Shakey Graves - Unlucky Skin
The popularity of the banjo has been steadily on the rise since Mumford and Sons launched to international stardom in 2011. Not to say that banjo music ever really died, but it has certainly seen a revival in the popular collective conscience.
Banjos aside, I just came across a video by Shakey Graves, who is decribed as a “gentleman from Texas.” There has been a horror-esque video collaboration made with Fool’s Road for the song which recently featured on Pigeons and Planes.
Download - Unlucky Skin
Sun Kil Moon - Dramamine (Modest Mouse Cover)
Modest Mouse are one of those huge bands that most people seem to enjoy. I can’t claim to be a humongus fan but I do love the opening track Dramamine from their 1996 debut album This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About. Apparently dramamine is a motion sickness drug, which ties in to the concept of the album title rather nicely.
Sun Kil Moon covers this song changing the melody and progression of the original, playing up the tension with rhythm guitars and cymbal clashes. Mark Kozelek aka Sun Kil Moon makes Dramamine his own with this rendition and the result is vastly different, but grand in its own right.
Even If We Try
Night Beds - Even If We Try
If a slight breeze were to blow, or a drop of rain were to fall anywhere near this song, it just might break - that’s how delicate it is.
Night Beds are a band based in Tennessee, consisting of Winston Yellen, Ben Kaufman, Aly Holland, Ryan Ellis, Joe Hutchinson, Taylor Zachry. This track surfaced a few months back in November and admittingly, I completely forgot about it until hearing it again recently. The timing could not be riper, as Night Beds are due to release their first full length album after ten years of making music together and a slew of EPs. Keep an ear out if you like what you hear, as Country Sleep came out of February 5th.
Fans of Bon Iver, Youth Lagoon and Jeff Pianki are sure to find pleasure in this tender, minimalist, falsetto-laden lullaby.
Download - Even If We Try (control-click & save as)
The Dodos - Undeclared
A fast narrative song from San Francisco group The Dodos.
The song is short and snappy and basically tells the story of how “my love goes undeclared.” It has a basic arrangement with just one acoustic guitar carrying the vocals but it is easy to listen to and works well.
Oh, I nearly forgot, The Dodos are signed to Frenchkiss Records. The independent label is home to some stellar indie acts including the Freelance Whales and Local Natives. I think The Dodos slot in nicely with the growing list of talented artists. Enjoy.
Download - Undeclared (control-click, save)
Local Natives - Ceilings
Since the Local Natives’ new album Hummingbird leaked two days ago, things have been pretty quiet on the blog front. I’m going to write about one of my favourite tracks on the LP and hope that Frenchkiss Records don’t hunt me down over this one.
Ceilings is an absolute gift from start to finish. The balanced concoction of guitar and synth combined with dreamy riffs and harmonies makes it approachable, replayable and remedial all in one.
Remember that Hummingbird is officially released on January 26th and I would strongly recommend purchasing that album if you like what you hear. It is well worth the purchase.
I haven’t done this in a while, but I think I’ll share the lyrics of Ceilings with you.
“Haven’t stopped your smoking yet
So I’ll share your cigarette
Just to feel it in my fingers
Walk around ‘til 3 am
Tell me what I know again
To keep myself from second guessing
All my silver dreams bring me to you
Hold the summer in your hands
‘Til the summer turns to sand
We were staring at our ceilings
Thinking of what we’d give to have one more day of sun,
One day of sun
Silver dreams bring me to you [x3]”
The Paper Kites - Bloom
The lush vocals of The Paper Kites are enough to melt away the frosty clutches of Winter and help you indulge in the beautiful Summer weather we’ve been having in Australia, whether you live here or not.
Bloom is probaly the most famous of The Paper Kites’ tracks from their debut EP Woodbine. They have since released a second EP this year and embarked on a national tour.
Keep an ear out for this incredibly talented bunch of Australian artists.
Local Natives - Heavy Feet
One of my favourite bands of the 2010sies has just leaked another track from their sophmore album Hummingbird.
The Local Natives can manage to strike a chord between bliss and heartache as demonstrated on songs like Cubism Dream and Airplanes on their debut Gorilla Manor LP. Heavy Feet carries on in that tradition, with the Californians further proving their pitch perfect harmonies, percussion and sincere songwriting.
Hummingbird would have to be one of my most anticipated releases of 2013, thankfully we won’t have long to wait, as the album is released on Australia Day on iTunes.
Whatcha Say (Jason Derulo Live Cover)
Bombay Bicycle Club
Bombay Bicycle Club - Whatcha Say (Jason Derulo Live Cover)
If you ever heard Jason Derulo’s song Whatcha Say you could be forgiven for thinking he butchered Imogen Heap’s classic track Hide & Seek. But these days where the news can be autotuned and kids can become overnight celebrities, music has never been so accessible.
Bombay Bicycle Club have redeemed Jason’s misplaced homage by covering Whatcha Say and doing a damn good job of it. Jack Steadman’s voice is as distinctive as ever and the sparing acoustic guitar is a basic, but glorious accompaniment to his singing.
The British band have gradually built a loyal following since releasing their debut album in 2009. Two albums later and Bombay Bicycle Club have proven themselves to be one of the best indie groups to come out of the UK in the past few years. Enjoy this rare cover and check out Shuffle and How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep? if you want to become better acquainted with their music.