Saturday, July 29, 2006

Holly McNarland

Canadian songstress, Holly McNarland, is scheduled to release a new album this year. Alas, as seems oft to happen, it has been put off til early 2007 now. According to her official site though, she will be releasing an EP called 'The Komrade Sessions", which will include songs she recently recorded without a band to tide over her fans until the release of her new album "Chin Up, Buttercup" comes out next year.

For those of you unfamiliar with Holly and her work, she is a fairly popular Canadian musician who's won numerous awards and topped charts in her homeland. She has released 2 full length albums, a stellar EP and at least 2 live albums to date. She is what I would call alternative pop. Her songs have great hooks and choruses as good pop should, but her voice has a great edge to it. She also, especially on her first EP "Sour Pie" sings about some topics that perhaps would not be radio friendly in the pop genre, such as her lover's lack of stamina in "Mr. 5 Minutes" and another somewhat quiet little anthem called "Cry or Cum".

All of her albums are worth a listen and I haven't been disappointed in any of them, she's got major talent. I am excited to hear her new material...until then, we can get a taste at her MySpace.

  • Holly McNarland - "Stormy" (from Sour Pie)
  • Holly McNarland - "Coward" (from Stuff)
  • Holly McNarland - "Dallas" (from Home Is Where My Feet Are)

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Round 2: Los Angeles

I get to Los Angeles a few times a year. It's gotten me spoiled, now I can barely handle going to a store like FYE or Coconuts to buy music. $17 for a CD? Are you kidding me? In L.A. most of my music shopping happens in two stores, Amoeba Hollywood and Second Spin on Ventura Blvd. There also used to be Aron's which was a great store, but it recently closed.

I think I am right, the Hollywood Amoeba definitely seems bigger than the Berkeley one. I also enjoy their set up more, as they separate the used CDs from the new stuff. In Berkeley you had to search through them all together. Their bargain bin seems not only much bigger, but I found much more in it. It also has to do with the fact I wasn't flying through it because of time constraints (I get dropped off around 1:30 and then a ride home around 4:45pm). I managed to get 8 CDs from the bargain bin, and since the buy 4 get the cheapest free deal is on, I pay for 6 of those.

Amoeba has a huge selection, but often if they do have a newer release used the price will be way too high for me to consider buying ($10-12). They have stranger stuff though, especially in the bargain bin, things you are amazed to have found, and this is what makes Amoeba great. Second Spin is good for its selection of more recent releases at better prices ($7-9) and I always find the more popular releases there (the ones where you say "why would someone have sold this back already, damn!"). Second Spin also has a bargain bin, and though it's very small in comparison, you can't beat the prices as most are $2 or less and usually they have a 50% off deal on them, so you can walk out with some 50ยข CDs if you're lucky enough to find something worth buying.

I've done very well for myself in the music shopping here in L.A., here's a sampling of some of the artists I picked up music by while I was out:

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Round 1: Berkeley, CA

My California music shopping began in Berkeley at Amoeba Music and Rasputin Music. I did quite well for myself. It was my first time visiting both, as I hadn't been to the San Francisco area since I was about 12 years old. I didn't get to the stores in San Francisco proper, but to the ones in Berkeley...I couldn't burden my friends with my inability to leave such places without having spent at least 2 hours in this was not the most thorough, but good enough to reap 9 CDs for myself.

I'm a bargain bin shopper. Often I peruse the $3 or less bins and find great things, or at least, things worth buying. It also helps that Amoeba's deal is buy 3 from the bargain bin get a 4th free. I didn't manage to find enough to make this deal worthwhile this time around, but here's holding out for the Hollywood Amoeba! I think the Berkeley Amoeba is smaller than the Hollywood one. This may have just been an optical illusion as the Hollywood one has very high ceilings since it appears to be an old warehouse or something and has a separate room for classical and a partial upstairs for DVDs.

I was able to find a number of things I was excited about. I think the thing I was most excited about was finding something on my "to look for" list in the bargain bin. I purchased Sarah Harmer's "All Of Our Names" album for $2 and I was definitely excited about that.

Here's a sampling of some of the artists I picked up music by while I was in Berkeley (though not necessarily from the albums I bought as some have yet to be sampled and I don't want to be recommended music I haven't given a good listen to already)...

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