Venus takes on Lollapalooza 2005
Hardcore Phair fans have neglected their petite rocker in recent years due to some cheesy radio hits (Does anyone recall the lyrics "Why can't I breathe whenever I think about you?" cringe). But we need to remember the better days, when songs like "Girls! Girls! Girls!" and "Supernova" reigned supreme. Phair took the Lollapalooza stage looking quite bohemian, a change from her usual attire, but when she busted out some old favorites, like "6'1"" and "Fuck and Run", she instantly won me back. Phair has never been the best live performer, but the Chicago native had me satisfied as I walked over to see VHS or Beta.
[Thanks to Jennifer Sabella / Venus for the report.]
[Thanks to Alice for the pics.]
[Thanks to Brett Marlow for the info.]
The Japanese version of Somebody's Miracle can be ordered through HMV Japan and will be released on September 22nd.
[Thanks to Brett Marlow for the info.]
[Thanks to mbx on the Liz Phair Forum for the photos.]
Just got back from downtown Chicago and seeing Liz perform at Millennium Park. It was such an awkward show because of the audience and Antigone Rising (or were they Falling?) - lots of kids (there were two German boys wrestling next to us and they kept hitting my roommate) as well as this creepy 30-something guy who stood in front by himself until one of the guys working backstage told him to move. Also, everyone was pretty silent, so I wonder how many Liz fans were there or if it was just a thing random people show up to.
Liz talked a bit about being back in Chicago and missing thunderstorms or something, and she was excited that the Bean was fully exposed (the guys washing it from a crane waved back at her). She played five songs, two more than I expected, and here's the set list:
It was an okay show... I've been jumping at any chance to see her perform an accoustic set. I'm extremely jealous of everyone seeing her at the Black Orchid this week.
[Thanks to John Tyler Coates from the Support System mailing list for the report.]
Fiery Phair charms the Orchid
BY JIM DEROGATIS Pop Music Critic
After a bland set at Lollapalooza in July with her band of Hollywood-slick session players, former Chicagoan Liz Phair nearly redeemed herself with a brilliant performance at the Black Orchid on Wednesday, the first of a sold-out three-night stand.
A notoriously awkward live performer, Phair, 38, ironically is best when she has the least to hide behind, relying on her idiosyncratic guitar playing and her lovably limited voice, which has improved considerably thanks to recent vocal lessons.
In the faux-1930s supper club ambience of the Black Orchid, ensconced in the yuppie haven of Pipers Alley a world away from her grungy roots in Wicker Park's Guyville, Phair delivered a mostly mesmerizing, 22-song, 80-minute acoustic set with minimal and tasteful backing from lead guitarist Dino Meneghin. And she has rarely been more confident or inspired.
Phair remains one of the most distinctive artists to emerge during the alternative explosion of the '90s, a singular songwriter blessed with a wicked literary wit, an ebullient and self-assured sexuality and a unique way of twisting a memorable melody. As she flirtatiously encouraged shouted requests from a crowd of thirty- and fortysomething fans, she provided a welcome reminder of the strength of her catalog, pulling one gem after another from her first three albums: Exile in Guyville (1993), Whip-Smart (1994) and Whitechocolatespaceegg (1998). We got passionate, fiery readings of the devilishly raunchy "Flower" and "Fuck and Run", the unforgettably catchy "Mesmerizing" and "Supernova", the anthemic "Polyester Bride" and the exquisitely written story-song "Uncle Alvarez".
Unfortunately, we also got a sampling of tunes from 2003's self-titled "Liz Phair" and her fifth album, "Somebody's Miracle", which will be released Oct. 4.
"Come on, you can tolerate it," Phair cracked after announcing she'd be unveiling some new material. But indeed, tunes such as the new disc's title track, "Wind and the Mountain" and "Everything to Me" were something to endure rather than to celebrate.
In 2003, Phair made a calculated decision to overhaul her songwriting, moving toward generic, adult contemporary radio pap a la Sheryl Crow. To manage this pandering about-face, she hired Chicagoan Gregg Latterman, a former CPA who founded Aware Records and became the current champion of middle-of-the-road schlock by bringing us multiplatinum mediocrities such as Train, Five for Fighting and John Mayer.
To compare Phair's first three albums to her most recent discs is to see a schizophrenic split unprecedented in rock history since Jefferson Airplane became Jefferson Starship. She defends this as part of her inevitable growth as an artist -- a specious and nonsensical claim, given that the melodies and lyrics of her earlier work are infinitely more sophisticated, complex and mature than the sunny platitudes and hummable inanities of late.
"Once upon a time I was so restless in love / When things were fine I changed my mind just because / Now I see how wrong and reckless I've been / Each frog has a prince / Just waiting inside of him," Phair crooned during "Somebody's Miracle".
Contrast that greeting-card silliness with the words of wisdom she offered while speaking as "Henry, my bartending friend" in "Polyester Bride": "You're lucky to even know me / You're lucky to be alive ... Do you wanna be a polyester bride? / Do you want to hang your head and die?"
My God, what happened to this woman's self-esteem, let alone her brains? What possibly could have inspired one of the sharpest songwriters of her generation to turn to writing such utterly banal crap?
The indie-rock underground that Phair once called home is unjustly quick to yell "sellout" whenever an artist attempts to reach a broader audience, but it's hard not to suspect a grain of truth to that charge here. The artist herself admitted as much when she performed one of the key tracks that, in retrospect, paved the way for her stylistic shift.
"It's nice to be liked / But it's better by far to get paid," Phair sang in the now prophetic "Shitloads of Money". The problem she faces: If the SUV crowd doesn't buy the music she's crafting for them, will any of her older fans remain? The strength of most of Wednesday's show suggests that perhaps they will, but it all depends on how much more of this dismal new dreck Phair expects us to tolerate.
Opening the show was one of Latterman's recent discoveries and hypes, Christian-rock singer-songwriter Mat Kearney, who boasted all of the appeal of a wad of chewing gum stuck to the sole of your shoe. Inspirational lyric from his song "Renaissance": "This is my renaissance / This is my one response / This is the way I say I love you." Honestly, Liz, is this the future you really want to pursue?
From The Chicago Tribune:
Liz Phair shines with a little less polish
By Bob Gendron
Special to the Tribune
"Do you really know me at all?" crooned Liz Phair as she performed her glossy new single "Everything To Me", questioning the genuineness of a relationship. The query could just as easily have been leveled at dissenting fans and critics who have berated her for betraying the idiosyncratic confessionals, lo-fi authenticity and blushing sexuality that characterized her role-reversing debut. Since turning the male-dominated rock world on its ear in 1993, the former Wicker Park resident has been more polarizing than provocative. Two years ago Phair made a trite album and posed as a locker-room pin-up queen, sacrificing disarming wit for a calculated run at commercial pop stardom.
The makeover alienated many of Phair's original followers, though she's not hurting for a supportive audience.
She and guitarist/boyfriend Dino Meneghin are culminating a brief, acoustic, tour with a three-night stand at the Black Orchid on North Avenue. She'll soon head back out on the road with a band in support of a forthcoming album. She curiously chose not to preview some of that disc's strongest songs Wednesday night. Yet as far as her artistry is concerned, the 80-minute performance made clear she should ditch the polished group and stick to the stripped-down barstool approach.
Despite random bumpiness caused by solicited requests and Phair's rudimentary ability on guitar, the unplugged arrangements and relaxed vibe squarely put the focus on her intriguing lyrics and gave people a reason to listen. Largely drawing from older material, Phair was intimate, engaging, happy and conversational. In fine voice, she branded "Soap Star Joe" with a country slant, whispered petty gossip during the female-retreat "Girls' Room", got unaffectedly sultry on the slide-blues "Baby Got Going" and relayed explicit desires on the dirty-talking "Flower", which despite coming from a 38-year-old single mother wasn't forced or ironic.
Phair displayed the vulnerability, personality and communicative boldness that have been missing from her repertoire. There were bum notes and awkward moments, but the bulk of her set sounded like personalized tunes that one couldn't imagine anyone else singing.
Still, there were unresolved contradictions and stark contrasts between her superior, rhythmically quirky folk-rock and recent formulaic pop. Though more tolerable without the super-wax finishes, the whiny "Extraordinary" and "Why Can't I?" were nonetheless schmaltz. She should remember her own advice and refuse to settle for such middling fare.
[Thanks to berserker37 on the Liz Phair Forum for the links.]
Here are some thoughts from Lani Rosen who attended the show:
"So those of you at the show at Swedish American Music Hall, didn't you find the venue hilarious?! It seemed like it was totally a board meeting or school assembly - Liz even commented on the that at the beginning. We all sat on folded chairs in an auditorium like space.
Wracking my brain, here are some more thoughts... Once Liz and Dino sat down (and Liz made her comment about the venue), she looked at the setlist and threw out the setlist, opting to open with "Polyester Bride". Her guitar string needed changing, so after the song, Dino replaced the string while Liz reached back to Girlysound for "Black Market White Baby Dealer", using Dino's guitar. Liz gets her guitar back from Dino, and Christine Hadem (a Liz Phair Forum member) calls out for "Blood Keeper". Liz did a verse and the chorus, and told the audience that it was her "heavy metal" number. I believe that covers the show until Spence D. for IGN.com shows up...
Liz Phair In San Francisco
The original riot grrl proves to be whip-smart during intimate acoustic evening.
August 24, 2005 -
Headliner: Liz Phair
Opening Act: Matt Kearney
When: Friday August 19th, 2005
Where: Swedish American Hall, 2174 Market Street, San Francisco CA 94114
Ticket Price: $25.00
The venue website said doors at 7pm, show at 8. There was an opening act, so rough ETA of Liz Phair onstage would be about 8:45, 9 o'clock, taking into consideration a set-up delay, about a 30-to-40 minute set by Matt Kearney, and the obligatory "downtime" that so often occurs at live shows.
All of that said, at roughly 8:40, after a gently prodding phone call from my friend Tracy who was attending the show with me, I leisurely strolled down to the Swedish Hall, which is located in the outer Castro District of San Francisco on Market Street at the corner of Sanchez above the venerable "speakeasy" Café DuNord (Phair and Kearney had performed downstairs at DuNord the previous evening. As we handed the doorman our tickets we could hear Phair's unmistakable alto drifting down the staircase. We were casually informed that she was already about three songs deep into her set.
Ascending the staircase was paired with bursts of that adrenaline rush/anxiety influx that always seems to come with the act of entering a show. We were greeted by a SRO crowd in a room that looked like a high school auditorium done up Tudor style. Phair was perched stage left and another guitarist, Dino Meneghin, seated to her right. They were strumming away at the last notes of the song they had been playing, the audience in rapt attention. As the last vestiges of music wafted up toward the rafters, Phair addressed the audience saying something along the lines of how the show was pretty much all about us shouting out song titles and her playing them. "You scream it, we play it" was the motto of the evening. Someone shouted out "Nashville" to which Phair replied that she didn't know how to play it and that she really needed to since it's such a great song. With that she instead introduced the next number as "a song about trains" and broke into "Baby Got Going".
