – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings

Now if you are a Sarah fanatic, you won’t be disappointed in this album. I’m usually very disappointed in Xmas/Holiday album attempts by most artists, but not in this case. This album works because it doesn’t feel like an upbeat ‘joy to the world’ type of work. It stays true to Sarah’s strengths — her voice, and bittersweet melodies that show a moody feeling of an almost overcast Christmas. Listen to Sarah’s original title track, “Wintersong” — and you might swear you were listening to something removed from one of her first two albums (maybe, SOLACE).

Sarah McLachlan – Wintersong

Producer Pierre Marchand has thrown Sarah back into the soft light of her early albums of pure heart, with slightly less emotion. They have teamed up to create a Christmas album that stands up on it’s own merits and musical talent. But you still find some classics not so removed from the orginals… just given Sarah’s vocal beauty. Such is the case on the opening song, John Lennon’s and Yoko Ono’s masterpiece.

Sarah McLachlan – Happy Xmas (War is Over)

But WINTERSONG is an album that can certainly be enjoyed by many on a cold Christmas or EVEning next to a warm fire, while sipping on something hot (or next to anything that keeps you warm). I leave you with my personal downloadable holiday gift to you — Sarah’s version of Joni Mitchell’s song, “River.” Happy Holidays, our fellow Alternakids.

Sarah McLachlan – River

 

 

Barenaked HolidaysWintersong