Thursday, May 31, 2007

Under the Covers: The Beatles

"It's Been A Long Cold and Lonely Winter"

It's not easy to cover the Beatles. Proof:I Am Sam Soundtrack . While every teenage boy with a guitar has taken a stab at Blackbird, it takes a truly unique voice of wonder to interpret the Fab Four's mystique. Luckily there are a few people more than up for the challenge.

Nina Simone didn't get the name the "High Priestess of Soul" for nothing. She was born with the title, divine right, and she proves that on this version of the Harrison classick "Here Comes the Sun." Listen close and you can actually feel the sun creeping out from behind the clouds.

Soul Music, to me, is simply music that reminds you that underneath layers of cold hearted bitterness, you do indeed still have a soul. Wilson Pickett will make you feel that way as he tears through the Beatle's anthem "Hey Jude." The story goes like this: Brother Duane Allman was doing session work at Muscle Shoals Studios, where Wilson Pickett came to record. The locals would go into town to eat lunch every day, leaving the flamboyant Pickett and Skydog (Duane) behind. Duane prompted Wilson to cover "Hey Jude" by The Beatles. Pickett said "Skyman, that ain't for me. It's too weird." But Duane persisted and the version recorded is a classic in the same way as Joe Cocker's version of The Beatle's "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window." The outro, which Pickett and Brother Duane both absolutely CRUSH, is one of those windows down, volume max'd out, rave ups that will make the proverbial "IT" better. This song screams cathartic salvation. RIP Wilson and Brother SkyDog.

Nina Simone-Here Comes the Sun
Wilson Pickett- Hey Jude

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

old skool: Lee Dorsey

"Everything I Do Gonna be Funky from Now On"

A few summers ago a friend put Lee Dorsey's Ride Your Pony on a portable boom box. Drinks were drunk, smokes were smoked and three weeks later, like a bad/good trip into Billy Madison , we were still drunk by the pool on nudey magazine day and Dorsey's Ride Your Pony was still pushing the limits of the old Sony's primitive speakers (mmm Super Bass). With one click of the remote, 'repeat all', it was Ride Your Pony for weeks. No need for anything else. We had a good thang going.

Like a little bit of honey in your hot sauce, Lee Dorsey's music is an optimal blend of sticky-sweaty HOT funk and sugar soaked harmonies. Don't like BBQ? All good, Dorsey's sound is just as nectareous as boozed up lemonade, sweet and spirited with a lil' kick.

It's hard not to love Lee Dorsey's cheerful, warm Southern soul. Working side by side with the legendary Allen Toussaint, Dorsey crafted playful, rousing party music, with a voice sweet enough to make you weep (But why cry when you're having fun!). Famous for singing "Working on a Coal Mine," Dorsey epitomized a phrase he helped make popular: "Everything I'm Gonna Do Gonna be Funky From Now On." Of course the Beastie Boy's immortalized him in their 90's classick "Sure Shot," with the line "...and everything I do is funky like Lee Dorsey." Oh, fo' sho. Get a taste for Mr. Dorsey below, guaranteed to put some sunny soul in your life.

Lee Dorsey- Get Out My Life Woman
Lee Dorsey- Ride Your Pony
Lee Dorsey- Shortnin' Bread

nu musik: Art Brut

"Look at us, we formed a band!"

When Bang Bang Rock and Roll was released in the spring of 2005 we were immediately won over by Art Brut's frank, clever wittisisms. On "Good Weekend," a song about a new girlfriend, lead Brut Eddie Argo belts "I've seen her naked twice! I've seen her NAKED...TWICE!" Art Brut's kitsch-y power punk-pop is unflincingly honest and funny as fuck, giving many a youngster reason to pogo and giggle. Some other classick Art Brut lyrics:

"Modern Art Makes me wanna rock out!"
"Got myself a brand new girlfriend, so many messages to send"
"I can't stand the sound of the Velvet Underground"
"I want to be the man who writes the song that makes Israel and Palestine get along"

Their newest single, "Nag Nag Nag Nag," picks up right where they left off, opening with the lyric "Wet Trousers in the Washing Machine/ I'd rather be damp than seen in Jeans." Suffer for fashion, indeed. Their new record, It's a Bit Complicated, drops June 19th. Check it out "Nag Nag Nag Nag" below.

