Monday, November 03, 2008

Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol... oh, I don't know

She and Him at Bimbo's 365 Club

I have to admit I've grown bored with numbering the missives on this space in which I gush about music. Sorry. Anyway, last spring an email from All Music tipped me off to a new album by actress Zooey Deschanel and musician M. Ward. The pair had worked together on a film and decided to continue making music under the name She and Him. Deschanel sings, Ward plays guitar, and both write the songs.

Back in the day, if I may grossly oversimplify things, music lovers would hear a song on the radio, and if they liked what they heard, buy a 45-rpm single at their local record store. Often that purchase would lead to something bigger: namely procuring the full length album where the song could be found. Other songs from that album may make it onto the radio airwaves, they may not. It was a good system, and it worked for decades.

Well, this is 2008. I had not in the spring and still have not heard any She and Him songs on the radio. Admittedly, I don't listen to every radio station in San Francisco; I don't even listen to most of them. What I did on that spring day after reading the She and Him album review on the All Music website was head to Amazon. There I could preview every track of Volume One. It's a collection of country-flavored tunes, 60's girl group-esque ditties and a couple of covers.

I chose my favorite numbers, generally leaning toward the girl group sound, and that night hopped onto iTunes where I downloaded "Why Do You let Me Stay Here?", "Sweet Darlin'" and "I Was Made For You." No radio station necessary (scores of people I know will not be at all happy I just wrote those words), no album purchase required. The country-ish songs came off a little too sappy in their 30-second Amazon previews for my taste; so I stayed away from them.

Well, I may only own three songs, but over the last half year I have fallen in love with She and Him. So I jumped at the chance to see the duo perform at Bimbo's 365 Club last night (they've also got a show there tonight). Lavender Diamond, a band I had stumbled upon on MySpace last year, was the opening act. I invited Bill, Kim, Mary Beth and Kurt to come along, and we all gathered at the historic Bimbo's to take in some new music.

The show was phenomenal. The sap I'd heard within She and Him's country tunes was completely absent from the live performance, and every number sparkled. And of course, I was delighted to sing along... loudly... with the songs I already know well and love. Both Kurt and Mary Beth, who were not familiar with She and Him's music before last night, enjoyed the show so much they thanked me for inviting them. She and Him are just so good. They're so good, they're so good, they're so good.

I still haven't heard them on the radio, but after last night, I just may buy that whole album. You should do yourself a favor and do the same.

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