Music, Podcasts

Five female-fronted music groups you should be hearing — plus a link to a free Mp3

Recently, your Monkey narrator has been hearing a lot of excellent female artists that are deserving of some attention. Some of them you may know, some you may be hearing for the first time. But all of them are worth your attention.

  1. Ida Maria: Your Monkey has written about this high energy punk pop Norwegian songstress in the past, and if you haven’t checked out her American debut album “Fortress ‘Round My Heart” yet, you are in for a treat. Start with the singles “Oh My God” and “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” and see what you think. They will only cost you two bucks on itunes, which is pretty much what thi Monkey gets charged for every ATM visit.
  2. Metric: The latest album from this Toronto-based group fronted by singer Emily Haines has been getting a lot of good buzz recently. For the highly competitive price of free, you can download an acoustic version of their latest single “Help I’m Alive” from their site. Pretty good deal if you ask this Monkey. Link to site is here.
  3. P. J. Harvey and John Parish:  The latest album between the well-known Harvey and the lesser known Parish is called “Woman A Man Walked By.” Harvey first perked this Monkey’s ears last year when she released the moody, contemplative and piano-driven album “White Chalk.” Since Rhapsody does not have this album, your Monkey has not been able to listen to the whole thing yet, but the song “Black Hearted Love” was featured on a recent All Songs Considered podcast and is well worth your time. Here is a link to the podcast.
  4. Connecticut-based band Eula was recently featured as one of Christopher Laird’s artists of the week on his weekly Radio Nowhere radio show and podcast. This three-piece band has a nice low-fi  sound with a little more aggression than you might expect. Here’s a link to their website.
  5. The Birthday Massacre: This might be a product of your monkey’s abnormal brain, but there is something strangely comforting about this band’s unsettling, industrial synthpop sound. It be the mix of the melodic and the menacing. Check out a video below.
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Movies, Music, Podcasts, Shameless self indulgence

The Grumpiest Monkey Lost Interview Tapes, Vol. 1

In which the Monkey shamefully employs the literary device of the self-interview, as perfected by Dave Eggers in his “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.”

Q:  Monkey, what is this blog all about?

A: Thanks for asking! I genuinely appreciate your interest. This blog is all about one copywriting Monkey and his struggle to find creative outlets for his wandering mind during his dull and dreary workday. This blog is also about music, movies and podcasts and occasionally includes very self-indulgent rants about your Monkey’s long and fruitless search for a new job.

Q: So what kind of music do you like?

A: A tough question, but a fair one. Your Monkey likes all kind of music, from folk to rock to techno and rap music. The only music that really doesn’t work for him is faux angsty rock music (Nickleback), dumbed down pop country songs (I’d Like to Check You for Ticks) and dull, unspired r&B tracks that use vocal tricks as a substitute for interesting songwriting (too many to name).

Q: So what kind of movies do you like?

A: Gosh you’re a great interviewer. And a wonderful listener. Once again, your Monkey likes movies of all different types, from classics like “Casablanca, “From Here to Eternity” and “The Manchurian Candidate” to more mainstream comedies like “Airplane,” “the Naked Gun,” “Fletch”, and “Role Models.” He also likes boundary-pushing independent movies like “Requiem for A Dream.”

Q. So what to you hope to accomplish with this blog?

A. Not all that much, really. Your Monkey is hoping that this will be a place for him to talk about some of his favorite bands, movies and podcasts, and maybe give people some suggestions that they will find entertaining and creatively rewarding. He is also very grateful for all the podcasters and bloggers who keep him entertained and informed during the day, so if he can do any small part to promote their work, he will consider that a big success.

Q. Gee this interview is getting a bit long winded. What about some music?

A. Sounds good to me. “Help I’m Alive” is the new single by the Canadian band Metric, and here is a brief video documentary in which singer/songwriter Emily Haines talks about the thought process that went into creating this song.

The song itself has an upbeat, electropop feel to it, but in this version Haines plays and sings a little bit of a stripped down, piano-only version of it. Good stuff.