Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Cosmopolitan Pop from Devotchka

Another random find at the library. I picked up ‘A Mad & Faithful Telling’ by DeVotchKa. I had heard their name before but didn’t know anything about them. Took me a minute to find out they played Bonnaroo in 2006, one year I didn’t happen to go, sadly. I would love to have seen Radiohead and a bunch of other acts and reportedly, DeVotchKa’s set was a breakout event for them.

An unexpectedly congruous mix of widely varied styles and nationalities.

An unexpectedly congruous mix of widely varied styles and nationalities.

I bet these guys would put on a fun show. Their music has elements of European gypsy music (Greek, Romani), Mariachi, and American Punk and Pop. It is a unique, high-energy sound that makes great use of a variety of instruments, including guitar (and mandolin, I think), piano, accordion, bass, strings, and horns. When you mix Pop with such cosmopolitan influences, it really takes the songs to some interesting places.

DeVotchKa got their start in Denver and has released 6 albums since their debut in 2000. ‘A Mad & Faithful Telling,’ released in 2008, sounds like the work of a confident, veteran band, with well-produced songs that explore a variety of grooves. Of course, it’s rare that I like every single song on an album and I didn’t like all of this one. These three, however, were particularly good:

  • Along the Way – This is the most Mariachi sounding track on the album. It’s a beautiful melody and the string arrangements and trumpet flourishes are fantastic. This is actually a link to a live performance at South by Southwest last year. They do such a nice job with it live that it sounds just like the studio version.
  • Transliterator – A great Pop tune, with more wonderful string arrangements between the hard-hitting choruses. I like the noddling little keyboard line that sets up the verses.
  • A New World – The dreamy melody is anchored by hard-strummed guitar and serious cello. Lead singer Nick Urata’s warbling alto sounds almost like Roy Orbison on this pretty track.

So now I have yet another band to go back and check out their earlier work. So many bands, so little time.



August 27, 2009 - Posted by | Folk, Popular, punk, Rock, World Music

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