December 21, 2008

RE: Favorite covers

Dinosaur JR - Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover)

Broken Social Scene - Feel The Pain (Dinosaur JR cover)

No Age - It's Oh So Quiet (Bjørk cover)

I know I'm a bit late, but I'm finally following up Jack and Girl Scout's cover song sharing. First up is one of the 90s best bands covering one of the 80s best. The in-your-face guitar solos, heavy soundscape and raw vocals of Dinosaur JR combined with the excellent lyrics and ingenious melody of The Cure makes for a cover song that truly takes the best from two worlds. The only downside is the very odd ending. Don't start worrying that there's something wrong with you mp3 file - it's the same on the physical album.

Next is Broken Social Scene, a 00s band covering their heroes from when they grew up: Dinosaur JR. I love this cover because the band's just strutting with positive attitude and genuine love for music - it's not hard to imagine how good the atmosphere in the crowd must have been as well during the recording. Also, this song is great because Broken Social Scene here give a rare explicit reference to their "heavier rock" influences. Influences that have only been hinted on in a very few songs, such as Cause = Time, which is quite different from the band's usual post rock and ambient influenced music.

Finally, one of my favorite new discoveries this year doing a cover of one of my absolute favorite female artists. I saw Björk live in Japan in February, and saw No Age at a festival in Norway in August. Both shows were stunning experiences that I'll remember when thinking back on the music year of 2008. Imagine my excitement when I found this song a few months back - No Age doing a spectacular rework of a Björk classic. I became a No Age fan at their concert, and this song made me even more confident about the great potential the young duo has.

I hope everyone survived their final exams, and wish you all happy holidays!
December 12, 2008

Kate Nash


Even though Kate Nash is kind of old news, everyone can appreciate a bad-mouthed girl who sings with a thick cockney accent and is the absolute queen of piano pop. Her songs are catchy as hell and, at times, absolutely inappropriately hilarious. I was introduced to Nash by a lady friend of mine who found her while perusing through Paste. She asked if I'd ever heard of her, and then started belting out her songs a cappella with a perfect english accent, and I was hooked.

When Nash was younger, she fell down the stairs and broke her foot and was subsequently bed-ridden for several weeks. During that time, her mom bought her an electric guitar and she taught herself how to play and began songwriting. I'd like to think that if I was ever bed-ridden for a long period of time, I'd be as productive, but I doubt I'd ever be able to write something as clever as Foundations or as catchy as Mouthwash. Check her out, she's sexy as hell.

Eels - dog'slife - sleE

Eels - Dog's Life

Eels - Efil's God

Eels is the brainchild of American multi-instrumentalist Mark Oliver Everett. In fact, the Virginia-born musician residing in Los Angeles is practically the whole band (being the only consistent member through the years), although it is marketed as a proper band, not a solo effort.

What really makes Eels special are the soothing melodies combined with the bittersweet lyrics, that touch upon the tragic and the sad, but never in a sulky, self-pitying way. It seems that no matter what kind of hardship Everett faces, he will be able to describe it in an ironic and somewhat optimistic way, and he often combines the sad content of his lyrics with happy, upbeat melodies.

Eels' 1996 debut album, Beautiful Freak, gave them attention around the world thanks to the international alternative rock hits Susan's House and Novocaine for the Soul. But after this success, Everett found himself struck by tragedy as the death of his mother caused him to be the last living member of the four-piece family he grew up with in Viriginia. E found his father dead when he was 19, his elder sister committed suicide in 1996, and shortly after his mother was dying of lung cancer. The second album, 1998's Electro-Shock Blues, deals with all these deaths, but in an astoundingly optimistic way.

In 1997, Everett recorded the song Dog's Life: A beautiful, happy little song depicting how difficult it can be being a human, and he comments how nice it must be being a dog. Everett sings he doesn't "care for" his human life, and would prefer the untroubled life of a dog. The song never made it to the following year's album. Being dissatisfied with the song, Everett instead turned the whole song around and made its literal antithesis: The song "Efil's God".

Besides turning the title "Dog's Life" backwards, and taking a sample from the song and loop it backwards (with the consequence of creating a haunting, bizarre melody), it's also lyrically the exact opposite: "Efil's God" is all about accepting the life and fate we've been given. The song takes the viewpoint of his dying mother in her hospital bed, who instead of panicking and fearing death just calmly proclaims: "efil's good and the time is right / I'll bundle up and slip away".

Personally, I love both songs. Songwriting at its finest, from one of America's greatest living musicians.

