Friday, May 11, 2007

Rufus Wainwright

A singer/songwriter whose lush, theatrical pop harked back to the traditions of Tin Pan Alley, cabaret and even opera, Rufus Wainwright was born in 1973; the son of folk music luminaries Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, his parents divorced while he was a child, and he was raised by his mother in Montreal. Beginning his piano studies at age six, by thirteen he was touring with his mother, aunt Anna and his sister Martha in a group billed as the McGarrigle Sisters and Family; a year later, Wainwright was nominated for a Juno (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) as Most Promising Young Artist, while his "I'm A-Runnin'" was concurrently nominated for a Genie (the Canadian countepart to an Oscar) for Best Song in a Film.

Coming out as a homosexual while still in his teens, Wainwright sought solace in opera throughout his adolescent years, also becoming an enormous fan of performers including Edith Piaf, Al Jolson and Judy Garland. After attending the prestigious Millbrook School in upstate New York, he briefly studied music at Montreal's McGill University, eventually turning away from classical performance towards pop and rock. Becoming a fixture on the Montreal club circuit, Wainwright soon cut a series of demos with producer Pierre Marchand; Loudon Wainwright III then passed a copy of the tape to friend Van Dyke Parks, who in turn handed it on to DreamWorks exec Lenny Waronker. The label signed him soon after, resulting in the release of Rufus Wainwright during the spring of 1998. The album landed on several critics' "best of 1998" lists, while Wainwright spent the next few years touring and appearing sporadically on soundtracks (Shrek) and compilations (The McGarrigle Hour). His sophomore album, Poses, brought similar acclaim in mid-2001. After spending much of 2001 and 2002 touring on his own and with Tori Amos, Wainwright settled into Bearsville Studio, in Woodstock, N.Y., with producer Marius deVries to record sort of a double album. The first project Want One was released in September, 2003. Want Two followed a year later. ~Allmusic

The May 15th will see a new release from Rufus Wainwright, titled Release The Stars. Recorded in Berlin and executive produced by the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant, Rufus Wainwright's fifth album offers an ounce of restraint from the man that dressed up as Sir Lancelot's crossed girlfriend Lady Shallott on the cover of his last. Well, not really. Having fallen in love and curbed his self-destructive streak, the New York-born singer-songwriter has certainly sharpened his wit on Release the Stars but the songs remain as ornate and over-the-top as ever, drawing as much inspiration from opera and the musical theater as the desire to purge personal demons. So while Wainwright spends considerable time here pondering the state of the world ("Going to a Town") and his own battles with drug and sexual addiction ("Sanssouci"), every note is punctuated by a choir, orchestral swell, or big burst of brass. It wouldn't be Rufus with anything less. Highly Recommended!

Rufus Wainwright - Narration/Going To A Town
Rufus Wainwright - Going To A Town
Rufus Wainwright - Nobody's Of The Hook
Rufus Wainwright - Leaving For Paris No.2
Rufus Wainwright @ MySpace

Kings Of Leon - Because Of The Times
Sondre Lerche - Phantom Punch
Explosions In The Sky - All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone
The Stills - Logic Will Break YOur Heart
+ Camera Obscura, Midlake, Wilco, etc.
The Katie Todd Band - Make Some Time For Wasting !!!
Anna Nalick - Wreck Of The Day
Sia - Color The Small One
Howie Day - Stop All The World
+ Aesop Rock, Coldplay, Death Cab For Cutie, Depeche Mode, Tori Amos, etc.
Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
The Streets - Original Pirate Material
Pendulum - Hold Your Colour
+ Air, Atmosphere, Modest Mouse, The Beatles, Coldplay, Dropkick Murphys,
Silverchair, Jeru The Damaja, Inc, Bob Marley, Homegrown, Tiesto, etc.
The Decemberists - Castaways And Cutouts + Her Majesty + Picaresque
Katie Melua - Call Of The Search
Air - Greatest Hits
Rammstein - Rosenrot
Groundation - Dub Wars
Beck - The Information
Bob Marley - No Sympathy


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