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Looking forward to listening to this, Paul. I had a similar track-stopping experience a few years back with the band Beirut, so I know the feeling!

So, Stu, here's your first wom[a|e]n in the series.

Maybe surprisingly for a group little known in the U.S., Laïs was probably going to be in this series even if Paul had not written about them, because they were on my mental list of possibilities. I've actually written about them here before, back in 2009:


I have the album described in that post and on the strength of that bought another, The Lady's Second Song. You may recognize that title--it's a Yeats poem, one of several set to music on that album. I like both albums a lot. I guess they're more aimed at the American market as most of the songs are in English, and it's a very eclectic set. Not many people cover songs from Nico's Desert Shore album.

Funny, I was listening to a song by Beirut just recently. Several of their songs were offered as freebies on eMusic a while back and I see that two, Elephant Gun and Postcards from Italy, have four stars in my database.

The thing that struck me about the Beirut songs I was hearing was the sheer oddness of them: this very 80s, new-wave sort of vocal style combined with what sounded like Eastern European folk instrumentation. It was bizarre, but strangely attractive. I'm not sure if the songs I heard were from a particular album or from a playlist. The girl at the counter of the store didn't really know either. It was just something they played in the store and she liked it.

Just realised that the "thirty years" should be "twenty years" – it's so long ago already!

I've changed it now. It did cross my mind that that seemed like an awfully long time.

I'm pretty sure there was talk of another female group fairly early in the series. One I hadn't heard of previously.

Oh, of course, SHEL. How could I forget?

How could you forget that you could expect to forget?


I think I have this figure out. Because time is moving so fast know, we don't have time to store our memories.


Yes, I think it must be something like that. To use a computer analogy, memories in RAM are overwritten before they get written out to disk. That's partly because they're coming too fast and partly because the disk subsystem has gotten slower and spending more time doing error recovery.

For some reason that analogy made me smile.

If I keep making mistakes like that, I'm going to quite posting stuff online.


Darn. I wish I could say I did that to be funny.


What's funny to me is that I wouldn't have noticed the mistakes if you hadn't mentioned them.

What misteaks?


There not very noticeable.

Finally was able to listen to these songs. Great harmonies, for sure! I think, in general, I like the quieter, less rocky numbers better.

Speaking of female singers, here's a song that made me stop and listen in a Sears a few years back. I tried to remember as many of the lyrics as I could, then googled them when I got home.

Funny, but for some reason this particular Sears always had good music playing when I went in!



I may like the two Laïs albums I have better than this one just because the material is mostly in English. One thing that really strikes me about their singing is that it's complex and precise and all that, and at the same time very passionate and sensual--I mean in the sound, not the words (especially)--sort of bursting with it. Much more richly sensual than these pop queens who strip and writhe and talk dirty. I remember saying after listening to The Lady's Second Song that somebody better marry these girls before their house catches fire. Of course being modern young women they are probably long since very well acquainted with sex--the pent-up-ness is probably an illusion.

I've always felt similarly about Kate Bush's music, although it has less of that pent-up feel. It's far more "passionate and sensual" than any number of the nasty-talking bumpers and grinders.

Definitely. There's still a lot of her music that I haven't heard and would like to.

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