Fiona has a beautiful name and a beautiful voice. It's the same somber, spinning style of the original sung by John Lennon on Let It Be. I've always been a sucker for a woman's voice, and the utter reassurance of the song and its power and history hit me every time. It's a very good cover of a classic while still retaining her vocal style and of course the feminine touch.
December 11, 2008

Favorite Covers...Nada Surf/Pixies

Where is My Mind?

I just recently rediscovered my absolute favorite cover of all time: Nada Surf does the Pixies. I may even venture to say that I like the cover more than the original; it's brilliantly produced and more sophisticated than the original, but then again, the Pixies were never going for sophistication, so I guess that's a little unfair. Anyway, if you've never heard it, give it a listen, it's a really interesting take on the original song.

re: non serviam

What I first thought of when I saw the image to the video for brokeNYCDE.

re: jack

M83's Teen Angst (Montag Remix) from the Teen Angst EP

Montag remixes M83 in one of my favorite songs by the Frenchie, Teen Angst.

The simple, repetitive lyrics set against the pulsing and dissected duet vocals lamenting the downward spiral of humanity in our teenage angst of existence.

How fast we burn!
How fast we cry!

The more we learn,
The more we die!
The more we learn,
The more we cry!

How fast we burn!
How fast we die!

I hear the planet crying now.
I hear the planet crying now.

Also, to add to jack, here are tracks 2, 3, and 4 from the Don't Save Us From the Flames EP. Combined with the track he already posted, you would now have the complete EP.
Until The Night Is Over
Don't Save Us From The Flames (Superpitcher remix)
Don't Save Us From The Flames(Boom Bip Remix)



Ulrich Firelord: Breaker of Mountains

That's I Wrestled A Bear Once. The songs on their debut E.P. is absolutely unclassifiable. Indeed, one of their web banners says it all: "Fuck genres." Going from from absolute chaos grind metal, to smooth progressive jazz sections, to danceable synth-driven electronica, IWRESTLEDABEARONCE possesses one of the most schizophrenic sounds I believe I have ever heard. Their lead vocalist is a woman, which is also something unique in the metal world.

This band is not for the faint of heart. But if you have an open mind and a willingness to hear a band so unique you'll never, ever, ever hear anything like them, then they come highly recommended. Their E.P. very quickly entered into a more-than-regular rotation on my iPod and a very special place in my heart <3333.



If Lil' Jon and (insert favorite ___-core band here) made sweet, sweet love to one another and had a baby, this would be it. Quite possibly the best awful band you've never heard of (unless of course you actually still watch TRL), Brokencyde is my new favorite obsession.

Of course, only one of their songs is really even worth a listen. In terms of consistency, their 'albums' leave a little to be desired. I'd go so far as to say that Brokencyde has captured lightning in a bottle with "Get Crunk." It's a great song, if a tad bit long and repetitive, and if you can forget that the kids who made it really are the equivalent of four monkeys sitting at synthesizers who manage to come up with a Crunkcore masterpiece.

Don't watch the following (or listen to other Brokencyde songs) if you want to have any respect for them. Also, if anyone out there knows of any Crunkcore artists with actual talent, I would LOVE to hear about it, kthx.

Ryan and Randy, this post is for you.

Brokencyde on Myspace

On recommendation of a certain lady friend of mine, I made my way to the Georgia Theatre this past Monday, December the 8th, to see Ivan Neville's New Orleans funk band, Dumpstaphunk. I've been a sucker for funk music ever since Funkadelic's "Hit It And Quit It" showed up on a friend's late-night cruising playlist, so I figured I'd give these guys a try.

Jacksonville natives Inca Maya opened up the show and were an extremely pleasant surprise. Playing a hard-hitting instrumental fusion of rock and funk that displayed an excellent understanding of how to keep people on their feet, these relatively young guys are definitely worth a listen if you're into picking up on some kick-ass funk.

Of course, Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk were the high point of the funkstravaganza. These guys jammed through an awesome setlist that had the crowd moving for the entire performance. Some interesting and welcome song choices peppered the already awesome evening; a few choice P-Funk covers, and an inspired funk take on The Sopranos theme song.

I highly recommend that you go out of your way to see either band if they come to your town. Unfortunately, I have songs by neither, but both have material posted on their respective websites, links to which shall be posted below.

