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Salon's Wed A.M. Downloads • 6/15/04


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In this week's Wednesday Morning Downloads, Salon.com's Thomas Bartlett reports from the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee, where he was playing keyboards in Mike Doughty's band in a lineup that included Dave Mason, Ani DiFranco & Yo La Tengo:

"My sanity was salvaged by Yo La Tengo. Forty-five minutes is usually about my maximum tolerance for concert length, even if it's a band I love, but I was in bliss for Yo La Tengo's entire hour-and-a-half-long show. They've folded shoe-gaze, Eno atmospherics and noise improvisation into their delicate pop songs to create one of the great sounds in contemporary music. The interplay between the band's three members, switching off on drums, guitar, bass, Farfisa and other keyboards, is unbelievably finely tuned -- they've been playing together for so long that they're able to put on a show that is perfectly tight and coordinated but has the malleable quality of free improvisation. Nothing else I heard at Bonnaroo came close."

Here are his download pics of the week:

"Sweet Virginia," Gomez, from "Split the Difference"

( After initially dissing them, his readership suggested a second listen). "My favorite track, though, is the Lennon-esque waltz "Sweet Virginia," which has more of the sonic playfulness that Gomez is so good at. (iTunes, RealPlayer, MusicMatch)"

"It's Been Done," Angela McCluskey, from "The Things We Do"

"Like Billie and Björk, her voice somehow contains both world-weary huskiness and childlike playfulness, and she has a beautiful way of ending phrases with a barely tangible vibrato that adds an extra touch of resonance to an already piercing sound." (iTunes, RealPlayer, MusicMatch)

"Farther On," Vetiver, from "Vetiver"

Vetiver, led by singer/songwriter Andy Cabic, is part of the scene that has begun to crystallize around Devendra Banhart, playing simple, acoustic music with an emphasis on a warm, fuzzy, round-the-campfire communal vibe -- it's almost a revival of the folk revival, just without the politics. Free download: "Farther On"

"Perfect Weapon," Communiqué, from "Poison Arrows"

"Perfect Weapon," by Communiqué (risen like a glittering new-wave dance-pop phoenix from the ashes of San Francisco punk band American Steel), is a song of self-destructive hedonism and the ennui and emotional detachment that come with it. Free download: "Perfect Weapon"

"Shooting Stars," Elysian Fields, from "Dreams That Breathe Your Name"

"Full disclosure: For the last six months or so, I've been playing keyboards in Elysian Fields. But I wasn't yet playing with them when "Dreams That Breathe Your Name" was recorded, and all unavoidable bias aside, I can very honestly say that it is one of my favorite (and most listened to) records so far this year.....As a songwriting team, Charles and Oren Bloedow have found a perfect balance between the Dionysian and Appolonian. "Shooting Stars," available for free download, is one of my favorite tracks on this record, but the whole thing is available from iTunes and is well worth buying. Free download: "Shooting Stars"

You can read Bartlett's full review and get your downloads here:


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