Archive for April, 2009

COVER: “Use Somebody” – Bat for Lashes.

April 25, 2009 Leave a comment

Maybe it’s just me, but Kings of Leon’s songs tend to blend for me. They all play off the rockabilly radio pop that while fun to listen to also tends to get a bit repetitive. (Though on a casual Saturday monopolizing the contents of my dorm room, Kings of Leon is on rotation.) But here one of my favorite songs by them, “Use Somebody”, is covered to the opposite effect by Bat for Lashes.

Bat for Lashes

A pseudonym for English singer Natasha Khan, Bat for Lashes has been complimented by acts such as M.I.A. and Thom Yorke, with Bjork seen at a few shows. She has been compared to Annie Lennox or Stevie Nicks, and I think that’s a valid comparison. Khan somehow both skims the surface of and dives into her songs, which leads for an almost transparent musical style. Her cover of “Use Somebody” is slower, sadder, but more emphatic because of it.

Bat for Lashes on
“Use Somebody” – Bat for Lashes.

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SOUNDTRACK: The Virgin Suicides.

April 24, 2009 Leave a comment

When thinking of a tragic movie seeped in melancholy, one doesn’t generally turn to electronic music. But that’s exactly what happened in the case of the movie The Virgin Suicides. Entirely composed byFrench duo Air, the score has a decidedly eclectic feel — fitting, considering that a large part of the movie is its time period of the seventies.

The Virgin Suicides

The cover says it all, doesn’t it? The music brings out the orange in a story that could have easily faded into darker hues. A tale about four sisters who all ultimately kill themselves, it asks both why people do these things and whether society at large compels them to do it. And yes, while electronic music may not have been your first choice, after listening? You’ll wonder why the heck not.

The Virgin Suicides on wikipediaIMDb
soundtrack on wikipediaamazon
Air on
“Highschool Lover (Theme)”
“Playground Love”

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April 23, 2009 Leave a comment

You may not have ever heard of Alexi Murdoch, but I’ll bet that you might have heard one of his songs. His single “Orange Sky” garnered much play in both television and movie circles, and his album Time Without Consequence peaked at #25 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

Alexi Murdoch

Murdoch, who is London-born and Scottish-bred, is well known for being a recluse and lives in a remote area of Western Scotland. This loneliness carries over into his songs, which echo with longing and hope. Simple in instrumental structure, the melody barely exists yet unfurls in depth. How he does this, I don’t know, but I certainly love it.
(from the album Time Without Consequence)
“All of My Days”
“Orange Sky (Album Version)”

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FEATURED SONG: “As Much as You Lead” – Lex Land.

April 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Lex Land is the new big thing, let me tell you. It’s my prediction, and folks, I am rarely wrong about these sort of things. (Okay, I’m wrong a lot.) She’s just smoky-voiced enough and just girly enough; she song-screams at just the right times and sells you the song just as she should, and just as those with more experience do. She’s the real deal.

Lex Land

Genuineness is something not often found in today’s music. It’s something lucky, something moving, something that kicks us in our backs to go out and do something that will inspire us just as much. When you find it, don’t let it go. Wrap it up in blankets, hum it songs, and realize that when you peel back the covers, all you’ll see is yourself.
(from the album Orange Days on Lemon Street)
“As Much as You Lead”

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April 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Johnathan Rice.
Singer/songwriter originally from Scotland, based out of Washington D.C.

Johnathan Rice

After graduating from high school in Washington, D.C. Rice moved to New York where he began work on his debut album. Shortly after arriving in the city, the World Trade Center was destroyed and this, along with other themes of war can be heard in his lyrics. The album was recorded several times before Rice was happy with it, finally settling with Bright Eyes producer Mike Mogis, creating a rich, diverse sound with most tracks leading into one another as a single “work” of music. Rice has cited Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Beatles, and country legend Gram Parsons as influences on his work. (wikipedia)

Rice’s Scottish influences are not far from his music, but don’t discount his growing up in the USA. There’s a very Americana feel to his songs, all bar hopping and guitars, though they still keep an element of foreign grace. I’d compare him to an early John Mayer. Here’s to hoping Rice doesn’t turn out like Mayer did.
(from the album Trouble Is Real)
“So Sweet”

FEATURED ALBUM: Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down – Noah and the Whale.

April 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Peaceful, the World Lays Me DownNoah and the Whale. (2008.)

Noah and the Whale

What lovely music. The band cites both punk rock and folk as their influences, and while more of the latter is at first seen in their songs, the former peeks its way through in unexpected ways. Laura Marling is considered a member of this group, even though they switch out female singers, and so both this album and her solo work have some intertwining themes.
If you’re looking for something dark and visceral, you won’t find it here. However, you will find something beautiful. The lyrics themselves are like dirty pools left over after rain: sure, they’re a bit filthy, but they’re fun to jump in, and oh, how they shine in the sun!
buy Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down on amazon
“2 Atoms In a Molecule”
“Do What You Do”

COVER: “With or Without You” – Keane.

April 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Oh, Keane. You dependable little band. Yes, you’ve been all over the radio for the past few years. Yes, you’ve been accused of being another generic British band riding on the coattails of Radiohead. But I have faith in you. I think that you’re more than that. Though yes, much of your music fits perfectly on radio playlists, you have a certain je ne sais quoi, a quality I can’t quite put my finger on. I affectionately think of you as the gateway drug to other, more indie bands. “You listen to Keane? Awesome! Here’s some other bands I think you should hear….”


But this post is not about Keane the band, or about their discography at all (I’d start with Hopes and Fears, if you’re wondering). It’s about a cover of a song called “With or Without You,” a song that on its own has a reputation and by proxy has been covered by too many bands to count. It’s the pop-rock version of “Hallelujah.” Originally by U2 (of course), the song takes on an almost acoustic property in the hands of these mates. Recorded for a radio show, it’s soft and sweet and minimally deviates from the original. And believe me, that’s more than okay.

Keane on
“With or Without You” – Keane.

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