“All or Nothing” – Eddi Reader link no longer available
Here in Fingertips-land, Eddi Reader is a superstar, a singer/songwriter whose grand outer charm is backed by spine-tingling emotional depth and spiritual awareness. Once part of the snazzy ’80s band Fairground Attraction (known, if at all, for the retro-y single “Perfect,” which made an alternative-radio splash in 1988), Reader has released one beautiful solo CD after another through the ’90s and into the new decade. This song comes from her first solo album, Mirmama, which was originally released in 1992 and re-released by her current record label in 1997.
(To access this MP3 on PasteMusic.com you’ll have to first enter your email address. Look for Eddi Reader under the “Americana/Traditional” category.)
“Today is the Day” – Yo La Tengo link no longer available
After two CDs that largely exercised the band’s gentle, reflective side, along comes the ever-resourceful Yo La Tengo with a release that reverses the trend. This song first appeared on the band’s last CD, Summer Sun, in a calm and quiet setting; in this version–available on a new, six-song EP–squawking electric guitars return with a glorious vengeance. There have been few bands in the history of rock’n’roll that have so engagingly explored both the loud and the soft. It’s particular fun when they do it to the same song.
“I Radio Heaven” – Over the Rhine link no longer available
Another PasteMusic.com goodie, this comes from Over the Rhine’s rather brilliant 2001 CD, Films for Radio. Vocalist Karin Bergquist is a beguiling force of nature, guitarist/songwriter Linford Detweiler is way too thoughtful to be in a rock’n’roll band, and I’m going to keep writing about them until more people listen. “I Radio Heaven” joins an elite group of rock songs that get their drive and drama by focusing most of the melody on one note. “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Pump it Up” are two others; this one’s sneakier-sounding, more elegant, and works up to a fevered pitch rather than banging away at the same level for the whole song (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Wonderful stuff.
(As with the Eddi Reader MP3, you’ll have to enter your email first to be able to download. You’ll find Over the Rhine in the “Alt-Pop” category.)