Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hello Gina says goodbye.

After a long absence, I've decided to throw in the towel here at the old Hello Gina. Over a year of blogging made me a very happy girl, but other demands are calling now, for the sake of school and my health. So I'm leaving this blog up for browsing purposes: to fan the flames of some past (and present) musical crushes. Please visit the good friends and writers lurking in the sidebar, read Filter magazine, etc., etc. May this blog be a fond memory for all who ever read.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Xiu Xiu. #2

Oh, but I'm miserably predictable. With every nod to Xiu Xiu, in the same breath I mention the patience it's taken me to warm up to their musical stylings. Truth of it is, with each more recent album, I feel won over more quickly and easily. My comfort zone is expanding. And how could it not, in this wash of strangely alluring, intimate sound? The lyrics carry it: "Someone felt something pure and told it all to you."

Xiu Xiu :: The Pineapple Vs. The Watermelon

Making their way back westward on a domestic tour at the moment, Xiu Xiu is, I hope, getting as much love from the crowds as their recently released record deserves. The Air Force (September 2006) is yet one step closer to that threshold of instant appeal for which I've yearned in the past. Buy it. Myspace it. Let it turn that corner of your mouth into a sly smile.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ramona Cordova.

Ramona Cordova has me charmed. A little late in fully appreciating his efforts, I confess I never kept up with Elephant 6 matters in any way that would make me seem especially savvy. But The Boy Who Floated Freely? Here is where I start paying attention intently. The record is a study in vocal electricity; and that's just the beginning. In the track below, midway through a layer of flamenco guitar, one realizes just how charged these vocals can get.

Ramona Cordova :: Mixing Potion

Catch up with Ramón Alarcón, a.k.a. Ramona Cordova, at Myspace and find The Boy Who Floated Freely available for purchase at Amazon. More info via ECA Records and Clapping Music. Readers may see this album again (and again) on blogger year-end-best-of lists, and this strikes me as fitting. Why should any of us pushing down these little laptop keys shy away from the stranger, quirkier beauties out there?

Tahiti 80.

Slick, streamlined pop from a gang of four originally based in Rouen — that's never going to sound like a bad idea around these parts. I received word the other day that Tahiti 80 are rereleasing their full-length Fosbury (Limited Edition April 2005) worldwide this November. That's good news for them, new signees to The Militia Group, and good news for those who've known and loved the band thus far.

Tahiti 80 :: Yellow Butterfly

Track here from the charming earlier album Puzzle (1999), available for purchase at Amazon. Between now and November, stay in touch with Tahiti 80 via the band pages at Myspace and The Militia Group.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Generals! #13

Lucky thirteen. Though I completed that comprehensive general exam in music at the beginning of September, I figure I have no official good reason to stop pairing pop and not-pop tracks and seeing what happens. Without further ado, another "generals" post, this time along sad girl lines.

Gluck :: Il Faut De Mon Destin
Elizabeth Cotten :: Going Down The Road Feeling Sad

Under normal circumstances, an unfortunate fate has its proper accompanying sounds. Groans. Wailing. It's rarely a pretty thing, except perhaps in eighteenth-century opera. In the above excerpt from Act III of from Christoph Willibald Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide (1774), our heroine — Iphigénie — is innocent irony in the face of disaster. From the sounds of things, who would ever imagine this poor girl is at this moment resigning herself to murder at her father's hands? Gluck weaves too serene a melody around such foreboding news. Performance here is Lynne Dawson in a production conducted by John Eliot Gardiner. Also available for purchase here.

Elizabeth Cotten, for her part, is also suspiciously sunny with the fingerpicking: almost too much so for a woman delivering weepy news. But that's just it: its stoicism makes this performance even more poignant. Buy Freight Train And Other Songs (1991) via Amazon. More available directly from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Jennifer Gentle.

Oh, EZArchive, you promise me this and that and new horizons, but your great migration is killing all those files I had planned to link to this week. No matter. This simply means it's time to resort to in-house sharing courtesy the record labels.

If Willoughby is the music of a simple and slightly spiced autumn, consider Jennifer Gentle the frenzied soundtrack of autumn gone wild. This definitely has a crispness to it, but it's more about shock value than anything else. I especially like the air-let-out-of-the-balloon "solo" a couple minutes into this track.

Jennifer Gentle :: I Do Dream You

Visit Marco Fasolo and drummer Alessio Gastaldello (the Italian duo that makes up Jennifer Gentle) at their home on the web, where more songs are up for download. Or visit Jennifer Gentle via the band page at Sub Pop records. The page at Sub Pop features a link to buy Valende (2005), the album from which this track comes, and also features video of "I Do Dream You." Yes, yes: I'm afraid the visuals are just as quirky as one would think based on this song.

Monday, October 9, 2006


Image credit. There is some music that simply sounds like crisp weather and autumn. Wilco gets that sound often. Willoughby seems to have it all the time, along with an eerie intimacy that reminds me of vocals from 1940s radio. Do you hear it?

Willoughby :: Frankenstein

Los Angeles-based Willoughby, variously made up of Gus Seyffert, Bram Inscore, Barbara Gruska, John Woods, and Mike Green, is one of the lovelier unsigned bands to pop up on my radar since 2005. Head on over to the band page at Myspace to tell these guys how much you like their talent for good tunes. Or visit Gus Seyffert on the web. More pictures and audio there.