Posts Tagged ‘Beatles’

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

"A Day In The Life"

The Sunshine Fix covers The Beatles

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s almost a couple weeks on since the untimely passing of Olivia Tremor Control and Sunshine Fix frontman Bill Doss, and there are still few to no public answers as to what happened to end his life at 43. It’s a small bit of comfort that both suicide and foul play have been ruled out, as either of those scenarios would have been an extra level of cruel on top of everything, but that just leaves randomness and that really doesn’t offer much comfort either.

What has emerged, however, is a portrait of a man who was genuinely loved and respected by friends, peers, and those who actually knew him. It’s the sort of thing that, as a fan who only knows someone through their work, you would hope to be true but never know for sure. Until you do. The best of the tributes are collected in two pieces at Athens, Georgia’s Flagpole and their Homedrone blog, but there’s also pieces at PopMatters and Vice. And unabashed E6/OTC devotees The Poison Control Center have written some words but also paid musical tribute by way of a Daytrotter session of Olivia Tremor Control covers.

For my part, I’d like to re-surface this recording that I posted once nine years ago. I didn’t have any real information on it then and I don’t have anymore now, but it did come off the official Sunshine Fix website as a free download and sounds very much like Doss recorded his own, one-man version of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band closer. And it’s a perfect choice, really; that record by that band is one of the best touchstones for what the Elephant 6 both strove for and transcended, and that song is just so poignant.

MP3: The Sunshine Fix – “A Day In The Life”
Video: The Beatles – “A Day In The Life”

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

"Golden Slumbers"/"Carry That Weight"

Mumford & Sons cover The Beatles

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangLondon quartet Mumford & Sons know how to work that banjo. It’s key to adding the bluegrass-y tint to the rousing folk-indie rock of their debut Sigh No More, and particularly effectively in this Beatles cover they recorded in session for BBC’s The Radcliffe and Maconie Show last November. The medley selection from side two of Abbey Road begins with Marcus Mumford’s yearning rasp giving “Golden Slumbers” its gravitas, then as it segues into “Carry That Weight”, Winston Marshall’s banjo steps forward and actually picks up that weightiness and jigs it off into the sunset, bid farewell by the band’s harmonies. Lovely.

The Guardian has a feature piece on Mumford & Sons, whose Sigh No More gets a North American release this Tuesday. Their incredibly brief, four-date North American tour stops in at Lee’s Palace in Toronto tomorrow night for a sold-out performance. Those feeling left out should take heart that they’ll be returning to North America later this Summer for Bonnaroo and it’s pretty much inconceivable that they wouldn’t build a proper tour around the date. So patience.

MP3: Mumford & Sons – “Golden Slumbers”/”Carry That Weight”
Video: The Beatles – “Golden Slumbers”/”Carry That Weight” (fan video)

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Stuck On Repeat

Review of Little Boots' Hands

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceSo Speech Debelle’s Speech Therapy won the Mercury Prize. Guess that shows all the predictors, pundits and bookies who were all Florence this and Bat For that what’s what. After all, before the nominations were even announced back in July, one of the odds-on favourites to win was Little Boots, and she wasn’t even nominated. That’s sort of how 2009 has seemed to go for Blackpool’s Victoria Hesketh – filled with immense expectations that were probably impossible to meet, and thus she was destined to be considered a disappointment no matter what she actually delivered.

And that’s really not fair. Taken entirely on its own merits, without any of the attendant buzz, her debut album Hands is a deliciously catchy collection of slick synth-pop that’s not especially deep, but is also never as vacuous as it could probably get away with considering its primary purpose is encouraging butt moving, not chin scratching. And perhaps that’s where the disappointment comes into it. I suspect that at the start, when Hesketh was making her name with cute and quirky bedroom performances of covers and originals on her YouTube channel, there were some expectations that she could be the thinking indie kid’s diva, crafting soundtracks for the skinny jean set to move awkwardly to.

Even though the initial singles that went onto her Arecibo EP were hardly lo-fi, they had a certain quality – like the slightly lurching, off-balanced throb to the beat in “Stuck On Repeat” – that seemed to imply that was a promise that she could deliver on. So for Hands to be as big and bold as it is could well have been something of a shock. I was certainly surprised at how unabashedly glammy and glossy it is – even after seeing her in full-on dance diva mode at SxSW – but it certainly hits my sugar tooth just right and has been in heavy rotation through most of the Summer. It may be a rather conventional dance-pop record but the hooks are still huge. Occasionally I wonder if I should be feeling guilty about enjoying it so much but if loving “Symmetry”, the duet with The Human League’s Philip Oakey, or the gorgeous shimmer of “Tune Into My Heart” is wrong then I don’t want to be right.

