July 7, 2010

“Maybe Steve Perry can just love more deeply than I can.”

Clem Snide covers Journey

I love Clem Snide so much, and it just keeps getting stronger. You may have noticed my minor affinity for covers, and frontman Eef Barzelay can delight me with his straightforward, completely earnest renditions that find veins of truth in the most unexpected of places. So here even the #1 ironic-karaoke band Journey sounds almost wistful. It gets even better when his two bandmates come in whistling at the end, and no one cracks a smile.

Faithfully (Journey) – Clem Snide

Perhaps you remember the Clem Snide cover of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” but my all-time favorite version he does is that of the Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror.” Instead of Nico’s halting alienation, Eef’s sweet earnestness makes me believe good truths, laced through with that elegant and knowing cello.

I’ll Be Your Mirror (Velvet Underground) – Clem Snide

I also never get tired of listening to their original song “Born A Man” – Eef’s a super smart songwriter, like an SAT study party soundtrack. The new Clem Snide album Meat of Life came out in February.

Head over to the A.V. Club site and watch the other excellent sessions – I dig the Frightened Rabbit cover of The Lemonheads, Justin Townes Earle covering Bruce, and even “Game of Pricks” filtered through Owen Pallett’s violin.

February 18, 2009

U2 is forever yours, faithfully


The new U2 album No Line On The Horizon leaked wide last night, and on first listen it’s filled with appropriately epic guitar riffs, and Bonoisms about love that sound very important when sung in upper register.

Also, the song “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight” totally contains the triumphant riff that everyone knows from “Faithfully” by Journey. So much so that it makes me want to drink Czech liquor and sing karaoke with arms around friends; the Journey effect. Srsly.

Maybe go listen and then come back and we’ll discuss.

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July 13, 2007

Guilt By Association: Some will win, some will lose (some are born to sing the blues)

No need to hide — there’s a new compilation CD coming out August 28 from Engine Room Recordings called Guilt By Association, which nobly is working to “bridge the gap between TRL and Pitchfork.” It’s a shrewd concept album which realizes that for each of us, maybe behind those thick black spectacles, chunky haircut, and Strokes t-shirt, is a soul screaming along the words to Mariah Carey on our car stereos.

A project of Engine Room Recording’s co-founder Peter Block, working with music supervisors Randall Poster and Jim Dunbar (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The School of Rock and my second-favorite TV show Lost), the album asks the indie stars of today to reinterpret their favorite guilty pleasure songs for our auditory enjoyment. There are hits and misses (and I boldly do not feel guilty about liking some of these originals), but check the tracklist –

1. Petra Haden: “Don’t Stop Believin’” (Journey)
2. Devendra Banhart: “Don’t Look Back In Anger” (Oasis)
3. Mark Mulcahy: “From This Moment On” (Shania Twain)
4. Luna: “Straight Up” (Paula Abdul)
5. The Concretes: “Back For Good” (Take That)
6. Jim O’Rourke: “Viva Forever” (Spice Girls)
7. Goat: “Sugar We’re Going Down” (Fall Out Boy)
8. Will Oldham/Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy” “Can’t Take That Away” (Mariah Carey)
9. Woody Jackson Orchestra featuring Money Mark: Love’s Theme (Love Unlimited Orchestra)
10. Porter Block: “Breaking Free” (High School Musical)
11. Mooney Suzuki: “Just Like Jesse James” (Cher)
12. Geoff Farina: “Two Tickets To Paradise” (Eddie Money)
13. Casey Shea: “Chop Suey” (System of a Down)
14. Superchunk: “Say My Name” (Destiny’s Child)
15. Mike Watt: “Burning For You” (Blue Oyster Cult)

The arguably crazy Devendra Banhart has been called “one of our favorite freaky people” by The Black Crowes, and here he takes on Oasis with his trademark warbly folk meandering. If you prefer fragile delicacy over confident generational anthems, this is just for you:

Don’t Look Back In Anger (Oasis cover) – Devendra Banhart
(link removed)

Will Oldham / Bonnie “Prince” Billy busts out the aforementioned Mariah Carey. Well, not exactly busts out. More like lets the slow jam ebb out. It’s playful and surprisingly enjoyable.

Can’t Take That Away (Mariah Carey cover) – Will Oldham/Bonnie “Prince” Billy
(link removed)

Go to the MySpace page to hear Petra Haden tip her hat to my boys in Journey with a sunny acapella-harmony-deelite version of “Don’t Stop Believin’” with some Wilson Phillips tossed in at the end just to really drive that guilty pleasure idea home. I think that the last time I did karaoke I tried my hand at covering the same song; pretty sure it didn’t sound as bubblegum delectable. The crowd may have, in fact, stopped believing, despite my exhortations to the contrary.

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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