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Sia Finds No 'Day Too Soon'

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Sia Finds No 'Day Too Soon'

Sia Finds No 'Day Too Soon'

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(Soundbite of song, "Breathe Me")

SIA (Singer): (Singing) Ouch, I have lost myself again. Lost myself, and I am nowhere to be found.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Did you watch the TV show "Six Feet Under," Dan?

DANIEL HOLLOWAY, host:

Yes.

STEWART: As soon as I heard this song on the finale, I went and downloaded it. I have to admit that I'm probably not alone. I'm sure Sia made it…

HOLLOWAY: Yeah, you're not the only one.

STEWART: …onto a whole lot of iPods after "Breathe Me" was played in that last episode, they're driving away. Anyway, for those who, like some of us, play the song over and over, want to hear something new from Sia, we're in luck today. She's got a new one out today.

HOLLOWAY: As does the band Marah and Rhonda Vincent and Kate Nash. That's right, folks, it's New Music Tuesday. On the line to guide us through what's new is Andy Langer. When he's not here with us, he's a music columnist for Esquire.

STEWART: Hey, Andy.

Mr. ANDY LANGER (Music Columnist, Esquire Magazine): Good morning.

STEWART: All right. So aside from the "Six Feet Under" finale - this is what I know about Sia. She's Australian. Now, she's been kind of moody on some of her past work, but when listen to on the new release is a whole lot poppier. Is she going to go that pop-tart root, or did she go?

Mr. LANGER: Well, that's what they're trying for, or what she's trying for. I mean, the good news here is that sort of the whispery vocals that you get on that "Breathe Me," which was her mini breakthrough, and then in Zero 7, she used to sing for them. And that was real sort of whispery trip-hop stuff. She's singing here, which is good. And it's, you know, it is her pop crossover. And the idea is she's a little bit of everything to everyone - or at least that's what it seems like she's going for.

STEWART: Well, let's hear a track from her new disc, "Some People Have Real Problems." This is called "Day Too Soon."

(Soundbite of song, "Day Too Soon")

SIA: (Singing) I've been running all my life. I ran away, I ran away from good. Yeah, I've been waiting all my life. You're not a day, you're not day too soon. Honey, I will stitch you. Darling, I will fit you…

STEWART: Is this one that you would recommend, Andy?

Mr. LANGER: Yeah. I mean, but here is the deal. I mean, this is being put out by Hear Music, which is the Starbucks label. And does it not sound like something that you'd walk into a Starbucks and hear? I mean, it's a really inoffensive record.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LANGER: And, you know, that's not a bad thing. And she's got a Kinks cover on here. She does like "I Go to Sleep," which, unfortunately, makes you feel that way.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LANGER: And, you know, and she's got Beck on two tunes. It's not a bad record. It's not a great record, either. And I think it's going to fill, you know, the void of people who are sort of burned out of their Regina Spektor…

STEWART: Got you.

Mr. LANGER: …you know, KT Tunstall records and what-not. And you know, they already know her a little like we said from the "Six Feet Under," and it's a safe bet.

HOLLOWAY: Andy, we also have Marah. Their new one is "Angels of Destruction." We're going to listen to "Coughing Up Blood."

(Soundbite of song, "Coughing Up Blood")

MARAH (Band): (Singing) I string my veins up through the streets of summertime. (unintelligible). Into my arms and all that pollutes me. I'm a comet. I'm a flash.

HOLLOWAY: Talk to us about these guys.

Mr. LANGER: Well, they're from Philadelphia, originally. This is their sixth record. It's a pair of brothers. And they originally were a Springsteen cover band, essentially.

HOLLOWAY: Yes.

Mr. LANGER: They were The Hole Steady before The Hole Steady were cool.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LANGER: You know, they've slowly reinvented themselves a little less Springsteen, more sort of overtly rootsy. And, you know, there's big themes on this record. You know, there's religion, redemption, destruction. It's sort of a thematically complex song cycle for what are really just garage-band rock songs. And they're a great bar band. I mean, they're a terrific band to see live, and you get the impression listening to this record that it's a good record that's going to make for a great live show.

STEWART: Hey, is there any brotherly interaction? All The Kinks and the Davies or The Black Crowes and the Robinson brothers who don't get along and like to brawl?

Mr. LANGER: Well, they seem to get along because everyone else seems to be leaving the band every couple of records.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Oh, really?

