Friday, November 27, 2009

Big Pink and Tegan & Sara

Okay, I usually don't bother posting about artists that are all over the blogosphere. However, these two songs have been stuck in my head, so I'm passing 'em on.

I Am Fuel, You Are Friends forwarded this clip of Big Pink on Jools Holland, and I think it's even more powerful than the studio version. You can download the original version at the aforementioned, pretty-darn-cool blog. spat out this clip, and again, the live version really made me dig the tune much more. Do Tegan & Sara rock?

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Acorn do Gowan. Seriously.

photo from here

Weirdest cover I've heard in a while? Stereogum informed me about The Acorn doing Gowan's Strange Animal. Not that it's a weird version (it's pretty faithful), just a weird choice of song to record. It's part of Paper Bag Records' 7 year anniversary celebration, and you can download 12 covers of artists such as Nirvana, OMC, Beck Dylan, Bats for Lashes, and Outkast done by PaperBag artists at their site. Stereogum explains:

"In 2002, Toronto's Paper Bag Records had an auspicious first year by releasing a new millennial indie rock touchstone in Broken Social Scene's You Forgot It In People, one of the decade's most acclaimed albums, and one that helped shape thoughts and expectations of what indie rock could look and sound like in the '00s: sentimental and anthemic but still rooted in the raucous guitar rock of the '90s, all while featuring more members than an intramural softball team. Years later, the label still earns plaudits for curating a solid roster -- most recently given NOW magazine's award for Best Toronto label ..."

The Acorn - Strange Animal

What's next for covers of Canuck '80s artists? Platinum Blonde? Helix? Honeymoon Suite? Corey Hart? Hopefully Boys Brigade and The Box get their due soon. The Hold Steady already did Bryan Adams Run to You with Malcolm Middleton, you can get that at Stereogum if you really must. Here's some goofy videos (the Pukka Orchestra is a cover already, but maybe we'll get cover of a cover, it wouldn't be the first time).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ryan Dahle is the new deal

I've been trying to get around to posting about Vancouverite Ryan Dahle. He recently released his first solo album, Irrational Anthems, and now there's a new video for Beta King Stilts. Dahle may still be better known for his time in Age of Electric (remember Remote Control? Ugly?) or his time fronting the under-appreciated Limblifter, but his new record is a different animal. (An aside: a relative of mine once appeared in an Age of Electric video swinging her red tresses around shamelessly; were any of you in that one too?) More art-rock or quirky pop than his other vehicles, some of the songs are reminiscent of a a bizarro-world New Pornographers, which is interesting considering that brother Kurt also played in Age of Electric and Limblifter before hooking up with the New Pornos. I'm not big on video, but the song's a fine example of the new Dahle (New Deal?); an arrangement that lets each instrument have its own space (dig those trumpet sparks!), vocals that seem wickedly strong and preciously fragile in the same breath, melodic bassline, perfectly underplayed piano, propulsive without going over-the-top geetar...Scruffy eats this up.

Find more videos like this on R Y A N D A H L E

I don't think this is an official video, some fan just posted it on YouTube. Neverthess, Chop Chop is a good indicator of the kind of sleeper Dahle seems to be able to write in his sleep. I can imagine him waking up with a fully-realized track in his head, and the more he tracks in the studio, the more it hits the bullseye. "Okay, just THINK of Keith Moon, don't play exactly like him...brighter guitar sound, check, exquisite backing vocals, check, clearly-audible inscrutable lyrics, check..." Listen to it three times and it will live with you forever.

Limblifter - Vicious (download mp3 here)

Limblifter - Ariel vs. Lotus (download mp3 here)

Limblifter - Drug Induced (download mp3 here)

If you're quick you can win signed vinyl and a nifty tote bag by going here.

Silversun Pickups: Hot, or Not? says this is the "sexiest game of musical chairs ever played", but I don't get it. The bandmembers ain't that good-looking. I mean, the sunburst guitar is definitely hot, and the translucent sky blue drums might turn you on, but otherwise? It's the same old quality dream-rock you can expect from the Pickups, a bit like the Smashing Pumpkins but with better vocals and less drama.

Anyhow, here's one of the band's more popular songs if you missed out. I think it's a brilliantly-crafted piece of moody post-Pumpkins joy, nothing's wasted, every instrument or voice adds to its triumph.

Here's one more, no concept to this video, but you should know by now I don't care too much about the visuals, it's the sound I love. This one gives you more of the heavy psychedelic-influenced pop/rock the band is so good at creating, with punishing drums and slashing guitars carving out a path to a somehow always intimate-sounding voice.

What the hey, here's one more. Supposedly this one was directed by Joaquin Phoenix.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Free Pixies EP

Pixies are giving away 4 live mp3s, track listing is Do the Manta Ray, Monkey Gone to Heaven, Crackity Jones, Gouge Away. Recorded in Paris on October 16th, the sound is all snap-crackle-pop in the best way: snappin' percussion, cracklin' vox from Black Francis, poppin' bass (and audible backing vox!) from Ms. Deal. I am gutted that I can't catch any of the Doolittle shows. I've loved that record for 20 years, it's still my favourite Pixies album (one of my all-time favourites by anyone, actually). However, I'm still a little sad that the band can't put out a new one after getting back together and playing shows for years now. Video from last night on Conan below:

At any rate, Black Francis/Frank Black has been putting out fine recordings since the last Pixies studio album, so I can't really complain. Did you know he has also put out a fun little eighties-style pop record with his wife Violet Clark? Grand Duchy offers up synth-happy art-pop with male and female voices trading off, and it ain't necessarily what you'd expect from one of the guys who set the stage for Nirvana et al, but that's why it's cool.

Grand Duchy - A Strange Day (download mp3 here)