Category Archives: Covers

Black Moth Super Rainbow

I’ve been listening to Black Moth Super Rainbow‘s 2007 album Dandelion Gum. This analog-sourced electronic synth pop drone James-Bond-theme-on-better-drugs whatnot occupies certain parts of your brain so the others can go into overdrive. It’s great stuff to blare while you’re brainstorming. My favorite tune is Forever Heavy.

I bought it because I downloaded the song Sun Lips, which quickly became a staple for all sorts of mixes. I like to pair it with the Air remix of the Beck cover of the Air song Heaven Hammer (Missing).

MOKB alerts me that BMSR is coming out with a new EP in August/September: Dippers (preorder). You can listen to one track, Happy Melted City, here at their MySpace or download the thing from YANP. Download some other tunes, including some old stuff of theirs, from their site.

Also! I have uploaded the tracks the band has released as a promo for Dippers, which they are calling Bonus dippers. The band has all the files zipped for download here, or you can download them individually through the miracle of ones and zeroes from my mp3 page. I recommend Slide 9, Day On a Bike, and Unfinished Sketch 3.

If you’re way into it, check this out. They played SXSW with their buddies The Octopus Project; together the two bands released a disc called The House of Apples and Eyeballs.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Covers, Downloads, mp3s, New

Trampled Under Foot (TUF)

Kansas City blues band Trampled Under Foot gave a stellar CD release concert at Uncle Bo’s last Friday night in Topeka, Kansas.

Their latest release, May I Be Excused, is available for purchase here. My copy is still on its way, but judging from the evolution of their live shows (and because of the rough recording quality of some of their older work), this must-have 12-song disc will certainly be their best, showcasing their songwriting skills and commanding vocals. They won the 2008 International Blues Challenge in Memphis (in a field of 90 bands), and just in case you think these kids are fooling around, also note well that “big brother Nick” won the Albert King Award for Most Promising Guitarist at the IBC.

These incredibly talented siblings–vocalist and bassist Danielle, guitarist Nick, and drummer Kris Schnebelen–are part and parcel of the larger family of regional blues musicians. This is Kansas City, after all, and it ain’t known for its techno. So singeth Muddy Waters (listen here to Kansas City Blues).

Their mom and dad were musicians in KC-local Little Eva and the Works. Nick worked with the bands K-Floor (a.k.a. Killin’ Floor) and Buddahead on the east coast before returning to team up with the fam. Danielle came up in the KC scene via Fresh Brew Band, The Nortons (watch her here), and regular Friday gigs at the Grand Emporium as Danielle Schnebelen and the Rush Hour Rendezvous. She recently married Brandon Hudspeth, the front man for local blues group Levee Town.

This post updates (and eclipses) Stella Splice’s February review.

The Trampled Under Foot performance on June 27, 2008, was in the basement of the downtown Ramada. If you can rock the Ramada in northeast Kansas, you can rock any place imaginable.

I’ve also seen the band at other, bigger venues: B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ, which is a must-go club for all those passing through, no matter the act, and also The Jazzhaus. These three shows, over the course of time, were like core samples of TUF’s evolution from great to call-everyone-you-know killer great.

I’m going to act like I’ve seen the hard-touring TUF crew a bunch of times and sketch a “typical” show.

They open with an instrumental, tuning you in to their groove. Then maybe Nick steps up to the mic, tearing into the most danceable sort of blues number with a voice that sounds chock-full with decades of whiskey, cigarettes, and no-good women. His smile is the biggest I’ve ever seen this side of a Crest commercial, but it’s twisted with a love for the bended blue notes he shakes out of his left-handed guitar (she’s a lefty, too). We hear the first round of Nick’s solos, and even the most recalcitrant concert-goer wants to hop up and see if they’ve got any boogie-woogie left in ’em.

The third song: it’s Danielle’s turn to sing. You could have listened to a Nick-fronted band all night, and been ecstatic for the chance. But once the force of nature that is her voice emanates from that woman’s soul, you just want more “D,” the little sister on bass. I recommend listening to the title track May I Be Excused on their MySpace. The butter-smooth song showcases Danielle, and even though it comes in just shy of seven minutes, she still makes you wanna beg for more. Don’t think for a minute that that song captures her energy on stage, though. In fact, my one and only criticism of her is she gets so into the vocals she sometimes twists her head away from the mic, and I don’t want to miss even those split seconds.

The rest of the show will go back and forth with Nick and Danielle trading songs. The real gems are when they (plus Kris, who is underused for this function) chime in on each others’ choruses, for that familial harmony that rings so true.

For the last song of the first set, D will leave the stage while Nick solos his ass off, guitar behind the head, taking you through a technical and emotional tour of blues history. Then Nick will leave Kris alone on stage for the sort of drum solo that makes you regret your current occupation–“Why didn’t I choose percussion in grade school?!?” Eventually, after waves of tom riffs and powerfully silent two-beats that make you yell out in hearty agreement, Kris drops back into keeping time and the others join him to finish off the song and the set. But not to worry, there’s so much more to come.

