So my slogan is cover songs, my fav bands, and whatever the hell I feel like. This would fall in the latter category though definitely has the potential of moving into the territory of my fav bands. I was recently sent an EP of a female singer/songwriter named Blair (see adorable photo above). While you might be bracing in your chairs for my latest sell job, I wouldn't be recommending this if I didn't think it was definitely worth a listen. One track in particular, Mona Lisa is simply beautiful. Its folky, gentle twang has got me hooked. She's drawn comparisons to the likes of Jenny Lewis and Cat Power (whom she's incidentally opened for before), though that'd be unfair for me to make that call since I'm haven't really listened to a lot of either of those artists. When I first heard Mona Lisa, the first things that came to mind were Hawksley Workman's When These Mountains Were The Seashore and The Shins' Gone for Good, both great songs. I would say Blair's vocal qualities are not unlike Sarah McLachlan. I think when you come across a new artist, it's inevitable to immediately relate and compare them to familiar artists in order for your brain to process the music. Even her own website describes her music as Dolly Parton meets Radiohead. That's probably why I often latch on to new artists via cover songs and though I'm loathe to admit it, have a hard time listening intently to unfamiliar bands. That's also why you should stop reading my incoherent ramblings and listen to Blair's music for yourself.
Blair - Mona Lisa
The 4-song EP itself is titled Pluto, a reference to the fact that last year Pluto lost its planet status, an irrevocable shift in perspective that serves as a metaphor for the life-altering changes experienced after Hurricane Katrina hit Blair's hometown of New Orleans. This was also the subject of an amusing Threadless shirt design (Pluto, not Katrina) that I got someone as a X-Mas gift last year. But the more I think about it, I'm kinda bummed that there are now only 8 planets in our solar system. A childhood factoid retroactively wiped out. Future generations of children will look at our 80's science textbooks/posters and laugh "I can't believe they used to think Pluto was planet, ha!" just like we used to mock 1950's duck and cover educational films. When I think of Pluto I'm also reminded of one of the great paradoxes in life: Goofy and Pluto, both dogs... think about it. Pluto (the dog) debuted in 1930, the same year they discovered Pluto (the ex-planet), hence his name. Both were named after the Roman God of the Underworld Pluto, who is known in Greek circles as Hades, later Disneyfied and voiced with panache by James Woods in 1997's Hercules. OK, I've digressed a bit here.
Definitely give the Pluto (the EP) a listen on Blair's myspace site. It can also be purchased from CDBaby for $5. An impressive debut EP and I can't wait to hear what the future has in store. In fact, I've made a Blair label for this post in anticipation of a future listening experiences that require posting about.