Combining Romani, Slavic and Mariachi music with American folk, Denver natives DeVotchKa hit all the right notes with me on one of my recent favorites, Queen of the Surface Streets. A sweetly thought out and mellow track, its quirky lyrics make this one of the easiest and most fascinating songs your iPod will have seen all summer. Who wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of these words:
"I would live on the street in a cardboard shack,
just to worship your feet and the curve of your back.
And I'll bend my spine til it's quitting time
Cause I know what your love is worth"
Of DeVotchKa's other tracks I am also a bit of a late-comer, but have grown to appreciate them simply for their unique style. There aren't many male vocalists who have that haunting, melodic quality I think is so underestimated in much of the music world these days.[see Rufus Wainwright or Jeff Buckley].
On the topic of vocals so smooth you could wash them down with a glass of whiskey, I really don't think I can say enough about Handsome Boy Modeling School and their collaboration with Cat Power on I've Been Thinking. I'm so late to this party it's ridiculous [The album, White People, came out in 2004...] but now that the group and their collaborators have been on my radar for a while it's safe to say they won't be leaving it anytime soon.
Their mashups [with Jack Johnson on Breakdown], and collaborations [with De La Soul on The World's Gone Mad and If It Wasn't For You] are of some of the most underrated, undeniable hip hop these ears have been exposed to in a while. I've Been Thinking goes down so easy, you might chill so hard you slip into a trance/get accidentally faded. [Maybe not, but you should? What?]. Plus, I can never resist Cat Power aka the delicious Chan Marshall and her sexy smoke-and-mirrors stylings.
"Diamonds, candy, pills
One million dollar bills
You can try - but you can't buy me"