50 stiffs in 2010: joan sutherland, 50 best voices
October 13, 2010, 2:01 pm
Filed under: 50 best voices, 50 stiffs in 2010

joan sutherland, opera singer. born: sydney, australia (1926 -2010)

while pictomat appreciates the opera, we are no experts on joan sutherland, her life, or career. however, dear jtm was sadden deeply by this news, and offered up his feelings on the dear woman:

arrivederci la stupenda!

joan sutherland died today. even though ms. sutherland hasn’t sung for years, hearing of her death snatched away a little piece of magic. joan was everyman’s sheila and everybody’s mum. she had the jaw of a linebacker, but she also had a voice that was like a slice of heaven. it was an amazing voice. the sort of voice that can convince you the human race has a higher calling … that you might have a higher calling. all this from a woman you could easily imagine had just hung up a fresh load of laundry or vacuumed the carpet. i will miss you joanie.


50 notes in 2010: lu rocks roseland, 50 best voices
August 24, 2010, 3:52 am
Filed under: 50 best voices, 50 notes for 2010

lucinda williams, musician. born: lake charles, louisiana (1953)

pictomat started late with ms. williams. bought “car wheels on a gravel road” and it took until the the third buy to fall in with the faithful and see the light: she is the best country/rock artist since … gram parsons. now, that is a compliment.

pictomat does not want to leave out other important female country singers. there is emilylou harris, but emilylou doesn’t write and usually sounds at her best singing harmony (particularly for the late gram). then there is dolly parton, who can both write and sing, but her career is so rocky and tips so frequently into camp. that leaves our other favorite voice, tammy wynette. yet she couldn’t write and was at the mercy of her excellent and usual producer billy sherrill.

what lucinda has is something touching, tough, and deeply personal. she played to a packed crowd at the roseland on sunday. new songs, not many standard hits, and yet she held the crowd rapt with her strong but crackin’ voice. she is so sweet and self-effacing that some of the lyrics come as a surprise. she may fall in with bad boys, but she is gonna let them know where they both stand!

at the showbox in seattle, a little under two years ago, she did a similar set with more of her usual tunes. her band rocks but lucinda hangs back. she rarely moves off of her oriental carpet, hangs on to her hand tooled metal guitar, or the microphone for what we once thought was dear life. but, we were wrong. she has a small but powerful field of gravity and doesn’t move far from the red suns she sings so much about. she is married now, and confessed to still having a few “bad boy” tunes left in her. her marriage seems to have centered her without taking away the cold heat of her jagged vocal cords. she sang “righteously”. that song seems to show what she is all about. a woman who will take chances, but not be taken advantage of.

“you don’t have to prove
your manhood to me constantly
i know you’re the man can’t you see
i love you righteously

why you wanna dis me
after the way you been kissin’ me
after those pretty things you say
and the love we made today

think this through
i laid it down for you everytime
respect me i give you what’s mine
you’re entirely way too fine

flirt with me don’t keep hurtin’ me
don’t cause me pain
be my lover don’t play no game
just play me john coltrane …”

hometown boy m. ward came out for an encore for a duet with lu on “lonesome me”. she had the house in the palm of  her hand and thanked us. we should be thanking her. she really is that good. emmylou said lu is the most under appreciated artist. unloved by nashville, and not thought of as a rocker in hollywood. ms. harris is right and she is both, but remember, she doesn’t use autotune, because she is a real singer with an honest voice. it is so hard to see how people talk up lady gaga, and leave the real pearls in the dust. you can keep your manufactured stars, we will keep real musicians any day!