Art Brut- Nag Nag Nag Nag (It's A Bit Complicated out 6/19)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

nu musik: OCDJ

"Candy Crunk"

OCDJ makes self described "Candy Crunk, Chip Chop Dance Classixzzzzz" and boy do we love him for it. With summer officially, unofficially upon us we thought it'd be a good time to let you soak in some of his sugar-coated flourescent grime. 8 bit beats + drrrty irrrty rap = Summer Fun. "Pls Stp th Hstl" is straight electro infused hip hop, while "Trip Trip" is classick 8 bit orchestrated video game fun. Wham City! king Dan Deacon loves him, and we do too. Did I mention he's from my hometown of Randolph, NJ?! Yee-hawwwwwww. Also be sure to check out the killer archive of OCDJ radio shows over at WFMU. Thanks Dan!

OCDJ- Pls Stp Th Hstl
OCDJ- Trip Trip

nu musik: White Stripes

"Let's have a Ball & a Biscuit, Sugar"

Who loves the White Stripes?!?! Everyone. Here is another new track from the uber-anticipated new album Icky Thump available June 19th. Also, the fiesta of a video for the first single, "Icky Thump" below.

White Stripes- Conquest (Patti Page cover)

nu musik: R. Kelly

"My mind is telling me no / But my body is telling me yeah"

The songs on R. Kelly's new album Double Up (out today) can be broken down into the following categories:

songs about clubbin': 9
songs about b*tches trippin': 3
songs about boning: 5
*many tracks contain more than one of the above

Record labels will always tell artists when they want more material (aka we don't like what you've given us). Labels will rarely tell artists to cut their albums. This is apparant on Double Up, an album that with five less tracks, could have been the R&B album of the year. Instead it seems it might be remembered for its sporatic outrageousness.

A handful of tracks, most on the later part of the album, are simply weak. Even though Kels sounds great, as on Making a Baby, the subject matter and method of execution make the track awkward. Sex Planet, a five and a half minute extended metaphor between the universe and boning, uses creative lines and pasionate vocals, but can we really take him seriously when he says: "Girl I promise this will be painless / We'll take a trip to planet uranus"? This approach actually works to his advantage on tracks like The Zoo (listed below), a three and a half minute extended metaphor between the jungle and boning that leaves you singing "ooh ooh ooh ooh ah ah ah ah."

Overall Double Up has some fantastic tracks. Those of you who loved I'm a Flirt will not be dissapointed by the similar selection of minimal hooks and soulfull vocal verses (see Freaky in the Club, Double Up, below). Some guest tracks work: Get Dirty (ft/ Chingy), Same Girl (ft/ Usher). Others don't: Tryin' to Get a Number (ft. Nelly); Kels sounds dumb trying to rap like Nelly.

Often times Kels hints his exuberance is merely a form of rebellion. On the impressive yet uneccesaary rant track, Real Talk, Kels gives the audience more drama ala Trapped in the Closet but with subject matter tailored more to everyday activities: Kels at the club drinking Patron with the b*tches. "The only thing I'm trying to establish with you isn't who's right and who's wrong, but what's right and what's wrong." Just because Kels is trying to have a good time, doesn't mean he doesn't love you.

R. Kelly - Double Up (ft/ Snoop Dogg)
R. Kelly - Freaky in the Club
R. Kelly - The Zoo

Monday, May 28, 2007

Re-discovering Mississippi...Again

"Avalon's my home town / always on my mind"

If Nick Drake were a black farm hand in Mississippi in 1920 his name would be Mississippi John Hurt. I rolled the dice today at the record store and picked a random blues album (I liked the name): Mississippi John Hurt - Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings.

Hurt recorded briefly for OKeh in 1928 before the depression forced them to shut their doors, sending Hurt back to the farm and into obscurity. In 1963, folk musicologist Tom Hoskins tracked down Hurt, then 71, and convinced him to move to DC to pursue his music career. Timely performances and three new records for Vanguard helped Hurt gain new fans and, until his death in 1966, remain extremely popular.

