Pete Yorn nominated Fuel/Friends this weekend as the virtual digs where you can hear and download his two newest songs! Thanks Pete. He must fondly remember the time I essentially trapped him in a parking lot and made him talk to me for 45 minutes. Nicest guy ever.
“Shotgun” is from Pete’s new full length, produced by Mike Mogis and recorded in Omaha. This is fresh from the mastering lab, and feels both darkly brooding and soaring at the same time.
That scruffy troubadour in the Omaha studio with producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes/Saddle Creek) isn’t Jim Morrison in the Paris years, nor is it Jesus, we don’t think. That is one Pete Yorn back recording new music. The formidable Frank Black of the Pixies has also been joining him in recent months for “new explorations in music,” and all the results are expected in the form of an album rumored to be called American Blues.
This comes from the new release from producer Robin Danar, which features a bunch of other artists: Inara George, Paul Buchanan (The Blue Nile), Jesca Hoop, Gary Jules and The Section Quartet, Lisa Loeb and Steve Reynolds, Jim Bianco, Minibar, Rachael Yamagata, Julian Coryell, Quincy Coleman, Julianna Raye and Nic Harcourt.
It’s called Altered States and it came out yesterday on Shanachie Records.
In my estimation, the covers that are really worth their salt take a song that you think you know, and then go right ahead to completely re-imagine it. My favorite revisions unearth a hidden nugget of emotional truth, or get at something that you might have missed the first time around. As The Bangles say, “I see you in a different light.”
WAZ is a musician from Southern California who first rose to prominence as the guitarist for Pete Yorn during the musicforthemorningafter era, but now has a solo career in his own right. Waz is a shortening of his last name (no it’s not Mike Wazowski) and everyone ‘cept his momma calls him that. His cover of U2′s “I Will Follow” is bittersweetly intimate and stopped me in my tracks.
I never knew that this song was originally written about the death of Bono’s mother; it has such a huge anthemic blazing image to me, as does much of the U2 from that early era. The original is majestic and almost defiant; it wants to be sung from a thousand enormous arenas. But this version aches, a meandering confessional in front of a backdrop of delicate strings. I love what WAZ does here to reach a different place with this song.
WAZ just opened for Frank Black of the Pixies on some solo shows, culminating at the rad Hotel Utah in SF. More tour dates are anticipated in 2008 to go along with the self-release of his full-length album coming out at the end of January. That album will be released without this track due to some legal wrangling, but he gives his blessing for you to enjoy it here. So do.
Two nights ago I watched the 2003 Britpop documentary Live Forever (more on that later), which begins by laying a foundation of the music scene in Nineties England from the initial impact of the Stone Roses — so I smiled today when this fantastic cover version came up on a mix I’d made.
Yorn: “So like I said, this is hot shit for us to be over here at Glastonbury. We come from the U.S. of A and this is a very exotic festival that we love and we’re happy to be here and we’re huge fans of the music over here and blah blah blah . . . This is from Manchester, okay?“
She Bangs The Drums (Stone Roses cover, live at Glastonbury 2003) – Pete Yorn (apparently this is encoded at a rate that streaming doesn’t agree with. Until I can fix it, if you download it, it sounds fine; if you click the blue arrow, you get Alvin & The Chipmunks singing the Stone Roses, which is actually a whole different kind of interesting)
Speaking of she bangs the drum, I could not stop my own personal rhythm section pattered out onto my legs last night at the screening of the Pearl Jam documentary. Seeing and hearing Immagine in Cornice on the big screen with all the glorious surround-sound was an immense experience of live PJ fabulousness. My personal highlights were the renditions of Blood (ugh, love that song), Come Back (sheerly absurdly gorgeous), and a compelling ending of Rockin’ In The Free World with every single Italian audience member’s hands raised in the air, clapping along in unison.
In addition to the beautifully-done cinematic treatment of their live shows, the documentary also offered some very interesting behind-the-scenes glimpses: the urgent reorganization of the encore setlist backstage while the crowd screams for more, Jeff skateboarding at some deserted Italian skatepark, Ed and his daughter Olivia talking on the tour bus (and how cute is she?), a bunch of Italian kids sitting on the street belting out a passionate acoustic rendition of Porch. Stone barely made an appearance (it’s all Stone’s fault) and not surprisingly I would have liked for it to be longer so they could have shown more of what goes on that we don’t see onstage. But overall, solid A. If I can’t see PJ live this year, heck I’ll settle for last night. Thanks to all who came out for an awesome experience, it was moltissimo fun.
I find this cover toe-tappingly good (“Everyone keeps asking me if this is my song, so I decided that I have to play it,” Yorn says) — and coincidental, considering that the first time I remember enjoying the original song was at an intermission before Pete Yorn took the stage in Denver. Thanks to Stereogum for the cover from two nights ago, and to You Ain’t No Picasso for digging up the video:
Pete Yorn posted a new song to his MySpace page a week or two ago called “Shampoo” and I’ve been neglecting my Official Ambassador of Yorn duties in passing along the good news (I hope they don’t, uh, fire me).
This track revisits some of the fantastic male/female harmonies (it’s what made “The Man” the jam of my summer last year) with a vocalist that I swear I know. Who is that singing along with him? It’s driving me a bit nuts trying to place her voice.
Of this delightful new confection, Pete said, “[There's a] batch that is ten songs that I’m just putting together that is kind of a concept record, based on a character from a movie that I like a lot. There’s a character called George Roundie that Warren Beatty played in a film called Shampoo and all the songs seem to relate to his life or the character’s life. And so it’s a soundtrack, I made my own soundtrack to that movie I guess. I’ll put that out at a later date.”