50 pictomat videos, 50 notes for 2010: pictomat sings, 50 best voices!
August 9, 2010, 4:17 am
Filed under: 50 best voices, 50 notes for 2010, 50 pictomat videos

pictomat sings! the new dylan?

pictomat has the pleasure and honor of presenting a world exclusive music video.

music critics in the u.k. are calling this stripped down version on an old four tops song one of the freshest sounds they’ve heard since … well, since levi stubbs and the tops stepped into motown’s studio “a” in 1967. pictomat was lucky enough to put the track down with the great motown house band led by earl van dyke. that is jamie jamison’s bass you hear leading through the track. the voice? no autotune here! this is one-take-ruder with his narrow one note range. kind of a rap, but with feeling and excellent diction. no melisma here. it is all about feeling without theatrics. pictomat thinks you will hear the pleading, obsessive honesty when you take a listen. it is short. so listen to youTube, offer up your own critique., and comment below.

50 amazing faces, 50 best voices, 50 reasons to adore the smiths, 50 famous fags

morrissey (steven patrick morrissey), musician. born: manchester, england (1959)

50 forgotten songs, 50 best voices, 50 reasons to adore the smiths, 50 famous fags

morrissey (steven patrick morrissey), musician. born: manchester, england (1959)

lead singer of the only band in the world to have a perfect record of perfect records. morrissey split with writing partner johnny marr and his fellow smiths and within a mere six months released his first solo album. his solo career has outlasted the short four years with the fabled foursome, and is currently going on year 22. however, that career has been tenuous at best. the early solo years (1988 – 1991) provided some of the same satisfaction for his old fans, but the exquisite carefulness of each smith release was always a problem for morrissey to achieve without the superb marr writing the melodies. it is unfortunate that the last of his truly great songs barely made the charts.

“my love life” by morrissey with “additional harmonies by chrissie hynde” (1991, written by morrissey & mark nevin, and produced by clive langer & alan winstanley. released as a stand alone single in september. released on the compilation album “the world of morrissey” in 1995 on his master voice / hmv records).

morrissey’s wistful “my love life” came at the end of a spotty collection of singles and albums that could at times compete with the high mark the smiths had left behind. the wrangley rickenbacher guitar harkened back to marr’s trademark sound, the mournful lyrics were much sparser than the dense wordplay of lyrics morrissey dished out so easily for the smiths, but even the simple repeated lines echoed the best of his first and only band.

“come on to my house, come on and do something new, i know you love one person so, why can’t you love two?”

that is about it for the lyrics. morrissey left behind, begging and wondering ambiguously if the person of his current infatuation can love more than himself (or perhaps have two boyfriends?). the melody is repetitious too, and who knows what the song would sound like without the “additional harmonies” (as morrissey credits miss hynde) as hynde’s voice vibrates wordlessly on each chorus on a song that sounds like a mixture of the best of the smiths’ and the pretenders’ mashed together. but a hit? it wasn’t. it never charted in the u.s. and barely in the u.k. it did, however, make it to number 6 in ireland. give the enchantingly sad song a view on youTube.

50 notes for 2010: miss hynde, 50 best voices, 50 amazing faces, 50 reasons to adore the smiths

chrissie hynde, musician. born: akron, ohio (1951)

left this country as soon as she could, and headed to the town where everything was happening, london. worked for vivienne westwood, punk designer, wrote reviews for new musical express and finally started her own band. the pretenders have always really been all about chrissie, although its first incantation will always be remembered as the band that created “that” sound. the eye shadow she stole from dusty springfield, her first hit “stop you’re sobbing” she borrowed from the future father of one of her children, ray davies of the kinks, but everything else was her creation, including her trademark vibrato. johnny marr of the smiths was in her band and co-wrote a few tunes with her in the late 1980’s and she sang back up on morrissey’s “my love life”.

tickets go on sale this friday for her newest adventure, a new album with a man half her age, and a new name for her group “j.p., chrissie, and the fairground boys”. the concert is in october at the roseland and while the group moniker seems purposefully gangly the new song is not. check out “if you let me” on youTube. the album is released later this month. not bad for an almost 60 year old mother of two, and long time defiant animal rights’ activist.

50 amazing faces, 50 best voices, 50 fashion mavens
August 5, 2010, 6:27 am
Filed under: 50 amazing faces, 50 best voices, 50 fashion mavens

david bowie, musician. born: london, england (1947)

glamorous even while being booked for possession of cannabis in 1976