Dumpstaphunk Official Website
Dumpstaphunk on Myspace

Inca Maya on Myspace


Don't Save Us From the Flames

I figured I'd follow up girl scout's post with an M83 post so you can juxtapose the two -- you definitely get more of a cold feel with M83. This track is my favorite cut off Before The Dawn Heals Us, M83's third major release. M83 is a French electronica/rock duet (maybe it's just one guy now...I always get confused about it) who specialize in heavily layered sounds and tons of reverb. For me, they're hit or miss: I think they're either genius or they fall flat.
December 9, 2008

Montag's Alone, Not Alone

I would call Antoine Bédard (aka Montag) Canada's Justin Tamborello, with a French twist. Young, distant, collaborative and branched, while mixing electronic and dream-pop with classic renditions of duets to create a wonderful dreamscape. He has a sound that is obviously a descendent of a band like Air, and is quite similar sounding to one of his friends and fellow collaborators, Anthony Gonzalez (M83).

Unlike M83, however, I'm not left with a cold, distanced, mechanical taste in my mouth. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I love the taste of iron, but Montag's effect is warm, inviting, and just poppy enough to catch your attention so he can lull you with songs like "Exit Mélodie".

Here are three songs from Alone, Not alone:

Grand Luxe

Perfect Vision

Angles, Country + Terrain Connu

Enjoy the mellow sounds of our northern friend during your Finals week.
December 5, 2008

Satch sues Coldplay!

Satch claims that Coldplay nabbed arrangements from his song "If I Could Fly" off his 2004 release Is There Love in Space? and is demanding "any and all profits" related to this infringement. Check out the video above between 00:50 and 01:50 and see if you can tell the similarities between If I Could Fly and Viva la Vida. I hope Satch wins.

Being a new writer on this blog, I thought I could start out by writing about one of my all-time favorite albums.

Mew - Coffee Break

Mew - Panda

Mew - Web

Above, you can find my three favorite tracks from Danish indie rock / dream pop band Mew's 1997 debut album, A Triumph for Man. Today, Mew are arguably the most famous for the pompous and bombastic prog-rock influenced soundscape of their fourth studio album, And the Glass Handed Kites (which was also their definite international breakthrough). It is hard to imagine that this "indie stadium band" (jokingly dubbed so by guitarist Bo), who after their latest release opened for REM on their Europe tour, and Bloc Party on their US tour, started out with the mellow-sounding and introverted A Triumph For Man - a record release that saw no more than a mere 2000 CDs produced.

In this early album, the influences that shaped Mew to the band they are today, are much more easily recognizable. It is quite evident that the four Danes grew up listening to the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Swirlies. The distorted walls of guitars and the high-pitched vocals of these shoegaze bands were combined with smart pop songwriting to create the easily accessible, but still deep little masterpiece A Triumph for Man. The strutting confidence of the guitars combined with shy, eccentric frontman Jonas Bjerre's soft and modest voice and melancholic lyrics make for a true beauty of an album, by many Danish music journalists considered one of the 90s best records.

The influence from Swirlies is at times painfully obvious, but the similarity was by all means blessed from Swirlies themselves. Damon Tujian, guitarist and vocalist of the Boston shoegazer band, personally crossed the atlantic and endured many long and cold Danish winter weeks to co-produce this debut album of the four 20-year old boys. I personally prefer this classic to Mew's newest effort, and warmly recommend this best example of what Scandiavian rock music has to offer.
December 4, 2008

Badly Drawn Boy

Once Around The Block

I felt like doing multiple posts today. Badly Drawn Boy is the stage name of Damon Gough, a well-known Mercury Prize winning singer/songwriter from England. He did the soundtrack for the mediocre movie, About a Boy, and has released four other albums since 2000. This cut is off his debut album, The Hour of the Bewilderbeast. It's a badass upbeat jazz inspired song, pretty catchy, and my favorite song off the album. The rest of the album is decent too, check it out.

Land of Talk

Some Are Lakes

Land of Talk is a Canadian indie rock three piece from Montreal. They're the opening act for this BSS tour and they absolutely blew me away; singer/guitarist Elizabeth Powell covered a lot of the female roles for the BSS songs during their set. Even though this track isn't indicative of it, I felt like Land of Talk was a less raw version of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, they have tons of power for being just a three piece, I was really blown away. Check them out, they're pretty sweet.
December 3, 2008

Erik Mongrain

Erik Mongrain is a Canadian guitarist who specializes in a unique two-hand tapping style of guitar playing. I think everybody can appreciate this level of skill and his ear for improvisation. The song is called AirTap! and I think the video speaks for itself.
December 1, 2008


From Figurine's Transportation + Communication = Love:
I Wait for You (By the Telephone)
My First UFO
Our Song

A weird electronic band with the members David Figurine, Justin Figurine, and Meredith Figurine.

You've probably heard of Justin Figurine for his work in Dntel under his other name.

Check it out. A hidden gem.