That said, it’s with the final, hidden track of Hands – the title track, no less – that you get a taste of what Hesketh sounds like away from the dance floor, and maybe what the album could have been. It’s a simple track, just voice and piano that contains more genuine personality than much of the rest of the album. It seems like a trifle, a little bit of Kate Nash flair, but somehow sticks long after the album is done. Don’t get me wrong – I have no complaints about Hands at all, but if the next record finds Hesketh stepping out of the disco and going for a contemplative wander through the quiet streets of the city, that might not be a bad thing at all.

In addition to Arecibo, Little Boots’ North American discography contains the Illuminations EP but not the full-length – it’s been given a vague “Fall 2009” target release date but the fact that it hasn’t hit the streets on the even of her first North American tour may be more evidence that some aren’t finding her to be the massive success they were expecting. Savages. Regardless, the jaunt begins this coming Monday night here in Toronto at Wrongbar and I am pretty certain that show will not disappoint in any way.

I Like Music and Portsmouth Today have interviews with Hesketh.

MP3: Little Boots – “Love Kills” (Buffetlibre vs Sidechains remix)
MP3: Little Boots – “Meddle” (remix)
Video: Little Boots – “Remedy”
Video: Little Boots – “New In Town”
MySpace: Little Boots

The Guardian talks to Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes, who I still maintain has the best of all the Mercury-nominated albums this year.

La Roux, who also didn’t win the Mercury, has a new video from the nominated self-titled album. Elly Jackson talks to The Daily Star and BBC and have a date at the Guvernment on October 23.

Video: La Roux – “I’m Not Your Toy”

Spinner talks to Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield about the problems that beset their last North American tour in 1999. Here’s hoping things go much better this time around, when they bring the ought-to-have-been-Mercury-nominated Journal For Plague Lovers, getting a domestic release come September 15, across the pond. They’re at the Phoenix on October 4.

Former Mercury nominee Richard Hawley will release his newest Truelove’s Gutter on September 22. There’s a video for the first single and the whole record is like a long, sustained swoon. Which is to say it’s lovely. Hawley chats with The Huddersfield Daily Examiner about the new record.

Video: Richard Hawley – “For Your Lover, Give Some Time”

Micachu & The Shapes have a new video. Look for them at the El Mocambo on September 29.

Video: Micachu & The Shapes – “Turn Me Well”

The Twilight Sad goes through Forget The Night Ahead track by track for The Skinny. The record is out September 22 and they play The El Mocambo on October 10.

The Sunday Mail has a quick chat with We Were Promised Jetpacks, also on that Twilight Sad tour and at the ElMo that night.

Noah & The Whale, whose new one First Days Of Spring is getting some solid praise, will be returning to North America including a Hallowe’en date at the Horseshoe in Toronto on October 31, tickets $15. Come dressed as your favourite Wes Anderson character! Actually, don’t – I am envisioning attending this gig surrounded by Richie and Margot Tenenbaum wannabes and it terrifies me. The album is out domestically on October 6.

Video: Noah & The Whale – “Blue Skies”

6 Day Riot have rolled out a new video from 6 Day Riot Have A Plan. I have an interview conducted with the band back in March I still have to finish transcribing. I so suck.

Video: 6 Day Riot – “O, Those Kids”

Los Campesinos are giving away a free track. Just because.

MP3: Los Campesinos! – “The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future”
Video: Los Campesinos! – “The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future”

Massive Attack prepare for the release of a new EP entitled Splitting The Atom, out October 6, by talking to Spin, Under The Radar and Spinner, the last of whom also have a stream of a new song. There’s also streams of new stuff at Stereogum and The Guardian.

Clash interviews Milo Cordell of The Big Pink. A Brief History Of Love is out September 22, they’re at Lee’s Palace on November 29.

The Quietus and Drowned In Sound chat with Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne about the deluxe reissues of Foxbase Alpha and Continental and the Britpop days of yore.

Chuck Klosterman examines the Beatles reissues – out today, in case you hadn’t noticed the media saturation – for the AV Club.

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

These Are My Twisted Words

Radiohead chide internet, magnanimously give away free song

Photo By Kevin WestenbergKevin WestenbergThis has already been covered ad nauseum everywhere – I saw it mentioned in some washroom graffiti yesterday – but I think my music blogging license gets revoked or something if I don’t report on it and anyways, it’s quick and easy and allows me to spend the evening watching television.

Everyone was abuzz last week when a song that sounded too much like Radiohead to not be Radiohead began circulating online without any official comment from the band’s camp. Naturally, everyone went batshit – they’d already released a new tune last week and recent interviews implied that they were tired of the conventional album release model and had some fresh ideas on how they’d release future recordings, so the idea that this was just the tip of a Radiohead-sized iceberg wasn’t an unreasonable assumption. Adding fuel to the fire was the discovery of an URL in some ASCII artwork that accompanied the leaked track that pointed to, which in turn pointed to w.a.s.t.e., Radiohead’s official webstore. By end of day Friday, the consensus was that the band would be releasing a new EP or album entitled Wall Of Ice on Monday, all sneaky-like, and all the ills of the world would be cured. Pitchfork has a summary of all this if you seek more detail.

