So I learned how to play the game of Cornhole this weekend.
Seriously, don’t ask.
(I don’t know if it was more fun playing the game or just making endless jokes about the name of it).
The End Of The World
Irish band Ash has opened for bands like U2 and Weezer, and collaborated with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, but chances are really good that you’ve not heard of them if you aren’t British. Well, listen up. This is my new favorite song today, a soaring tune that I want to sing along with and be listening to if it is, indeed, the end of the world. Tinglingly good, I love the epic feel of the key changes (I am a sucker for those); for some reason this line gets me: “Can’t hardly see the stars, there’s too much light pollution . . . That’s the catch, it’s such a beautiful confusion.” Their 5th studio album Twilight Of The Innocents is out in the UK this week, and they say it shall be their last proper album (then moving to what Mason Jennings considered, and releasing only singles). Ash plays at London’s KOKO for a run this entire week, and then they hit the festival circuit this summer, including Asia, then Reading and Leeds festivals.
Dream Brother (alternate take)
Reading a recent review by a friend of mine, I realized that I never weighed in on the new So Real: Songs from Jeff Buckley collection, which was released in May to commemorate ten years of his absence. While it’s a bit disorienting to hear a rearranged Grace (no Mojo Pin starter? No Lilac Wine following Last Goodbye?), I like the overall effect here, and would recommend this addition for any Buckley fan who already loves his studio debut album front to back, as I do. The compilation adds some excellent songs of Jeff’s that surfaced after Grace (such as the sexy swooner Everybody Here Wants You, or The Sky Is A Landfill), as well as alternate takes on favorites. These new versions are interesting in the different vantage points they offer (Eternal Life slays like the best Zeppelin tune, there are some new lyrics here in Dream Brother), and while I wouldn’t say that I prefer any of the new versions more than the originals, this collection offers an apt and different take on the talent we lost.
The Night Starts Here
The new album from Montreal, Canada’s Stars isn’t even out until September, three long months away, but this newly released mp3 is already burning through the blogs (thanks Arts & Crafts!). In Our Bedroom After The War will be the newest album from this melodic, dreamlike, deftly-harmonizing band that I quite enjoy, and the first single continues where 2005′s Set Yourself On Fire left off – lots of turntaking in the verses between honey-voiced Amy Millan and incisive Torquil Campbell, over a backbeat of synths and layered orchestral pop.
Apeman (Kinks cover)
In honor of the one year anniversary of the release of Dog Problems, charismatic Arizona pop band The Format is offering that entire album free for download on their website, no catches, until July 16th. That’s a whole lot of goodness, gratis. The Format remains one of the most exciting live shows I’ve seen (very high on the list) and I recommend catching them on this current tour if you can. They love covers like I do, and have put their unique stamp on everything from Harry Nilsson to Bruce Springsteen. Here they take on the Kinks’ Apeman very faithfully — but it’s fun.
Come And Get It (demo)
Last week I got an email from my friend Tony wondering, hypothetically, if I might have enough frequent flyer miles to be his accomplice in the Paul McCartney private show at Amoeba Records in LA. On less than 24 hours notice, I could not swing it, but oh, how I need a private jet. This demo recording of the McCartney-penned Badfinger megahit (Paul laid this down one day at Abbey Road when he arrived early for a recording session) is something I’ve been listening to a lot recently. Posting it today is just an enjoyable excuse to link to Tony’s review of his ultimate fanboy experience. (Oh, and I think we can call Lefsetz a fanboy too).