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Music You've Never Heard #21 To #25

21. Jane Siberry

The first woman on my list! No, it's really embarassing that my favorite music is pretty much all white guys from the eighties. But to make up for it, Jane is absolutely amazing. First, of all, she's Canadian. To come up with such great concept song cycles as "Map Of The World" or the jazz-influenced "Maria" is a great thing. To do it as a *Canadian* is even better. Like k.d. lang, maybe there's something in the water. Second of all, she's absolutely insane, selling everything she owned and changing her name to "Issa". It's like a feminine version of Prince. Oh wait...

Maybe you heard "Calling All Angels"... it's a perfect four minute song. I have a bad feeling that her self-produced record label "Sheeba Records" will go belly-up, and Jane/Issa will be another aging hippie chick wandering the parking lots of concerts with an acoustic guitar hoping for a "miracle". But until then, Jane makes wonderful idiosyncratic music. I still can't believe she's Canadian.


22. Japan

In high school, I love Duran Duran. What gay boy in the eighties didn't? They had a complete package: music, hair, videos, supermodels, drama. The band produced hit after hit, until grunge came along. In fact, I loved Duran^2 so much that I went out looking for a band that sounded exactly like them. It's a good thing Japan came along.

Even more outlandish fashion than the Duranies, and more mediocre songs. But I didn't care. Japan set such a hipster *mood*... arcane album covers and song titles. Indecipherable lyrics about communism, but the new wave movement always had stupid lyrics. David Sylvian and other band members went on to form Rain Tree Crow, but by that point, I didn't really care.


23. Jason Falkner

I bought a Jason Faulkner CD at a store for $1. I didn't expect much, so when I was hit in the face with an entire album of excellent power pop tunes, it was like a gift from heaven. Jason has flirted with greatness, but for some reason can't catch a break. He was in Jellyfish, and Prince's band The Three O'Clock. He concived a fake sequel to Logan's Run called Logan's Sanctuary, and recorded an imaginary soundtrack album. He's done two CDs of instrumental Beatles covers intended for infants, and has done studio work for Beck and Paul McCartney. But his latest solo CD was only released in Japan, and I'm worried he'll fade into obscurity and never record again. So I want every person on my LJ list to write a letter to him and... oh never mind. Maybe it will just be our little secret.


24. The Jazz Butcher

Ok, this guy actually sucks. I bought a lot of his CDs as $25 imports when I was in college, and nothing ever struck me. Then why is he on this list? Because of two songs: "Drink" and "The Devil Is My Friend". I would put both of those on every mix tape I made in the eighties, and everyone absolutely loved it. Maybe I should buy some of his other music. I liked was a bootleg cassette tape that has neer been reissued on CD, so maybe I should be content with my memories, and let it go.


25. John Oswald

I paid $80 for a CD. A single CD. And it's music that has been ripped and distributed freely on the internet. There was this weird mail service for a while where one fan in Arizona would dub the album for you for free if you sent him a blank cassette. I could get the MP3s in a few minutes now. But I wanted the original CD, and I've seen it sell for almost a thousand dollars on ebay.

Why so serious? John Oswald created one of the first examples of mashups. He called it "Plunderphonics", and spent days arcanely placing sampled instruments into an artsy wall of sound. He sampled the Grateful Dead and gave a CD called "Grayfolded" away for free in Relix. I knew Oswald as a writer for "Keyboard" magazine in the eighties, creating a column on digital music right as sampler took off.

But the CD that captured my heart (and my $80) was given away for free to various media outlets. It contained an insane version of Michael Jackson's "Bad", who promptly sued. All copied of the CD were recalled and destroyed. It was important to me to buy a copy... it's a reminder to me that art is difficult and should create effort and love and work and pain. But it also can't be stopped, and the worthwhile things in this world will always find a way. They will always find a way.


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I like Jazz Butcher

I made up a song to the tune of The Devil is My Friend once:

I went to a party
It lasted near all night
I threw a lot of punches
But it was not a fight
I hoisted up some panties
I pinched and nibbled tits
Oh, how I like them trannies
And their surprising bits

There's trannies in my trunk
There's trannies in my trunk
Wherever I go the trannies go
There's trannies in my trunk

And I'm always thinking of Jane Siberry's song "Waitress" when I'm cleaning up at parties an her "Symmetry" when I'm getting anal about stuff. You can't chop down asymmetry!

I used to love Jane up until she went nuts, started releasing albums of wildly inappropriate cover versions, changed her name and sold all her worldly possessions. But up to and including Maria, her stuff was brilliant!

I know. I don't want to be mean, and I wish Jane Siberry well, but I really worry for her sanity. Then again, some of the greatest artists are a little crazy (see Prince). She could be ready to make some incredible music... I'm hoping for her.

Edited at 2009-04-21 06:43 pm (UTC)

Oh, I kind of expect musicians to be a little crazy, it keeps them interesting. Christian Vander, Kate Bush, Todd Rundgren, Frank Zappa, all a little cuckoo, and far more interesting because of it.

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I don't understand Roxy Music. "Avalon" is a stunning album, one of my all-time favorites. But it's so different than early Roxy Music. What happened? It's like a totally different band. And then they just broke up? Bryan Ferry has some ok solo stuff, but to be, it's just ok.

so much to write!

I was told back in college that Jane Siberry was the Canadian answer to Laurie Anderson. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and it took me some time - but she blows me away. I really took to her when a show I was doing used "Calling all angels" as the final music. And selling her possessions = brilliant in my mind...to an extent. The name change I'm not so sure about but I can tell you that her new album "Dragon Dreams" is really quite good. Stay with her - open mind... (and Radiohead totally stole her 'pay what you want for downloading' idea)

Japan...well...see previous posts of mine. Love love love them - and since they are no more, I actually really like all of their solo stuff as well. Mick Karn is an amazing bass player, Richard Barbieri, Steve Jansen...both really talented. and of course Sylvian. heart

and I keep looking for the Jellyfish box set that I never bought and am kicking myself over.

OMG, did I love Japan and David Sylvian!



As with Great Big Sea, Jane is quite well known up here. Her song "One More Colour" (spelled with a u, as it should be) is one of my favourites.

Why would you be surprised she's a Canadian? There's actually rather alot of talent and creativity up here...

>Why would you be surprised she's a Canadian?

It was a joke. Sheesh, you Canadians are so quick to anger... you're like Klingons or something.

Um, that was another joke. In actuality, Canadians are peaceful, sleep-loving creatures who live in caves and eat sticks of butter.

In actuality, Canadians are peaceful, sleep-loving creatures who live in caves and eat sticks of butter.

You're right about the peaceful sleep-loving part. But the butter is actually seal blubber. :p

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