Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Here Are 10 Covers.

Okay, I won't be at home for the next few days, so this is probably my only post for this week. For that reason, I double the treats. So I've got not only 5, as per usual, but 10 covers, collected from various compilations. You know, cover compilations are always hit-and-miss, of course you're not entitled to like every cover they slap on the tracklist. Well, here are the good bits. There's something for everyone, so I hope these will tide you over until I come back. Sorry if I sound hasty, it's just that I haven't packed anything for the trip yet and the flight is about 10 hours from now. Aww summer. I know this place has been lacking lately, and to be honest the blogger in me is losing steam a little bit but hopefully after my vacation, I'd come back refreshed and inspired, ready to cook up some nice posts for you guys. Enjoy.

from Tom Middleton Presents Crazy Covers 2:
Anna Maria Jopek - Don't Speak (No Doubt Cover)
Tina Turner - Unfinished Sympathy (Massive Attack Cover)
The Fratellis - Ooh La La/Hot Love (Goldfrapp/T. Rex Cover)

from The Saturday Sessions - The Dermot O'Leary show:
Willy Mason - Careless Whisper (George Michael)
Nerina Pallot - Confide In Me (Kylie)

from Radio 1 - Established 1967:
Mutya Buena - Fast Car (Tracy Chapman)
Maximo Park - Like I Love You (Justin Timberlake)

from Radio 1's Live Lounge - Volume 2:
The Enemy - Hung Up (Madonna)

from NME Awards 2008 Compilation:
Manic Street Preachers - Umbrella (Rihanna)
Lightspeed Champion - Back To Black (Amy Winehouse)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Quickie: Tilly And The Wall - Pot Kettle Black

Happy bunch.

In what appears to be one of the most amazing bits in music videos this year, the band's strutting on the sunny side of the streets, spitting trashy brassy verbal disses like "What a ho. What a tramp. What a slut". A short pause. Then BAM! The smashing chorus is on repeat, along with synchronized tap-dancing moves! Nothing short of amazing. See it for yourself.

MP3: Tilly And The Wall - Pot Kettle Black/MySpace

After the quite decent one-off electropop single 'Beat Control', it looks like Tilly & The Wall embraces their punkier side on the new album, 0 (with make-your-own-unique-cover and all...). I haven't heard it, but I'm definitely looking forward to.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Quickie: Ladyhawke - Paris Is Burning

Let's get this out of my system first: I'm not really fond of this new electro movement. I tried, but I just can't seem to understand the appeal. I still can't tell Cut Copy from Van She or The Presets or The Midnight Juggernauts or whoever from down under these days. The abundance of remixes and such from these acts pouring down on music aggregators everyday don't help the case much either. I know it's supposed to be all hip and 'now', and apparently I just don't belong to those circles. So it's sensible for me to be skeptical upon another new artist on the Modular roster, Ladyhawke. The initial reaction after watching her vid for 'Back Of The Van' was 'Okay, it's all silly and tongue-in-cheek, I get it, but really, why would she want to revive this look/sound?'. Never would I expect that a few days later, the chorus 'You set me on, you set me on, you set me on fire' just randomly popped up in my head and wouldn't let go. I therefore came to accept that song is a quite-alright, 3/5 one.
Well, her latest single, 'Paris Is Burning', is a solid 4/5. This time, I love it from the first listen, and I just have to listen to it at least once a day. It's that catchy. The '80s vibe is still prominent, but I've learnt to live with it. I've officially put my armor down. Ladyhawke, you won me, now let's hope you have a few more tricks up your flannel sleeves.

Ladyhawke - Paris Is Burning
[alt. link]


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Covered: You Only Live Twice

...Or so it seems. One life for yourself and one for your dreams.