Before I proceed any further, I gotta admit that Phair's last recorded effort, her self-titled 2003 release, left me a little cold. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not some diehard indie rock fanatic that feels Phair should continue to make the same kind of music she had been making back in 1993. But the fact remains that her latest incarnation is light years away from her roots; her snarky, irony laced deadpan outlook on life replaced by a more poppy, peppy stance. One could sit here and argue the merits of past Phair versus present Phair until blue in the face, but the end result would be moot. Still, I couldn't help but feel that the string of acoustic dates Phair has spent her early summer days performing wasn't meant as some kind of peace offering to the crazed fans and critics who felt that she "sold-out" on her last album. Truth be told, I hadn't been too interested in seeing her until I learned that the shows were acoustic. Seeing an artist stripped to the bone, musically speaking that is, is always a treat.
Digressions aside, "Baby Got Going" was rousing thanks to plenty of twang and Phair's unique Chicago drenched yodel. From here the show slipped into "Perfect World", the first of several songs of the evening that would send uncontrollable chills up and down my spin and almost bring tears to my eyes. I always feel like such a sensitive wannabe artist when I admit that certain music can and will bring (and has brought) tears to my eyes. That to me is the true sign of artistic genius. If you can craft a song that either musically or lyrically touches someone to the point of tears, well that's pretty damn powerful. What came next, however, was an interesting dichotomy in terms of Phair's songwriting. She followed up the mesmerizing "Perfect World" with one of the hits from her last album, "Extraordinary". Hearing these two songs performed back-to-back was like listening to two distinctly different artists. On "Perfect World" Phair sang in an almost monotone alto drawl, her classic indie rock sound from her first three albums. Yet with "Extraordinary" her tone was bright and cheery, her voice drifting up toward the upper registers, almost becoming a lilting soprano. The song was slick, even in it's stripped down version.
Given the intimate nature of the show, Phair spent a good deal of time just talking casually, quipping, riffing, and cajoling with Dino and the audience. The stage lighting, which basked Phair and Meneghin in a warm, red glow, proved to be a particular favorite of the singer's. She kept asking for brighter lights. "Soap Star Joe" proved to be another chill inducing number, Phair emphasizing her cool, snarly alto throughout the song proving that a lot of her older material is rife with subdued masculine grit, playfully contrasting with her girlish demeanor.
The song titles kept being shouted out by the audience, who were polite enough to only do so during breaks between songs. Even though she and Dino appeared to be enjoying themselves immensely, Phair still sarcastically relayed to the audience that she didn't remember the lyrics or how to play a lot of her own songs. "That's the problem with being prolific," she deadpanned before going on to say that she has always written songs like you'd write a term paper in college: once it was written and turned in it was done and you forgot about it, moving on to the next term paper. With that she and Dino launched into "Mesmerizing", a cool atonal sounding riff mixing with a sweet acoustic chug. This flowed into the playful examination of female stereotypes that populates "Girl's Room", where Phair touches upon what it means to be popular and spend your days getting waxed and being stuffed into a tight sweater.
"Somebody's Miracle", a new song and also the title track to her forthcoming album, was delivered in a bittersweet, almost country-styled manner. Phair quipped about how she and Dino were playing at being Mitch and Mickey (from A Mighty Wind for the folk musically challenged) and then they dipped into the third spine-tingling number of the evening, "Uncle Alvarez", which featured Phair and Meneghin in sweet vocal harmony. "Jeremy Engle" prompted Phair to not only remark how the evening was as much fun for her and Dino as it was for the audience, but also to ask the audience for help in terms of the chords and lyrics and even though it's a newer song, it still reverberated with plenty of droll wit, the line about "sometimes all you need is a napkin…" bring chuckles to mouths throughout the venue.
"May Queen" segued into another new song "Everything To Me" with Phair taking a brief respite between the two to joke about the red lighting "Do you feel like your photo paper is being processed?" as well as plug her friend's play currently at the Off-Market Theater. Then it was back to the oldies-but-goodies with "6' 1"" in which Phair returned to her gruff-yet-sultry alto drone while she and Dino wavered with dueling rhythm guitars before he slipped into the lead. Phair then went off on a vocal tangent about The Dead and how they used to allow taping of their shows before kicking into "Flower", which floated along to cool chiming guitars.
As Phair drifted into the opening strains of "It's Sweet", chills again descended upon my spine. Each of the songs she performed that elicited such a response worked on an purely emotional level, hard to capture in words as the music and lyrics blended together to create a rich, intoxicatingly intense atmosphere. At the end, while she took a breather, somebody shouted out "Headache!" Phair looked out into the crowd in the general direction of the request and exclaimed "Oh my god! We sorta know 'Headache'. Hang on, I gotta review the chords." She began working through the song, faltering on notes, stopping to tune her guitar from time to time. Finally she and Dino kicked into a cool country funk bounce, Phair's head nodding to the beat like a frantic bobble head.
"Help Me Mary", if you'll excuse the lapse into antiquated slang, was purely dope and all but erased the inevitable cry for "Freebird!" that preceded it. The intensity continued right into "Divorce Song", which rippled with Dino and Phair's sweet harmonies. "Supernova", which contains one of Phair's coolest rock guitar riffs was given the sweet slide guitar treatment, not to mention some equally engaging interplay between the two. This was all buffered out by the other "hit" from her last album, "Why Can't I". Again, stripped of all the studio flair this song reveals itself to have a lot in common with her older material. The lyrics are really quite similar in tone, albeit a little less droll or wickedly barbed.
The evening ended with "Fuck and Run", which more or less concluded her loose medley dedicated to the thematic of the stages of love. The time on my watch said roughly 10 pm, meaning that Liz and Dino had played a little more than an hour-and-15-minutes. Short by some standards, but given that the duo languidly ran through a rather substantial section of her catalog, it was a mighty fine short time. Given the nature of the venue, Phair and Meneghin had to walk through the crowd to exit. I have always known that Phair was short in stature, but in person she seems really tiny. Not that size matter much when it comes to crafting memorably songs. My friend Tracy was stoked because as Phair approached the doors, they locked gazes, Tracy managing to tell the star that the show was awesome. Phair smiled that wicked grin of hers and then was gone, leaving the assembled to spill out of the hall, down the stairs, and out into the brisk San Francisco night.
[Thanks to Lani Rosen and Christine Hadem for their show recollections and Spence D. / IGN.com for the report.]
Lollapalooza | Day 1 | Saturday, July 23
Words: Ted Kartzman
2:32pm. Liz Phair opened with some new material, asking to "Rock Me"... "Just take off my dress, let's mess with everybody's mind." Umm, OK? Give her credit, when her career plateaued, she took a different angle, gave birth and has now become a confident performer with or without guitar. It was nice to see Phair booked, not just because she's a Midwestern girl, but also because there were only four singers the whole weekend. At least Ladybug would be there later on.
[Thanks to Ted Kartzman / JamBase for the report.]
Party in the Park
Cut out of work early and meet up with THE MIX and Bud Select as we present a FREE performance from Antigone Rising, a special 3 song acoustic set from Liz Phair and 17 year old guitar virtuouso Kyle Riabko, as part of Party in the Park this Thursday from 4pm until 7pm outside at The Park Grill on the plaza at Millennium Park.
Bring your friends for great food, cold Bud Select and a special live performance from Liz Phair, Antigone Rising and Kyle Riabko.
This is a 21 and older show!
Party in the Park sponsored by Bud Select…be selective.
Again, Liz will do a free 3-song set on Thursday, August 25th, at Party in the Park (from 4PM to 7PM) outside at The Park Grill on the plaza at Millenium Park (sponsored by THE MIX and Bud Select).
[Thanks to Lor on the Support System mailing list for the info.]
[Thanks to XRay on the Liz Phair Forum for the info.]
Shania, Phair Rock 'Housewives' Soundtrack
By Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
The new Shania Twain single "Shoes" will lead the album Music From and Inspired by Desperate Housewives, due Sept. 20 via Hollywood. Its accompanying video will feature Twain alongside Desperate Housewives cast members Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross.
The album features a host of previously unreleased covers, including the Indigo Girls' version of Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson," Liz Phair's take on the Rolling Stones' "Mother's Little Helper", Gloria Estefan's recasting of the Candi Staton-popularized "Young Hearts Run Free" and Martina McBride's cover of the Tom T. Hall-penned country favorite "Harper Valley P.T.A."
In addition, there are newly recorded tracks from Anna Nalick, Leann Rimes, Macy Gray, Joss Stone and k.d. lang, plus a new original from SheDaisy ("God Bless the American Housewife") and interspersed dialog from the Housewives stars.
The new season the show premieres Sept. 25 on ABC.
Here is the track list for Music From and Inspired by Desperate Housewives:
[Thanks to Johnathan Cohen / Billboard for the report.]
[Thanks to Brett Marlow for the info.]
No word on whether it's a cover of the Rolling Stones tune or not, but I would imagine so, since the soundtrack looks to be pretty heavy on covers.
[Thanks to Jason Long for the info.]
[Thanks to Brett Marlow for the info.]
What Liz ended up playing (thanks to the many requests from the audience, broken strings, and an out of tune guitar):
Shouts out to Dino Meneghin for chatting with me outside the venue, and to John and his wife (whose name starts with an "M" but I can't remember it right now -- my apologies!) from Santa Cruz for keeping me company before the show.
[Thanks to Liz Phair for two great shows in San Francisco!]
Check out images from the session here and here.
[Thanks to LPX for the report. Welcome back!]
Random things I remembered... Opener Mat Kearney played five songs. Someone shouted for "Carnivore", but Liz says that's one she doesn't remember how to play. Liz mentioned that this show was the first standing-room only crowd she's played to on this current tour. When someone shouted "Stuck On An Island", she said "I know that one", and went straight into it solo. The crowd was really into it -- singing along with almost all of the older ones (especially the Guyville numbers. Despite the crowd's frenzied applause/chants for Liz to do an encore (through two Hall & Oates songs ("She's Gone" and "Private Eyes", if you really wanted to know), no less!). The show ended before 11pm (around 10:50pm) More details if I can conjure them up...
[Thanks to Ashley and Audrey for keeping me company at the front of the line. Audrey, I hope you got tickets to get in!]
Liz Phair Plugs In For Fall Tour
By Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Having previewed her new album with a summer acoustic tour, Liz Phair will hit the road in the fall with a full band. The outing begins Oct. 6 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., two days after the release of the Capitol album Somebody's Miracle.
The 24-date club tour include an Oct. 17-18 stand at New York's Irving Plaza and will run through Nov. 16 in San Diego. Beforehand, the artist will shoot a video for the new album's first single, "Everything to Me", with director Phil Harder, who lensed such prior Phair clips as "Extraordinary" and "Why Can't I?"