To kick off round two, Nick sets up at the trap set. He plays guitar and two-foots the bass and the top hat perfectly. It’s not a novelty; it’s just a great song that he plays himself. And it’s gotten much, much better over time.

The rest of the show may include Nick on the Dobro, a round of solos by each band member during the bridge of a couple of songs, a jam with a fellow musician (last night on the Hammond B3 organ), and a whirlwind of covers. Over the course of three shows, I heard Aretha Franklin’s Chain of Fools, which turned people into crazed fools on the dance floor, Gladys Knight & the Pips’ Midnight Train to Georgia, Howlin’ Wolf’s Killing Floor and his Howlin’ for My Darlin’ (which Nick rocks with absolute authority, as if he penned it himself), the Janis Joplin version of Summertime, I Shot the Sheriff by Bob Marley and The Wailers, and Danielle workin’ it out on Etta James’ At Last. (D says Etta is her biggest influence.)

The most crowd-pleasing of their older original music is Honey Bee and Virginia Creeper, both streaming on TUF’s MySpace.

At the end of a third set, the band tried to get off the stage and no one wanted to let them. Brilliantly, Danielle satisfied the crowd and sent us off to bed with a sweet a cappella cover of Janis Joplin’s Mercedes Benz with big brothers on harmony. Very nice.

Leave a comment

Filed under Concerts, Covers, Shows

The Swell Season at Bonnaroo 2008

The Swell Season captured the spirit of Bonnaroo best, of all the great bands I saw (pictures). You can download the show, transformed magically into mp3s, here, or any of 15 other live shows of theirs here.

I expected great things from Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, but I also know it’s hard to put a sweet sound out into the great outdoors and manage to maintain intimacy and vibrancy all at once. Their songs did just that, and their humility and joy refreshed us despite the mid-day heat. The two musicians really did fall in love while filming the movie Once and making the music that became not just a soundtrack but also this group The Swell Season. They interacted on stage just how I’d hoped: adoring looks, encouraging cues, an ever-so-slight touch on the shoulder while they worked out what to play next.

If you haven’t bought any of their stuff yet, I would recommend the collector’s edition of the Once soundtrack that also includes a couple of live cuts and a making-of DVD. Perhaps it talks about how they fell in love while filming and touring. And the actual movie DVD is out now, too, if you missed it in theaters. If you saw the movie, you won’t be surprised to know The Swell Season covered two Van Morrison songs, Astral Weeks and Into the Mystic.

Glen was much more of a showman than I expected. He orchestrated the audience without commanding us (see future post on Metallica at Bonnaroo), encouraging us to cut loose with no inhibitions in the spirit of a festival. We were hungry for this sort of communal happiness, and the packed audience ate it up and gave it back to the performers on stage tenfold.

Glen and Markéta were accompanied by Glen’s usual band (since 1990) The Frames. I’ve not been able to get into their records, but this show made me want to keep trying until it takes. The drummer was an incredible mix of charismatic and seriously absorbed, the guitarist and bass player were great role players, and the violinist played so emotively I actually looked for another woman singer when he laid harmonies over and under Markéta’s soaring vocals.

The song I loved best was originally a Frames song, called God Bless Mom. It’s not anywhere online live to show you. I’ll keep a lookout. The video for the original version of the song does nothing to capture the dynamic range with which The Swell Season infused it.

I love The Pixies. I was amped for a Pixies cover by a downloadable concert of The Swell Season at the 9:30 Club offered by NPR here. So when the band left the stage and Glen and Markéta had a confab and then broke into a cover of Levitate Me, I went ballistic. You can’t see me going apeshit about five rows back in  the crowd, which is only due to the camera angle, but it’s still fun to watch them.

The band worked a jam for a while, which was unremarkable in and of itself. But Glen asked poets to come up on the stage, and two people took the invitation. The man who went first looked at the crowd in awe, genuinely taken aback by the sea of people focused on him. Glen nodded in shared astonishment, and with that bolstering moment the dude plowed into a really good poem. I tapped him on the shoulder later and thanked him for letting us all be part of something special, and he seemed to take the compliment as seriously as I meant it.

Final note: They did an encore, Hey Day (written by Mic Christopher), which was racous. What more could ya want?

Leave a comment

Filed under Concerts, Covers, DVD, Movie, Shows, Soundtrack

The Black Keys

I was recently convicted by a friend for my “apparently unceasing love for The Black Keys.” Roger that. Makes me smile every time to think how much a compliment I consider her straightforward statement of fact to be.

Stereogum points out that the duo cut and put out a cover of the Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band (geek on frontman Don Van Vliet here) song I’m Glad.

The mp3 is downloadable on their MySpace (or at Stereogum) until Friday.

I hesitate to be so crude, but this is the sort of song you put on and ignore for a couple of minutes, only to find it has surreptitiously grabbed you by the balls and you realize you may have been holding your breath.

In other good news, if you live in the Cleveland, there’s a surprise first-come-fist-served Black Keys show on Wednesday. Check the info here.

