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.
Vampire Weekend - Step
Vampire Weekend amp up the hype for their highly anticipated third album with a new Youtube lyrics video for the track ‘Step.’ I remember hearing the sampled lyrics ‘everytime I see you in the world you always step to my girl’ from the early 90s Souls of Mischief track Step To My Girl. I’m not sure where the origin of those original lyrics are from but regardless, Vampire Weekend harmonise the lines beautifuly and come in great form with Step.
Modern Vampires of the City is due to be released May 13th, and no doubt fans will be relishing the new record while many critics will be keen to criticise the band, whether it be due to experimentation or lifting influences from other artists.
Always Like This
Bombay Bicycle Club
Bombay Bicycle Club - Always Like This
BBC are no strangers to the ill chill pill. We have been following the group’s movements since, well, since we discovered this song really.
The 2009 single launched the British band into worldwide stardom and won them a huge fanbase which has been propped up by three consistent album releases. Always Like This is still regarded a favourite and with very good reason.
If you haven’t already fallen in love with this tune, now is your chance.
Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
Paul Simon - Diamonds on The Souls of Her Shoes (Live in New York, 2011)
You can’t help but let the uplifting vocal and instrumental expressions of this song pick you up and carry you away on a foot tapping frenzy. Written twenty-five years ago, this song still gets people of all ages dancing as was proven at the Paul Simon concert held last week in Melbourne.
Paul Simon has been a powerful force in influencing modern music today. Bands such as Vampire Weekend have drawn inspiration from the groundbreaking 1988 album Graceland, from which Diamonds on The Souls of Her Shoes appears. The album is noted for its African musical influences and genre-defying upbeat vibe.
Vampire Weekend received a lot of backlash by fans of Paul Simon’s solo work for ‘lifting’ similar influences, such as afrobeat and eastern African folk music in the wake of their 2008 breakthrough album. However Paul Simon defended the group.
‘I felt bad. I wanted to go and tell them that I didn’t think they were taking anything. So that’s what I told them. They said, “Do you think we are?” and I said, “No, I think you’re going to the same sources that I went to. You’re drawing from the same well. You’re trying to write interesting songs.” In a way, we were on the same pursuit, but I don’t think you’re lifting from me, and anyway, you’re welcome to it, because everybody’s lifting all the time. That’s the way music grows and is shaped.’
The 71 year old is still an excellent performer and musicians continue benefiting from his illustrious 50+ year musical career.
Vampire Weekend are due to release their third album in May this year.
Phoenix - Entertainment
Now that it has been a week or so since Phoenix’s new single Entertainment was released, I think it’s time to assess its quality.
The track has definitely capitalised on the band’s pop crossover appeal and longtime fans will find the familiar hook-driven melody, but there is a dominant addition that is instantly evident on Entertainment and that is synth.
Synthesizers have had a patchy influence over pop music, coming to have an insurmountable stronghold over much of the popular music in the 80s but dying off considerably in the 90s. But ever since electronic production has been made more accessible through cheap hi-fi home software and recording equipment, their influence in pop has skyrocketed. Having said that, most longtime Phoenix fans will fight to the death that their music is not ‘pop,’ but let’s face it, Entertainment is definitely looking to appeal to new fans as much as old and with the watertight performance, it looks set to continue doing just that.
Phoenix’s new album Bankrupt! will be out on April 22nd 2013 if it manages not to be leaked beforehand.
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]”
Cold War Kids - Miracle Mile
One of the best vocalists in indie music would have to be Nathan Millett (example A). So it is with great jubilation that we share the indie rocker’s triumphant return to form in this single Miracle Mile from the Cold War Kids’ upcoming release Dear Miss Lonelyhearts.
The track is fast, upbeat and has the markings of a live staple in their sets. I can imagine having a lot of fun hearing this at a Cold War Kids concert in the future. At this stage the details are sketchy, but it seems likely that Dear Miss Lonelyhearts will see a release date in 2013. If Miracle Mile is anything to go by, the album will be worth the wait and will continue to expand the band’s following with a mainstream audience as well as (hopefully) appealing to their older fans.
Menomena - Cough Coughing
Last year, Menomena brought out a great album that expanded on their experimental sound. But something about Moms didn’t really appeal to me enough to get the album. That led me on a search to find music that got me in to the band in the first place (songs such as Intl and Wet and Rusting).
My search led me back to their first album, I Am The Fun Blame Monster! and it was in the midst of my trawling through Youtube videos where I stumbled upon Cough Coughing. The track is still firmly rooted in the experimental indie rock Menomena fans are familiar with, but its avante-garde soundscapes are tempered with a sense of fun, spontaneity and unexpectedness. The drum-bass-piano combination is a treat and the minimalist production organically emphasises the instruments in a way reminiscent of early Modest Mouse.
If you have never heard of Menomena before, the first track from their debut album is a good starting point.