One Louder's Juke Box Jury: Round #4 with Her Jazz's Maria Tessa Sciarrino
Her Jazz is where Philadelphia's Maria Tessa Sciarrino touches base with us before organizing her next show with Sara Sherr as Plain Parade, or rushing off to host her weekly radio show on WPRB, or presenting at this year's EMP Conference with her paper entitled "Lost In Translation: Musical Selection In Figure Skating." In addition to all this, she still finds time to freelance as a photographer and graphic artist (everything from photos appearing in Arthur and at Pitchfork to sites, posters and cd packaging for various clients including one of Rajeev's favorite albums this year—Delta 5's Singles & Sessions 1979 - 1981). I'm sure she sleeps too, but that remains an uncomfirmed rumor.
It's a simple set-up. Maria was sent six untagged, generically named, mp3s and instructed to simply write a few sentences after listening to each one. Whether she recognized any of the songs or not, I wanted her to comment honestly and succinctly on three current songs and also on three songs from the past. What you see below are Maria's responses, as well as mp3s of the three older songs for you, the reader.
Nelly Furtado, "Maneater" (from the forthcoming album Loose)
Oy, wouldja challenge me? I downloaded this track off you [Paul] months back and have been hooked on the hooky hookiness ever since. That said, I know this is going to become an anthem for the overly bronzed fit bodies in meathead bars across this country soon enough, but in the meantime, this hunka hunk of burning love is mine all mine, from the garbage can stomp of the backbeat to the Hall & Oates rip of the chorus. Truth be told, I don't just dance to it—I spontaneously vamp.
Chris Isaak, "I Want You To Want Me" (new recording from The Best of Chris Isaak)
Alright, so when I first heard this, I was all, "Man, what crap emo band is covering this?" 'cause the rhythm was way too fast and the guitars too chug-chug-chug. But then, the croony vocals lead me to believe that if Pete Wentz ever found himself in a backwater locale with the singer, he'd have the crap kicked out of him, so there goes the idea that some eighth-rate mallrat was behind this. I'm feeling alright with the red state boogie that kicks in mid-song, yet mildly disappointed with the whimpering coda—you'd think they'd make it so bootstompingly bombastic the cows would come home.
The Pipettes, "Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me" (from the new album We Are The Pipettes)
As much fun as this is on a musical level (girl-groupy, good harmonies, kooky guitar stylings), the content drives me nuts. Shit like this perpetuates the whole "women in rock" cliché. Feminists, we're calling you: Can women, as a collective whole, please find new ways to write about relationships? And when I mean "relationships", what I'm really trying to say is "please stop talking about boys." There's other people out there. It's a big world. Take a cue from Mary Timony's Ex Hex, a record full of stories about backstabbing, shitty friends, pirates, weirdo Christian metaphors and more. I don't necessarily get it, but whatever it's doing keeps it on my stereo.
Holly & The Italians, "Tell That Girl To Shut Up" (MP3)
Holly Vincent penned one of the cattiest, bitchiest songs ever right here—one of the sharpest, snarkiest jewels in the crown of O.G. New Wave, predating the stream-of-consciousness critique upon which Art Brut built their fame. Song #3 needs to stop sleeping in class and take some fucking notes! I bet Holly's writing a song about how much Band #3 sucks and it will be eight billion times funnier and better.
Clock DVA, "4 Hours" (MP3)
This guy needs to stop mumbling. I'm having serious trouble hearing him. It's like he's ashamed of his band or something. They're not horrible. No, no, trust me. Imagine the drumming tightened up, replace the recorder with a "hot-shit-in-1983" keyboard. Give the singer some of those drugs that will turn him into a cocky bastard and make him sing these lyrics again. This song is missing a spine in its current state.
Craig Armstrong (featuring Evan Dando), "Wake Up In New York" (MP3)
This song is pretty, quiet and folky. Its what guys write when they've taken a poetry writing class for the first time and experience "feelings", usually about girls. I bet this guy gets laid a lot, because girls find this song pretty, quiet and folky. I bet this guy has a beard. Beards are the soul patches of the new millennium. I want to punch this dude in the dick.