Rachael Yamagata - “Faster” (from “Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart”)
I’ve been a fan of Rachael Yamagata for nearly six years. I first heard “Worn Me Down” when I was at university, and fell in love with it. Her album “Happenstance” was a mainstay in my CD player for quite a while.
In 2008, Rachael released a double album “Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart.” It was by far my favorite record of 2008, and I even bought it on vinyl because it is such an incredibly gorgeous album. “Elephants” is more piano-driven and acoustic, while “…Teeth Sinking Into Heart” has a gritty, electric, she’ll-kick-your-ass-if-you-cross-her vibe to it.
"Faster" is perhaps my favorite track from the entire album. I would highly recommend buying "Happenstance" and "Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart" because they just might change your life. I would also recommend seeing Rachael in concert because she is one hell of an amazing performer.
Key tracks: Worn Me Down (original version), Be Be Your Love, Reason Why, 1963, Letter Read, Faster, Elephants, Sunday Afternoon (9+ minutes of genius), Sidedish Friend, Accident
+BRANDON FLOWERS+ The lead singer of The Killers is set to release a solo album called “Flamingo” on September 14. Spin Magazine has a the full album preview. I’ve heard the entire “Crossfire” track before and it made me pretty excited for this release.
+10 AUGUST ALBUMS YOU SHOULD OWN+ Paste Magazine’s list of 10 August albums you should own. I’m with them on Arcade Fire, Kathryn Calder (from The New Pornographers), Lissie, and The Weepies.
+CMJ MUSIC MARATHON & FILM FESTIVAL 2010+ Bands to play CMJ 2010 include: Surfer Blood, Lissie, Two Door Cinema Club, The Drums, Katzenjammer, The Blow, Angus & Julia Stone, Langhorne Slim, plus many more. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to go…
Ben Kweller - “Penny on the Train Track” (from his self-titled album)
The first Ben Kweller song I ever heard was “Make It Up,” followed by “Wasted and Ready.” I liked the sound and the way Ben sang. Then he came out with a self-titled album and I was in love with his music. Gems like “Penny on the Train Track” and “Sundress” came from the self-titled album, and I couldn’t get enough.
Some Ben albums you need: Ben Kweller, Sha Sha, On My Way.
Trust me, you won’t regret it. Ben resides in Austin, TX, and is on Twitter.
Key tracks: Penny on the Train Track, Sundress, Wasted and Ready, Make It Up, Rock Of Ages (on “Music From the O.C. Mix 3: Have a Very Merry Chrismukkah”)
I chose this song because: A) It’s one of my favorite Metric songs B) “Fantasies” (where the original can be found) is one of my favorite albums OF ALL TIME C) This acoustic version is gorgeous D) Metric is from Toronto and since I’ll be going to Toronto this week, I found it fitting.
I’ll be gone from Wednesday through Sunday (Boston, Montreal, Toronto) so I figured I’d feature a song by a band from Toronto—Metric! P.S. I’ve seen Metric perform live before and they are A+. I love me some Emily Haines.
I’ll be seeing City and Colour with Tegan and Sara, Ra Ra Riot, and Wintersleep on Saturday in Toronto. Basically, AN AMAZING FUCKING LINE-UP. In honor of this, here are some album recommendations from those artists.
+CITY AND COLOUR+ (a.k.a. Dallas Green)
Dallas is in a popular Canadian band Alexisonfire. I like his solo work and his album, “Bring Me Your Love,” is just beautiful. I’ve seen him open for Tegan and Sara twice and he has such a gorgeous sound, even if he is slightly dull at a rock show. It’s a kind of dull I can get used to, in the most beautiful way.
Key tracks: The Death Of Me, Waiting…, Body In A Box
+TEGAN AND SARA+
I love all 6 albums Tegan and Sara have released, but I must admit—I have favorites. In order starting with favorite: The Con, So Jealous, If It Was You, Sainthood, This Business Of Art, Under Feet Like Ours. I picked “The Con” and “So Jealous” because they are nearly tied for my favorite. To me, these albums exemplify the indie pop/rock Tegan and Sara “sound.”
Key tracks: Relief Next To Me, The Con, Back In Your Head, Like O, Like H, Nineteen, Dark Come Soon, Call It Off, Knife Going In, You Wouldn’t Like Me, Take Me Anywhere, I Bet It Stung, I Know I Know I Know, So Jealous, I Can’t Take It
+Ra Ra Riot+
The first time I heard “Too Too Too Fast,” I was blown away. Ra Ra Riot had such a refreshing sound. I quickly bought “The Rhumb Line” on CD and loved the whole album. For my recent birthday, my BFF bought me “The Rhumb Line” on vinyl. They recently released their new album, “The Orchard,” which might even be better than “The Rhumb Line.” This group makes such gorgeous music. Side note: The singer from Ra Ra Riot has a side project with the singer from Vampire Weekend—they are called Discovery and their LP is pretty cool.
