Monday, July 31, 2006

Trade Talk and Women who Rock

Today is the Trade Deadline in Major League Baseball. This time of year gets all of us who are into MLB really exicted to see what our favorite club does or doesn't do. This year has been particularly fascinating since the Angels are in playoff contention and actually seem to be interested in making a deal, something they rarely do. Having watched every inning of every game I can tell you that the Angels are in desperate need of a first baseman who can hit the ball out of the ballpark on a semi regular basis. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be what they are looking for and instead are focused on Alfonso Soriano, who is a hitter sure, but plays either outfield or 2nd base, two positions we seem to be pretty well stocked in. So we will see what happens.

Music of the day focuses on women fronted bands I loved in college. A lot has been made of the reinvention of rock brought forth by bands like the White Stripes and the Black Keys who are simply a guitar and drum duo. This is not a new phenomenon since the format had been explored earlier in the 1990's by the group the Spinanes. Made up of guitarist Rebecca Gates and drummer Scott Plouf, the Spinanes emerged from the great Northwest with a unique sound and just rock solid songs. Gates has an unusual voice, very deadpan and seeminly unemotional. However, after listening repeatedly to their debut ablum MANOS it becomes obvious this is a woman to be reckoned with. She is a wonderful guitarist and the lack of a bass player or keyboard accompanyment gives the songs a real sense of space and feeling. It also helps that Plouf is a kick ass drummer. Their second record, STRAND, enhanced the vocal nuances and added atmospheric touches that are almost Sonic Youth like. Here are some of my favorites from their first two records. I believe Gates is still making music solo and Plouf went on to work with Built to Spill at one point.

(mp3) The Spinanes -- Entire (from Manos)

(mp3) The Spinanes -- Noel, Jonah and Me (from Manos)

(mp3) The Spinanes -- Lines and Lines (from Strand)

(mp3) The Spinanes -- Meridian (from Strand)

A lot of really amazing music has come from the Georgia particularly from the Athens area. Obviously REM and the B-52's come to mind. (don't worry eventually I will get to REM but trying to whittle their catalogue down to a few tracks is impossible) But a real hidden gem of the Georgia music scene is Atlanta's Magnapop. It isn't often that you get a woman as a lead guitar player but Ruthie Morris has got chops. Add her playing ability to the vocals of Linda Hopper and you've got something special. The band came out during the height of the 1990's when other girls bands like Velocity Girl and Veruca Salt were getting a lot of press so Magnapop was kind of lost in the shuffle. But their second album, HOT BOXING, was simply a wonderful album. The influence of early REM and Bob Mould (in his Sugar incarnation) is obivous and the album is highlighted by the exceedingly poppy "Slowly, Slowly" and the out and out punk rock of "Here it Comes" The band is still recording and has new songs available for download on their website.

(mp3) Magnapop -- Slowly, Slowly

(mp3) Magnapop -- Here it Comes

Official Website

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