Vienna for Newbies

She's a helluva chef. Interpretation, praise, criticism ...

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Cooler Near The Lake
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Vienna for Newbies

Postby Cooler Near The Lake » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:58 pm

I'd like to pick up a thought of tanthalas from another thread:

Which song would you use to introduce someone new to Vienna's music, or which song did you already use for this purpose?

For starters, my own choice would be - surprise, surprise - Gravity. It has good, not overly complicated lyrics, a beautiful tune with a lovely climax and nicely demonstrates Vienna's excellent singing abilities.

Your votes, please :?:
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aaparallel
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Re: Vienna for Newbies

Postby aaparallel » Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:54 pm

Cooler Near The Lake wrote:I'd like to pick up a thought of tanthalas from another thread:

Which song would you use to introduce someone new to Vienna's music, or which song did you already use for this purpose?

For starters, my own choice would be - surprise, surprise - Gravity. It has good, not overly complicated lyrics, a beautiful tune with a lovely climax and nicely demonstrates Vienna's excellent singing abilities.

Your votes, please :?:


I've used My Medea, Harbor, and Gravity. Many people at my school already know the song "Harbor" because my school's a cappella group has performed it. The music students who previously had not heard of Vienna loved Harbor because of the meter changes. My Medea, the studio version, is beautiful, haunting, and epic. People are usually impressed or ingtrigued after listening to it. Gravity is a VT standard...

Grandmother song, Hope on Fire (solo) and the Idioteque cover have also done the job. It really depends on the kind of music the newbie likes. Thanks to VT's versatility, we VT fans have many songs to choose from.
"Drowning my pain in lemonade. . . Singing along to 'feelin' alright'"

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Postby marathonmark » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:39 pm

I usually pick one from each album...

Gravity
Harbor
Whatever You Want
No Gringo

Fred
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Postby Fred » Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:58 pm

If I have video at my disposal (on the 'net, for instance) then the official Gravity video, because it has the production values of a real music video, the actual album track of the audio, and Vienna in the flesh. Since it's her only real, produced music video, not much choice there.

There is probably a great professional performance video out there, but I don't know what it is. Something that really captured the live concert experience would be a good idea; after all, that's my peak Vienna experience (as opposed to CDs and video), and probably same for most of us.

If it's a question of playing a track from a CD, then Harbor for most people. There may be (and there are) other tracks I like better, but I think it's important to show all her strengths (writing, singing, *and* playing, and the piano on Harbor is fantastic) and to stick with something up-tempo, since that's what grabs most people.

If I were trying to impress a diehard folkie, somebody who spends his/her time listening to Phil Ochs etc. and expects songs to have messages, I'd go with City Hall, but I haven't had occasion to. (I've gotten airplay of it on a relevant occasion, though.)

If I were trying to impress a classical fan who basically doesn't care about popular music, I'd think hard, and probably end up going with something like In Another Life, I Don't Feel So Well, or Antebellum. Again, not something I've actually done.

Good question!
Ain't praying for miracles, I'm just down on my knees
Listening for the song behind everything I think I know
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Postby Kalenabear » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:59 pm

I was actually thinking about this very topic in preparation for my mass email invite to VT/AW's upcoming show in Los Angeles. :) Yes, my friends need a month's notice to 'save the date'.

Context does indeed matter, but I always use the album version of Gravity. Personally, I like the braid version better, but VT newbies should experience that live. I mean, the intro for this version is much slower and it takes a few measures before we get to the lyrics. Plus, people may not appreciate the reverse looping if they hear the track before seeing it live.

When I introduced my coworker to Antebellum and Gravity, she preferred the latter because the first one was "too classical" for her. (Pft, they're both so gorgeous!) She also remarked that Gravity moved her to tears and showcased Vienna's command of words/poetry. I've also referred people to Augustine, to show that VT & AW can do rockier fare, though I think the song may be too short or...repetitive...(hrm, what's the word i'm looking for?) as an introductory song.

For video links, anything by our very own Micro is high quality. Plus, we know that his tapings are legal, and even VT's linked to his Youtube channel before. (Thanks, Micro!) I particularly reference the Atkinson, NJ performance of 1BR/1BAbecause it shows VT's skill as a *performer*, not just as a singer or pianist. Also shows how she challenges herself and experiments with other things.

