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Posts Tagged ‘Beach Boys’

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

"Wouldn't It Be Nice?"

Saint Etienne covers The Beach Boys

Photo via Discogs.comDiscogs.comWithout actually bothering to check if it’s true, I would submit that The Beach Boys’ 1966 classic Pet Sounds is the most-covered album – taken as a whole – of all time. Or at least of all the albums I can think of right now. Certainly helping me reach that conclusion is that in addition to the countless takes on individual songs over the last 45 years, there’ve been at least two complete tribute albums in the past few – the contemporary, indie-centric Do It Again in 2006 and the even more contemporary and still indie-centric Mojo cover CD off this month’s issue.

Not that Mojo needs a particular excuse to celebrate vintage bands or albums, their justification this time is the Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary reunion and tour, with brings Brian Wilson back into the fold, and their new studio album That’s Why God Made The Radio, which came out a couple weeks ago. They’re in town this week, playing The Molson Amphitheatre on June 20.

The tribute album kicks off with a sleek and swinging take on “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” by Saint Etienne, which is quite appropriate – Sarah Cracknell makes most anything sound nice. They themselves are celebrating a bit of a return with the release last month of Words & Music By Saint Etienne, their first long-player in seven years. The Sun, Londonist, and The Huffington Post have interviews with the band.

MP3: Saint Etienne – “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?”
Video: The Beach Boys – “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?”

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Dark Parts

Review of Perfume Genius’ Put Your Back N 2 It

Photo By Angel CeballosAngel CeballosI’ll say up front that I never got around to listening to Learning, the first album from Seattle’s Mike Hadreas who performs as Perfume Genius, when it came out in 2010. While his short set of voice and piano didn’t get drowned out in the lineup of guitar-heavy rock at Matador 21 but rather impressively managed to silence it, at least for the duration of his short set, it didn’t manage to do the same against all the stuff I had to listen to at that time. And so it slipped by.

His second album Put Your Back N 2 It, due out tomorrow, will not be so ignored. It grabs and holds your attention not through any kind of force, but by its starkly vulnerable beauty. There’s no cataloguing the range of emotions that seems to exist at the exact resonant frequency of Hadreas’ voice – though they all hum at the approximate pitch of the darker side of love – but it’s impossible not to feel them. It’s a fragile and intimate thing with a vibrato that echoes Antony Hegarty’s, but whereas Hegarty dresses up his vulnerability in the costume of the cabaret, Hadreas seems to prefer to bare his for all to see.

This is not to say that Put Your Back N 2 It is a stripped down affair or without affect. There’s some theatricality in Hadreas’ delivery, as well as cues lifted from modern R&B and gospel stylings, but the songs never become genre pieces. And though it’s quite exquisitely produced, incorporating electronics and ambience and extra instrumentation as needed to give it dynamics and weight, none of it distracts from Hadreas’ voice and words. I suspect that if you open your ears and your heart to what he’s offering, that’d be nigh on impossible. I think I just said that Back was exquisitely produced; I’d like to amend that and simply say that Put Your Back N 2 It is exquisite.

The Line Of Best Fit, The Guardian, Irish Times, Clash, Drowned In Sound, and Nowness have interviews with Hadreas while The Fader gets a look into his tote bag. No, that’s not a euphemism. Perfume Genius play The Drake Underground on April 8.

And I just noticed that I still have a copy of Learning on CD shrinkwrapped on my shelf; better late than never, yeah?

MP3: Perfume Genius – “Hood”
MP3: Perfume Genius – “All Waters”
Video: Perfume Genius – “Hood”
Stream: Perfume Genius / Put Your Back N 2 It

Brooklyn buzz duo Tanlines – who will release their debut album Mixed Emotions on March 20 and have people all abuzz over their just-released fancy 360-degree video – will be at Wrongbar on April 17. Tickets for that are $10.50 in advance.

MP3: Tanlines – “Brothers”
Video: Tanlines – “Brothers”

Southern rock’n’soul combo Alabama Shakes will follow up the April 10 release of their debut album Boys & Girls with a slate of touring that includes a date at Lee’s Palace on April 17; tickets for that are $16.50 in advance.

MP3: Alabama Shakes – “I Found You”

Though she’d originally promised a Fall return after her solo visit in July of last year, it’s taken a little longer for Eleanor Friedberger to come back to town in support of her solo debut Last Summer – but she’s coming back. She’ll be at The Garrison on May 4 and to help whet your appetite, there’s a pretty big Saki Session available to download at Epitonic. She also talks to The Boston Globe about why she’s a fan of Portlandia and is making appearances on their ongoing live tour.