The artist performs acoustically tonight (Aug. 18) in San Francisco and will wrap the run with an Aug. 24-26 stand in her Chicago hometown.
[Thanks to Johnathan Cohen / Billboard for the report.]
You can copy http://lizphair.com/podcast.xml into your podcast software, or download the podcast here (13 mb). Visit LizPhair.com for more details.
[Thanks to Brett Marlow for the info.]
New York, NY (August 18, 2005) -- Avatar's legendary Studio A, equipped with a Neve 8068, recently hosted Wind-Up artist Megan McCauley who was in doing various overdubs with producer Will Baker, and Avatar engineer Ross Petersen, assisted by Chad Lupo. Epic Records' Jane Monheit recording a Christmas record with producer/engineer Al Schmitt and assistant Peter Doris. Producer John Alagia brought Liz Phair into Studio A to cut tracks with engineer Brian Scheuble and assistant Anthony Ruotolo.
[Thanks to ProSoundNews for the report.]
Ear Plugs: Liz Phair, 8/10/05
Contributed by Steven Hanna
Tuesday, 16 August 2005
First things first: Those of you waiting impatiently for Liz Phair as she approaches 40 to return to writing the dirty little ditties that made her famous in her early twenties are going to have to wait at least a little longer. The title track from her upcoming fifth album, Somebody’s Miracle, is a meditation on monogamy from the point of view of someone who longs to be a happily-married grown-up, and though I suppose you could see it as a kind of older, blander “Fuck and Run”, the fact is Phair is no longer that foul-mouthed fantasy girl indie rock boys and girls everywhere have always clutched close.
“I may never know how people stay in love for half their lives,” she croons over a very radio-friendly chord progression. This is far from the cynical pandering-to-the-soccer-moms of, say, Shania Twain, but still the song is clearly aimed at an audience older than her longtime fans like to admit they are, or else at old-before-their-time teenagers. Whatever your opinion of Phair’s last self-titled record, produced in large part by Avril Lavigne helmers the Matrix and marketed brilliantly by a record company that wouldn’t rest until Liz was on the soundtrack to every sappy movie around, it’s obvious that Phair herself is content with the direction her music is taking.
Which brings us to her current acoustic tour, wherein Liz and longtime sideman Dino Meneghin sit on stools and strum guitars and range freely through Phair’s excellent though wildly inconsistent songbook. The first of three nights at Los Angeles’ Troubadour saw her confronting the question of how she’s changed over the years head-on: “They say about writers that you can never live down your early works,” Phair joked as she yielded laughingly to a shouted-out request for the juvenile “Fuck or Die”, “but that’s not all bad. It’s why we’re out here touring like this, so we can do this crazy shit, and then when the record comes out we’ll be all serious.” Indeed, she did quite a bit of crazy shit, gamely faking her way through songs she’d long since forgotten the chords to.
It’s a surprise that someone so notoriously stage-affrighted, a performer whose voice is so untrained and whose guitar playing rarely rises to the level of that guy who lived across the hall from you sophomore year in college, would undertake such a seat-of-the-pants series of shows, but she’s got the material: “6’1”” was rough-and-tumble, “Supernova” simply cannot be played badly, and Phair even managed a kind of down-and-dirty blues early in the night with a stirring “Baby Got Going”. If the less-rehearsed songs occasionally veered painfully off-key, Phair’s goofy grin and don’t-bother-me-I’m-singing-here delivery kept the evening unserious enough to make them fun little larks rather than missteps, and when she did things right, silencing the room with a hypnotic take on “Mesmerizing” for instance, the we’re-all-friends-here vibe faded away and turned the show into a genuinely transporting musical event.
But when it came down to it, we were all friends there. The folks who find Phair’s recent records a little too mom-ish stayed home, which meant that Phair’s placing the yearning chick flick anthem “Why Can’t I” between the killer shuffle of “Hot White Cum” and the chestnut “Fuck and Run” was preached to a choir of fervent believers. But the message was still clear enough: Phair’s new stuff is part and parcel of a body of work that encompasses the early, dirty material as well as sheenier, VH1-ready material. This is a woman who made a name for herself by accomplishing something very rare, finding a distinctly feminine way to confront and manipulate the trademark concerns of rock and roll. If you demand youthful angst from your rockers, you’re more or less obliged to write Phair off today. But if you’re willing to accept that a Liz Phair set in 2005 is going to contain not just the perceptive perfections of “Divorce Song” but also the wiser-if-less-startling observations of lovely new single “Everything to Me”, you’re in for a treat. She’s already scheduling full-band dates for the fall. Check ’em out.
[Thanks to gravenblackheart from the Liz Phair Forum for the link.]
[Thanks to Brett Marlow / Liz Phair's Guyville for the info.]
[Thanks to Jason.On.Guy from the Liz Phair Forum for the photo.]
Liz Phair's Somebody's Miracle Out October 4th
Words: Music Staff
Liz Phair has a simple credo. "As an artist, there's nothing worse than getting a ho-hum reaction," she says. That's not likely to be a problem with her new album, Somebody's Miracle, which will be released on October 4th by Capitol Records. It's a bold, ambitious collection of songs that embraces elements of her previous work and more. Pop and indie, frank and witty, playful and serious, Phair takes everything she's done before and pushes farther.
Somebody's Miracle poetically traces an emotional journey through a sweeping thematic arc. "It starts off with my turmoils in life, then hits a stride with the upbeat life songs, then dips down with some harder stuff and comes out winning in the end," says Phair, noting that finding the exact combination and order of songs was a struggle in and of itself. The flow had to be perfect, not just in the lyrics, but in the music. And that was a tough job, as this album covers so much musical ground. "People get very uptight about staying in a certain genre or not breaking out of your expected style," she says. "If I like indie-rock, I can't like pop. Or if I'm a pop person, I have no credibility in rock. But for me, I just decided to go farther and take my aesthetic stand stronger. I like demos and I like high pop production and I like straight American rock and I like jazzy, minor trippy chords. I like it all."
Phair wrote eleven of the songs herself. She co-wrote the remaining three with John Shanks (Sheryl Crow, Santana), who produced the album with John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer). The first single will be "Everything To Me".
Throughout her acclaimed career, Phair's elicited strong reactions for her work. With her brash 1993 debut, Exile in Guyville, she took on one of the most cherished albums of all time, the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street, writing answer songs to each of the tracks from a female point of view - with notorious frankness that made her an instant indie icon. On 1994's Whipsmart she challenged her own status by moving into the major-label world. After a break, she returned with 1998's Whitechocolatespaceegg married and with a young child, injecting an adult orientation and distancing herself from her earlier works. And with 2003's Liz Phair, she truly polarized fans and critics alike by injecting mature wit into gloriously frothy pop settings, and vice versa - and scored her biggest radio hit with the Gold single "Why Can't I".
"My public persona has sort of been in a time warp. I think my image was branded in the public minds when I was angry and defiant and 25," she says. "I will always be a boundary pusher. It's what I do. But I'm hopeful and anyone who knows me personally knows I'm just a little kid. And I don't think that came across in my music before."
Phair is currently on an eight-city, sold-out acoustic tour that will include two nights at Joe's Pub in New York (August 1st and 2nd) and three nights at Los Angeles' legendary Troubadour (August 10th, 11th and 12th).
The track listing for Somebody's Miracle is as follows:
Leap Of Innocence
Wind In The Mountain
Stars And Planets
Got My Own Thing
Count On My Love
Everything To Me
Can't Get Out Of What I'm Into
Table For One
Why I Lie
Everything (Between Us)
Giving It All To You
[Thanks to BB2 from the Liz Phair Forum for the info.]
[Thanks to Brett Marlow for the info.]
Phair at Birchmere tough but tender
By Scott Galupo
August 8, 2005
Liz Phair was struggling with a wayward spaghetti strap early in her set Friday night. "It's so hard to rock and be fashionable," she told her audience as her boyfriend and guitar mate, Dino Meneghin, mended the wardrobe malfunction with a roll of black tape.
Lately, Miss Phair's critics -- especially the ones who have followed her since the days of Exile in Guyville, the marvelously idiosyncratic 1993 indie album that raised the bar for post-grunge female singer-songwriters -- have seen too much fashion and not enough rock. They held their noses at Miss Phair's pop-heavy self-titled LP of two years ago, which was partially produced by a team of confectioners who'd been associated with punk diva Avril Lavigne's hit singles.
Perhaps as an act of penance, the 38-year-old Miss Phair left the sonic makeup kit at home for her current tour, which stopped at the Birchmere Friday for the second of two sold-out acoustic shows. In such a stripped-and-clipped setting, the singer's decade-strong catalog came across tough and tender, kind of like Miss Phair herself -- a pint-sized charmer with a hazardously sexy persona and a potty mouth.
Nothing beats a pair of acoustic guitars if you're looking for the lowest common denominator of a songbook. For Miss Phair, it's the oddly inspired melodies and puckish invention that come from having a just-good-enough voice and an amateur's grip on guitar.
During a set that lasted just an hour, with fans barking requests at every turn, she reached back for her demo-era twist on the classic "Wild Thing" and served up a healthy portion of Exile cuts including the sneering "6'1"", the infectious "Never Said" and the sad-but-funny post-relationship inventory "The Divorce Song".
The unobtrusively musical Mr. Meneghin snapped on a bottleneck for the bluesy "Baby Got Going" and played some lovely Spanish figures on an "El Paso"-like rendition of "Uncle Alvarez". Even recent radio bait such as "Why Can't I?" and "Extraordinary" sounded like plaintive little miracles in their birthday suits.
Miss Phair previewed several cuts from her forthcoming album Somebody's Miracle, a John Alagia-produced set that's due in October. It's reportedly a song-for-song response to Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life in the same way that Exile in Guyville supposedly mirrored the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street. (It didn't in any sense that I could tell, save for literal track length.)
Whatever the case, Miracle sounds like it was written in the key of heartbreak. The title track's narrator watches a passerby and pines, "There goes somebody's miracle." The ballad "Everything to Me" asked, "Do you really know me at all?" And "Table for One" was a dark, troubling rumination on a friend's alcoholism. She said the comparatively happy contender "A Little Closer to You" may not make the final cut.
After the show, Miss Phair mentioned that she sought out Mr. Alagia because of his work with singer-songwriter softies John Mayer and Jason Mraz. This no doubt will raise suspicious eyebrows from Exile-era fans, but from where I sat, at least, Miss Phair was raising goose bumps.
Liz Phair, Going Easy on the Gloss
By Catherine P. Lewis
Saturday, August 6, 2005; Page C05
Liz Phair's 2003 glossy pop album, self-titled, branded her as a sellout, and the ongoing debate about her authenticity may never be resolved. But the capacity crowd at the Birchmere on Thursday night didn't seem to care. Fans pestered her with requests ranging from her earliest demo recordings to tracks from that last album. She embraced both sides of her career, whispering an impromptu version of a raunchy song, "Flower", from her first album, Exile in Guyville, to appease a fan. But when Phair took an applause-o-meter poll to pick a song for her encore, the audience chose her most recent off-color song, "HWC", over any of her earlier material.
