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Friday, January 21, 2011

DeVotchKa: Lush, Lyrical & Plaintive

In fact, for my money, lead singer Nick Urata has the most plaintive pipes this side of Gene Pitney. (Who? Ask your mother. Or Google.) For the most part, I think his soaring, semi-whiny vocals work very well with the band's material but you can be the judge of that your own self. In a minute.

DeVotchKa is a four-person band from Denver Colorado with a very European sound. In the 90s, many of their gigs were backing burlesque dancers, including Dita Von Teese. Their big break came in 2006 when asked to score the film Little Miss Sunshine, a wonderful, heartwarming movie - one of the best of the decade. The first video is from that movie and shows clips from the film interspersed with shots of the band.

While wandering the corridors of YouTube I came across the next video of theirs, the official version of How It Ends, a tune that contains the wonderful line, "forever's not too long." It's in this song that the Pitney comparison occurred to me. See if any of you other greybeards agree with me.

Last is the song many consider their masterpiece, a cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees' classic, The Last Beat Of My Heart. As with many of my favourite songs, I like it more with each listening. The percussion, particularly at the end, is mesmerizing.

Thanks to Devotchka and nelnel2709 for posting the videos.


  1. L.M. Sunshine? Not my fave flick. Sorry. How It Ends? Nice tune, good downtown L.A. nighttime video blurs. Pitney? Maybe kinda. The Siouxsie tune? Saw her do it back in the early 80s somewhere here. Details fuzzy, you can imagine why. Perhaps illogically, I now counter with a new discovery from just 2 hours ago.


  2. I love 'How It Ends'. So simple, yet so beautiful.

  3. So did you actually watch Little Miss Sunshine sometime since I told you about it and sent you a couple of tunes late last month? I know you had just discovered the artist yourself earlier that day... which was weird-ish/typical-ish.

  4. Hints of Pitney? Definitely, especially the line "There is no escape".

    I would venture to say Devotchka -- and Cay's link to Shpongle -- qualify as "mood music".

    As I ponder the above soundscapes, it occurs to me if they played stuff like Shpongle in elevators rather than the soulless musical-tofu you usually hear, I might ride in them more often. ;)

  5. Cay, I came across them a little while ago too. But that kind of music feels, I dunno, kinda detached. It doesn't resonate emotionally with me.

    True, my fabulous Brazilian friend. :)

    Nope, Hil. I watched the movie with you, I'm pretty sure, a couple-three years ago. But I didn't connect Devotchka with the soundtrack at that time. I only did so after finding the clip on YouTube. The first song of theirs that really resonated was How It Ends. Then I started scoping out more of their stuff.

    Charlie, I think of Shpongle as "electronica" - more spacey and New Agey than Devotchka. But it sure is fun and interesting sampling all the music that's available to us these days.

    Thanks folks, for taking the time to visit and comment. :)

  6. I agree about the differences between Devotchka and Shpongle, Frank. Both, though, I would put under the larger umbrella of mood music. By that I mean music I would put on to create an ambiance while doing other things as opposed to music that compels me to plant myself in front of the stereo (or don headphones) and devote all of my attention to it.

    And yeah, it sure is fun and interesting what we can run across these days. :)

  7. Little Miss Sunshine was a treasure of a movie
    I've seen it several times

    I love 'How It Ends' - the lyrucs are wonderful

  8. Well Charlie, I find it "mooving" music, so you're probably right. ;)

    Dianne, I'm happy to agree with you. :)

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