UPDATED: I’ve gotten the following three bits of information about this song from a source quite close to Sir Yorn. He says:
a little more info. i will give you three items on which to chew: 1. the “george roundy” concept album went away. 2. the song “shampoo” is part of a completely different concept album which does exist and is finished. 3. there may or may not be more tantalizing information regarding this project but i am not at liberty to disperse it.
More tantalizing information. How mysterious. I can’t wait.
It’s been a long time since I compiled one of these odds and ends posts, but there were several little things today that caught my eye:
Ûž Brian Deck is on board to produce the new Counting Crows record, according to Adam:
March 16, 2007 12:53am Berkeley, CA
Rehearsals have been going really well the past few days. I’m pretty excited about the 2nd half of this record. I really dig the producer we’ve chosen. His name’s Brian Deck. He produced “The Moon and Antarctica” for Modest Mouse, “Our Endless Numbered Days” for Iron and Wine, “The Animal Years” for Josh Ritter, and this album I love by the Fruit Bats called “Mouthfuls”. We’re getting really cool weird twisted folksy sounds.
I drink Starbucks. I love McCartney. But why does this just feel so dirty and somehow depressing?
Ûž Mason Jennings has a new blog post that starts with the sentence, “Did you ever just get so high that you wrote on your arm never to smoke weed again? Me neither.” It goes on to discuss music he likes and life in general lately for him, but opening sentences don’t get much more engaging than that one.
Ûž I truly love the new Hold Steady video for “Stuck Between Stations.” That is a dang fine song, and since I haven’t caught them live yet, I’ve never seen it performed, seen the way they jolt out their music.
Incidentally, I think their piano player may actually be Oliver, Kat‘s husband from Miami Ink. Rock the ‘stache, dude.
Ûž Pete Yorn‘s cousin/merch man/video whiz Maxx updates Pete’s MySpace friends with setlists and excellent pictures from the road. The most recent post has a haiku to match each photograph, and is a must-read. I laughed out loud at a few:
sid is funnier when he’s not wearing his clothes but someone else’s
simon is undead he will eat your flesh even from the stage
Ûž SXSW. Most of the SXSW coverage from my fellow bloggers seems like drinking out of a firehose, and I am not able to fully absorb all of it yet (although I am trying). This, however, was one show that I had read about and found video for — very cool. Pete Townshend was at the fest to speak at a panel and joined British buzz band The Fratellis for a cool little cover of The Who’s “The Seeker”:
And the best picture that I’ve seen so far from SXSW was taken by my friend Brian H., who has been regularly updating me with more pics and details than you can shake a stick at (thanks!). I don’t know the story behind this shot, but I thought it was cool how it speaks to the environment of total musical domination in Austin these past few days:
Saw Pete Yorn on Friday night for what I thought was fantastic show with a full band backing (and if you squint and cross your eyes, you can see me in the audience, just three blurry heads to the left of Joe Kennedy’s shoulder). Instead of the “acoustic” setting of the You and Me Tour last year, this was a loud and spirited affair with all the members of Minibar on stage (and at the end, the guy from Aqualung rattling his tambourine). This freed Pete up to do some heartwarmingly not-smooth dance moves while singing. We love you Pete.
Everyone was in fine spirits (and enjoying fine spirits), and Pete was animated and friendly. From the opening beats of ‘Black,’ the guys played a superb setlist, although it was shorter than I liked (having to sit through three opening bands. Yes, three). Highlights for me were a gospel-ly rockin’ version of ‘Golden Road’ that was very different from the Westerns EP, as well as a fun singalong cover of the Stones’ ‘Dead Flowers.’ I debated bringing my camera in and recording that for you since I knew he’s been adding it to the shows lately, but I decided to go bulkfree and not lug it. So here’s another few guys I like covering it instead…
Dead Flowers – Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams, Hank Williams III, and Keith Richards The encore ended with a soaring (as usual) version of Crystal Village that made everyone want to kind of drape their arms around their neighbor. Okay, well maybe only me. But those lyrics: “Take my hand, come with me, I see the lights so brightly, and we’ll fall as if we never really mattered. . .” It’s a fantastic song, rips off Wilco. That’s okay.
After the show, I talked for a few minutes with Pete, and the first thing he said (if I may lapse into a bit of restrained girlish squealing) is that he liked my blog, that I did a good job with it. So hoo-WAH! Straight from the horse’s mouth. Do catch this tour if you can — they’ve still lots of shows to go, and are sounding great.
Bruce Springsteen is set to get the tribute treatment from the musical community on April 5 at Carnegie Hall in New York. If you were lucky enough to click on the ticket sale website on January 31, then you may have already snagged yourself a pair of tickets (in what concert producer Michael Dorf is calling a “premature leak.” Those are always a bit embarassing). Tickets legitimately went on sale Monday (and seem to be sold out) with the proceeds benefitting the Music For Youth program, as with previous tributes to Dylan & Joni Mitchell.
The benefit show will feature appearances from Badly Drawn Boy, Pete Yorn, Steve Earle, Chris Isaak and Josh Ritter, among others. I can’t find any recordings of Isaak ever covering Springsteen (some fan correct me if I am wrong), and same for Ritter (although there is plenty of press likening him to Springsteen’s songwriting). But here’s some hints of what the night may sound like . . .
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
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