This feels a little like cheating, but my friend Rick Corson has been making a New Year’s ‘year in review’ roundup somewhat longer than I’ve been at the compilation thing, and I always find something to love on them. This 2008 edition, called Scrod, is especially great: 10 diamonds! The only band on it that I’ve ever featured, Birdmonster, sounds completely different here than on “‘Cuz You Can”, from eddieo volume 8. To play the whole 10 song set, right-click HERE for the player (open in a new tab or new window) which will also allow you to download.
I awoke this morning (after the totally rockin’ Second Annual O Family Holiday Extravaganza) to learn about a CD from the most unlikely of sources: Parade Magazine. Evidently, around the time that I was ‘discovering’ Amy Winehouse (April 2007, some 4 years after her debut), DJ Mark Ronson released “Version”, an ambitious project of cover tunes – some hits, some obscurities – done with various special guest vocalists, rappers and players (including Ms. Winehouse, whom I continue to love unconditionally). As per usual, I prefer covers that are real departures from the original (think Talking Head’s “Take Me To The River”), so it’s no surprise that the Amy song is the one that knocks me out. I don’t know how, if this came out in April, I haven’t heard it till now (and only after reading about it in Parade and scouring the web). Can anyone tell me if this is being played on some radio station I don’t listen to? It’s called “Valerie”
If you’re unfamiliar with the original version, by The Zutons, here it is:
If you love Amy as I do (tho’ I doubt you do), check this old interview (it’s long), from before Back To Black was released, and before her many subsequent problems. Could these songs be any MORE prophetic?
I don’t deny the train wreck that is her life, but her talent is equally undeniable. Like Janis Joplin in her day, and we can only hope that it doesn’t end similarly.
Check this awesome, raw, acoustic treatment of “Valerie”:
…then this drunken live version:
You gotta admire the lovefest that is the British music scene: Kate Nash covering Black Kids, Arctic Monkeys covering Amy….do American bands do that? Here’s the Arctic Monkeys cover of “You Know I’m No Good”:
Great piece in today’s Globe Sidekick. I post some highlights here as a service to my grown-up friends who don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to go to MySpace. (I believe you know who you are)
First, there’s 1990s, of Glasgow, reviewed by Jonathan Perry. A little of this goes a long way, like Modest Mouse or Franz, but it’s fun.
Next up, the Guilt by Association compilation, so-called ‘guilty pleasures’, i.e. mainstream pop/rock songs done without irony by ironic indie bands. Joan Anderman pegs Goat’s “Sugar We’re Going Down” as essential; I actually found Petra Haden’s “Don’t Stop Believing” a little more listenable, a cappella weirdness and all (probably Sopranos nostalgia).
Keren Ann is right up my alley, as Christopher Muther’s picks usually are. She’s channeling Nico in pretty little songs that would be perfect for those quiet lazy Sundays we used to have, before we had kids.
James Reed’s pick, Chris Garneau must be an acquired taste (that I haven’t acquired). Whiney, plaintive, and despondant….see if you can get through 2 minutes:
If you know me, you know I end up spending as much time on the order of the songs as I do finding the songs themselves. I’ve got to learn to relax! This compilation already shows some signs of that relaxation, with the inclusion of such mainstream pop artists as Madonna and Mary J. Blige, as well as the certainly-well-known Bjork, so that’s a start.
To play the whole 21 song set, right-click HERE for the player (open in a new tab or new window) which will also allow you to download.
Ever find yourself smitten with new (or newly discovered) artist? I confess, I can’t stop listening to everything I can find by Kate Nash, including some pretty crappy demo-type throwaways. She has a quality, not unlike Billy Bragg or Jonathan Richman, to weave absurdity and profoundness, not to mention profanity, into narratives that can be especially touching. It’s somewhat raw, primitive (like a Gaugin painting), and has that great London slang that evokes Lulu or AbFab.
Plenty of favorite Kate Nash songs in our house, but check out this little 11-song set I’ve put together. Right-click to open in another tab or window, then play or download. HERE’S WHERE TO RIGHT-CLICK!
I don’t buy it; sounds like something she would leak on purpose, so she’ll now know who to fire! Here’s the track I’m putting on volume 10, “I Don’t Care”. Let’s keep this on the down-low; no need to upset Mrs. Ritchie!