While the show's acoustic setting forced such older songs as "Supernova" to lose their growl, it made some of the newer ones, removed from their slickly produced studio setting, more palatable. The overly cheesy "Why Can't I?" came across as sweet and sincere, even more so because of the obvious warmth she showed accompanist Dino Meneghin.
Phair also previewed several songs from her forthcoming album, Somebody's Miracle: The title song and the mushy "Everything to Me" may well indicate a continuation of Phair's lovey-dovey pop phase. But with its pensive look at alcoholism, "Table for One" was one of the few songs during which Phair didn't smile. Despite her flip apology ("Even at my ripe old age, I can't promise I won't bum you out!"), the song's sincere sentiment revealed hints of the old Phair beneath her polished exterior.
Of the festivals many nostalgia acts, Liz Phair was the saddest to behold. Dressed in your grandmother's gardening outfit and deluded enough to believe that she could be the next Avril (or perhaps more aptly, the next Kylie), Phair sounded like one of those American Idol hopefuls who you can't help but pity. "Does she really think she sounds good?"
by Chris Bailey
FYI, the Lollapalooza podcast now includes 3 interview segments with Liz. Click here to watch the podcast.
[Thanks to JeremyEngle for the Lollapalooza review. Leave it to him to dig up any negative review of Liz...]
Liz Phair's latest 'Miracle' unveiled in New York
Writer: Cesco Emmanuel
Liz Phair’s new album, Somebody’s Miracle is set for release, October 4 on Capitol Records. She previewed three songs at the first of two shows at Joe’s Pub, a rather intimate setting in New York on August 1.
Accompanied only by guitarist Dino Meneghin, Liz opened the set with a new song - "Table for one". She also played her title track, the single "Everything to me" and "Closer to you", which did not make the album.
Phair had fun with the audience, some who were having dinner, making sure they enjoyed their meal. She was however forced to rush through her set, as a previous show was booked at the venue, in total she played for less than an hour.
Some fans shouted requests, but Liz played her single "Everything to me" instead, debating with the audience saying "Come on, come on, I love my single".
She also played some older goodies, such as "Divorce Song", "Supernova","Never Said", and "Polyester Bride". Phair also performed a rare song "If I ever pay you back" and "Extraordinary", a track taken from her self-titled 2003 release.
After Liz’s Miracle is out, she is hitting the road, touring North America with her full band. Her fling with this acoustic ideology runs until August 26, where she will play the Blue Orchid in her hometown of Chicago on the 24-26.
PHAIR PHIRES UP FANS WITH A LUST OF TUNES
By DAN AQUILANTE
August 4, 2005
'SOMETIMES a cigar is just a cigar," mused Sigmund Freud. Then again, he never heard the shockingly sexual music of indie rock star Liz Phair.
What's incredible about Phair, who just finished an intimate, two-show engagement at Joe's Pub, is how she musters the courage to sing about her deepest sexual desires.
No other artist, male or female, comes close to understanding lust like Liz.
You heard it in her unforgettable, send-the-kids-to-bed rendition of "Flower" (from her groundbreaking '93 album Exile in Guyville) and in the new love song "Closer to You", where she sings about the handicap of blind love.
As hot as her lyrics are, she's much more than a pretty blond waif who likes to talk dirty. Her songwriting and unconventional guitar playing shine through the steam.
Joe's Pub was the perfect place for fans to focus on her writing. With few tables, a standing-room-only bar and no-frills stage, there was nothing to distract from the music while Phair dipped into her four released albums and new material from her coming October release, Somebody's Miracle.
Tuesday's performance started with some nasty, ear-busting feedback the sound guy harnessed during her second song, the sea chantey-esque "Black Market White Baby Dealer".
In a strange way, the combination of sound glitch and that satirical, adoption-for-cash song made the audience smile and also relaxed Phair, who's prone to stage fright.
From then on, she was relaxed and chatty with the devoted, female-dominated audience.
Throughout her 90-minute performance, Phair's voice was earthy and appealing. On record, her reedy vocal quality isn't always apparent. In concert, it was there when she reached for her highs and was pronounced in her growlingly sexy middle range.
Phair is an untrained guitarist who has an oddball style, alternating between plucking and strumming the strings. When she's with a full rock band, that usually gets lost in the sonic wash. In this acoustic performance, it was always just behind her voice.
When she's in front of friendly faces, she's far more than just a fair performer.
Angst and acoustics, a Phair sampler
BY RAFER GUZMÁN
August 4, 2005
After running through a slick pop tune, a poignant ballad and a randy ditty about life on the road, Liz Phair stopped to address an adoring crowd at Joe's Pub. "What a smorgasbord we're getting tonight, eh?"
Come to think of it, yes. After 12 years and five albums (including Somebody's Miracle, scheduled for release on Capitol in October), Phair has amassed a sizable repertoire of songs. When audience members called out requests - which they did during nearly every pause - two people rarely asked for the same tune.
Clearly, these fans have stood by Phair throughout her shifting career. She began as an angst-ridden feminist (with her landmark 1993 album Exile In Guyville), then released a handful of straightforward indie-rock discs. But her most unexpected move came with her 2003 album Liz Phair, when she reinvented herself as a 30-something sex kitten and hired The Matrix, the pop songwriters-manufacturers behind Avril Lavigne.
What's Phair up to now? Her short, one-hour show Monday night offered a preview of her new disc, which finds her once again handling most of the songwriting duties. (A few tracks were co-written with producer John Shanks, who has worked with such mainstream folks as Sheryl Crow and Carlos Santana.) Overall, Phair employs the spiffy pop sensibility of her Matrix mentors while returning to her own offbeat lyrical style. It's a winning combination of newfound skill and Phair's old, familiar honesty.
Perched on a bar stool with an acoustic guitar, Phair strummed basic rhythms while guitarist Dino Meneghin handled the more complicated lines and provided occasional backing vocals. They opened with the new tune "Table For One", a soft, sad song about an alcoholic nearing a crisis. With its gently plucked notes and memorable details, it's almost a country tune: "It's morning and I pour myself coffee/I drink it 'til the kitchen stops shaking," Phair sang. "I'm backing out of the driveway and into creation."
Phair also sang the title track "Somebody's Miracle", a tender pop song about waiting for love while the rest of the world finds it. Her small, plain voice fit the melancholy chorus nicely: "There goes somebody's miracle/Walking down the street/There goes some other fairy tale/I wish it could happen to me."
"Everything to Me" will be the disc's first single, Phair told the crowd, but it seems a poor choice. It's a middlebrow ballad with a mushy tune and hokey lyrics: "Do you really know me at all/Would you take the time to catch me if I fall?"
It was almost difficult to believe this was the same person who wrote "Fuck and Run," the foul-mouthed rock song that ended the show. But if you're a Phair fan, you have to love her on her own terms.
Liz Phair Banking On A Miracle
By Angela Kozak
Wednesday August 03, 2005 @ 04:30 PM
Many reviewers have noted that the current material of once controversial Liz Phair bears almost no resemblance to her former rebellious self, but that isn't stopping Phair from continuing on down that road.
Phair's fifth record, Somebody's Miracle, comes out on October 4. The former critical darling wrote 11 of the 14 songs and collaborated with producer John Shanks on the other three songs. Phair says in a release that Somebody's Miracle is deeply personal. "It starts off with my turmoils in life, then hits a stride with the upbeat life songs, then dips down with some harder stuff and comes out winning in the end," she said.
Perhaps to throw off critics who scoffed at her embrace of pop music with her latest album, 2003's self-titled release, Phair said she enjoys all types of music and encorporated that into Somebody's Miracle. "I just decided to go farther and take my aesthetic stand stronger," she said. "I like demos and I like high pop production and I like straight American rock and I like jazzy, minor trippy chords. I like it all."
Well, that's alright, as long as there aren't any more syrupy pop songs with graphic descriptions about wanting to have sex with college kids.
Phair unplugs new songs in rushed New York show
By Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
August 02, 2005, 3:30 PM ET
NEW YORK (Billboard) - Liz Phair unveiled three tracks from her forthcoming album, Somebody's Miracle Monday during the first of two shows at New York's intimate Joe's Pub.
Backed only by guitarist Dino Meneghin, Phair opened with the new song "Table for One" and also played the title track, the single "Everything to Me" and "Closer to You", which didn't make the final cut for the 14-track set.
"I'm getting into the whole supper club thing," Phair said with a laugh. "I could have a fallback career." Later, she quizzed the audience, "Are you guys enjoying your dinner? Are you having fish?"
Because another show was booked in the club later in the evening, the artist was forced to rush through the last portion of the set, which clocked in at less than an hour. As fans began to shout out requests, Phair committed to playing "Everything to Me", telling the crowd, "Come on, come on, I love my single."
The show featured such older favorites as "Divorce Song", "Supernova", "Fuck and Run", "Never Said" and "Polyester Bride," as well as the rarity "If I Ever Pay You Back" and "Extraordinary", an oft-licensed track from Phair's 2003 self-titled album.
Somebody's Miracle is due Oct. 4 via Capitol. In support, Phair will tour North America with a full band beginning around the release date. Her current acoustic jaunt will wrap with an Aug. 24-26 stand at Blue Orchid in her Chicago hometown.
Return to Guyville?
By Matt Ashare
Somebody’s Miracle, which has already been mixed, sequenced, and mastered, may not be due till the first week of October, but that didn’t keep Liz Phair from making a major-market acoustic promotional tour of relatively intimate venues. The rows of chairs that lined the Paradise’s usually open dance floor for her two-night stand a week ago Tuesday and Wednesday set an oddly formal or at least adult tone that the once and perhaps future queen of the indie underground undermined by arriving at the Tuesday show shoeless in a skirt that revealed more of her legs than she may have intended. Then again, Phair’s no idiot. She joked about the, uh, wardrobe malfunction that allowed anyone sitting up front to see up her skirt, demonstrated how her futuristic electric-acoustic guitar provided ample support for her right breast, and generally charmed the pants off the capacity crowd with loose banter and a free-ranging set peppered with tunes from her 1993 Matador debut, Exile in Guyville, a disc that belongs near the top of any respectable list of groundbreaking ’90s albums. Once she knew the crowd was on her side, she even offered a choice of two tunes from the lo-fi dorm-room four-track Girlie recordings she made as a student at Oberlin: "Wild Thing" won.