MP3: Eleanor Friedberger – “My Mistakes”
MP3: Eleanor Friedberger – “I Won’t Fall Apart On You Tonight” (live at Saki Sessions)

Supporting Friedberger on this tour will be Brooklyn’s Hospitality – yes, this will be their third visit in five months, they’re at the Horseshoe on February 29 supporting Tennis – but their self-titled debut is so good, no one should be complaining. They do a complete reading of the record for their own Epitonic Saki Session; “Betty Wang” isn’t listed but it’s tacked onto “The Birthday”. There’s also an interview at The Pitch and frontwoman Amber Papini writes about her affection for New York at The Huffington Post.

MP3: Hospitality – “Friends Of Friends”
MP3: Hospitality – “Sleepover” (live at Saki Sessions)

And as promised, The Beach Boys – with Brian Wilson and possibly John Stamos on board – are marking their 50th anniversary with a massive tour and it will include a stop at The Molson Amphitheatre on June 19. Tickets go on sale for that February 25 and yes, it will probably be expensive. They’re not doing this for love. Well, maybe Mike Love is doing it for Mike Love. Anyways, The New York Times talks to Brian Wilson and Mike Love about getting the band back together and the new album that’s come out of it.

Video: The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations”

Drowned In Sound interviews Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields. The new record Love At The Bottom Of The Sea comes out on March 6 and they play The Sound Academy March 30.

Exclaim The Shins talks to James Mercer of/who is The Shins about their/his comeback album Port Of Morrow, due out March 20, and Stereogum has a video of him performing one of the new songs acoustic-styles.

The AV Club tackles the unenviable task of providing a guide to the world of The Elephant 6; it’s a psych-pop rabbit hole of the best kind.

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

"God Only Knows"

Elvis Costello covers The Beach Boys

Image via WikipediaWikipediaAt some point last night, probably around 11PM, Brian Wilson took a bow on a Toronto stage for possibly the last time. The show at Massey Hall was originally a promo stop for last year’s Reimagines Gershwin album, but following an interview with The Evening Standard last month wherein he mused that he could be retiring from touring following this year, it also became a sort of farewell tour.

So this week’s selection is both a tribute to the man and his work and also a nod to another pop music legend coming by for a visit this week, though I don’t think anyone is worried that Elvis Costello will be retiring anytime soon even if his current Spectacular Spinning Songbook tour has a whiff of victory lap-ness about it. Crowd-pleasing was rather the last thing on his mind back in 1993 when he released The Juliet Letters, a collaboration with English string ensemble The Brodsky Quartet. In addition to the original material on the record based on fictional letters written to one Juliet Capulet, Costello took advantage of the players at his disposal to reinterpret some favourite songs including the Pet Sounds classic, this live version of which didn’t appear on the original album but was included in the 2005 reissue.

Costello will be at The Sony Centre in Toronto this Thursday, June 23, and being backed by The Imposters it’s unlikely any Juliet Letters material will be found on the song-selecting wheel of fortune. As stated, we probably won’t see Wilson in these parts again unless those persistent rumours about a Beach Boys 50th anniversary tour come to fruition, and I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.

MP3: Elvis Costello & The Brodsky Quartet – “God Only Knows”
Video: The Beach Boys – “God Only Knows”

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Patrick Wolf covers The Beach Boys

Image via Amazon.comAmazon.comThat Patrick Wolf is a bit of a unique character isn’t really up for debate, his unique personality apparent to anyone who’s ever read an interview or followed his Twitter and his music also refusing to submit to easy categorization. So thematically, having him cover The Beach Boys’ “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” for the 2006 Pet Sounds tribute album Do It Again made good sense, but stylistically you had to wonder if pairing such a dramatically inclined singer with one of Brian Wilson’s most vulnerable and wistful compositions was a good idea. Happily, Wolf is able to dial it down enough to keep its poignancy yet still impart his personality on it.

“Dialed down” are not words you’d use in conjunction with Wolf’s latest album The Bachelor, but the grandiosity why his fans love him. He’s at the Mod Club in Toronto this Wednesday night, June 17, to support. PopMatters has a feature piece and Clash the second part of their interview with Wolf. Brian Wilson released a new solo record in That Lucky Old Sun in late 2008 and more recently, Summer Love Songs was the umpteenth Beach Boys compilation to hit the market, seeking to set itself apart by offering new stereo mixes of a half-dozen songs as well as a previously unreleased Dennis Wilson composition.

MP3: Patrick Wolf – “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times”
Video: Brian Wilson – “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times”