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Still buzzing from New Years optimism. Here’s a sunny, apropros cover in honor of that, courtesy of Eric from Fruit Bats, and Andy from Vetiver. Bobby Charles! 



It’s gonna be a big year at The Artful Binge. Y’all ready? <3

It’s gonna be a big year at The Artful Binge. Y’all ready? <3

(Source: tarafirma)



Early Fruit Bats incarnation. Kinda like the Brady Bunch, except made up of a bunch of #folkiebeardeddudes. 

Early Fruit Bats incarnation. Kinda like the Brady Bunch, except made up of a bunch of #folkiebeardeddudes. 



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Born in the 70s / Fruit Bats

This is one of those classic soundtrack-of-my-life songs (despite, you know, being born in ‘83). 



Eric D. Johnson of The Fruit Bats. Y&#8217;all ready for some good old fashioned trippy folk-pop &#8216;round these parts? Good, &#8216;cause it&#8217;s time. #folkybeardeddudes

Eric D. Johnson of The Fruit Bats. Y’all ready for some good old fashioned trippy folk-pop ‘round these parts? Good, ‘cause it’s time. #folkybeardeddudes



Baby I’m a Fool

Since we (Atha and Jacq) transitioned from coworkers to binge buddies over a shared love of Melody Gardot, and since back in the day Jacq taught Atha how to play this particular tune on the guitar (sniffle!), we figured it was only fitting that our M.Gardot-inspired binge project be the song that started it all. 

This number features Atha Fong on lead vocals, rhythm guitar and bass. She also gets credit for the song’s chillaxed swing arrangement. Also, if you look closely, you can see that Atha is literally snapping in the track photo (a candid - seriously!). 

Jacqueline Van Meter is on doowop backup vocals, lead guitar, and tambourine.


Fusion Friday with Melody Gardot


After Melody Gardot won our hearts and guts with My One and Only Thrill, an album that - wine in hand - I diva-ed (and occasionally teared up) to nightly in my kitchen for a solid 8 months, she waited three full years before putting out another record.

Three full years.

Granted, that’s not, say, Fiona Apple status, but it’s a damned long time when you’re awaiting the soundtrack to the meal-making you do 5 nights a week while romanticizing the size of your junior 1-bedroom apartment kitchen and fancying yourself a grownup (and a slightly mysterious one at that).

She reemerged in spring of 2012 with a highly anticipated album that, from the packaging and publicity photos to the fusion of all sorts of diverse but characteristically hushed sounds, seemed to speak directly to everyone’s questions: where’ve you been? what have you been doing?  The answer: Around the entire globe, collecting experiences - the rich, exotic kind. 

Her third record, entitled The Absence, is heavily influenced by the 2 years she spent traveling around Europe, particularly Portugal, and by the year she lived in Brazil, birthplace of the bossa and samba styles that had been increasingly surfacing in her work. You could probably get away with calling her travels to Rio a pilgrimage. She describes the development this way: 

The time away, the time traveled, the time spent away from the people I love…”The Absence” is my departure from the stage momentarily, to go and write. I remember fighting for that. I needed to leave and go live.  

Three years of living, exploration and self-discovery yielded an album that is as intoxicating as it is tender: a joyful, eclectic, and a pitch-perfect articulation of how she’s matured as an artist. Melody weaves her signature subtlety and phrasing into the rhythms of the fado, samba, tango and even Moroccan beats she encountered on her journeys, and the combination, as The Telegraph aptly put it in its review of the record, “plays like a late-night, gypsy travelogue.”

And so, as we close on the Melody Gardot series here at The Artful Binge, we give you three samples off of her latest offering that illustrate the varied but delightfully cohesive flavors of The Absence:

Some Portuguese stylings in one of our faves, Lisboa:

A mournful tango, Buenos Aires-style, in Impossible Love:

An easy African groove, in Amalia:

And because we can’t resist - and because Melody is a dish best served LIVE - set your eyes on her unbelievable performance of the album’s best tune (and first single), Mira, here on the Jools Holland show. Sufficed to say, album #4 can’t come soon enough. And from the look at the grins and grooves of the other guys on stage, I think everyone agrees on that. Swoon. 

Melody bohemia. Vanity Fair, Italy 2012 #stilllovinthattat

Melody bohemia. Vanity Fair, Italy 2012 #stilllovinthattat

A little holiday cheer from our girl, Melody Gardot. #supersexyholidayjazzgoddess



Amazing song, joyful video. A RAD way to kick off the 3rd and long-awaited album from Miss M. Gardot. 



Strings and Sambas, with Melody Gardot

Melody Gardot Artful BingeAtha and I have seen Melody Gardot in concert twice: once at the Fillmore, once at the Herbst, both in San Francisco. Both times, the venue staff almost literally had to peel us off the floor at the end of the show. As a binger of seriousness, I try to avoid hyperbole, but in the case of Melody Gardot, there’s really only one word that accurately describes her phrasing, her performances, her effect on audiences:

Devastating. The woman actually makes you ache and gasp for 90 minutes straight. 

I’d wager this all began somewhere around her second album, My One and Only Thrill. MG made several very significant stylistic departures from her debut record that have continued to propel her work. 

1. She introduced string arrangements that, courtesy of renowned composer and arranger Vince Mendoza, paint many of the songs with a poignant, velvety glaze. She’s been experimenting with string accompaniment ever since. They first appeared in their thickest incarnation in My One and Only Thrill’s first single, Baby I’m a Fool:

2. While the acoustic guitar parts we heard on Worrisome Heart are still present, she makes a grand return to her primary instrument, and dark, slinky jazz piano arrangements are featured front and center in many of her best songs. Exemplifying this is the album’s third single, Your Heart is as Black as Night:

3. Her vocals gained a spacey, breathy raspiness that’s injected her music with an immediate, even visceral feeling of heartbreak. Here’s one that might be Atha’s and my favorite song to sing along to, diva style -  Lover Undercover:

4. Hints of the Brazilian musical styles she gravitated towards during her recovery begin to surface on her own stuff, adding a layer of super-subtle, hip-shaking samba to her low-key jazz aesthetic. It’s sassy, worldly, and awesome. Here’s the fan favorite in that regard, If the Stars Were Mine: 

The sum effect of these shifts is a collection of songs that simmer on the stereo and smolder on stage. In her live performances, Gardot’s reinterpreted a number of old songs to reflect her evolution. 

We’ll leave you with a clip from her concert in Bergen, in 2010. Here she whips an originally par-ed down Love me Like a River Does into a fierce, roiling, tango-flavored brood of a ballad. Reinvention this good kind of calls to mind another binge-able artist, doesn’t it?




Melody Gardot. Golden. 

Melody Gardot. Golden. 



Fear is a useless emotion. It prevents everything from happening. It’s like closing every door and every window to your opportunity for surpassing anything in existence.
Melody Gardot



In the 2009 follow-up to her debut record, Melody Gardot swaps out youthful swagger for breathless tension of Nina Simone-caliber proportions.  Here’s the title track off of arguably her strongest album to date, My One and Only Thrill

Shades of mauve with Melody Gardot. #thisiswhyicutbangs #haveleathergloveseverbeencooler? #no

Shades of mauve with Melody Gardot. #thisiswhyicutbangs #haveleathergloveseverbeencooler? #no