The tracks below are from Avalon Blues (1928), Today! (1966), and The Immortal (1967). It's hard to believe there's almost 40 years between the recordings. Hurt's voice seems more mature and patient on his re-recordings and his unique finger-picking is surpisingly as delicate and powerful as the originals.

Mississippi John Hurt - Frankie [1928]
Mississippi John Hurt - Got the Blues (Can't be Satisfied) [1928]
Mississippi John Hurt - I Got the Blues and I Can't be Satisfied [1967]
Mississippi John Hurt - Pay Day [1966]

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Diplo Can't Forget J. Dilla

J. Dilla R.I.P 2/7/74-2/10/06

Mad Decent just put out another podcast in their seriously bumping Worldwide Radio series. A tribute to the late great J. Dilla. Here's the description:

"like any self respecting hip hop fan, i’m completely obsessed with Jay D.. the hip hop producer from detroit that is every producers favorite producer (he was actually hip hop incarnate) ... he died last year - feb 10th, and i cant even say how tragic it was for our generations musical landscape.... you will figure that out in time.

Dj soul just did an exclusive mini mix for mad decent radio, because I just wanted to keep people out there knowing he was one of the reasons we do any of the things we do over at mad decent .. and i can do a dilla mix every 2 weeks for gods sake

and check out the incredible assorted donuts mix soul has done, and big huge propers goes to soul for taking part in the Dilla project walk for lupus 2 weeks back in detroit

23 minutes and 17 seconds of straight funkin' SOUL music.

Mad Decent World Wide Radio #15- Cant Forget J. Dilla

Good Peeps: Erlend Oye

"Every Party Has A Winner & A Loser"

We're not afraid to admit our intense love of all things Scandanavian. The accent, the names (Jens/Lindstrom), and especially the music (electro/pop/space disco/goth house). Maybe it has something to do with only getting sunlight for half the year, but whatever the cause, there is some incredibly magikal stuff coming out of Viking land.

One of our favorite Scandanavian's is Erlend Oye. Erlend, who hails from Bergen, Norway (also home to Royksopp, Annie, and The Knife) is famous for his work in the Norweigan version of Simon & Garfunkel, Kings of Convenience. However, in the past few years Oye has ditched his acoustic guitar for a pair of turntables and a host of synthesizers. Aside from his work with Royksopp (yep, the sick song on the Geico commercial) and his on-going stint in the Whitest Boy Alive (fitting name), Erlend has produced a bevy of fuzzy, infectious downtempo electronic pop songs. His album Unrest is a collection of 10 tracks recorded in 10 different cities with 10 different producers. He has also contributed to the ever expanding DJ KiCKS series, where he remixes the Rapture and Phoenix, among others. Below you can download a song he did with Prefuse 73 (one of our all time favorites tracks) and the absurdly titled "Poor Leno" remix from Erlend's DJ KiCKS. If you dig the Postal Service, you're gonna eat this right up.

Royksopp & Erlend Oye- Poor Leno (Silicone Souls Hypno House Dub)/There is a Light that Never Goes Out (acappella)

From Unrest
Erlend Oye & Prefuse 73- Every Party Has a Winner and a Loser

Solo acoustic rendition of "Every Party..."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

If the Shoe Fits...Turn Up the Volume!

"All of my insecurities are summed up when you walk into my room"

You: "Is this the Buzzcocks?"
Me: "Nope"
You: "Sounds a little like The Futureheads"
Me: "Wrong again"
You: "Well damnit man, who is this? It's fuckin' great!"
Me: "Good Shoes"

Good news. I got my psychic license renewed and it's good thru 2011. The excerpt above is what you would have said if you listened to the tracks below without me telling you who they were.

Good Shoes, the latest of underage British throwback rock bands, released their first album, Think Before You Speak, in late March. Truthfully, it hasn't caught on the way I anticipated, so I thought I'd share some tracks and let you decide for yourself. Their lyrics seem honest, their guitars are tight and focussed. With 14 tracks I had a hard time picking out just a couple.

