Tagged: accoustic

Seu Jorge – Life On Mars (David Bowie Cover)

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I couldn’t write a post about City Of God, mention Seu Jorge, and not follow it up with a post on the Brazilian’s amazing David Bowie covers, which he recorded for the soundtrack to Wes Anderson’ delightful film The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

As you can see from the video, which shows him performing Bowie’s classic Life On Mars, there isn’t much more to the covers than Jorge and his guitars: the covers are all in Portugese which gives these songs, which are such familiar parts of our lives, a whole new feel. It’s like discovering an entirely new side to an old family friend.

Oh, and despite the fact that I’m trying to quit smoking (1 week tomorrow) there really is no denying that people like Seu Jorge make smoking look too bloody cool.

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The Streets – The Escapist

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The Streets’ new single The Escapist has been released as a free download and it’s definitely worth getting hold of. It’s got a lot more in common with Dry Your Eyes than Don’t Mug Yourself or his other more lively tracks and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Mike Skinner’s not the same young man he was when he first burst onto the scene so it seems only natural that his music should mellow as he does (although his antics on his TV show Beat Stevie suggest that there’s still a bit of mischief in the old boy yet). And, in keeping with that, the video for The Escapist is really quite beautiful. If Skinner is to be believed, and I don’t see why he shouldn’t, the video was made with no help from his record label and with no script. Instead it simply documents Skinner’s epic trek when he decided to walk from Dover to Cannes (770 miles!)

I particularly like the video to The Escapist as I’m pretty sure that the sand dune which Skinner is seen walking down at the end of the video is the Dune de Pyla. It’s the largest sand dune in Europe and, being about an hour outside Bordeaux, is pretty close to where my Mum lives. I’ve been twice and it’s one of my favourite places in the world: watching the sunset from the top of the dune, with a beer or a glass of wine, is something you should all try to do.

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Radiohead – The Rip (Cover of Portishead Track)

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I haven’t bought the new Portishead album, Third, to date because, a: the 2nd album was so disappointing, and b: the first single off of Third scared the living bejeesus out of me.

However having read about Radiohead’s accoustic cover of The Rip from Third, I may have to change my mind. Because the Radiohead cover led me to the original version of The Rip which is really quite lovely. As always Beth Gibbons sings in a voice that makes it sound like the only reason she hasn’t thrown herself out of a window is because she doesn’t have the energy to open it. But the tune that runs behind is kind of beguiling; some lovely accoustic guitar and a weird bit of modulating synths.

The cover version that Thom Yorke & Colin Greenwood do of The Rip makes full use of that accoustic guitar melody, as well as Thom’s rather disturbingly good falsetto. So, two versions of a song I didn’t think I’d like, both of which I love.

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10 Most Underrated Songs Of The 90s: Part 3

So I’ve been having a major nostalgia trip recently, & as it is shows no sign of abating, I figure you’re due the final instalment in my list of the 10 most underrated songs of the 1990s. I would hope that it will open up some debate and, more importantly, shine some light on some tracks that deserve more attention than they get at the moment…YouTube Preview Image

  1. Oasis – Talk Tonight: Many people have joked that Noel Gallagher wrote all his best material before he was famous, and that this was then released as the 1st albums and accompanying b-sides – i.e. the best work Oasis ever did. However Talk Tonight, written on the band’s first tour of the US (which wasn’t going well), goes to show that he still had something in him even after drugs & booze started to kill the talent. It’s the most beautiful love letter (to someone who wasn’t a lover) set to basic guitar, hand claps & organ & quite possibly the best thing they’ll ever do.
  2. Goldie – Timeless (Inner City Life): Drum & bass was barely the equivalent of a toddler in terms of it’s age as a musical genre, but already Goldie wasn’t just trying to run, but run a marathon. This 21 minute epic may be a stretch too far, but when you consider how excruciatingly un-inventive many guitar bands were at the time (not the good ones, but all the followers on – Ocean Colour Scene or Cast anyone?) the ambition here alone would be worthy of praise. The fact that Timeless is an absolutely stonking track, like something Pink Floyd would have recorded if they’d grown up in the 80s rather than the 60s, is almost by the by.
  3. Josh Wink – Higher State Of Consciousness: Really? F**k yes! Josh Wink’s Higher State Of Consciousness was never likely to change the world, but in terms of absolutely mind blowing acid house techno or whatever, this is about as good as it ever got. And the fact that Gilles Peterson used to mix it in with jazz or something equally incongruous, only adds to the reasons why I love it. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to download it, but the video’s at the end of this post.
  4. Rae & Christian – The Hush (feat. Texas): How Northern Sulphuric Soul, the album this track comes from, hasn’t been officially recognised as a national treasure, I do not know. Continuing on where Blue Lines left off, Rae & Christian pulled together a truly British blend of soul & hip-hop. And in this beautifully laid-back track they got a much better performance out of Texas’ Sharleen Spiteri than the Wu Tang Clan ever managed.

