Sunday, January 31, 2010

Nouvelle Vague - "Bande à Part" (2006)

French band Nouvelle Vague might not write their own material, but their unique take on songs puts them above the simple label of cover band. Digging through New Wave and Post Punk songs from the 80's, they reinterpret them as swanky 60's-style bossa nova numbers that drop you into a café sipping coffee in their native land. One trick in making the songs they select uniquely theirs is to only cover numbers the two female leads have not heard before, further distancing the cover from the original. Here on their second album Bande à Part, they put a fun spin on some gems from acts like Blondie, Billy Idol, U2, and The Smiths. -- Chris Baginski

1. "The Killing Moon" (Echo & The Bunnymen)
2. "Ever Fallen In Love?"(Buzzcocks)
3. "Dance With Me" (Lords of the New Church)
4. "Don't Go" (Yahzo)
5. "Dancing With Myself" (Billy Idol)
6. "Pride (In the Name of Love)" (U2)
7. "O Pamela" (The Wake)
8. "Heart of Glass" (Blondie)
9. "Confusion" (New Order)
10. "Human Fly" (The Cramps)
11. "Bela Lugosi's Dead" (Bauhaus)
12. "Shack Up" (A Certain Ratio)
13. "Let Me Go" (Heaven 17)
14. "Fade To Grey" (Visage)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Justin Townes Earle - "Yuma" EP (2007)

Justin Townes Earle carries the names of two big figures in country-folk music. His middle name comes from Townes Van Zandt who never found mainstream success but influenced the likes of Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and Justin's father, Steve Earle. Here on Justin's debut he shows those names run deep and that he too can craft a powerful story in his own songs. Recorded by himself so he'd have something to sell on the road, the Yuma EP bottles up Justin on guitar, a sprinkling of mandolin and harmonica, a go with the wind grin, and a great sign of things to come. -- Chris Baginski

1. "The Ghost of Virginia" (3:39)
2. "You Can't Leave" (3:34)
3. "Yuma" (3:05)
4. "I Don't Care" (1:54)
5. "Let The Waters Rise" (2:43)
6. "A Desolate Angels Blues" (4:03)

see Justin live on Tour

Grooveshark Stream

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Seu Jorge - "The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions" (2005)

Wes Anderson has a knack for picking charmingly appropriate music for his films and for The Life Aquatic, a stand out is Seu Jorge's David Bowie covers. Preformed solo acoustic and in Portuguese through out the movie, several were included on the official soundtrack but this album collects many more from a Rome recording session put together after the film's release with Anderson producing. Some of the best song selections for Anderson's film soundtracks always have a worldly joy to them while remaining warmly familiar. Here that idea is expanded upon with fantastic results. -- Chris Baginski

1. "Rebel Rebel" 2:46
2. "Life on Mars?" 3:29
3. "Starman" 3:16
4. "Ziggy Stardust" 3:41
5. "Lady Stardust" 3:31
6. "Changes" 3:40
7. "Oh! You Pretty Things" 3:32
8. "Rock N' Roll Suicide" 3:10
9. "Suffragette City" 3:10
10. "Five Years" 3:59
11. "Queen Bitch" 3:42
12. "When I Live My Dream" 2:55
13. "Quicksand" 4:35
14. "Team Zissou" 2:32

Life On Mars? Studio Video

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Whiskeytown - "Pneumonia" (2001)

Before his solo debut in 2000, Ryan Adams fronted the North Carolina born band Whiskeytown. Pneumonia, the band's 3rd and final album, sat shelved for nearly two years after its recording due to Outpost Records folding during a label merger. It eventually saw the light of day and bridges Ryan's alt-country defining days in Whiskeytown with his bountiful songwriting output that spanned the last decade. Beneath both periods his band members changed as much as his perceived persona, but his drive to write honest, American music only increased. Here you can listen to him on the cusp of greatness on an album that's for sure a desert island necessity for me. Such artists gracefully command your attention with no more than a constant drive to express their soul, and once they have it, there's no mistaking such genuine endeavor from all else. -- Chris Baginski

1. "The Ballad of Carol Lynn" (3:04)
2. "Don't Wanna Know Why" (3:59)
3. "Jacksonville Skyline" (3:01)
4. "Reasons to Lie" (3:30)
5. "Don't Be Sad" (3:21)
6. "Sit & Listen to the Rain" (4:05)
7. "Under Your Breath" (3:28)
8. "Mirror, Mirror" (3:15)
9. "Paper Moon" (4:42)
10. "What the Devil Wanted" (3:38)
11. "Crazy About You" (2:46)
12. "My Hometown" (2:46)
13. "Easy Hearts" (5:08)
14. "Bar Lights" (3:56)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Phish - "Rift" (1993)

On 1993's Rift, Phish created a dreamworld concept album that brought together their complex music stylings with well crafted songs and lyrics. As usual, the tracks run the gambit of genres from rock and classical composition to bluegrass and ballads. But this doesn't take away from the cohesion that runs through the album of a forlorn man battling his emotions while he sleeps. The band is in tip-top form showing clear mastering of their instruments, the results of heavy touring and practicing during this time. It's the first Phish album that grabbed me and I was immediately drawn into a phishy world of ignited souls, icy doppelgangers, limestone blocks, and bitter blues. -- Chris Baginski

1. "Rift" (6:13)
2. "Fast Enough for You" (4:51)
3. "Lengthwise" (1:19)
4. "Maze" (8:13)
5. "Sparkle" (3:54)
6. "Horn" (3:37)
7. "The Wedge" (4:07)
8. "My Friend, My Friend" (6:09)
9. "Weigh" (5:08)
10. "All Things Reconsidered" (2:32)
11. "Mound" (6:02)
12. "It's Ice" (8:14)
13. "Lengthwise" (0:34)
14. "The Horse" (1:23)
15. "Silent in the Morning" (5:28)

Rift Cover Art Puzzle $10

Dave Brubeck - "Instant Brubeck" (1954)

If you ever find yourself around the Quartier Latin in Montreal be sure to check out Beatnick Music. This cavern like record store offers a great selection of music that's spaciously organized for easy browsing. The owners are always aquiring new records and will point you in the right direction if you're up for a conversation. I came across this Dave Brubeck album, took a chance based on the cover art and discovered it works perfectly for the music inside. Too bad the re-release of this record uses a different cover and changes the title to Brubeck Time. But the music remains the same offering the sunnyside up jazz that Brubeck's Quartet is known for. This is the first studio outing for the band and it showcases Brubeck's unique compositional style and his equally important saxophonist, Paul Desmond. -- Chris Baginski

1. "Audrey" 3:33
2. "Jeepers Creepers" 4:56
3. "Pennies From Heaven" 6:27
4. "Why Do I Love You" 5:41
5. "Stompin' For Mili" 5:26
6. "Keppin' Out Of Mischief Now" 5:05
7. "A Fine Romance" 3:48
8. "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?" 5:17