Phair didn’t omit "Why Can’t I" or "Extraordinary," two of the more objectionable tunes from the controversial stab at mainstream success that characterized her 2003 Liz Phair, a Matrix-polished modern-rock production that recast her as a dolled-up teen-pop Top 40 product. But in an acoustic setting, they didn’t sound all that out of place next to Phair standards like "Supernova" and "Five Foot One". And the few new tunes she unveiled — particularly the buoyant, confessional "Somebody’s Miracle" — seemed designed, like the tour itself, to reassure old fans that she’s back on the road to Guyville. It wasn’t quite a concession or an apology. But as she winked at an admiring fan in the front row, Phair seemed relieved to be embraced once again as an exile among friends.
Liz Phair's good idea: Favoring the favorites
Her old and new were in stark contrast at World Cafe Live.
By Steve Klinge
For The Inquirer
Liz Phair's reputation stems from Exile in Guyville, her seminal 1993 examination of post-feminist sexual dynamics. Bristling with contradictory attitudes coupled to stripped-down, sometimes bluesy guitar, Guyville was and is smart and provocative. Her last album, however, 2003's Liz Phair, was anything but: Its excessively polished, commercial rock sounded cynical and insincere. The contrast was painfully obvious during Phair's 21-song, 90-minute set Saturday night at the World Cafe Live, which, like Friday's show, was sold-out.
Billed as an acoustic show (even though she often played a frame-and-neck-only electric guitar), this was Phair in singer-songwriter guise. Dressed in a denim bustier and mini-skirt and accompanied by Dino Meneghin on acoustic guitar and informal harmony vocals, Phair joked and told brief stories throughout the casual, entertaining set that was mercifully weighted with old favorites.
Phair alluded to the odd directions her career has taken, saying, "I'm like the anti-matter of rock." Since her first album, her voice has become higher and much prettier; she struggled to reach the lower range of "6'1"" and "Never Said". The satiric "Polyester Bride" and the rockabilly shuffle "Baby Got Going" benefited from her improved sense of pitch, but "Mesmerizing" and "Uncle Alvarez" lost their edgy bite. And no matter how well she sang "Extraordinary" or "Why Can't I?" from her last album or "Somebody's Miracle", the soft-rock-style title track from her album due in October, she couldn't save them from their cliche-riddled lyrics and melodies.
It's no surprise that Phair seemed more invested in exhuming Exile's profane ode to oral sex, "Flower", or the parodic "Wild Thing" from her pre-Exile, Girlysound demos (which she called "just plain silly but great") than in her December-May seduction song "Rock Me", which is embarrassingly silly - it even had Phair rolling her eyes a bit.
[Thanks to the Extraordinary87 from the Liz Phair Forum for the info.]
[Thanks to the Cal from the Liz Phair Forum for the info.]
Jeans and Music - The Perfect Fit at Gap This Fall
Thursday July 28, 9:00 am ET
iTunes Music Store, a Star-Studded Cast of Musical Artists and MTV Highlighted in Gap's Fall 2005 Marketing Campaign
Alanis Morissette, Joss Stone, John Legend, Michelle Williams, Jason Mraz, Keith Urban and Brandon Boyd Record Original Versions of Classic Songs for New TV Spots
SAN FRANCISCO, July 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- There is something about your favorite jeans and your favorite music that always feels right together. Gap recognized this relationship when it first opened in 1969, and jeans and music have continued to go hand and hand as the brand has evolved over the past 35 years.
From rock and rap to Motown and country, Gap has celebrated almost every genre of great music throughout its history. This August, Gap launches an integrated marketing campaign to celebrate this connection between jeans and music. The campaign will span two months, and focuses on "favorites" and how favorite jeans and favorite songs are individual expressions of personality and style. Each element of the campaign, from partnerships and promotions to television and print, will underscore this theme.
The first element of Gap's fall 2005 marketing campaign features the iTunes Music Store to help introduce three new denim fits for women (Curvy, Straight and Original) and one for men (Straight). Designed to fit an array of specific body types, these are the jeans that will become "favorites".
During the month of August, Gap will host the "Find Your Favorite Fit" event -- an invitation for customers to try on the new jean fits. From August 8 - 31, each customer who tries on any pair of Gap jeans will receive a free download of their favorite song from the iTunes Music Store. Additionally, as part of the promotion, many jeans styles will be available at the great price of just $39.95. Print ads introducing the new jean fits, the iTunes Music Store promotion and the "Find Your Favorite" event will run in August issues of weekly magazines including Us Weekly, People and Entertainment Weekly and television spots will air on network and cable TV programs from August 8 - August 23. Developed by Laird+Partners, Gap's creative agency, Francis Lawrence directed the TV spots and Michael Thompson photographed the print campaign elements.
"Much like your favorite music, your favorite jeans are a unique expression and reflection of your individual style," said Jeff Jones, executive vice president of Gap Marketing. "The relationship between jeans and music is a hallmark of Gap's identity, so we're thrilled to team up with iTunes to bring this connection to life for our customers."
The second major phase of Gap's fall marketing campaign features an exciting new print and television advertising campaign called "Favorites", which stars a cast of acclaimed musicians including Alanis Morissette, Joss Stone, John Legend, Michelle Williams (Destiny's Child), Jason Mraz, Keith Urban, Liz Phair and Brandon Boyd (Incubus). The TV campaign captures each musician performing an original remake of their favorite song while wearing their favorite Gap jeans. From Joss Stone's soulful rendition of "God Only Knows" (originally recorded by the Beach Boys) to Alanis Morissette's energetic interpretation of "Crazy" (originally recorded by Seal) every one of these amazing exclusively recorded songs is destined to become a "favorite".
The Favorites campaign will be highlighted at the MTV Video Music Awards, which are being held in Miami on August 28. This marks the second consecutive year Gap has sponsored the awards and Gap's presence this year will be bigger than ever, with multiple programming elements and events throughout the week. Further details about this sponsorship will be announced in August.
A limited edition CD featuring campaign artists performing their favorite songs will be available exclusively at Gap stores and Gap.com beginning September 1. The CD contains eight songs exclusively recorded for Gap by the stars of the new ad campaign, a director's cut of the fall TV commercial and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from the filming of the commercial. Gap customers will receive the CD, while supplies last, as a gift with any Gap purchase of $60 or more from September 1 - September 17, 2005.
Following is a list of each of the musical artist's favorite song and jeans fit, as featured in the ad campaign and on the CD:
Artists Favorite Song Favorite Fit Alanis Morissette "Crazy" Curvy Flare (Seal) Joss Stone "God Only Knows" Original Ultra (Beach Boys) Low Rise Flare John Legend "Hello It's Me" Straight Fit (Isley Brothers) Michelle Williams "Let's Stay Together" Straight Boot Cut (Al Green) Jason Mraz "One Love" Straight Fit (Bob Marley) Keith Urban "Most People I Know Easy Fit Think I'm Crazy" (Billy Thorpe) Brandon Boyd "Alison" Boot Fit (Elvis Costello) Liz Phair* "Cheek to Cheek" Straight Boot Cut (Irving Berlin)
*Liz Phair's "favorite" song is not included on the limited edition CD. The eighth song on the CD is a bonus track featuring Michelle Branch performing "Life On Mars" (originally recorded by David Bowie).
Developed by Gap's creative agency Laird+Partners, Michael Thompson photographed the "Favorites" print campaign and Francis Lawrence directed the TV spots. The TV spots break in late August and will air in the United States and Canada in spot markets and on cable TV. The print ads will run in September issues of magazines such as Vanity Fair, Vogue, In Style and Lucky.
By the way, Liz, if you still haven't figured it out, the song is "Destiny" by Zero 7.
Don't worry that Liz Phair has chucked it all for teen pop, despite working with Ashlee Simpson's producer John Shanks on her upcoming album, Somebody's Miracle, due October 4. "People get very uptight about staying in a certain genre or not breaking out of your expected style," Phair said. "If I like indie rock, I can't like pop. Or if I'm a pop person, I have no credibility in rock. But for me, I just decided to go farther and take my aesthetic stand stronger." Song titles on the more grown-up Miracle include "Leap of Innocence", "Table for One", "Stars and Planets", "Lazy Dreamer", and first single "Everything to Me", which asks a lover to "take the time to catch me if I fall" while also asking, "Do you really know me at all?" ...
— MTV News staff report
Liz Phair set to unveil new 'Miracle' album
July 28, 2005 12:30 PM
By Tjames Madison
Pop-rocker Liz Phair has settled on a title and release date for her forthcoming album, and has added a three-night engagement starting Aug. 24 in Chicago to her current nine-city acoustic tour, set to arrive Friday night (7/29) in Philadelphia.
Somebody's Miracle, Phair's fifth studio album, will hit stores Oct. 4. The set was jointly produced by John Algaia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer) and John Shanks (Sheryl Crow, Chris Isaak), and features 14 new songs--11 written by Phair herself, with the remaining three co-authored by producer Shanks.
The former lo-fi rocker--who became a critical darling upon the release of her 1999 debut, Exile in Guyville--enlisted slick producers and several guest musicians for the 2003 album, including Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre's bassist and co-writer/producer of 50 Cent's hit "In Da Club"), drummer Matt Chamberlain (Tori Amos, The Wallflowers), bassist Wendy Melvoin (Prince and the Revolution) and Pete Yorn.
"People get very uptight about staying in a certain genre or not breaking out of your expected style," Phair said in a press release. "If I like indie-rock, I can't like pop. Or if I'm a pop person, I have no credibility in rock. But for me, I just decided to go farther and take my aesthetic stand stronger. I like demos and I like high pop production and I like straight American rock and I like jazzy, minor trippy chords. I like it all."
Phair was recently selected, along with Joss Stone and Keith Urban, to appear in Gap's two-month long fall television and print advertisement campaign. She previously appeared in a series of Gap ads that ran during the 2001 holiday season.
Chicago native Liz Phair focused on her rockier cuts from her early career.
Photo By Matt Carmichael, Getty Images
|07-29-05: MORE LOLLALIZ REVIEWS
Prime Alanis Morrisette inspiration Liz Phair returned home and spun even more adult-contemporary feel into her loosened grip on idiosyncrasy, and was doubtless Saturday's biggest disappointment, paling only to a useless scamper set forth by a de-energized Dinosaur Jr. on Sunday.
From USA Today:
All's Phair: "I'm gonna get sweatier than you," Liz Phair announced before delving into her set, the first performance of her upcoming tour. (A new record, Somebody's Miracle, hits stores Oct. 4.) The Chicago native played it safe by concentrating on the rougher and rockier cuts from her early career instead of the Matrix- and Linda Perry-sweetened material she's put forth lately. Highlights: Supernova, Never Said, Polyester Bride and 6' 1", which the perfect-pitched Phair performed solo because of a technical glitch with the band. Posted 4:15 p.m. ET
[No one to thank at this time.]
