Knit to This
Knit to This: EBTG & Rickie Lee
Everything But the Girl
It’s been almost a quarter of a century since the last Everything But the Girl album, and not a day of that twenty-five years went by when I did not lament their ongoing silence. They are literally the soundtrack of my college and immediate post-graduate years, and nothing sends me back with such sweet nostalgia quite like the opening tracks of “Baby the Stars Shine Bright” or “Amplified Heart.” But year after year came and went with solo projects from both halves of EBTG (Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt), but nothing more from them together turned up.
But lo, after all this time, after all that wailing and rending of garments on my part … here they are, together again at last in 2023 with the release of Fuse, as beautiful a record as they ever put out in the ’80s and ’90s. EBTG’s return is no nostalgia wallow, though; they’ve picked up right where they left off with 1996’s Walking Wounded and come up with the perfect thing: it sounds reassuringly like every other EBTG record, but also—thrillingly—like none of them.
I never know what to call styles of music for fear of sounding like a nostalgia act myself, but let’s just call this “electronic pop with occasional piano” and move along. Whatever the kids are calling it, it’s drenched in EBTG’s signature melancholy (I mean: “Kiss me while the world decays/Kiss me while the music plays.” Sigh.) and Tracey Thorn’s famous voice now has an even wearier edge to it, if you can imagine.
Just drop the needle on “No One Knows We’re Dancing” and you know, I won’t even blame you if you put down the knitting for a second and do a little bit of mid-tempo shuffling around your living room, thinking about that rave you once went to at 4 am on a Tuesday. I won’t tell, I promise.
Rickie Lee Jones
While it hasn’t been a quarter of a century since the last Rickie Lee Jones covers project (that would be 2019’s Kicks), it does seem like we’ve—and maybe she’s—been waiting a lifetime for her to record a few of the ones on her new Pieces of Treasure.
She’s been taking spins with other peoples’ songs since almost the beginning (her live cover of “Lush Life” on Girl at Her Volcano” is an all time Top Five recording for me), and this is her (hmmm, counts on fingers from memory) fifth covers album, so her assured takes on this batch is no surprise. But it’s a super-rich—almost embarrassingly so—group this time around.
In particular, “One for My Baby,” “Nature Boy,” and “September Song” all feel like songs that only artists who have had a career should ever attempt and if anyone has had a career, it’s Rickie Lee Jones.
TL;DNR: never give up on artists you love. They’re all out there thinking about and making art all the time and if you’re really lucky, they’ll give it to you … eventually.
The prize? Winner’s choice of two Field Guides—our little books that explore the big world of knitting—plus Field Guide No. 24 with designs by Olga Buraya-Kefelian! See them all here: Make Your Own Field Guide Bundle. Subscribe to Field Guides here.
How to enter?
Step 1: Sign up for MDK emails, right here. External Link. Opens in new window.. External Link. Opens in new window.. External Link. Opens in new window.. If you’re already signed up, you’re all set. We have a new option for texting, so when you sign up for those, you’ll get a coupon code good for 10% off your next MDK order.
Step 2: For which band’s next album are you drumming (ha!) your fingers on the table in anticipation? Let us know in the comments.
Deadline for entries: Sunday, June 11, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw a random winner from the entries. Winner will be notified by email.