1 Comment

Filed under Covers, New

Chaka Khan, Al Green, Diana Ross & The Supremes, etc.

I totally missed the great Chaka Khan‘s double-Grammy disc Funk You (listen/buy). For fun, here are three very different YouTubes of her, a classic song, her on drums, and a jazzy tune.

Muzzle of Bees introduced me to the disc Dirty Laundry: The Soul of Black Country. Review here, tracklist here, and buy it here. We’re talking a great compilation here, including James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, The Pointer Sisters, Bobby Womack, Etta James, etc.

Stop, children, what’s that sound … everybody look at this delicate but soulful cover of Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth covered by Sergio Mendes & Brazil ‘66, which you can download at Aquarium Drunkard. Buy the disc.

Aquarium Drunkard also alerts us to the amazing double disc of Diana Ross and The Supremes rarities, available here. Find their cover of Stevie Wonder’s Uptight for download here. Also, you can stream Diana Ross’ recent album of just covers, I Love You, in its entirety here.

In late May, Al Green comes out with a new disc Lay It Down that is evidently star-studded, as if Al weren’t enough. Preview a track at Soul Sides; it’s Al with Anthony Hamilton (my review of him) performing You Got the Love I Need Babe. You can also stream Al Green’s remastered greatest hits album here.

By the way, if you get a chance to see Al Green live, pay the money and sit in the front. It’s a life highlight. Check the tour dates, such as his shows co-headlining with Gladys Knight!

To bring this post full circle to yesterday’s, the Estelle/Kanye song American Boy contains the lyric “The Pips at they Gladys.” Fun!

2 Comments

Filed under Concerts, Covers, New, Shows

Van Morrison

Van Morrison’s new album, Keep It Simple, is as wonderful as you could hope for. He hasn’t lost his chops, and though his voice may have deepened a tad or perhaps just mellowed, it is to no ill effect. The sound of the disc is gentle and soulful, rather than intense–perfect for rainy spring days.

You can stream four tracks on his exemplary MySpace. Buy the thing, which came out just yesterday.

Peruse his back catalog at his website to soak in the iconographic heft of Van the Man. Glen Hansard humbly and sincerely acknowledges “the greatest Irish songwriter that ever lived” in the preamble to The Swell Season’s cover of Into the Mystic (download or stream at my Bonnaroo Muxtape).

Mmmmmm … now for the YouTubes! Oh, wait, there are none. Well, good for him and bad for you. Go rent The Last Waltz and let him dazzle you with a rendition of Caravan backed by The Band (looking dapper and showing some chest in a tight rhinestone jumpsuit, if memory serves).

Leave a comment

Filed under Covers, New

The Raconteurs

The Raconteurs‘ second album Consolers of the Lonely is released everywhere all at once today; buy it.

Jack White and Brendan Benson know telling a story is an art (hence the name of their collaborative effort), and so they gave the press very little advance warning about the album and did not release advance copies or songs. It was driving the critics nuts to not be able to listen until the hoi polloi had access. It’s a ploy to get press; it’s egalitarian; but more to the point it prevents advance-leak burnout: fan downloads two songs, and therefore lose the fire to go buy the album on iTunes.

When I first went to the throw-back Raconteurs website in anticipation of the first album, Broken Boy Soldiers, I remember thinking (and telling my friends) that The Raconteurs could be the next evolutionary step in rock music. I was let down in a big way because the band is merely very good, not paradigm-shifting good. But I have circled back around with more sane expectations, and can now truly enjoy things like watching them rock out Level, from that album. I can’t wait to see them at Bonnaroo!

Check this video for Steady, As She Goes, that really captures what it sounds like to listen to Jack wail, though in its close-ups his face often looks similar to Michael Jackson’s. Download the album version of the song, or get this fantastic acoustic version of Steady, As She Goes. The hook is from Joe Jackson’s Is She Really Going Out with Him? (which I first knew from the Goldfinger cover : )

U.S. tour dates for The Raconteurs:

April 20 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
April 21 – Seattle, WA – Neumo’s
April 22 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
April 23 – San Francisco, CA – Bimbo’s 365 Club
April 25 – Indio, CA – Coachella
April 26 – Las Vegas, NV – The Joint
April 28 – Denver, CO – The Fillmore Auditorium
April 29 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theatre
May 1 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues
May 2 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s BBQ
May 3 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s BBQ
May 4 – New Orleans, LA – New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
June 13 – Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo

Brendan Benson writes songs that sound like The White StripesCoke Ad song. Download five songs of his if you’re not familiar. And, yeah, the ipod commercial for What I’m Looking For is his.

~~~

In other news:

The new Gnarls Barkley album The Odd Couple is in stores today, earlier than expected.

Blikk Fang is a side project for a dude from MGMT and another from Of Montreal; the convoluted details can potentially be discerned from this muddy Pitchfork article. I listened to two downloadable tunes here and just didn’t care for them. However, it is news, for sure, and the collaboration of Jack and Brendon reminded me to post something about it.

6 Comments

Filed under Concerts, Covers, Music Videos, New