Key tracks: Too Too Too Fast, Ghost Under Rocks, St. Peter’s Day Festival, You And I Know, Do You Remember
The first time I listened to “Welcome To The Night Sky,” I was in my last year of university. It was winter time, so every time I hear a song from that album, I remember how the campus smelled and felt after it had snowed. When I heard Wintersleep released “New Inheritor” recently, I nearly did backflips.
Key tracks: Weighty Ghost, Dead Letter & The Infinite Yes, Archaeologists, New Inheritors
So, I bring this post to you before my 5-day vacation up north. One kick-ass concert, two amazing Canadian cities, one gorgeous country, and three wonderful friends coming right up.
I have so many great cover songs in my iTunes so I decided to make a list of my favorites. Lists have always been difficult for me because I don’t like absolutes or black-and-white rankings. It’s very likely that if I sat down with these same songs and attempted the same list, the songs would be in a different order.
So I bring to you a fluid list of my favorite covers! The first 30 are roughly in order, while the rest are alphabetical. However, you should check out ALL of them
1. Youth Group - “Forever Young” (Alphaville) // LISTEN HERE 2. Bon Iver - “Come Talk To Me” (Peter Gabriel) // LISTEN HERE 3. Jeff Buckley - “Hallelujah” (Leonard Cohen) // LISTEN HERE 4. Johnny Cash - “Hurt” (Nine Inch Nails) // LISTEN HERE 5. Keane - “With Or Without You” (U2) // LISTEN HERE 6. Editors - “Lullaby” (The Cure) // LISTEN HERE 7. Tegan and Sara - “When You Were Mine” (Prince, Cyndi Lauper) // LISTEN HERE 8. The Gossip - “Careless Whisper” (George Michael) // LISTEN HERE 9. Rogue Wave - “Maps” (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) // LISTEN HERE 10. The Shins - “We Will Become Silhouettes” (The Postal Service) // LISTEN HERE 11. Mandy Moore - “Only Hope” (Switchfoot) // LISTEN HERE 12. Goldspot - “Float On” (Modest Mouse) // LISTEN HERE 13. Susanna and the Magical Orchestra - “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (Joy Division) // LISTEN HERE 14. Caesars - “Don’t Fear The Reaper” (Blue Öyster Cult) // LISTEN HERE 15. Peter Gabriel - “The Book Of Love” (The Magnetic Fields) // LISTEN HERE 16. Rock Kills Kid - “I Turn My Camera On” (Spoon) // LISTEN HERE 17. Tegan and Sara - “Tired Of Sex” (Weezer) // LISTEN HERE 18. Mates Of State - “Second Hand News” (Fleetwood Mac) 19. The Gossip - “Are You That Somebody?” (Aaliyah) // LISTEN HERE 20. Missy Higgins - “Learning To Fly” (Tom Petty) // LISTEN HERE 21. Mandy Moore - “Have A Little Faith In Me” (John Hiatt) // LISTEN HERE 22. The Cliks - “Cry Me A River” (Justin Timerlake) // LISTEN HERE 23. Tally Hall - “Smile Like You Mean It” (The Killers) // LISTEN HERE 24. Tegan and Sara - “Man With Two Brains” (The Rentals) // LISTEN HERE 25. Missy Higgins - “Moses” (Patty Griffin) // LISTEN HERE 26. The Donnas - “Dancing With Myself” (Billy Idol) // LISTEN HERE 27. William Shatner - “Common People” (Pulse) // LISTEN HERE 28. Sara Quin feat. Ted Gowans and Kaki King - “Sweetness Follows” (R.E.M.) 29. Lily Allen - “Don’t Get Me Wrong” (The Pretenders) // LISTEN HERE 30. Antony - “If It Be Your Will” (Leonard Cohen) // LISTEN HERE
A Fine Frenzy - “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” (Death Cab for Cutie) Arcade Fire - “Born On A Train” (The Magnetic Fields) Arcade Fire - “Maps” (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) Ben Gibbard - “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” (Cyndi Lauper) Ben Gibbard - “The Saddest Story Ever Told” (The Magnetic Fields) Ben Lee - “Kids” (MGMT) Catie Curtis - “Soul Meets Body” (Death Cab for Cutie) Damien Rice & Ray LaMontagne - “To Love Somebody” (The Bee Gees) Death Cab for Cutie - “Free Fallin’” (Tom Petty) Gemma Hayes - “Cloudbusting” (Kate Bush) Greg Laswell - “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” (Cyndi Lauper) Ingrid Michaelson - “Nightswimming” (R.E.M.) Ingrid Michaelson - “Skinny Love” (Bon Iver) Jem - “Maybe I’m Amazed” (Paul McCartney) Jose Gonzalez - “Heartbeats” (The Knife) Josh Ritter - “Blame It On The Tetons” (Modest Mouse) Josh Ritter - “The River” (Bruce Springsteen) Katy Perry - “Electric Feel” (MGMT) Kristine Tuna - “The Company” (An