Good Shoes - Nazanin
Good Shoes - Sophia
Good Shoes - Small Town Girl

video for "All In My Head"

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This is Just a Tribute: Arcade Fire

"Wake Up"

Like every other snot-nosed punk of a music resource, we love us some Arcade Fire. Their fiery, symphonic baroque-indie rock has been boiling our blood (good thing) since Funeral was released way back in September of 2004. And Neon Bible, fah-get-AH-bow-tit. Definitely no sign sophomore slump. So if you can't handle waiting for the next 7" or import or EP or bootleg to hit the proverbial streets/internet(s), then check out The String Quartet Tribute to the Arcade Fire's Funeral. Described as "an instrumental voyage through the band's dreamy and startling landscapes," this string tribute re-creates the band's instant classick Funeral in its entirety, maximizing their already orchestral sound. Download interpretations of "Rebellion (Lies)" and "Wake Up" below.

The String Quartet Tribute to the Arcade Fire- Rebellion(Lies)
The String Quartet Tribute to the Arcade Fire- Wake Up

Arcade Fire with Ziggy Stardust/Aladin Sane/Thin White Duke!

Classick Albums: Far Away Trains Passing By

"Ambient Shoegaze Electronica"

Berlin-based producer Ulrich Schnauss burst onto the electronic music scene in 2001 with the release of his dreamy debut album "Far Away Trains Passing By." Featuring focused yet glitchy beats interwoven with warm, lush tones, Schnauss' music on this disc walks the line between chilly isolation and jubilant triumph, a result of his seemingly effortless use of melody and production techniques. This album features a plethora of sweeping major chord progressions, but Schnauss somehow manages to make them sound unpretentious and peaceful when taken in the grander context of the entire song. This is refreshingly ambient electronic music infused with memorable melodies and catchy beats, and is best suited for a quiet evening with a pair of headphones or a late night drive on an empty highway. Check out the opening track below.

Also, be sure to look for Schnauss' third album "Goodbye" to be released on Domino Records July 10.

Ulrich Schnauss - Knuddelmaus

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Collabo's: Dylan

"Guess Things Happen That Way"

We love us some colla-bo's. M.I.A & Timbo, Jerry & Grisman, or Miles & 'Trane, it's all good. No doubt Robert Zimmerman feels the same way. This week we highlight some friendly, very loose collaborations from the late 60's/early 70's, when the Bard could do no wrong.

The Dylan & Cash Sessions have been widely bootlegged since they were laid down in CBS Studio's in Nashville in spring of '69. The vibe is super loose and many of the tracks are first takes, giving them a sincere, raw quality that only adds to the magikal ambiance of their collaboration. We all know the classik version of "Girl from the North Country" on Nashville Skyline, but be sure to check out ultra sweet versions of "Guess Things Happen That Way," "I Walk the Line" and "You Are My Sunshine."

About a year after his studio sessions with Cash in Nashville, Dylan found himself in New York's Columbia Studios with legendary Beatle, George Harrison. Unlike the Cash sessions, Harrison sits in the backseat, acting as a sideman, occassionally providing backing vocals. Checkout the undisputed highlights of the session, a jangly juke house ramblin' version of "Matchbox" and a tape hissing lo-fi, electric-country-blues cover of "Yesterday." This may be Bobby D butchering the Beatles, but it's still pretty sweet.

from the Dylan/Cash Nashville Studio Sessions '69
Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash- I Guess Things Happen That Way
Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash- I Walk the Line
Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash- You Are My Sunshine

from the Almost Went to See Elvis Sessions- 5/1/70
Bob Dylan & George Harrison- Yesterday
Bob Dylan & George Harrison- Matchbox

Sneak Peak inside the studio with Bobby D & the Man in Black

Photo Courtesy of Brother Stead

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Knuckles Podcast #10: Twangggg

Loretta Lynn- Van Lear Rose (Van Lear Rose)
Arcade Fire- (Anti-Christ Television Blues) (Neon Bible)
Susan Christie- Ghost Riders in the Sky (Paint a Lady)
Bruce Springsteen- Atlantic City (Nebraska)
Emmylou Harris & the Nash Ramblers- Lodi (At the Ryman)
Bright Eyes- Middleman (Cassadaga)
Lucinda Williams- Lake Charles (Car Wheels on a Gravel Road)
Gillian Welch- I Want to Sing that Rock & Roll (Time (The Revelator))
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott- Leaving Cheyenne (I Stand Alone)
Solomon Burke & Emmylou Harris- We’re Gonna Hold On (Nashville)
Tom Waits- Long Way Home (Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards)