Alanis Morissette's favorite song? Seal's "Crazy". Her favorite Gap jeans? Curvy flare. Starting in August, Morissette will sing her favorite tune to shill for Gap jeans for the retailer's fall "favorites" campaign in Francis Lawrence-directed TV spots, along with Incubus' Brandon Boyd, Joss Stone, John Legend, Destiny's Child's Michelle Williams, Jason Mraz and Liz Phair. (Boyd's fave is Elvis Costello's "Alison", Stone's is the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows", Mraz's is Bob Marley's "One Love", Phair's is Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek"). A limited-edition eight-song CD featuring those remakes will be available as a gift with purchase at Gap stores starting September 1 (except for Phair's track, which will be replaced on the compilation by Michelle Branch's cover of David Bowie's "Life on Mars?").
(Comments: Why is Liz's track not on the Gap CD? Will it be made available commercially in anyway, a la b-side, bonus track on an imported CD, or an iTunes exclusive? Or will it languish in along side her other unreleased tracks? Do tell, Liz...)
[Thanks a lot Liz...]
Liz Phair Hopes to be Somebody's Miracle
July 28, 2005
On the heels of the most critically reviled album of her career, 2003's slick, self-titled effort, fallen indie rock goddess Liz Phair is set to release her second major label album this fall. Somebody's Miracle is out October 4 on Capitol, and while her last album was panned for being too poppy, Phair promises that her upcoming release will be a combination of pop and indie. "I like demos and I like high pop production and I like straight American rock and I like jazzy, minor trippy chords. I like it all," Phair said in a press release. The first single off Somebody's Miracle is called "Everything to Me". Fresh off an appearance at Lollapalooza, Liz is currently on an eight-city acoustic tour, which kicked off July 26 in Boston and ends on August 19 in San Francisco.
[Thanks to the XRay from the Liz Phair Forum for the info.]
[Thanks to the SuckandRun from the Liz Phair Forum for the info.]
EMI Music/Capitol Records' Liz Phair, one of the stars of Gap's new ad campaign for Fall
(Photo: Business Wire)
|07-28-05: MORE LIZ GAP DETAILS
From Business Wire:
Joss Stone and Keith Urban to Appear in Gap Fall 2005 Campaign
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 28, 2005--EMI Music artists Liz Phair, Joss Stone and Keith Urban have been selected to appear in Gap's two-month long Fall 2005 television and print campaign called, "Favorites", which begins this August. While this marks Urban's first appearance in a Gap campaign, this is the second time that Phair and Stone have appeared in one. Phair was in Gap's 2001 Holiday campaign, and Stone appeared in Gap's Summer 2005 campaign featuring white denim.
For the new campaign, which focuses on how jeans and songs are individual expressions of personality and style, Virgin Records' Stone and Capitol Nashville's Urban recorded one of their favorite songs exclusively for Gap. Stone turned in a soulful rendition of the Beach Boys classic, "God Only Knows," and Urban recorded a rocking country version of Billy Thorpe's "Most People I Know Think I'm Crazy."
Both of these tracks will be available as part of a limited edition CD at Gap stores and Gap.com beginning September 1. In addition, Stone and Urban will perform their rendition of these classics while wearing their favorite Gap Jeans in the upcoming television campaign. Capitol Records' Phair, Stone and Urban will all appear in the print element of the campaign.
When reached on the road, Phair and Stone offered their thoughts about participating in the upcoming Gap campaign:
"Gap is the definition of American casual style. They are the mavens of confident cool." - Liz Phair
"Working with Gap has been really great. The people are so sweet and have been really easy to work with. They let me be myself and record my music my way. They are such a music driven company. They get it. I think it's a rare find. Plus, the clothes are really comfortable. Cool!" - Joss Stone
Throughout her acclaimed career, Phair's elicited strong reactions for her work. With her brash 1993 debut, Exile in Guyville, she took on one of the most cherished albums of all time, the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street, writing answer songs to each of the tracks from a female point of view - with notorious frankness that made her an instant indie icon. On 1994's Whipsmart she challenged her own status by moving into the major-label world. After a break, she returned with 1998's Whitechocolatespaceegg married and with a young child, injecting an adult orientation and distancing herself from her earlier works. And with 2003's Liz Phair, she truly polarized fans and critics alike by injecting mature wit into gloriously frothy pop settings, and vice versa - and scored her biggest radio hit with the Gold single "Why Can't I". Phair is currently on an eight-city, sold-out acoustic tour to support her new album, Somebody's Miracle, which will be released on October 4th.
At the age of 18, soul siren Joss Stone already has the bio of a veteran. Hailed by Newsweek as "supremely talented", Stone counts one gold-certified album - The Soul Sessions and one platinum-certified - Mind, Body & Soul (both S-Curve Records/EMI releases) - and three Grammy nominations to her credit. She has performed on several major television programs, including the Oprah Winfrey Show, and won rave reviews for her show-stopping Janis Joplin tribute with Melissa Etheridge at the GRAMMY® Awards in February 2005.
Considered one of the music industry's most electrifying live performers, as well as one of its most gifted songwriters, Keith Urban has sold over 6 million albums worldwide, is the 2004 Country Music Association's Male Vocalist of the Year and 2005 Academy of Country Music Top Male Vocalist with a remarkable track record of six #1 songs and nine Top 5 hits and has racked up an international collection of gold, platinum and double-platinum sales achievements - all accomplished with three solo albums. Urban's most recent release, BE HERE was recently named Album of the Year at the 2005 Academy of Country Music Awards (ACMs).
Other artists appearing in Gap's new campaign include Alanis Morissette, John Legend, Michelle Williams, Jason Mraz and Brandon Boyd.
[Thanks to the folks from the Liz Phair Forum for the info.]
Morissette, Mraz Fall Into the Gap
By Charlie Amter
The Gap is filling up with a new batch of music stars.
Alanis Morissette, Jason Mraz, Joss Stone, John Legend, Liz Phair, Keith Urban, Destiny's Child's Michelle Williams and Incubus' Brandon Boyd and are set to appear in advertisements for the San Francisco-based retailer beginning late next month.
The television spots and print ads will focus on the "favorites"--both jeans and music--of the various artists, according to a press release from the clothing company.
Morissette, for example is partial to "Crazy" by Seal, and her favorite pair of jeans is Gap's new Curvy Flair. Mraz's fave tune is Bob Marley's "One Love," and he prefers Straight Fit jeans.
Apple's iTunes Music Store is also getting in on the campaign, offering up a free download to any Gap customer who tries on a pair of jeans Aug. 8 through Aug. 31.
British soul sensation Joss Stone has already appeared in several commercials for the chain, and will continue singing Gap's praises, despite some recent U.K. tabloid reports the 18-year-old was nixed by the retailer after moving in with her 25-year-old boyfriend.
When Stone was first drafted by the jean purveyor, rumors swirled that the move was made because the previous Gap pitchwoman, former Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker, proved ineffective at luring a younger demographic to stores--a charge both Gap officials and Parker have denied.
The Gap also plans to release a limited-edition album featuring its roster of musicians covering their favorite classic tunes. The collection will be available at Gap stores and at gap.com. The enhanced disc will also feature a director's cut of the fall TV commercial and behind-the-scenes footage of the various spots.
[Is it silly to thank myself for finding this? Makes my earlier report seem miniscule...]
Dumbed-down Liz? It's just not Phair
By Brett Milano
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Someday, indie-rock historians will have a field day with Liz Phair. How many other artists have won a cult following for their sharp and daring songwriting, then chucked it all for fizzy teen pop? For that matter, how many artists in their late 30s are still trying to sound like mall kids?
At a sold-out acoustic show at the Paradise on Tuesday, Phair offered equal amounts of the old, smart Liz and the new, shallow Liz. But it was clear she's simply traded one audience for another. When she did songs from her cult-classic debut, Exile in Guyville, hoots and hollers went up in the crowd after every sexual reference, something that never happened in her more sophisticated indie days. During the old "Stratford on Guy", she dropped the name of the legendary Boston underground band Galaxie 500 and the reference went by with no recognition whatsoever.
Once shy and charming onstage, Phair now comes off as overly giggly, greeting the crowd with, "You guys are awesome!" When someone shouted a request, she kept claiming to have forgotten songs she wrote only a few years ago.
Unfortunately, she didn't forget the recent single "Rock Me", with its cringe-inducing line, "I'm starting to think that young guys rule."
And yes, we did notice her low-cut blouse and hiked-up skirt, even before she made the point of saying, "I feel like I'm flashing everybody in the front."
The short acoustic tour is a promo for an upcoming album, Somebody's Miracle, which is being promoted as her return to grownup songwriting (after her self-titled, teen-slanted album from two years ago). But the four new songs she played on Monday didn't sound very promising. They're grownup all right, but in a bland easy-listening way; with cliched lyrics along the lines of "Stand by me and catch me when I fall, baby." Though Phair apparently wrote them herself, they were pure assembly-line pop.
Scattered through the set were reminders of her more creative days, like the wry opener "Polyester Bride" and mid-'90s alternative hit "Supernova". Phair remains a terrific singer, and she comes off as both sexier and more appealing when she stops trying so hard. The evening proved that she at least had something worth selling before she sold out.
Artist Visit: Liz Phair
Wed 8/10 6:00 pm ET
From her earlier independent albums, to her most recent pop-rock CDs, Liz Phair has always pushed the boundaries. Two years after releasing Liz Phair, her most popular CD to date, she returns with Somebody's Miracle on October 4th. Listen for new music from the CD when Liz joins Haneen (a DJ on SIRIUS) in the studio to talk about her reaction to critics, the days of Lilith Fair and getting over stage fright.
Rebroadcast: Friday, Aug. 12th @ 12 pm ET; Sunday, Aug. 14th @ 11 pm ET.
Sidenote: If you have Dish Network, you can listen in on Channel 6009. (Thanks to hockeynut for that bit of info.)
[Thanks to LightYears from the Liz Phair Forum for the info and Brett Marlow for the forwarding the info to me.]
Phair Balances Old, New On Miracle
By Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Liz Phair has finalized the track list for her fifth album, Somebody's Miracle. As previously reported, the 14-track set will arrive Oct. 4 via Capitol. First single "Everything to Me," one of the album's three co-writes with producer John Shanks, will arrive imminently at U.S. radio outlets.
Somebody's Miracle is the follow-up to Phair's 2003 self-titled effort, which spawned her first crossover hit in the form of "Why Can't I?", but alienated longtime fans with its glossy sound and mainstream ambitions.
Phair has not exactly returned to her lo-fi, indie-rock roots; streamlined cuts like "Stars and Planets", "Giving It All to You" and "Count on My Love" seem primed for pop radio airplay.
But several tracks here should bring a smile to the face of devotees of her 1993 Matador debut, Exile in Guyville, and its 1994 follow-up, Whip-Smart. "Why I Lie" rides a sexy, Stones-style rock groove, while "Got My Own Thing" lopes along on a detuned riff that recalls the Guyville touchstone "Stratford-on-Guy".
