Sunday, October 23rd, 2005
Sunday Cleaning – Volume 11
We’ve got a sort of covers theme going on today…
|various artists / This Bird Has Flown (Razor & Tie)
At first glance, it looks like a can’t-miss proposition. In honour of Rubber Soul‘s 40th anniversary, gather up fourteen top-notch, mostly indie-friendly acts and get them to cover one track a piece from the album. Compile, simmer, salt to taste. Serves 4. But that’s actually why This Bird Has Flown (out Tuesday), for all its good intentions, ultimately fails – it’s just too by-the-numbers. Almost every act contributes versions so faithful, they’re pretty much pointless. I don’t expect grand reinvention from The Donnas (“Drive My Car”) or Ben Kweller (“Wait”), but I expect better from Low (“Nowhere Man”). Some of the artists who do try something a little different succeed in putting their own stamp on the material, like Ted Leo’s echoplex-driven “I’m Looking Through You” or Sufjan Stevens’ “What Goes On”, but others fail miserably (The Fiery Furnaces’ abhorrent “Norwgian Wood”). But really, better the spectacular failure than the utterly bland – and sadly, that’s what most of this is.
|Sun Kil Moon / Tiny Cities (Caldo Verde)
Everyone who had “An album of Modest Mouse covers” in the “What is the next Sun Kil Moon album going to be?” pool, hands up. Liars. But that’s what Mark Kozelek has given us with Tiny Cities (out November 1) – an album of Isaac Brock compositions. The conceit is largely lost on me, however, since I’ve only got one Modest Mouse album (yeah, that one) and have only ever heard two (I sold my copy of The Lonesome Crowded West a long time ago). The only song I can make an education comparison of is the album closer, “Ocean Breathes Salty”, originally one of the poppier numbers on Good New For People Who Love Bad News, and frankly, if I hadn’t compared track lists, I’d never have known that I had the original of this tune in my collection. Like all of these songs, Kozelek performs musical alchemy on the original, turning it into a beautiful, meditative ballad that actually make Brock’s lyrics listenable (I’m not the biggest MM fan…) and you know what? The dude can write. Though brief at barely 30 minutes long, Tiny Cities shouldn’t disappoint Kozelek fans no matter what they think of Modest Mouse.
|The Arrogants (MySpace)
The Arrogants serve up note-perfect indie-pop, striking the perfect balance between crunchy upbeat numbers and dreamy slow songs, all anchored by Jana Heller’s sugar-sweet vocals. While you can follow their influences directly across the Atlantic to the UK’s C86 scene, but they also sound quintessentially Californian (which fits, since they’re from California). I hear bits of The Sundays, Heavenly, Belly, but it’s never derivitive. Superb stuff. They’ve just released their third album, You’ve Always Known Best When To Say Goodbye, is available at TweeKitten and comes with a bonus DVD. Go listen to their MySpace samples, check out some more bits and pieces here and then go buy the record.
Covers content? Here’s The Arrogants doing some Jesus & Mary Chain and New Order:
np – Shearwater / Everybody Makes Mistakes