“Amorino” – Isobel Campbell
Full of tasteful and often unexpected orchestral flourishes, “Amorino” finds former Belle & Sebastian cellist Campbell in fetching form. Less a song than an instrumentally rich development of a riff, “Amorino” features Campbell’s light and breathy voice singing one simple refrain a few times, followed by a series of answering echoes from the veritable orchestra she has working with her. A ’60s vibe permeates the effort, thanks in part to the spy-movie reverb effect on the main riff and the “Strawberry Fields”-like flutes that float along in the background. The song is the title track from her first post-B&S CD, which was released in October on Instinct Records.
“Never Leave a Job Half Done” – Pedro the Lion
Very satisfying rocker from the one-man band Pedro the Lion. The unresolved chords of the urgent introduction grab me right away, and the combination of melody and drive keep me interested through to the charming “bah-bah-da-bah-bah”s at the end. Band mastermind David Bazan bears a comfortable vocal resemblance to Adam Durwitz of the Counting Crows, with something of the Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan thrown in. You’ll find this song and five others from Pedro the Lion on PasteMusic.com’s MP3 page, in the “Indie Rock/Emo” category. As usual there, you’ll have to enter your email address to gain access. “Never Leave a Job Half Done” comes from Pedro the Lion’s 2000 CD, Winners Never Quit.
“Lily-A-Passion” – Grant Lee Phillips
There is something deep and arresting about this guy’s voice, and an indelible, timeless quality to his music. “Lily-A-Passion” is a song from Phillips’ not-yet-released CD, Virginia Creeper. It’s only a stream (sorry!), but here’s the interesting thing: the one-time leader of the band Grant Lee Buffalo is releasing a stream a week from this new CD leading up to its release in February. This is the third song now available on his web site; click on the song title to hear the stream. Check out the first track on the CD, “Mona Lisa,” as well, it’s quite good also.