Horse) Lily Allen - “Naive” (The Kooks) Love Spit Love - “How Soon Is Now?” (The Smiths) Mandy Moore - “Umbrella” (Rihanna) Marilyn Manson - “Sweet Dreams” (Eurythmics) Mates Of State - “California” (Phantom Planet) Mates Of State - “Technicolor Girls” (Death Cab for Cutie) Natasha Bedingfield - “Chasing Cars” (Snow Patrol) Natasha Bedingfield - “Somewhere Only We Know” (Keane) Paramore - “My Hero” (Foo Fighters) Passion Pit - “Dreams” (The Cranberries) Peter Gabriel - “Mirrorball” (Elbow) Peter Gabriel - “My Body Is A Cage” (Arcade Fire) Placebo - “Running Up That Hill” (Kate Bush) Regina Spektor - “Real Love” (John Lennon) Ryan Adams - “Wonderwall” (Oasis) The Shins - “Strange Powers” (The Magnetic Fields) Sia - “Under The Milky Way” (The Church) Snow Patrol - “Crazy In Love” (Beyoncé) Tegan and Sara - “Dancing in the Dark” (Bruce Springsteen) Tegan and Sara - “I Ran [So Far Away]” (A Flock Of Seagulls) Tegan and Sara - “In Your Room” (The Bangles) Tegan and Sara - “Rebel Rebel” (David Bowie) Tori Amos - “Personal Jesus” (Depeche Mode) Vivek Shraya - “Seven Nation Army” (The White Stripes) William Fitzsimmons - “Heartless” (Kanye West) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - “Sheena Was A Punk Rocker” (The Ramones)
Ray LaMontagne - “Sarah” (from “Gossip In The Grain”)
I had a hard time deciding which Ray LaMontagne song to post—“Sarah” or “You Are The Best Thing” (also from “Gossip In The Grain”). They are both great songs, but I ended up going with “Sarah” because it’s SO EFFING BEAUTIFUL.
I first started listening to Ray in late 2008 after he appeared on Rachael Yamagata's two-disc album, “Elephants…Teeth Sinking Into Heart” on the aptly titled track, “Duet.” I dug his voice, so I sought out some of his albums.
"Gossip In The Grain" was a great album to introduce me to Ray’s voice and style. I like to throw on his music when I’m relaxing or having a bad day because it soothes me. I urge you to give "Sarah" a listen, and I dare you to not like it.
Favorite tracks: Sarah, Meg White, You Are The Best Thing, All The Wild Horses, Trouble.
Josh Ritter - “Girl In The War” (from “The Animal Years”)
The first time I heard about Josh Ritter was from my friend Tiffiny. She told me how great Josh was and how much she loved his music. “Girl In The War” was the first song I listened to and I was instantly hooked. I subsequently got my grubby little paws on all of his albums and went into a listening frenzy that lasted an entire week. I was in my last year of university at the time so I loaded my mp3 player full of Josh and walked around campus. I still think of wintertime in Manhattan, Kansas, when I hear some of his songs.
I got my BFF Sally hooked on Josh, so it was only fitting that we saw him perform in Lawrence, KS, last summer. He played a small bar/venue called The Bottleneck and we were able to get front row standing, center of the stage. The kink my neck suffered from staring up the entire concert was well worth the experience. It still holds as one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended. Because he was in Lawrence, he stood on an amp and played his song “Lawrence, KS” acoustically while the crowd sang along. That moment was one of the coolest musical experiences of my life. It gave me chills and maybe even brought a tear to my eye.
Josh is absolutely magnetic in concert. I highly recommend checking him out if he ever tours near you. I love live albums and bootlegs, so when I heard a live version of “Kathleen” in a bootleg, I instantly put it on my iPod. I love hearing the crowd sing along. You can listen to it here (on FULL BLAST): "Kathleen" live from Dublin Castle.
Here’s a list of Josh’s albums. I highly suggest you buy these: Josh Ritter Hello Starling The Animal Years Golden Age Of Radio Golden Age Of Radio: Bonus Acoustic Album & Extras The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter So Runs The World Away (2010)
Favorite tracks: Kathleen, Girl In The War, The Temptation Of Adam, Monster Ballads, Good Man, Thin Blue Flame, Lawrence, KS, Golden Age Of Radio, Man Burning, Mind’s Eye, Rumors, Rattling Locks.
Josh’s “The Animal Years” came in at #13 on Paste Magazine’s “The 50 Best Albums Of The Decade.” Check it out here.