Anyways, Monday rolled around yesterday as it often does following Sundays and lo and behold, there was indeed a new Radiohead release available for free on their website. One song – “These Are My Twisted Words” – which was the exact one that had been circulating since Friday and which started all the brouhaha. It’s a good one, for sure, and alongside Harry Patch gives a tantalizing taste of where Radiohead are, creatively, but hardly the grand event many had been hoping for. And what about Well assuming that that is, in fact, a Radiohead-sanctioned site, it now scolds everyone for rumour-mongering and generally being the internet. So, it seems by completely ignoring all this hubub until now, I may the one and only online outlet to remain in Thom Yorke’s good graces. Nyah!

Anyways, assuming that the ‘Head are done messing with peoples’ heads is probably unwise. When they take their time off, they’re almost deathly silent, but when they get up to stuff, they get up to a lot.

ZIP: Radiohead – “These Are My Twisted Words”

Moving on.

Maximo Park frontman checks in from Germany with another tour diary dispatch for Spinner. Think their September 18 date at Lee’s Palace will merit an entry of its own? No, probably not.

Channel News Asia has an interview with Emmy The Great, who has been keeping Summer festival diaries for The Guardian and Clash.

The Horrors have released a new video from Primary Colours. They’re at Lee’s Palace on October 14 and am hoping to score some decent tickets for the just-announced second Wilco show at Massey Hall on the 15th so I can see these guys the first night. Won’t be around for the presale tomorrow though – anyone want to grab me a ticket? I’m good for it, honest.

Video: The Horrors – “Mirror’s Image”

Also with a new video is Fanfarlo, who bring their delightful Reservoir album to North America on October 6. Paste declared them one of their “Best of what’s next for 2009” and they’re not wrong.

Video: Fanfarlo – “The Walls Are Coming Down”

Arctic Monkeys insist to BBC that their new album Humbug, out August 25, is not more “mature”. They are at the Kool Haus on September 29.

The Dumbing Of America has an interview with Charlotte Hatherley, whose New Worlds will be out in the UK on October 19.

The Times has a profile on Patrick Wolf.

NME reports that Placebo have canceled their entire upcoming North American tour in support of Battle For The Sun, including the October 6 date at the Sound Academy in Toronto, while frontman Brian Molko recovers from a virus contracted in Asia. Sidestepping joke about hoping Molko gets real drugs and not fake ones…. now.

The Boston Globe talks to Richard Thompson about his new box set Walking On A Wire: 1968-2009, which is out today. You can stream a sample of songs from the collection at Spinner.

Stream: Richard Thompson / Walking On A Wire (selections)

If you ever wondered exactly what you were getting when you paid for “remastered” reissues, check out this absurdly detailed report on what was done for the upcoming Beatles remasters, coming out September 9. I’m no big advocate of buying the same records over and over again, but if you’re a Beatles fan, these may well be worth the dosh.

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

"Dig A Pony"

St Vincent covers The Beatles

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangOkay, so I see why people are excited about the September 9 release of the Beatles remasters, and can also understand that Beatles: Rock Band is a big deal for those who like their Beatles and their Rock Band and think the two go together like chocolate and peanut brittle. But I haven’t been able to comprehend why people have been waiting for the Beatles catalog to come to online digital shops like iTunes for so long. I mean, if someone really wanted to hear The White Album on their iPod, would it really have been so difficult to find someone who owned the CDs – I believe the band was fairly popular in their day – and just rip it? Maybe they just want to be able to legitimately pay for the tracks again? I understand Sir Paul could use the dosh. And yeah, alright, I get that it’ll be the remastered albums that will finally make their way to iTunes at some unspecified future date, but doesn’t going to the trouble of remastering them to sound great and then compressing them to sound like crap seem pointless? No? Just me? Okay.

Far more comprehensible is getting really excited for this coming Saturday’s St Vincent show at the Horseshoe, though I don’t get why it’s not plum sold out by now. She’ll certainly be busting out tracks from both Actor and Marry Me – in far more guitar-prickly form if past experience is any indication – but perhaps she’ll also trot out this terrific Beatles cover, which was a staple of her Fall 2007 tour from which the MP3 and videos were taken, but also made an appearance this weekend when Ms Clark played Al Points West in New Jersey. I’m usually of the mind that the last thing the world needs is another Beatles cover, but when they’re done as interestingly as this one – faithful to the original but fully infused with her own distinct personality – then I’m okay with letting one more into the house.

MP3: St Vincent – “Dig A Pony”
Video: St Vincent – “Dig A Pony” (live at Other Music)
Video: St Vincent – “Dig A Pony” (Black Cab Sessions)
Video: The Beatles – “Dig A Pony”