Two chances this week to lose yourself in the music, the moment; you own them, you better never let them go. The big name, of course, is Sigur Rós, the much-heralded Icelandic troupe of teary tone poets who sing in their own language, eschew pesky album titles and favor long-ass bowed-guitar slow jams that make people who've never seen a whale or a volcano think of whales and volcanoes. Lately I've found ()
, their major-label debut from last year and one heavy-hearted hunk of frozen melancholy, a little much to handle--accompanied by the TV news on mute it's just too end-of-days evocative for me, especially when those new Al Green reissues are lying there waiting to soothe a soul. Perhaps at the Granada, in a room with a bunch of other troubled minds, the experience will prove to be therapeutic.
The experience to be had at Gypsy Tea Room on Sunday night most certainly will be. New York's Hem might be that city's most unlikely treasure: a loose outfit of urban hipsters whose gorgeous alt-country lullabies pack nearly as much sonic depth as Sigur Rós' icy post-rock. Rabbit Songs, their terrific CD, is a study in intricate studiocraft, a lush swirl of overlapping acoustic guitars, gentle piano, lightly brushed drums and singer Sally Ellyson's spine-tingling singing; what's really great is that the band can reproduce it onstage, maneuvering a miniature ocean of sound that swallows anyone in its path. Highly recommended for whatever anxieties or sorrows you may have to drown.