+TEGAN AND SARA+ Tegan and Sara: The talented ladies are selling the documentary equipment they used to make Forest Fone, Trailer Talk, Backstage Bilingual, etc. INTERESTED IN BUYING IT? Well then take a look over here. Currently a $6000 asking price. Think of all the Luna bars they could buy with that money! Or, you know, guitars and dance lessons…
+SUFJAN STEVENS+ Stereogum: Sufjan Stevens released an eight-song EP, “All Delighted People,” on Bandcamp. The EP can be streamed for free or purchased for $5 HERE AT STEREOGUM.
+MARINA & THE DIAMONDS+ According to Marina herself, filming begins Tuesday for the music video for her next single, “Shampain.”
The first time I heard this song in early 2005, I loved it. I had never heard of Kef before, so I visited his website. I ended up shooting Kef an email, and thus began our long distance friendship. He explained to me the inspiration behind “Evangeline”—in mid-2004, he was working on a promo for ABC’s new show, “LOST.” He was intrigued by Evangeline Lilly and thought she was incredibly gorgeous (well, she is). He kind of half-jokingly wrote “Evangeline” about her and it has a very fun-loving sound to it. He once told me of a time he had the chance to meet Evangeline in person thanks to his song, but he ended up chickening out and not going through with it. I thought that was incredibly endearing. Kef had a hit song, “Hottie Boombalottie,” in the early 2000s, so some people might remember that song.
My BFF Sally and I are still in love with this song five years later, and sing along when it comes on shuffle during road trips. When I texted Kef yesterday to ask for his permission to post this, he said I was the only one who even cared about his music anymore and that made me a very sad panda.
So in order to get even just a handful of more people to give him a listen, I decided to blog about his album “Alright.” It’s a fun album to throw on and relax to. There’s something relaxing about his voice. Not to mention the fact that he’s an incredibly nice guy. You can also check out hisphotography website.
Tegan and Sara @ Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines (Aug. 17, 2010)
Click on either picture to see the full photo album + videos.
Tegan and Sara
This was by far my favorite Tegan and Sara show that I’ve been to. The question and answer segment was refreshing and surprisingly educational. It was enjoyable to sit and listen to them answer questions and joke around.
The acoustic set was phenomenal. I shed a tear during “The Ocean.” They played it like the demo version (found on their upcoming “Home Recordings” vinyl release).
After a 20-minute intermission, they came back on and played a set with a full band. It was the best of both worlds. Before that night, my favorite show was a tie between their August 2007 Chicago show (my first ever) and their recent show in Kansas City this April.
It was a fantastic night, and I’d never before heard them sound so great vocally. Rock on, ladies!
Tilly and the Wall - “The Freest Man” (from “Bottoms of Barrels”)
I saw Tilly and the Wall last summer at The Granada in Lawrence, KS. It was hands-down one of my favorite concerts ever. I was front row standing, and happened to be directly in front of Kianna and her stomping platform. Glitter and confetti were thrown, beach balls were bounced around, and so much energy came from those five amazingly talented musicians. I was still finding confetti in my purse and shoes for days.
They hadn’t performed “The Freest Man” in so long that Kianna and Neely needed a printed out lyric sheet. The song made me shed a tear or two or ten because it’s so damn depressing and beautiful at the same time. After the show, Kianna handed me the sheet because I was right in front of her. It made that song even more special to me, being able to read the lyrics all typed out after the concert.
Tilly and the Wall are amazing live, and their albums are pretty amazing as well. “O” is my favorite, and I even have it on vinyl. I actually have two copies because my friend Claire sent me one as a gift without realizing I already had it. Yeah, my friends are pretty awesome.
Key tracks to check out: The Freest Man, Too Excited, Pot Kettle Black, You And I Misbehaving, Beat Control, Bad Education, Dust Me Off.
As many people know, I pretty much love anything Peter Gabriel has ever done, not to mention the fact that “Mercy Street” is my favorite track of his. So I was a bit hesitant to give this cover a listen. I’m glad I gave it a try because it’s amazing and kind of reminds me of The Knife.
Elbow did a pretty cover of “Mercy Street” that came out sounding much like the original, which gains zero complaints from me. David Byrnecovered “I Don’t Remember,” which turned out rather different from the original but in a way that works wonderfully.
Tuna knows how difficult it is for me to leave her name and titles lowercase. She knows my OCD just wants to change it. But because I love her and her music so much, I’ll type it as she likes it.
When Tuna sent me her pre-mastered EP a few months ago, I played it on loop for a good 3 days or so. I couldn’t believe how great it sounded. This track was stuck in my head for days. In fact, it’s stuck in my head as I type this.
She’s my buddy, my pal, my favorite talented fish friend—she’s Kristine Tuna. Set your own price and download her EP here at BandCamp.