Anything from a Highline Ballroom show sounds and looks amazing, as well.

Beyond that, I've once linked to VT's Inland Territory Electronic Press kits on Youtube. For some reason, I think that the European EPK is better for VT newbies, while the US EPK serves her already-established fans. For VT concerts with Alex, I show my friends Brooklyn Blurs or the Idiotechque cover.

Wait. I have a question: there have been two instances after a show where my first-show friends ask me which album to buy at the merch table. They listen to popular and mainstream music, so I told them to go for Inland Territory. However, I always struggle to recommend just ONE album for them to buy, because I think that one needs to experience VT's more classical roots from her first two albums to appreciate Inland Territory's versatility. It's also easier to embrace IT's experimental pieces if they know of her trajectory, I guess? So, which album is the best for newbies to take home for repeat visits? (Yes, the ideal answer is "all of them!")

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Postby Fred » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:38 am

Kalenabear wrote:...Context does indeed matter, but I always use the album version of Gravity. Personally, I like the braid version better, but VT newbies should experience that live. I mean, the intro for this version is much slower and it takes a few measures before we get to the lyrics. Plus, people may not appreciate the reverse looping if they hear the track before seeing it live....

Totally agree.
Kalenabear wrote:...When I introduced my coworker to Antebellum and Gravity, she preferred the latter because the first one was "too classical" for her...She also remarked that Gravity moved her to tears and showcased Vienna's command of words/poetry...

It's not by accident that Vienna still plays Gravity at almost every show. She's still building audience, after all of these years. We may have absorbed some of her more experimental material by now, but this is where we, too, started, no?
Kalenabear wrote:...For video links, anything by our very own Micro...

Now how could I overlook that? Duh! :oops:
Kalenabear wrote:...I think that the European EPK is better for VT newbies...

I didn't know it existed. Will have to explore.
Kalenabear wrote:...However, I always struggle to recommend just ONE album for them to buy...

I'd go with Waking Hour, for the same reasons you go with the original Gravity, above. I can still find it to be my "favorite" under the right circumstances, depending on mood. (Picking a favorite Vienna album would be like picking a favorite child, if I had more than one.)

Fascinating question, fascinating response. :D
Ain't praying for miracles, I'm just down on my knees
Listening for the song behind everything I think I know
And everything I think I know is just static on the radio.

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Postby aaparallel » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:26 am

Shrimpdoodoo (Tim Wong, Alex's cousin) put up some good videos as well. Hope to see him at the upcoming Bay Area shows.

I've also played No Gringo and actually sang Passage for people (although I didn't remember most of the lyrics at the time). Both powerful examples.
"Drowning my pain in lemonade. . . Singing along to 'feelin' alright'"

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Postby Kalenabear » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:58 pm

Fred wrote:If I have video at my disposal (on the 'net, for instance) then the official Gravity video, because it has the production values of a real music video, the actual album track of the audio, and Vienna in the flesh. Since it's her only real, produced music video, not much choice there.


Oddly enough, I stray away from introducing the official music video until my friends have heard just the audio track. It's a fine video in production and everything, but I guess I'd like people to pay attention to VT's composition and conjure up their own interpretations of the song first. I want them to reappropriate it to their own lives and then be visually stimulated through Fat Monster's lens. (Same argument/logic for why certain books should never be made into films, etc.) Imaginative integrity, if you will. But, yeah, I admire the official music video and always mention it otherwise.

@aaparallel - Yeah! Shrimpdoodoo has great stuff! :)

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Re: Vienna for Newbies

Postby Michele » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:06 am

Cooler Near The Lake wrote:Which song would you use to introduce someone new to Vienna's music, or which song did you already use for this purpose?