Mr. LANGER: But they do both sing and write. And, you know, it's been a revolving door line up wise other than the two of them. So that's not always the case with these brother bands, because usually one brother splits. But they're there together.

HOLLOWAY: Also out today is the "Garden State" soundtrack of the moment, and that's the soundtrack to the movie, "Juno." What did you think of this one?

Mr. LANGER: Well, I mean, I went and saw the movie, you know, like everyone else. And I thought that, you know, the movie was great, and I thought they were trying so hard with the Kimya Dawson soundtrack.

HOLLOWAY: Oh, yeah.

Mr. LANGER: She's from Moldy Peaches. She's got five solo songs on here - one Moldy Peaches song, two with her band, the Antsy Pants. And then the stars of the movie, the - you know, Michael Cera and Ellen Page, they sing a song in the movie, and it's on the soundtrack. And it feels a little forced.

STEWART: What do you think, as the movie reviewer, Daniel? I mean, you see a ton of films that decide to use music in the way…

HOLLOWAY: I agree with Andy. I think it was a little heavy on The Moldy Peaches, and I think it's weird when you see a movie where one voice dominates that much in the pop music, especially when there's as much pop music used as was in this movie. They take a break for Belle and Sebastian a couple of times. But otherwise, yeah, they stick pretty close to it.

STEWART: Let's listen to a little bit of Moldy Peaches, so you can hear what the gentlemen are talking about.

(Soundbite of song, "Anyone Else But You")

Ms. KIMYA DAWSON (Vocalist, The Moldy Peaches): (Singing) You're a part-time lover and full-time friend. The monkey on your back is the latest trend. I don't see what anyone can see in anyone else.

STEWART: (Singing) I'm an indie film so I need to have a really talky song so that people can - okay.

Hey, let's move on to Rhonda Vincent.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Here's a lady who's been playing bluegrass since she was just a little thing. She has won the International Bluegrass Association's Female Vocalist Award seven times. Are we hearing anything new from Rhonda Vincent?

Mr. LANGER: You don't hear new things on bluegrass records. (unintelligible).

STEWART: Good point.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Good point.

Mr. LANGER: But, no. I mean, this is a, you know, she does do actually some new things. I mean, she's a little - you know, her problem right now she's a little too bluegrass for country, a little too modern country for bluegrass. I mean, there's a Keith Urban duet here that's terrible. But…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LANGER: But when she's really rocking straight ahead bluegrass, she's obviously really impressive.

STEWART: The album is called "Good Thing Going." This is "I'm Leavin'" from Rhonda Vincent.

(Soundbite of song, "I'm Leavin'")

Ms. RHONDA VINCENT (Singer): (Singing) I'm leavin'. Don't even try and slow me down. Yeah, I'm leavin', gonna travel out of this town. I'm tried of grieving. Misery is all I've found.

STEWART: All right. You got to love a woman who's hosting the Ernest Tubb's Jamboree in a couple of days.

HOLLOWAY: Ernest Tubb's.

STEWART: I'm guessing she's the real deal.

Mr. LANGER: She is the real deal. And unfortunately, nothing's as good at that song we just heard. Nothing else on there. That's it. I mean, it's real tough being her, because you - you know, these bluegrass purists, the people that go those Ernest Tubb events, you know, they're real sticklers for authenticity. If you try to move too far to the left or right of that, and they're going to throw back and, you know, have a problem. So it's a - you know, she's in a tight spot, but it's a pretty solid bluegrass record.

STEWART: Andy Langer is music columnist for Esquire magazine and our regular music-talking guy here on THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

Hey, Andy, thanks for swinging by.

Mr. LANGER: Thank you.

(Soundbite of song, "I'm Leavin'")

Ms. VINCENT: (Singing) Yeah, I'm leavin', gotta travel out of this town. I'm tried of grieving. Misery is all I've found.

STEWART: Any of those making it on your iPod, Daniel?

HOLLOWAY: You know what? There's a lot of bluegrass on my iPod, I got to admit. I don't know if this is going to make it on there, but the others…

STEWART: Confessions of a music critic, as we wind out…

HOLLOWAY: Big Dork.

STEWART: …a dork…

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: …this final hour of THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. We're at npr.org/bryantpark. I'm Alison Stewart. That's Daniel Holloway.

HOLLOWAY: Bye.

STEWART: Thanks for listening.

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