While not as openly sexual as an earlier single like "Supernova", "Can't Get Out of What I'm Into" is a similarly fast, fun rocker about a relationship that flies in the face of better judgment. "It gives me something to laugh about / because my real life ain't f***in' funny," she sings.
Fresh off an appearance last weekend at Lollapalooza in her Chicago hometown, Phair kicked off a solo acoustic tour last night (July 26) in Boston and will be on the road through Aug. 19 in San Francisco.
Here is the track list for "Somebody's Miracle":
"Leap of Innocence"
"Wind in the Mountain"
"Stars and Planets"
"Got My Own Thing"
"Count on My Love"
"Everything to Me"
"Can't Get Out of What I'm Into"
"Table for One"
"Why I Lie"
"Everything (Between Us)"
"Giving It All to You"
[Thanks to Brett Marlow for the info.]
We weren’t exactly sure what to expect from last night’s Liz Phair event - serious listening session? balls out party time bash? - but we knew it was going down poolside at the newly renovated Roosevelt Hotel, and according to Page Six that’s the place where Lindsay Lohan does triple backflips off her 12th floor balcony into the David Hockney-painted swimming pool filled with those creepy old guys who play high schoolers on That ’70s Show. Right the fuck on!
When we arrived we saw two fellas enjoying the free WI-FI service, but then realized they were playing Phair’s new album Somebody’s Miracle on repeat from their laptops. We think the lady of the hour was there, but we’re not positive. There was a gal in a fancy-pants red outfit that looked like Liz Phair from the back and wherever she went people started to nervously step closer towards her orbit, but we never got a 100% face recognition.
Phair has taken a lot of shit from hardly grown-up indie boys who still want her singing about banging dudes while driving cross country (get over it guys, she broke up with you like a decade ago), and this album probably isn’t going to make them change their tune. It’s mainly a mellow, SoCal-style pop-rock affair and though the environment wasn’t the best to catch the lyrics, we still love the sound of her voice.
And as for the tuna tartar, it was great. We had fourths.
Music | Events | 07/21/2005
[Thanks to SuckandRun from the Liz Phair Forum for the info.]
From The Columbia Chronicle Online (Columbia College Chicago):
As for the performances, some were better than others. Liz Phair seems to have turned into an over-polished soccer-mom meets Sheryl Crow. The Chicago native's audience seemed to be split between older people that only knew her for her pop-release, and younger people that yearned to hear more songs from her 1993 release (when Lollapalooza was in its' third year) Exile in Guyville, which is held up by some as one of the best indie-rock albums of all time. The audience seemed most pleased when she played "Fuck and Run" and "Divorce Song", both from her first album.
From The Pitch:
I know that everybody but 13-year-old girls and soccer moms gave up on Liz Phair awhile back, but I actually had a glimmer of hope that she might one day make a comeback. I suggested to multiple people that they needed to come check out her show here because (a) it was the start of a new, supposedly acoustic concert tour and (b) she was playing a bunch of material from an upcoming LP that I mistakenly believed would be a return to form. Boy, was I ever an asshole for that. Phair brought a whole band, played acoustic for a song or two, then proceeded to unveil a slate of new material that was on about the same lyrical level as Jewel's poetry. The guy behind me may have been stretching it when he said, "You know, she could have been the next Bob Dylan," but he had the idea. Liz Phair may be one of the biggest disappointments of my music-obsessed life.
By Rich Sharp
[Thanks to JeremyEngle for the second review.]
Liz, along with the other music acts, is indeed being prominently displayed in the store. Liz's favorite song is Irving Berlin's "Cheek To Cheek". (But my question would be, "Whose version is her favorite exactly? Irving Berlin? Ella Fitzgerald? Frank Sinatra? Someone I didn't mention?). To be thorough, Joss Stone's favorite song is The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows", and Michelle Williams (of Destiny's Child) cites Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" as her favorite song. (They only had these three artists at the location I went to.)
[Thanks to myself for the on-site report.]
[Thanks to Ed R. for the info.]
Phair's acoustic show veers from sharp to shallow
By Joan Anderman, Globe Staff | July 27, 2005
With her alt-rock goddess years a distant shimmer, a slick pop experiment tucked safely back in 2003, and a new album rolling out in October, Liz Phair is going where so many muddled mid-life rock 'n' roll souls have found themselves: on an acoustic tour.
She opened her three-week string of shows last night for a sold-out crowd at the Paradise. They arrived infatuated and left even more in love. There is something wildly appealing about Liz Phair, a plain-spoken, unapologetic attitude toward everything from her choice in music to her choice in men that managed to glue this set together.
And that was no easy task. It's hard to remember a set that toggled so vividly between brilliant and insipid. Backed by a guitarist and harmony singer who seemed to be working out vocal parts on the fly, Phair reached deep into the endlessly clever, frank collection of gems from her 1993 debut Exile in Guyville, offering stripped renditions of "6'1"", "Soap Star Joe", "Mesmerizing", "Divorce Song", and "Girls Girls Girls". She brazenly plopped them toe-to-toe with the factory-assembled confections from her recent self-titled album, a major play for Top 40 chart action. The pop project -- which seemed like a weirdly righteous and unabashed move at the time -- suffered for the close proximity.
"Extraordinary" wasn't. "Why Can't I", a fine radio anthem, just sounded silly on the heels of "Supernova". When Phair, barefoot and blond-locked, struck a vixen pose while attacking the inane chorus of "Rock Me", it was painful to watch. Listening wasn't much easier, as Phair bullied her voice into high, hook-drenched neighborhoods where she has no artistic business.
Still, her sense of entitlement was contagious. The four new songs Phair previewed -- especially the title track, "Somebody's Miracle" -- were in a classic, folk-rock mold that suited her off-kilter voice and contemplative time of life.
[Thanks to Joan Anderman / Boston Globe for the report.]
11:48 pm - Liz at the Paradise - Boston, MA.
That is all I have to say about the acoustic tour...WOW. Tonight was the first night at the Paradise in Boston and it was amazing. Best Liz show I've ever been to. I took a video of her doing "Wild Thing"...amazing. She wanted to play "Jeremy Engle", but for some reason everyone wanted "Wild Thing" instead. I'll take "Wild Thing", but I would have LOVED to see her play "Jeremy Engle" for the first time. She played a bunch of old stuff... she's taking request from the crowd, and she's playing a "challenge" every night and her challenge this night was "Soap Star Joe". It was awesome, I wonder what her challenge will be tomorrow night?
Was there anyone else there tonight?
Here's a further update from puremilkgenius:
I don't have the exact set list... but I know she played "Polyester Bride" first and "Fuck and Run" last. Aside from "Soap Star Joe" and "Wild Thing", she also played 3 new songs: "Somebody's Miracle", "Lost Tonight" and "Everything to Me". Then she played one other new song that won't be on the album... and of course I can't remember for the life of me the name of it... but it will probably come to me in my sleep. Oh well...
She played her usual "Supernova", "Why Can't I", "Rock Me", "Extraordinary", "Divorce Song", "6'1"", "Stratford on Guy", OH and another good one she played was "GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS". Hmmm what else? Oh yeah, "Good Love Never Dies". If there's more I can remember I will add it!
[Thanks to puremilkgenius from the Liz Phair's Journal for the report and Brett Marlow for the link.]
Liz Phair and the Johnnie Walker birthday cake
(Photo credit: S Lovekin / WireImage)
Liz Phair performs at Johnnie Walker 200th birthday
(Photo credit: S Lovekin / WireImage)
|07-26-05: LIZ PERFORMS AT JOHNNIE WALKER 200TH BIRTHDAY BASH IN NYC
From The New York Times:
And Is That Working For You?
"Have you guys ever seen me drink before a show?" Liz Phair asked two men who were hanging out with her backstage.
They shook their heads.
"I used to be a big stoner," she explained. "That worked for me. Then I had my son."
On Monday night, Johnnie Walker, the little man on the Scotch bottle, was celebrating the 200th birthday of John Walker, the founder of the little man's company.
Ms. Phair was supposed to sing "Happy Birthday", though at first she wasn't clear whether she was singing to John Walker, who is dead, or to a company executive who is currently alive. (It was the dead one, as it turned out).
The party was at Skylight Studios, where we might as well set up a bureau because it is apparently the official site of anything happening in late July.
According to a report, midway through the party (to all the guests surprise), Liz gets up onstage for a two song set. She performed "Supernova" and "Why Can't I".
[Thanks to Brett Marlow and sixdickpimp from the Liz Phair Forum for the info.]
Liz Phair Turns to Wonder
Rock singer-songwriter explores Songs in the Key of Life on Miracle
"I just felt like I needed to live up to something in making this record," Liz Phair says about her new album, Somebody's Miracle, due October 4th. The album, which she describes as "more soulful this time," finds the rocker closely examining personal relationships -- and looking to Stevie Wonder for creative inspiration and structure.
"In the fall I had a lot of the songs ready and was hell-bent on doing a song-by-song [response] to Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life," says Phair, who has said that her 1993 debut, Exile in Guyville, was a response to the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street. "So I had all the charts made, and we hung them up in the studio, and that session was really where we got most of the arrangements for the songs."
Working with producers John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer) and John Shanks (Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge), Phair realized she wanted the record to be guitar-driven, and soon abandoned a literal reading of the 1976 classic. "I couldn't do twenty-one songs -- and now they're all out of order," she says. Still, Phair insists, common themes link the two records.
"I started out thinking that the title track was like 'I Wish', because he's basically going back to his childhood and saying, 'I wish those days could come back once more,'" she explains. "'Somebody's Miracle' is really about longing for an innocence, wishing I could recapture the innocence of what love is, the belief in love and the belief that I could have love, that I could stay with someone forever, the picture I had in my mind when I was young of what my life was going to be like."
"At the end of the song, I go, 'I never cry out loud/ I keep my tears to myself but I woke up one day and I found my life had left me for someone else' -- that's sort of how I feel. I was supposed to be married and be happy and have a family, and here I've taken this totally different life."
In writing the new material, Phair says she "talked a lot about the weaknesses that we have as human beings, and the weaknesses in relationships, and doubt and cruelty and betrayal," but still aimed to create a record that was "hopeful and positive". She attributed that optimism to the influence and richness of Wonder's music.
"I thought, 'This is what I wish music were today,'" she says of listening to Key of Life. "I was so blown away. I seriously had a real passion for it. So I wanted to just put a little more soul into what I was doing."
"And obviously with Stevie Wonder I was like, 'How the hell am I going to do that?'" she continues. "Clearly, when you find a record like that, the first thing -- and the most immediate thing -- is how inadequate you are. But that's why I did it. It's like taking a course with the best professor in the world."
(Posted Jul 26, 2005)
[Thanks to JeremyEngle for the info.]
Best celebrity impersonation: Liz Phair as Sheryl Crow. Despite revisiting "6'1"", "Fuck and Run", and other classics, the bulk of Phair's set was spent introducing new material that sounded decidedly geared for adult contemporary radio. Many must have been waiting for "Leaving Las Vegas" while mulling over what must've happened to the woman who brought us the groundbreaking Exile in Guyville.
