Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday Night Music Blog: It's Teitur Time

Teitur is the name of a man, not a band. So don’t go getting him mixed up with T’pau. Teitur (pronounced “tie-tor”) is from the Faroe Islands. Any idea? I had to look it up. It’s somewhere triangulated between Iceland, Scotland and Norway. Talk about the middle of nowhere. But his music has something. It holds an overcast quality that doesn’t succumb to being bleak or dour. He bears some similarities to Swedish (and labelmate) singer/songwriter Tobias Froberg or Jose Gonzales (another Swede) with his low-key, frequently spare sound – Scandinavian folk-pop, as it were.
Teitur’s new disc, The Singer, didn’t bowl me over. It’s a little bit too quiet and miniature in song, although several songs do blossom with some color: “Stop Wasting My Time” (which name drops Dido and Madonna) and “Legendary Afterparty”, while the title track offers an interesting perspective of a singer’s life.
The reason that this album is worth mentioning is the song “Catherine The Waitress” which stands out like the first flower of spring. It glides along on a wave of “ooh-oohs” and a percolating percussion line (marimba?) that conjures up images of the Cure during their poppy singles prime. An ode to a waitress who the singer admits: “you haven’t noticed me/but you are so good to me.” Teitur also tosses off a couple other winning couplets: “I’m not a resident. I’m not a regular/But if I lived here this would be my favorite bar,” and “Cross my heart and hope to die/I’m not drunk and I’m not high” that turns this tune totally charmer. Something like “When The Night Turns Cold” heated up Froberg’s 2006 Somewhere in the City CD (check that song out too!)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tuesday Night Music Blog: Favorite Song of the Year, Part One

I thought I’d try something that I want to call the Tuesday night Music Blog. Not that I am such a fan of a certain S. Crow album but because I thought I’d try to do a regular Tuesday night blog. My apologies now if someone already has lassoed this name.
Anyway, on to the point of this. The song that currently stands as my favorite single song so far this year is Ari Hest’s “I’ll Be There (to Make You Miserable)”.
Yes, I am surprised too to state this. I know I had gotten Hest’s earlier album and I’m sure that I played it. But I recall very little of it, beyond that it just wasn’t that memorable to me. Probably solid but unexceptional singer/songwriter stuff. I didn’t bother to go back and dig it out to test my theory.
So when I got this new release, Songs from 52 (his goal is to record a song a week for the year) I didn’t get particularly excited. The first tune was okay but then the second one really knocked me out. “I’ll Be There” couples a wonderfully chimey melody with a darkly sardonic heart. It’s sounds like a cross between Richard Thompson and the Fountains of Wayne. As the title suggests, Heist is taking a jab at an ex-love but he sets it up as if he’s there to help (the “I’ll be there” part) before pulling out the rug (the “to make you miserable”). It makes for a terrific tune, the sweetest sounding of bitter songs.
Several other tunes on this 7-track EP also make a good impression. “Yes Man” is a rocker with a good sense of humor and “In A Rush” hits a nice bossa nova groove. The slower songs still don’t make a strong impact on me but they do benefit for the good wish the other songs engender.
So if you’re a fan or Hest’s or not, check out Songs from 52 at arihest.com and see if you can hunt down “I’ll Be There’ there.