The Postmarks' version

Dame Shirley Bassey's
Natacha Atlas's

Nancy Sinatra/John Barry - End Title (from the original score)

Robbie Willams - Millenium (Sample)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cover vs. Original: Jens Lekman/Nagisa Ni Te - Me On The Beach

Seriously, just how awesome is Jens Lekman. He made the second best album of 2007. He gives away tons of mp3s from his self-releases on his site. He has a cool, witty blog, which he calls 'Smalltalk' instead. And he covers obscure songs I never heard of. 'Me On The Beach' was on his 2005 US tour EP, and though it's a fairly simple recording, just him and a piano, Jens really made it his own. And he sang in Japanese! Despite not understanding a word, the melodies are just way too beautiful to resist, it even has this almost meditative quality to it. Wouldn't sound of place in a Studio Ghibli movie. The next step is inevitable: me seeking out the original to see if it rivals his version.

In my mind, I imagined the song as this little-known traditional Japanese folk song. It's not. It's a song by his labelmate, a psych-folk duo named Nagisa Ni Te, from their 1995 album On The Love Beach. In stark contrast to his cover, the original is an 8-minute blissed-out track, with a whole 2 minutes of instrumentation. It's experimental, but still, listenable and melancholy. Thanks for this one, Jens. One for the summer, certainly.

Jens Lekman - Me On The Beach

Nagisa Ni Te - Nagisa No Watashi (Me On The Beach)

Which one do you prefer? Leave a comment, then.

Visit Jens' site for more mp3 'presents'.
Visit Nagisa Ni Te's.
Rough English translation of the song.

Quickie: Ida Maria - Queen Of The World

Norwegian-born Ida Maria has a husky tone in her voice, which at times makes it sound like her throat is being torn open (ouch). Perhaps fully aware of this feature, her materials are decidedly more rock-n-roll than I'd expect. However, it really is just pop at heart, i.e. proper singalong melodies and all. Her latest single 'Queen Of The World' is a jaunty, rollicking, youthful number, which should propel her to moderate popularity in certain crowds. The chorus goes a bit like this: "I'm the queen of the world. I bump into things. I spin around in circles. And I'm singing." Very nice stuff. Could be a potential drunk anthem!

Ida Maria - Queen Of The World


Another one of her single is called 'Stella', and the titular character is a "43-year-old hooker from downtown". Cheeky! She took her rough vocals to great effect in this one, which is actually a bit sad. Her next single is entitled "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked". Lazy Kate Nash/Lily Allen comparisons would follow, but she's not that similar. Her debut, "Fortress Around My Heart" was already out in Norway, and will soon be available in the UK on July 28.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Cross your fingers and hold your toes...

Nowadays, in the saturated singer/songwriter market, it takes more than a nice voice/a quite good song/a good-looking video to effectively grab attention from me. There are just so many around today that if the first one or two tracks didn't impress me, I'd move on, which is kinda harsh but that's just the way it goes. UK indie-folk darling Laura Marling used to fall into this unfortunate category. I heard a couple of her early singles, found them quite alright but nothing outstanding, and I wasn't patient enough to let them grow, so I passed. Months later, she had a new single out and I again gave it a try out of curiosity. And finally, she has wisely released 'the song'. 'The song' that managed to get me this time. 'The song' I can see myself coming back to regularly. That song is 'Cross Your Fingers'. I know this comparison won't do it justice, but her voice sounds like a cross between Keren Ann's and Regina Spektor's, subdued and silky. And the lyrics are among the most optimistic I ever heard yet.* What makes the video special (beside the stopmotion tricks as usual) is that it incorporates 2 songs (the other one being an interlude) seamlessly, which clearly works, as now I can only the two in pair. It's a great song, though, so if you missed her like me, try this.

Laura Marling - Cross Your Fingers

Laura Marling - Crawled Out Of The Sea (Interlude)

Actually, my interest in her was first regained when she sang on Mystery Jets' single 'Young Love', which came so close to being the 2008 'Young Folks', but fell short because the chorus sounds unfinished and lacking a little bit of something to me. Anyhow, overall it's a lovely song that's also worth corking an ear to.

Mystery Jets - Young Love (feat. Laura Marling)

Her debut 'Alas, I Cannot Swim' is out now. And here's her MySpace. And yes, I'm truly back this time. Well, I hope.

*no it's nothing of the sort. rather the opposite.