Monday, August 20, 2007

Aug. 19-Sept. 1 - vacation edition

* The Fingertips Home Office will be closed between August 19 and Sept. 3. To avoid leaving everyone empty-handed for two weeks, I'm offering you one reviewed MP3, plus a list of five others I've been listening to lately. Any one of these--or none of them--may yet end up as a TWF pick; see what you think if you have the time to check them out.

* And don't forget the new Fingertips Contest is up and running through September 4. Three winners will each receive a copy of a new compilation CD entitled This Is Next, featuring 15 songs from a variety of well-regarded non-major-label artists, including Neko Case, the Shins, and Spoon.

* Finally, the latest Fingertips Commentary, "The future (or not) of the album," has prompted some thoughtful responses; you can read the original essay and see what some readers have been adding to it over here.

"Boy With a Coin" - Iron & Wine
As Sam Beam continues to flesh out his homespun sound, he sounds better and better, to me. The strong, sure acoustic-guitar rhythm propels "Boy With a Coin," but the electric and percussive accents--including hypnotic handclaps--add so much texture and substance that this right away feels like far more than standard singer/songwriter fare. I particularly like the blurty punctuations the electric guitar begins to make at around 1:18, and how they subsequently lead to a marvelous instrumental break beginning around 1:32. The tightly harmonized female backing vocals are another background element that contributes centrally to the alluring vibe. I'm not sure what he's singing about but the overall effect is mysterious to the point of being outright spiritual, a sense accentuated by the droning electric guitar that haunts the background during the second half of the song. "Boy With a Coin" will be found on The Shepherd's Dog, Iron and Wine's third full-length CD, which is due out in September on
Sub Pop Records. The MP3 is via the Sub Pop site.

Vacation Special: five MP3s, minus reviews:
"Nothing Burns Like Bridges" - Penny Century
"Setting Fire to Sleepy Towns" - the Sleeping Years
"For Science Fiction" - Maritime
"From a Tower" - Love Like Fire
"100 Days, 100 Nights" - Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings

As noted, you may yet read about one or more of these in an upcoming TWF update. In any case, all are worth hearing. "This Week's Finds" will resume in its regular guise on Tuesday, September 4.

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