It’s Music Monday and I really need something cheerful, so Meri Amber to the rescue! The self-described Australian geek songstress has just released her next album, the six-plus-one-track Super EP, last weekend and while I sadly don’t have the energy right now to write up a full review, I can only highly recommend it for groovy and catchy tunes with quirky and thoughtful lyrics and meticulous musical arrangements. Meri is so generous to let everybody listen to her songs for free on her music streaming page and several other streaming services, but you can also buy all of her stuff at very reasonable prices in her own online shop in the form of actual CDs (remember those?) and digital downloads, which are also available almost everywhere like on Itunes and Amazon. I really recommend the higher-bitrate MP3s, because they sound so much better than the streaming versions and it’s after all the best way to support her musical endeavours!
I haven’t done a Music Monday in ages and I think it’s time to share some music once in a while again. And today I need something really funny. There’s only one musician who can fit knickers and economy into one song: the great Neil Innes, also sometimes known as the seventh Monty Python because he often worked with them. He’s an amazing satirical songwriter who has parodied just about anything – this one originally came about as a project for the Rutles (which are a whole other story!), but later he recorded it as a part of his television series The Innes Book of Records, where he did amazing music videos for many of his songs.
I was debating about posting this, but since +Scott Lewis has already shared another version of the song, which is sadly blocked here in Germany, over on Google+, I’ll just do it too with an alternate working link. I think White Wine in the Sun is one of the greatest modern Christmas songs ever written and expresses my feelings about the season perfectly. I know that Tim Minchin can be pretty caustic when it comes to Religion, but this is definitely not one of those songs! This video is a fan-recorded version from the end of Brian Cox’ and Robin Ince’s Uncaged Monkeys live show from 2011 at the Brighton Dome and features Professor Brian Cox at the piano and Tim Minchin on guitar and vocals.
If you’re still here at this point, you can also watch one of my other favourite Christmas songs called Woody Allen Jesus, also from Tim Minchin. This one actually caused a lot of controversy when exactly this performance on the Jonathan Ross Show was cut out at the last minute out of the TV broadcast by the ITV bosses in 2011. Tim Minchin himself uploaded it onto his own Youtube account, this upload is just one with a corrected aspect ratio. There are other performances around, but I think this original is the best and freshest one.
And maybe something more traditional in closing: Pamela Gay in her alter ego persona Pamela Quevillon has recorded a wonderful reading of a less known Charles Dickens story called The Christmas Tree. And with this I wish everyone Happy Holidays again!
I’m not sure if Meri Amber really needs another introduction at this point. I have shared a lot of her videos and songs before and the best way to describe her is that she’s not you average Youtube girl with a guitar at all – she’s actually a very accomplished songwriter and musician with a lot of creativity and humour. She had published her first full album in mid-September, which she calls a Mini-P, but I think she is a bit too modest since Wandering actually contains ten songs with half of them new and the other half older ones in remixed versions.
I originally wanted to write a full in-depth review and I may still do it at some point, but for time reasons I’ll just say for now that all of the songs are absolutely wonderful and the album is really worth listening to and even buying. You can listen to the album for free on her website via Spotify, but you can also get it as a digital download in every major online music store including Amazon.de. The higher bitrates really make the songs sound much better than the comparatively low-fidelity streaming versions and I can really recommend getting the download version – it’s worth every cent!
I’ve been neglecting the Music Monday postings recently, so here’s a collection of songs about… accountancy? Well, the Australian songwriter Meri Amber, whose wonderful and witty songs I’ve posted before, is not only a really great musician, but also an economics student. She wanted to do something against the boring reputation of accountancy, so she wrote a whole mini-album called Love$Accy with seven short, but brilliant songs, which got a lot of recognition in the Australian business press and even with the accounting giant KMPG, which is the subject of one of the songs. She has made six of them into amazingly creative videos, which you can view in the embedded playlist – and the seventh may be coming soon! is now online, too! Today she also posted all the songs with their lyrics on her blog, and you can also get the whole album on Bandcamp.
Meri is also very busy at the moment preparing for the launch of her first CD named Wandering, which is going to be released this Friday in a concert event. She calls the 10-track album a Mini-P instead of an EP, because there are “only” five new songs, with the other half comprised of remastered versions of her previous songs. The event will be also streamed live via a Google+ Hangout for everybody not able to attend or on the wrong side of the earth. There are just 100 copies of the physical CD, but the album will also be available to download from all the major distributors including Amazon on Friday!The party is kicking of at 8pm Sydney time – this is unfortunately in the middle of the night or early morning for the USA, but 12 noon for Germany and 11am for England, so we Europeans are actually lucky. But Meri has also said that there will be the usual recording of the hangout available afterwards!
But first, some very special, funny and sometimes mysterious and strange love letters to accounting…
As a piano player, it should be no surprise that one of my favourite musicians is Billy Joel. 2013 is, believe it or not, the 20th anniversary of his very last pop album, after which he simply stopped composing pop tunes and devoted himself almost exclusively to classical music. This is River of Dreams, the amazing title track of the album, whose music video I had never seen before – and it’s not even blocked in Germany!
Today’s Music Monday posting is just a bunch of guys having fun… but in this case, the guys are the Traveling Wilburys – Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne wielding guitars, while Jim Keltner helps out on drums. It was the most amazing “just for fun” supergroup of the 1999s and also originally included Roy Orbison, who had sadly died before the second Wilbury album was made in 1990, from which this great song, Inside Out, comes. Listen especially for the bridge sung by George Harrison and Jeff Lynne, it’s pure magic. I didn’t even know that there was a video for this song until recently!
The weather is still not exactly compatible with web-related activities, so I didn’t get much done for my websites. But since it’s the 55th anniversary of NASA today, here’s the old Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band hit Urban Spaceman for Music Monday, remade as a fantastic ragtime tune for Neil Innes’ Book of Records!
I actually have no idea who Brandon Flowers is, I only know that his cover of Bette Davis Eyes is the best one I’ve ever heard. It even blows the Kim Carnes version out of the water – this now almost 40-year-old song, originally written by Donna Weiss and Jackie de Shannon in 1974, has never sounded so fresh before.
I’ll never get to my long-prepared list for Music Monday if Meri Amber keeps this up, but I’m not complaining – this time she wrote a little song called House Number Three, which is definitively not your stereotypical lovestory. But it involves channeling your inner child, which I’m very much in favour for :-).