Download Knuckles McGregor Podcast #10 here

Friday, May 18, 2007


Before Wilco...there was Uncle Tupelo. Before Uncle Tupelo, there wasn't much of Alt-Country as we know it. But don't tell that to Jayhawks frontman, Gary Louris. Uncle Tupelo's breakthrough debut album, No Depression, is often credited as the beginning of alt-country. The Jayhawks first two albums actually precede No Depression, released in 1988 and 1989.

In 1992 The Jayhawks released their major label debut , Hollywood Town Hall, which built on the unpolished country-rock of their first two albums. Hollywood Town Hall became the Jayhawks's first success, and, 15 years later, still holds its own as one of the finest albums in alt-country's short history.

While The Jayhawks are on an uber-ambiguous(infinite?) hiatus, Louris has been busy with the alt-country supergroup Golden Smog(above), which formerly included Wilco mastermind Jeff Tweedy (second from left, looking very creepy).

from Hollywood Town Hall (1992):
The Jayhawks - Wichita
The Jayhawks - Crowded in the Wings

from Down By the Old Mainstream (1995):
Golden Smog - Radio King

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Bobka Love/Panda Bear/ Blog Fresh

"Try to remember always just to have a good time"

Alex from Blog Fresh Radio was nice enough to have us on her radio show this week to discuss Panda Bear's mind blowing Person Pitch. If you want to hear me pontificate on the Panda Bear song "Comfy in Nautica", click here. You can download "Comfy in Nautica" below. Get this record, save your soul. period.

Panda Bear- Comfy in Nautica

Monday, May 14, 2007

Under the Covers: The Magnetic Fields

"Hey?!? Am I Making Any Sense At All?!?!"

The Magnetic Fields are a folkie synth pop band (if that makes sense) fronted by Stephin Merritt. Merritt started the group as a bedroom project, but it quickly grew to include childhood friends Claudia Gonson, Sam Davol and John Woo. While the group has held a cult following since 1991, they gained notoriety in 1999 with 69 Love Songs, a triple album of, yep, love songs.

Today we've got two The Magnetic Fields covers. The first is from one of our favorite Norweigan's (we've got many), Erlend Oye. You may know of him as a DJ, a King of Convenience, Feist & Royksopp collaborator, or, possibly, the Whitest Boy Alive. Regardless, this guy's got the midas touch and his vocal on "the Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side" is as genuine, clever and witty as Stephen Merritt's. Download the Kings of Convenience and Magnetic Fields versions below.

!!! If you've seen this puzzling string of exclamation points and were wondering what the hell it means, well it's pronounced 'chk-chk-chk' and it's punctuation for kick-ass drrrrty disco dance punk funk. Think Chili Peppers Meets LCD Soundsystem and My Bloody Valentine. A few years ago they released one of our favorite bangers "Me & Guiliani Down By the School Yard," which they followed with the aptly titled "Take Ecstasy With Me," a song off the Magnetic Fields record Holiday. They couldn't have picked a more appropriate song.

Magnetic Fields- Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side
Kings of Convenience- Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side (live)

Magnetic Fields- Take Ecstasy With Me
!!!- Take Ecstasy With Me

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Simian Mobile Disco

"It's the Beat"

Formed in 2005 from the ashes of the English elctro-pop group Simian, Simian Mobile Disco are a production and remix duo consisting of James Ellis Ford and James Anthony Shaw. SMD creates self-described "good, old fashioned, analogue party music" and will release their debut LP "Attack Decay Sustain Release" on June 18 on Wichita Recordings. The album features five new tracks and also includes some of their bigger singles from the past two years, including "Tits & Acid" & "Hotdog." Yum.

For your enjoyment we have included a new track, a somewhat recent mix (which was discovered on the fantastic Discobelle), and the notorious music video for the 2006 single "Hustler."

Simian Mobile Disco - I Got This Down
Simian Mobile Disco - New Rave Mix (Nov 06)

The best video ever made?


