Archive for the ‘Lisa Hannigan’ Category


This second installment of this Nettwerk Christmas series is much darker than the first.  Perhaps this is indicated by the tree being on fire.  In fact, of the three it’s the one I listen to the least, despite the fact that it has a couple of my favorite Christmas songs on it.  The downer songs are labelled [NSFC] Not Safe for Christmas.

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT-“Spotlight on Christmas”  I love this song.  It’s actually quite sad and stands up for poor little rich people at Christmas, but the chorus is so pretty.  And i really love Rufus’ voice.

EISLEY-“The Winter Song”
I’ve never heard of this band outside of this song (they are still active).  The song is terrific and their voices and harmonies are really wonderful.

This version of the song has stuck with me for years.  I simply cannot decide if Avril has the most pure and unmodified voice when singing his song or if she is just totally flat (which I don’t think she is).  I find her delivery is haunting in a very strange way.  Krevizauk, on the other hand has and absolutely incredible voice and her parts are amazing.

This is the first of many depressing songs.  Five and a half minutes of bad news and sad tidings.  Good grief.  The melody is nice and maybe in another context it would be powerful, but holy crap, no one want to hear this at Christmas.

This is a really dark song that turns Silent Night from a song of hope to one of despair.

GUSTER-“Donde Esta Santa Claus?”
This is perhaps my favorite Christmas song, ever.  It’s fun and lighthearted and super catchy.  I can’t believe it is wedged in between these really dark songs that I always skip.

This is a sweet, catchy song until you hear the words and that its about a red-nosed wino who dies.  Good grief.

This song has a pretty decent melody but Matthews sings it really quietly and, man, it just never goes anywhere. It’s five and a half minutes long and has no energy.  Gah.

OH SUSANNA-“Go Tell It on the Mountain”
I always forget that this is a Christmas song, but it certainly is.  It’s full of gospel tinges, as it should be.  Apparently new lyrics have been added but I don’t know all the words so it was news to me.

BARENAKED LADIES-“Green Christmas”
BNL has recorded three versions of this song.  It was written for the 2000 film How the Grinch Stole Christmas and appeared on the soundtrack.  It also appears on Barenaked for the Holidays.  Each of those versions is different and they both differ from this one.  It’s a bit of a downer but only as much as BNL can be downers.

MARTINA SORBARA-“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” [NSFC]
Never has anything wonderful felt so sad and mopey.  This bluesy version is kind of interesting but man is it ever at odds with the meaning of the song.

BADLY DRAWN BOY-“Donna & Blitzen”
This is another terrific song.  Its got a  great melody, some terrific piano and a super catchy chorus.  Its not exactly Christmas although it sort of is and certainly works for the Christmas season

THE FLAMING LIPS-“White Chritsmas” [NSFC]
Despite my love for the Lips I really don’t like this version of the song at all.  It’s subtitled that it is a demo for Tom Waits which might explain why it is sung in such a crazy way, but Waits would do it so much better.  He just sounds mocking all the way through.

SIXPENCE NONE THE RICHER-“It Came Upon A Midnight Clear”
This band used to be pretty huge back in the day.  This song is very pretty–played on a kind of Spanish-sounding guitar with some neat and kind of spooky keys playing single notes at the end of each verse.  It’s a really cool version and ends the disc on a good note.

[READ: December 12, 2017] “Kings”

Once again, I have ordered The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This year, there are brief interviews with each author posted on the date of their story.

Hello. Welcome. It’s finally here: Short Story Advent Calendar time.

If you’re reading along at home, now’s the time to start cracking those seals, one by one, and discover some truly brilliant writing inside. Then check back here each morning for an exclusive interview with the author of that day’s story.

(Want to join in? It’s not too late. Order your copy here.)

This year I’m pairing each story with a holiday disc from our personal collection

This is a story about D.H. Lawrence and his life in Kandy, Ceylon in 1922.  I don’t know anything about Lawrence, so I assume this is all based on research.  As with most fictionalizations of real people’s lives, I don’t get why it was written.  But it was quite interesting and enjoyable, so maybe that’s why.

He and his German wife had exiled themselves from England immediately after the war.  They met an American, Brewster, who invited them to Kandy, nicknamed Little England.  But it was a sad trick, that name, for it was all jungle.  Lawrence suffered from tuberculosis and the jungle heat did not help. (more…)


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stroppy SOUNDTRACK: LISA HANNIGAN-Tiny Desk Concert #171 (October 29, 2011).

lisahI thought that Lisa Hannigan’s name sounded familiar, but given this Tiny Desk Concert, I’m going to assume I had never heard her before.

Hannigan has a really interesting voice–kind of deep and raspy but with splashes of falsetto.  It’s really pretty.

And she plays a variety of instruments.

For “Knots” it is just her and her large ukulele (and she gets a remarkably full sound out of that tiny 4 stringed instrument).

It’s between songs that you notice her accent as she welcomes John Smith to accompany her.  Lisa switches to guitar as well.  It’s interesting that she plays a similar picking style on the guitar which of course just sounds bigger.  The two guitars play very nicely off of each other.  This song is a bit quieter, with her singing most of it in a whisper that makes you want to lean in to hear more.

Before the third song, “Passenger” Bob asks if she’d like to stay the whole day.  She says yes with all of the lovely tea. Bob says there’s plenty and she jokes “Not for long once I get going.”

John needs to tune his guitar, “it was in tune when I bought it,” and Lisa switches to a mandolin.  The high notes of the mandolin work perfectly with her deeper voice.  She shows off a powerful side with some of the sections of this song and the guitar adds some nice bass notes to the music.  For the middle section, Smith sings low harmonies and they both sing louder than before.  It’s a great transition in this song.  And she hits some lovely high notes as well.

Hannigan came to people’s attention while working with Damien Rice.  Then she put out two solo albums.  But she hasn’t put out anything since (except one-off songs).  That’s a shame, I’d love to hear more.

[READ: July 30, 2015] Stroppy

I don’t know anything about Marc Bell, although his art looks very familiar.  The telltale sign is that every character has white eyes which look a bit like capsules.  This book is put out by Drawn & Quarterly and while I thought his art looked familiar, it could just be a D&Q aesthetic.

This story is pretty bonkers.  Stroppy works for Monsieur Mustache at the remote villager processing plant.  In this plant, small villagers who look a bit like Minons (yellow capsules) have their brains removed an a new brain inserted, turning them into security guards and other roles. But then there’s a visitor.  A large shirtless man comes through the tiny opening clogging up the works.

His name is Sean and he has come to put up posters for The All-Star Schnauzer band Song Contest (meanwhile, the villagers are piling up in Stroppy’s work area.

Monsieur Mustache arrives, fires Stroppy and then, upon hearing about the song contest, he Hires Sean, in hopes of buying him off.  Turns out Monsieur is a pretty evil dude (and his songs are just as bad). (more…)

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