eventseekr Shuffle: Slow and Low

Whether it be baritone, bass or something in between (I’m awful at classifying vocal ranges), I’m a sucker for a nice deep voice in rock and pop music. Here’s a brief playlist of some of my favorite molasses-mouthed singers lending their patented pipes to a series of pretty, haunting, romantic and sardonic tracks.

First up is “My Baby Cried All Night Long” by Lee Hazlewood, whose unmistakable voice sets the high water mark for low-voiced crooners, in my humble opinion. For further listening, check out his excellent late-1960s collaborations with Nancy Sinatra.

For the next track, you’ll find “A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off,” the first of three Magnetic Fields songs on the list. As far as clever lyric writers with the ability to craft hilarious and beautiful turns of phrase go, Stephin Merritt is tops in my book.  His opus, 69 Love Songs (from which all three songs here are pulled), can be frustratingly overambitious at times, but is really worth sifting through.

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Das Racist @ Ruby Skye [Live Review]

Das Racist | Friday, November 4th | Ruby Skye | San Francisco

In hindsight, some warning signs had definitely sprung up prior to Das Racist’s Bay Area performance last Friday night that may have hinted at the bizarre and entirely lackluster show that was to come.

Photo courtesy of Das Racist.

Originally slotted to take place in Berkeley, the show changed dates, times and venues on more than one occasion before finally being confirmed at San Francisco’s Ruby Skye. Predominantly a nightclub, the venue dictated an early 8 PM start time that meant signs posted all over the place ensuring everyone understood they’d promptly be kicked out at 10 PM sharp to make way for the evening’s dance crowd. Ruby Skye seemed completely ill-equipped and uninterested in the show from the get-go—further evidenced by the muddy sound and frequently malfunctioning microphones—so I can understand the frustration performers must have when they’re unreasonably made to feel like they’re a burden on a venue. But that’s about where my sympathy for Das Racist ends in this particular instance.

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DJ Shadow – The Less You Know, The Better [Album Review]

Few electronic artists over the years have been burdened with the same level of colossal expectations from release to release as Josh Davis, aka DJ Shadow, has. After debuting in 1996 with Endtroducing…, a bona fide classic full of dusty samples and atmospheric instrumental hip-hop, the question quickly seemed to become: “Where does he go from here?” Davis’ answer thus far has been largely disjointed, punctuated with side projects, film scores and odd genre experiments, leading to a consensus of relative disappointment amongst his early fans. The long waits between proper releases and Davis’ enigmatic relationship with the press, however, have fueled hope that he’s got another undisputed great album left somewhere up his sleeve. But if there was anything to be learned from the scattered, mix-tape-like feel of his last release, 2006’s The Outsider, it’s that Davis has moved on from the prospect of him ever topping Endtroducing…, and that we probably should too.

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Mister Heavenly @ The Independent 8/22/2011 [Review]

For what is essentially little more than a fun, tossed-off sidestep of several more high-profile projects, Monday night’s performance at The Independent nevertheless proved Mister Heavenly to be a unique and welcome addition to its members’ collective resume. Comprised of Ryan Kattner (aka Honus Honus of Man Man), Nick Thorburn (Islands, The Unicorns) and Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse), the trio played a short but sweet set of 1950s-tinged indie rock that lived up to its self-described “doom-wop” sound.

Photo by Jacqueline DiMilia.

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David Bazan

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone even vaguely familiar with David Bazan’s career to learn he’s still penning songs full of religious imagery and narrators struggling with their faith. What will definitely catch fans of his early work off-guard, however, is the 180 degree turn he’s taken in his personal life from strictly devout Christianity to his current status as a doubting agnostic recovering from alcoholism. It’s rare to hear a musician’s struggles, questions and changes laid-out so openly from album-to-album, and it’s this stark honesty that has made Bazan one of the more underrated songwriters working today.

(Photo by Håkan Henriksson CC BY 3.0)

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