"Walk it Out"

So we've been digging these guys for a while now after hearing about them on Gorilla vs. Bear. Ever since we've been including their work on nearly everything we do around here (Knuckles McGregor Podcast, last week's Bangers, and last week's Feist Post). Seriously, it's just really hard to resist the juxtaposing sounds of squeemish indie rock with flo hot, drrrty hip hop. Check out ABX's mash Hot Chip vs. Was (not Was) vs. UNK "Walk the Dinosaur Over and Out." Also, finally, a good mash up using Peter Bjorn and John's "Young Folks." Bonus points for utilizing Sisqo's "Thong Song."

For your aural enjoyment:

Hot Chip vs. Was(not Was) vs. UNK- Walk the Dinosaur Over and Out

Peter Bjorn and John vs. Sisqo- Young Thongs (The Prairie Cartel)

Why not

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Grateful Dead - Cornell 77

"Once in a while you get shown the light..."
Neon Jerry

30 years ago today, the Grateful Dead rolled into Ithaca, NY and played a show at Cornell University's Barton Hall. The cause of what transpired that night remains up for debate (Bear's finest batch?), but the outcome is certain: the magnum opus of the band's illustrious career.

The mayor of Ithaca has declared today "Grateful Dead Day" in recognition of the "transcendent" performance. Check out the tracks below to get an idea of what went down on that extraordinary night all those years ago.

Scarlet > Fire

Morning Dew

Monday, May 7, 2007

Kid Sis Run Tings!

"Damn Girl, Don't Hurt 'Em"

Back in November I included Kid Sister's "Damn Girl" on the inaugural edition of the Knuckles McGregor Podcast after hearing it on FLO$$TRADAMU$' 3 Peat mix. Well finally after months of waiting she drops some official shit. Last week Kid Sister released the Control EP on A-Trak's Fool's Gold Records. The EP features a couple of different versions of "Control" and "Damn Girl." I've said it before and I'll say it again, Kid Sis is gonna be FUCKING HUGE! Her dancey blend of electro hip hop is, as Robert Palmer would say, "simply irresistible." Simply put, the girls got the gift of gab and the likes of XXXchange of Spank Rock, A-Trak's (Kanye's DJ),FLO$$TRADAMU$(her bro J2K and autobot) and Diplo(persuaded her to start rapping) in her corner. Down below find some mp3's and a video of her performing with Flosstradamus at SXSW's IHeartCOMIX party, as well as an old skool favorite. Let-let-l-l-l-let it perc-u-late, let it perc-u-late.

Kid Sister- Damn Girl (A-Trak)
Kid Sister- Girlie Rock (FLO$$TRADAMU$ mix)
Kid Sister-Pro Nails (A-Trak)
Kid Sister-Control (A-Trak) ("Up in the bedroom, I got mimosa's")

My Buddy, My Buddy and Me....Kid Sister, Kid Sister and Me

Kid Sister w/ FLO$$TRADAMU$

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Under the Covers

"Lose Your Dreams & You Will Lose Your Mind"

Our "Under the Covers" feature aims to bring you cool, possibly unknown, versions of your/our favorite songs, or at least some good ones we've discovered along the golden road.

This week's tracks come by way of the Rolling Stones. First is Franco Battiato's cover of the Stone's classik "Ruby Tuesday." KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic turned me on to this and I couldn't be more appreciative. The operatic background vocals and string arrangements on this are both bone chilling and hauntingly beautiful. Imagine how perfect this would've been in The Royal Tennenbaums, when Margo and Richie are in the tent. Regardless, it gets the cinematic treatment in Children of Men.

The second is another Stones classik, "Jumpin' Jack Flash" which is performed here by Ananda Shankar, nephew of world renowned sitarist Ravi Shankar. Ananada is famous for his fusion of Eastern and Western musical stylings, as well as his collaborations with Jimi Hendrix in the late 60's.

In case you can't remember the original "Ruby Tuesday," we've dug up a video of the Stones playing it live on Ed Sullivan circa '67. Keith on piano looking karazee as ever, sitting next to Brian Jones, on recorder! Cue screaming girls!

Ananda Shankar- Jumpin' Jack Flash
Franco Battiato- Ruby Tuesday