[Thanks to no one in particular.]
From The Chicago Sun-Times:
Gearing up for the release of a new album in October, Liz Phair continued to eschew her indie-rock roots in Wicker Park and pursue her Hollywood-based reinvention as Sheryl Crow-lite. Her performance was wooden and plagued with sound problems.
Former Chicagoan Liz Phair got off to a rocky start, seeming nervous and somewhat out of step with her band on "Supernova" and the midtempo title track from her upcoming album, Somebody's Miracle, due in October. But Phair hit her groove a few songs in with the decidedly family-unfriendly "Fuck and Run".
— Gil Kaufman
No question the most embarrassing set of the afternoon belonged to Chitown's Liz Phair. Playing the first date of her Somebody's Miracle tour, Phair's new stuff is simply brutal. Having to hear her wail on about wanting to fuck an 18-year-old college student was excruciating. Hearing old favourites such as "Fuck And Run" and "Polyester Bride" didn't help either. She's deep, deep into schmaltz territory now and there's no going back. The classics all sound like buttered popcorn with her new superslick band. The day's worst set, hands down.
One Saturday afternoon surprise, however, was Chicago's Liz Phair. The artist seems to have recovered nicely from her self-titled 2003 stab at rock stardom. Previewing songs from her upcoming Capitol album, Somebody's Miracle, Phair appears to have returned back to the lighter arrangements and more open lyrics of 1998's Whitechocolatespaceegg.
-- Todd Martens, Chicago
From The New York Times:
A collegiate-rock staple from the 1990's, Liz Phair, has lately reined herself in; the songs she previewed from her next album, Somebody's Miracle, aspired only to be pretty and generic.
From The Chicago Tribune:
The festival primarily featured white guitar-based rock bands playing 45- to 75-minute sets that ranged from ferocious (the Walkmen's high-strung epiphanies) to flaccid (Liz Phair's increasingly generic adult-contemporary pop songs), reliably arena-ready (Pixies, Weezer) to just plain silly (Billy "more, more, more" Idol). And then there were the Redwalls, who had the honor of kicking off the festival in their hometown, with a hard-swinging set of originals steeped in British-invasion rock and Memphis soul. And that was just the first day.
[Thanks to JeremyEngle from the Liz Phair Forum for most of these.]
Liz Phair Gap display
(Photo credit: kayli102)
|07-25-05: MORE LIZ AND THE GAP
Liz is featured amongst others in the new Gap in-store graphics. There are two large pictures each of 4-5 artists (also Jason Mraz, Joss Stone, and a few others). One picture just has the artist's name, but the other has their favorite song. Liz's was "Cheek To Cheek".
[Thanks to John-Paul Finger on the Support System mailing list for the info and kayli102 on the Liz Phair Forum for the pictures.]
Liz Phair performs at Lollapalooza, Saturday, July 23rd
(Photo credit: E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)
Liz Phair performs at Lollapalooza in Chicago
(Photo credit: Steve Kagan / The New York Times)
|07-25-05: LIZ LOLLAPALOOZA AFTERMATH
Okay, here are some selected reports of Liz at Lollapalooza.
From The New York Times:
DAY 1, JULY 23 | 5:44 PM
Liz Phair is part of Lollapalooza's hometown Chicago contingent, and she started her summer tour with a midafternoon set including two songs from her next album, Somebody's Miracle. They suggest she's unrepentant about her move toward radio-ready, slickly produced pop on her 2003 album Liz Phair.
The new songs, "Somebody's Miracle" and "Everything to Me", are determinedly straightforward, striving for the classic simplicity of old girl-group songs; they lament the way romance is passing her by and head for chiming three-chord choruses: "I wish it could happen to me," she sang in "Somebody's Miracle". Earnestly crafted and determinedly generic, they were like senior projects for a songwriting class. But they had none of the personality of the old songs that shared the set like "Supernova," which was just as tuneful and romantic, but way too strange for the mainstream Phair.
From The Chicago Tribune:
Liz Phair's live shows have always struggled to pack the same punch as her deliciously deviant lyrics. Saturday was no exception. The highlight of Phair's 50-minute set came serendipitously; while her guitarist worked to correct a malfunctioning rig, the former Chicagoan strummed the opening chords to "6' 1"". She sounded hesitant and stumbled over a chord or two before she and her band -- sans lead guitarist -- fell into the lead track from Exile in Guyville, her 1993 debut masterpiece. The sparse, raw arrangement was a refreshing break from the slick sound Phair has been honing lately. For most of the set, Phair's talented-but-unadventurous band sounded at home when cranking out polished tracks from her most recent album. "Extraordinary" and "Why Can't I" sounded tight, if a little soulless. For her upcoming album, Phair has hinted about a partial return to her earlier style, though from the sound of the mid-tempo "Somebody's Miracle", one of two new songs Phair debuted, she's wading further into adult-contemporary's shallow waters. Here's hoping she's keeping the best tracks under wraps.
From Rolling Stone:
Chitown rocker Liz Phair was also in evidence, on Saturday, unveiling two new songs from her forthcoming album, Somebody's Miracle, including the straight-ahead, slickly poppy title track and "Everything to Me" with its sugary chorus. But, of course, Phair mixed the new material with classics, leading her band through a loose set. She stopped often to chat with the crowd and interact with the musicians onstage. Before playing "Extraordinary", Phair joshed, "I don't leave a trail of dead behind me. I just leave a trail of dirty clothes," referencing the preceding set by rockers... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead and her own self-cultivated reputation as a vixen. Phair also peppered the set with bouncy, more pop-oriented versions of staples from her breakthrough, Exile in Guyville, including "Fuck and Run" and a saucy, spacey take on "Flower".
Here is the complete setlist in actual order as performed by Liz and company:
If you missed the show or the webcast of the show, SBC Yahoo will have archived footage of the event.
[Thanks to JeremyEngle / Brett Marlow / Liz Phair Forum / Support System mailing list for the info.]
[Thanks to folks on the Liz Phair Forum for the info.]
Courtney Love was taken to a Los Angeles hospital early Thursday morning. The singer was attending a private party hosted by fellow rocker Liz Phair at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's Tropicana Bar when, according to Love's publicist, she "felt faint" and went outside to get some air. An ambulance was called and Love was then taken to a hospital.
From the Liz Phair Forum:
"Regarding the new CD, I went to a listening party at in LA last night where my company was playing it for Film and TV Music supervisors. While I won't say the new record is a true return to form for Liz, I will say that it is not as extreme to the pop production of the last record. The sound was definitely more mature than (what I felt was) the bubblegum production of the last one. A lot of midtempo rock songs, a few acoustic numbers, etc. I was concerned after I heard a few of the sound files circling the web, but after hearing the final mix, from what i heard over the crowd's chatter sounded like a pretty decent, solid record."
"As a side note, Liz was there and looked fierce and she was so nice and sweet. I saw her standing in line behind me! I was like "honey, I don't think you have to wait in line for your own event," to which she giggled and blushed a bit. She talked to my boyfriend and I for a few minutes about recording the CD. He and I are musicians, so we shared a few studio horror stories back and forth. So nice. Looking forward to her shows in August."
[Thanks to Jolie Lash / RollingStone.com and Steven Manik from the Liz Phair Forum for the info.]
[Thanks to santiagojmarin on the Liz Phair Forum and cana on the Support System mailing list for the info.]
From the EPK, another song title is revealed: "Stars And Planets" (which you get to hear a few seconds of the track). The tracklisting mentioned earlier (see 06-29-05 entry) has come into question. More details when I get them.
Oh, you can sign up at Liz Phair's Guyville for prizes and stuff.
[Thanks to folks on the Liz Phair Forum for the info.]
EMI Music Marketing and its family of labels will present 'EMI Live', a presentation of new music during the last night of Club NARM, the music showcase that will be featured nightly during InSights & Sounds.05, the 47th Annual Convention & Marketplace of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) to be held August 11 - 14 at the San Diego Marriott.
The acts include Liz Phair, Tristan Prettyman, Raul Midón, and Charlie Sexton.
[Thanks to Brett Marlow for the info.]
Everything To Me
|07-16-05: CONFIRMATION: EVERYTHING TO ME IS THE FIRST SINGLE
FMQB reports that "Everything To Me" is the first single, and will be available for airplay adds on August 1st. You can hear a clip of "Everything To Me" here.
[Thanks to Brett Marlow for the info.]
"...the first single is Everything To Me and it goes for adds August 1st..."
Guess I'll need to check the music publications for confirmation...
[Thanks to JeremyEngle for the link.]
Cary Brothers will be opening for Liz at several of the dates:
For more info on Cary Brothers, you can visit his website.
[Thanks to Cary Brothers and Brett Marlow for the info.]
Listen to Liz Phair's podcast starting Saturday, July 23rd. More details coming soon.
[Thanks to Brett Marlow for the info.]
"Liz will be hosting her own podcast (info on podcasting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcast) soon! Each show will feature interviews, stories, and of course music. Look for more information on www.lizphair.com sometime soon. The name of the show sounds like Uplands."
[Thanks to the Brett Marlow for the report.]
"[Liz] doesn’t appear until about thirty to forty minutes into the show and doesn’t stay the entire time. Dino accompanied her and read some news headlines too. Liz plugged Rachael Yamagata’s gig tonight in Chicago at the Metro a few times, made it sound like she was going to go check it out."
"I called in and was lucky enough to speak to her for about five minutes. It was excellent, thought I’d share some things with you that she did. The theme for the music she played was 'All Chicago Artists'. DJ Liz played:
She had a fun time talking about 'butt dancing' or dancing in your car while driving and [listening to] Veruca Salt.
"Her CD is being mastered today and it’s still up in the air whether or not the album will be out in September or October. "Cant Get Out Of What I’m Into" will be on the upcoming record, she said it herself. She wouldn’t confirm if "It’s Not That Easy" would be or not. She was just shocked someone knew of the song. Her Girly Sound tapes are in her parent’s basement next to the Christmas decorations she joked. She even admitted to owning the Girly Sound boot Secretly Timid. However, she did say that she’d be performing the "weird songs" and songs from Girly Sound on the upcoming acoustic tour which will not be entirely acoustic, she and Dino plan on using electric guitars too. Actually, she said the whole point of this acoustic tour this summer is to play those songs she doesn’t normally do at the larger gigs. She’ll be touring for a year with the new record. There are plans for an acoustic show in Chicago in late August, but that’s all that was said."
"She gushed about finally meeting Mick Jagger at the studios in Santa Monica. They were previewing their new album for the press and she sat in for the last two songs and was able to finally meet him after waiting for so long."
Note: If you missed it, you can hear a portion of the program via podcast at the WTMX-FM 101.9 The Mix website.
[Thanks to the Brett Marlow for the report.]