I guess I leave it to fate, because I just send my friends to the Listen page. Either they're going to hear whatever's the first song they run across, or they'll pick a song title that jumps out at them (which is how I check out a band if a friend hasn't given me a specific song or video). Sorry that doesn't actually answer the question :lol:

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...And another successful indoctrination. ;)

Postby aaparallel » Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:05 pm

Turned another person into a fan last night. Forgot to mention: Vienna's various covers are GREAT songs to show people to get them hooked. Maybe the person's reluctant to listen to Vienna's original stuff right off the bat for whatever reason. Or maybe after hearing "Harbor," the person's still on the fence. Anyway, I won over my friend just by talking, but the moment I mentioned her "Idioteque" cover (and he insisted that he was already very interested at that point) he knew he was going to love her. :D And according to his wall post on my FB, I (Vienna) have revived his faith in music. :D
"Drowning my pain in lemonade. . . Singing along to 'feelin' alright'"

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Postby Fred » Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:51 pm

I won over a new fan a couple of days ago in a most unexpected way. I was in a FB conversation about John Lennon's Imagine, and posted links to the other two members of my standard "one world" set that I use for various purposes: The Youngbloods' Get Together, and Soon Love Soon. One of the people in the thread followed the links and totally flipped when she heard the latter. (It was micro's video from Highline 2010; the back of my head showed in it briefly.) So I guess you never know what will work, with a given person. So I just throw whatever suits the occasion up online, and hope for the best. Today, for instance, the WFUV question of the day was love songs without the word "love" in them. You can guess what my answer was.
Ain't praying for miracles, I'm just down on my knees
Listening for the song behind everything I think I know
And everything I think I know is just static on the radio.

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Postby aaparallel » Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:48 pm

Fred wrote:(It was micro's video from Highline 2010; the back of my head showed in it briefly.)


That's one of my favorite videos. The audience's three-part harmonies are SO dead-on. :) Way to go!
"Drowning my pain in lemonade. . . Singing along to 'feelin' alright'"

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Postby Fred » Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:17 pm

aaparallel wrote:
Fred wrote:(It was micro's video from Highline 2010; the back of my head showed in it briefly.)


That's one of my favorite videos. The audience's three-part harmonies are SO dead-on. :) Way to go!

I was in the center section. We got a part that worked fine with my high tenor. It was SO COOL to do it that way. That whole evening was amazing. I sometimes wonder to what extent Vienna designs her sets around the expected audience. I don't just mean requests, but what kind of venue she's in, whether she's expecting a lot of fans or a lot of "virgin ears", etc. I really got a sense that the Highline show was for the faithful, and doing Soon Love Soon in harmony was part of that. (Also that she left Gravity out -- only time I've seen her do that.)
Ain't praying for miracles, I'm just down on my knees
Listening for the song behind everything I think I know
And everything I think I know is just static on the radio.

battlemagick
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Postby battlemagick » Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:31 am

Haha my mum actually introduced me to VT with The Atheist Christmas Carol on Youtube. Pretty odd, huh? I wasn't exactly an immediate convert, but somehow as I went about doing my own stuff for the rest of the day, it just kept replaying in my head. In the end I gave up and went to HMV and bought the only VT CD they had in stock, which happened to be Inland Territory.

I've been hooked ever since :D :D

I managed to get a friend interested by first quoting lyrics from Antebellum and Stray Italian Greyhound, then letting her hear the songs. And just two days ago I caught another friend's interest with City Hall, which I was randomly playing on the piano.

Actually, I think most of the songs would work because her melodies are very strong, and they catch on without people realising. Which is pretty damn awesome!

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Postby aaparallel » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:53 am

battlemagick wrote:Haha my mum actually introduced me to VT with The Atheist Christmas Carol on Youtube. Pretty odd, huh? I wasn't exactly an immediate convert, but somehow as I went about doing my own stuff for the rest of the day, it just kept replaying in my head. In the end I gave up and went to HMV and bought the only VT CD they had in stock, which happened to be Inland Territory.

I've been hooked ever since :D :D

I managed to get a friend interested by first quoting lyrics from Antebellum and Stray Italian Greyhound, then letting her hear the songs. And just two days ago I caught another friend's interest with City Hall, which I was randomly playing on the piano.

Actually, I think most of the songs would work because her melodies are very strong, and they catch on without people realising. Which is pretty damn awesome!


Welcome to the forums, battlemagick! You're so right - almost any song would work, really. I recently turned a friend into a big fan, and he says Youtubing Vienna's stuff is so addicting because every song is just amazing. She's got a perfect track record. :D
"Drowning my pain in lemonade. . . Singing along to 'feelin' alright'"


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