Nov 302009

Foo Fighters + Serj Tankian + Dead Kennedys = Crazy Awesome

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Foo Fighters and Serj Tankian covering “Holiday in Cambodia” by Dead Kennedys.

Fuck.  Yes.

Come for the awesome cover, stay for Serj’s endearingly spastic dancing.

Nov 292009

“I used to have a scene with him…”

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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of covers.  I think that the myriad ways in which a song gets covered says something both about the songs importance and value, but also makes a larger statement about the paradoxically personal and universal nature of music.  All of that’s to say that I found Lisa Mitchell’s cover of “Romeo and Juliet” (originally by Dire Straits) absolutely enchanting:

Many thanks to Fifty Two Tuesdays’ Music-Pusher-in-Chief, Ann, for inspiring the Lisa Mitchell YouTube wander that turned this up.  Mitchell’s debut album, Wonder, is out now in the UK and Australia, and available on the import market for the committed.  I also hear it’s available on the iTunes, but I haven’t been able to confirm.

Nov 242009

You there!

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You look sad.  This will cheer you up…

Many thanks to the many people who sent this to me, though I think that my friend Heather sent it to me first, thus winning the grand prize.

Nov 222009

So, I don’t know how many of you noticed, but there’s a problem with the new Morrissey B-Sides album, Swords.  It’s not a huge problem, really, but it’s one that gave the extended Fifty-Two Tuesdays family significant angst and heartache.  I dare say that, if we’d let the problem go unresolved, it may have caused us a sleepless night or two.  (We are, after all, the sorts of folks who overly concern ourselves with such matters.)  You see, in the album art for Swords, Morrissey’s not holding anything.  No Tommy Gun.  No baby.  Nuffin’.

Pictured: Morrissey.  Not Pictured: Anything in Morrissey's Hands.

Pictured: Morrissey. In Morrissey's Hands: Morrissey

So we here at FTT decided that we’d change that.  After some discussion amongst ourselves, we sent a request off to the FTT graphics department.  In short order, the problem was resolved to the satisfaction of all:

Fixed. Much better. Also, <i>holy shit it's Morrissey with a sword!</i>

There's a highlander joke here, but I'm not seeing it. Something something last of the gang to die, maybe?

Many thanks to our Chief Music Advisor, Ann, for bringing the problem to our attention and to our Art Director Meagan for solving it for us.

Nov 192009

“Winds of change, they blow in my direction”

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A little birdy told me that Fitz and the Tantrums are giving away their debut EP plus a bonus track.  That’s right, giving it away!  As in free!

I’ve been all about these guys sense I heard them open for Flogging Molly here in Spokane a couple months ago.  They’ve got an awesome Motown-ish sound to them that I just can’t get enough of.  Seriously, go download the EP, you definitely won’t regret it.

Here’s the music video for “Winds of Change”, which should give you a good sense of the sort of delightful Motown kitsch you’re in for:

Nov 162009

“Oh he’s just like the rest / she’s just like the rest”

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Doing some research on A. A. Bondy’s old band Verbena turned up this little gem.  It features a young, grunged-out Bondy, some surreal videography, and an awesome little rock tune called “Baby Got Shot”:

Update: Apparently my friend Mike sent me this video ages ago and I totally missed it.  Props to him for trying to expand my musical horizons despite the best efforts of my absent-mindedness.

Nov 162009

A. A. Bondy, When the Devil’s Loose

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Artist: A. A. Bondy

Album: When the Devil’s Loose

Label: Fat Possum

Release Date: Tuesday, 2009.9.1

Score: 10/10

I’ve often ranted on this blog about the importance of the sophomore album.  While debut albums are, undoubtedly, critical, the second release from an artist serves as a predictor of possible staying power and is a better indication of an artist’s potential than any other album.  A lot of bands have great debuts.  Very few have great follow ups.  Those than have a good second release usually have a bright musical career ahead of them.

My fetishism for second albums, then, means that I’m often nervous to hear those produced by artists whose debuts I fell in love with.  In the case of A. A. Bondy, I really needn’t have worried, though.  Bondy’s sophomore effort, When the Devil’s Loose is a beautiful, well-crafted folk album, which does a great job of showcasing Bondy’s deft compositional talent and evocative lyrics.  From start to finish, it is cohesive, well-written, and masterfully performed.

The album’s thematic elements are established well by the opening track, “The Mightiest of Guns”.  This is true both of the songs complex, guitar-centered musical qualities, as well as its lyrical focus on chance and the inescapable nature of fate.  These lyrical images, especially those of fate, occur throughout the album, deftly woven into many of the songs, without ever feeling forced.

As with his last album, Bondy’s guitar work forms the musical backbone of the album.  And while When the Devil’s Loose features a more lush, layered sound than his first album, the guitar-centered aesthetic is still very much there.  This is probably best heard on the stripped-down, solemn tune “Oh the Vampyre”.  The solo, finger-picked guitar provides a bitter-sweet melody to support Bondy’s sad, self-effacing lyrics.

The somber solo guitar work of “Oh the Vampyre” is, however, the exception rather than the rule.  Probably the major musical innovation that Bondy displays on When the Devil’s Loose is his embracing of a full four-piece backing band.  This lends some much-needed depth to songs like the rambling, swaying “I Can See the Pines Are Dancing”, which benefits greatly from the musical layers that a full band provides.

The album closes on “The Coal Hits the Fire”, which is the slowest, most somber song on the disc.  While I wasn’t initially a fan of the track, it’s definitely grown on me.  Its slow, melancholy plod seems a strange choice to end the album, but after a few listens through, it does make a strange sort of musical sense.  Its evocative descriptions of departure and its lackadaisical pacing make a nice, fitting closer.

When the Devil’s Loose is a fantastic album that, along with its predecessor American Hearts, establish A. A. Bondy as one of the most promising voices of contemporary American folk music.  I highly recommend it, with no reservations whatsoever.  It’s a must-have for anyone who likes modern folk music, and definitely an album that everyone should consider adding to their collection.

Nov 152009

“…paws dried up from wandering.”

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I’ll have a long-overdue review of the new A. A. Bondy album up tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s a little bit of charming weirdness for your Saturday night.  I’ve been a bit obsessed with this tune ever since my friend Ann pointed me to it.  It’s by Margot & the Nuclear So and Sos off their debut album, The Dust of Retreat.  It’s called “Paper Kitten Nightmare”.

Nov 132009

Pitch Perfect Robot, Indeed

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I’ll have an album review up over the weekend (for realsies! I swear!) but in the meantime, here’s an excellent and actually quite even-handed overview of the invention, development, and abuse of auto-tune:

Nov 102009

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Here’s a fun little cover.  This is Arctic Monkeys lending their noisy Sheffieldian style to the classic Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds song, “Red Right Hand”: