Happy Monday folks. I forgot to announce the Brushfire Records contest winner on Friday because I was up in Boulder, but in a random drawing (seriously; I made up 46 little pieces of paper and numbered them in the name of fairness) reader Kevin Cornwell wins the sampler packs of albums from the Brushfire lineup and a t-shirt. Yay Kevin! Please email me with your address.
I was kinda hoping that the winner would be the one dude with the joke about the muffins. SO ridiculous that it made me laugh out loud.
Here are the tunes I am listening to this week:
If You Wear That Velvet Dress
Jools Holland and Bono
The friend who sent me this song admits to skipping “If You Wear That Velvet Dress” when he listens to Pop, but for me the original is a smoldering hymn to clandestine longing that rarely gets passed over. This 2002 big-band swing version from (Squeeze founder) Jools Holland’s More Friends: Small World Big Band, Vol. 2 album takes a slightly different tack. The whispered aching and subtlety of the original turns into something almost brash — more breathy jazz singers lounging on pianos than smoky velvet dresses. Still, totally worth having – the album also features duets with folks like Stereophonics, Badly Drawn Boy, Tom Jones, and Huey of Fun Lovin’ Criminals.
Today (Smashing Pumpkins cover)
When I first read about this compilation album of Smashing Pumpkins covers from the good folks at SPIN (speaking of which, I’m almost finished reading my first Klosterman book) and MySpace, I wanted to stab my eye out with a black eyeliner pencil. This Ben Kweller contribution was the only one that sounded mildly interesting to me out of the lineup (if a bit unnecessary?). I love Ben, and here Ben sounds a bit bored, even though he does pretty up the singing (85% less angst) and do a real nice intro. HOWEVER. The appreciated facet of this song is that now for the first time I can understand many of these lyrics, and can sing them without mumbling through those parts (“I want to tmmmhmm you mmmmmm….I want to mmm dmmmmm hmmmmm….”). The CD is packaged with the July issue of SPIN.
Where oh where is Lauryn and why does she just tease us with an astounding album like The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and then vanish for coming up on 10 years (okay, except for the Unplugged thing)? I love that album and I have missed her talent. This track is a contribution to an upcoming kids movie (Surf’s Up) and, sure, sounds a little soundtracky, but I have to admit I find the skittery stop-start beat in particular to be irresistible. Oh yeah, and the soundtrack also features Pearl Jam. No – for real.
In The Words Of The Governor
Wait, so we’re sure this is the same Sufjan who plucks the banjo gently, sings in a breathy lovely voice, and makes me cry with finely wrought songs like Casimir Pulaski Day? In this new track from the Believer Magazine 2007 compilation album he wails and chants and channels the Beatles at their most psychedelic. Wha? Way to show us another side, Soof. [via]
Will You Return?
The Avett Brothers
Speaking of the Beatles, what would it sound like if they’d been raised deep in the heart of Appalachia? Maybe a little bit like the plucky fusion of North Carolina’s Avett Brothers. I am hearing these raves for their newest release Emotionalism, and this song makes me smile from the opening count-off. You can hear the smile in his voice. The album is raw and joyful if you can acclimate to the twang that smacks you in the face. But kinda in a good way.