A package arrived the other day from the US. There were a couple of cute doodles drawn on the cardboard like I usually get from Japan. And the sender's name: Stacy Michelson from Huntington Beach in California. Hey, I know her! I thought. Where from? Then I remembered. Stacy has been a fan of Half A Cow bands since the early '90s and also sent us a demo (on cassette! go tape!) back in 1995 of her band Daily. This time Stacy has sent a cd of her band she has with her brother Brad - the gorgeously named Artichoke Heart Soufflé.
Firstly, this isn't a demo. It's got a barcode. That's rule number one. Most bands' first couple of cds these days are put together so professionally (even mastered by Don at 301!) and sold at shows and into stores, that the word 'demo' can be totally wrong and hurtful even to the shiny disc. So, for this week, mentally change Demo Of The Week to CD Of The Week. Done? Okay, let's move on.
"The impossible is here, the impossible is now, the impossible is right before your eyes" rings the catchy opening track with enough 'da da da du da da du du da da's' to last you the entire camping trip weekend. The male and female vocals open the door and beckon you in for more. Brad and Stacy Michelson play all the music themselves with Brad handling the extra bass and drums.
There's not one dud track on Artichoke Heart Soufflé's debut release. All songs are extremely well-written, melodious, cute, sad, sexy, and catchy. Just what you want to hear to take your mind, heart and body away from this increasingly-fucked up world. Stacy's memorable 'Icing On The Cake' has this delicious coupling: "I wanna be with you in New York / and sleep with you in San Francisco / laugh with you in London / and be a wife in LA". Thinking this is the highlight of the song, it's followed second time around by an even more delectable chorus. What's that over-used cliché? a chorus to die for? when the "what do you say" bit comes in, well, it's to die for. Beautiful.
This cd has it all. Except punk rock. There's even what sounds like a political song and with a title called 'Hold Hands With Politicians' I'd be betting it is. Tax cuts. Tax cuts. Had this coming out of my mouth the last few weeks. Great guitar noodling throughout this record by Brad that is part Sterling Morrison and part Barry. Barry? Barry Melton. He of the Fish. The Fish? Country Joe and the Fish! Tax cuts. Tax cuts.
Next up is Stacy's 'Follow Me Upstairs'. A love song about a girl wanting more. "There's no one that's more right for me" The tone in 'right' is so cool, it has that little twist that makes you want to hear it over again.
On all tracks the vocal interplay and harmonies of Siblings Michelson are perfect. I could write about all the songs, even the adorable cover of the Spice Girls 'Wannabe' which closes the mini-album. It's yet another amazing pop record kindly sent across the seas to Half A Cow for our listening pleasure. Thanks Stacy. Thanks Brad.
If you want to pleasure your ears, contact Artichoke Heart Soufflé at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to their myspace page where you can here four of these songs and find the details about buying your own copy of this cd (link to CD Baby above). It will make your day! -ND