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Friday, February 11, 2005

You Might As Well Be My Baby

Some of you may be wondering where the hell I've been. I apologize for my overlong absence, but I assure you I had nothing but the best intentions: after seeing two shows by Tift Merritt last week, I wanted my first post back to be about that great experience. To that end, I was expecting audio and visuals from the shows from a friend, but they haven't arrived yet. I'm getting tired of not posting and I thought maybe someone else out there was getting tired of me not posting, so I decided to have my first post back be about something else. Hopefully the Tift post will happen in a few days or so. There, now that that's all off my chest, let's talk business.

Martha Wainwright's self-titled debut album will be released by Rounder Records this year, on April 12 to be exact. I'm really looking forward to it, especially since I've seen the gorgeous, minimalist artwork. Despite only having one Martha Wainwright EP, 2003's Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole, I consider her a great singer (like a cross between Marianne Faithfull and Dolly Parton) and an even better songwriter.

Martha Wainwright & Dan Bern - "Baby Love"

This is so fucking sexy! It's the song that introduced me to Martha, and still my favorite of hers. It's actually from Dan Bern's 1999 double-album Smartie Mine, and it features Martha singing lead (on a song she wrote) with Dan backing her up vocally and on guitar. Martha and Dan's voices sound wonderful together (good enough to make me wish they had done (or will do) a whole album together), but it's the way she uses her voice to accentuate the lyrics that really does it for me. For example, the way she brings the heat (as in hotness) for the line "When you touch me, it ain't really baby love" then sings all baby-like on the line "We are not babies, I know that". Right, plus it's a just a well-written song, full of lines and ideas that make me laugh, like when she sings "Pretty uncool, my brother says". One place you can buy this is from Dan Bern's official website. Even though this is the first Dan Bern song I've posted, don't consider it the "cool hand" introduction to him since he's mostly in a supporting role on this song. Dan's one of my very favorite artists, so you'll be hearing plenty more of him around these parts. Eventually.

Here are three other songs from the aforementioned Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole. These are all courtesy of Martha's website:

Martha Wainwright - "BMFA"

Martha Wainwright - "How Soon"

Martha Wainwright - "I Will Internalize"

None of these are quite up to the standard set by "Baby Love", but that's more of a reflection on how good "Baby Love" is than a comment on the quality of these songs. "BMFA" continues Martha's, uh, unique sense of humor, which I'm hoping her debut will also showcase. Something about that voice singing those lines that gets a chuckle from me every time. "How Soon" is a kind of straightforward jazzy love song, written and first performed by Jack Owens but made famous by Sinatra. It's lyrically generic but not generic overall because it's not a generic voice singing it. "I Will Internalize" features another great vocal, leading me to believe that Ms. Wainwright can do just about anything with her smoky voice. It might be girl-angst, but it sounds better coming from her than, anybody.

Finally, here's a song I jacked from Amazon:

Martha Wainwright - "Lolita"

This is from her 1999 self-titled EP. Common Lolita stuff right? Wrong, Martha makes it sound more like a scary stalker-anthem than a come on.

Enjoy, let me know what you think, and keep a lookout for her upcoming debut or buy an EP or two from her website if you're feeling these songs.

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