OK, so that’s my top 10 most underrated songs of the 90s (you can find parts 1 & 2 here & here). It’s seriously open to debate – I’ve tried to keep it mostly British, so there’s lots of stuff from Europe & the US that could have been included. So why not use the comments to let me know what you would have included?YouTube Preview ImageGoldie picture by bloshakov on Flickr

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Feist – 1234 (From the new Apple iPod Nano TV ad)

Apple have had a history of matching great tracks with the TV ads for the iPod. And with the lovely folk-pop of 1234 by Feist, that doesn’t look like changing any time soon…

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Feist – 1234 (song from the new iPod Nano TV ad)

As I’ve been so poor in the blogging stakes recently (unless you count work) that I thought it would be good to do a quick & dirty post, and what better way is there to do that than to write about a tune I saw on TV. Or, to be more exact, the song 1234 by Feist which I first heard on the new iPod Nano TV ad (yeah, I know, I’m such an early adopter).

Anyway, 1234 by Feist continues Apple’s recent run of choosing great songs to soundtrack their ads. I just hope that it doesn’t also continue the curse that Apple seem to have inherited from Levis whereby anyone who soundtracks one of their songs then goes on to never produce anything so good; Black Eyed Peas – Hey Mama – after this came My Bumps. I rest my case M’Lud.

Still, from what I’ve been able to find, it seems like Feist (basically solo singer/songwriter Leslie Feist plus her backing band) will probably brush off all the attention and keep on doing what she’s been doing for years. It strikes me that anyone who’s friends with Peaches is unlikely to be shaken off course just by being in an ad for iPod Nanos. And to make sure that is the case, you should buy 1234 by Feist right now, rather than just waiting for the ad to come on again.

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Simon & Garfunkel – America

Simon & Garfunkel are often over-looked when people talk about the best music of the 60s – but with tunes like America, they really shouldn’t be…

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I’ve always loved Simon & Garfunkel. They got played a lot by my various parents when I was growing up and are very much part of the soundtrack to my life. I guess then it was only natural that I should have played the Best Of Simon & Garfunkel several times over the weekend.

But it was definitely a bit spooky that as I was queuing up in Borders today, that self same Best Of (which I had never gotten round to buying myself) was on sale for £5 (although bizarrely it’s more online). So obviously I bought it, and here I am listening to America – one of the best songs Paul Simon or Art Garfunkel ever performed, whether together or in their solo careers. In fact America is one of the best songs ever, by anyone. No, really.

I can’t find video footage to do it justice so you’ll have to make do with the version above from the Central Park concert which I found. It’s lovely but somehow lack the bit of the original, with Simon’s exquisite lyrics of two lovers finding and losing themselves on a bus trip. I truly think this songs says as much about the 60s as anything The Beatles, Stones, Doors, Hendrix or any of their peers did. And the Stone Roses liked Simon & Garfunkel so much their début was pretty much a tribute to them.

Finally, and luckily for those who, like me, prefer the original version to the slightly saccharine one that seems to get trotted out at come-back gigs, here is the original version of America by Simon & Garfunkel. There aren’t any picture to go with the song, but like the version of Sinnerman by Nina Simone I wrote about a while back, it really doesn’t matter.

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Oasis – D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman?

Oasis B-Side in better than the A-Side shock? D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman was the first example of this but it wasn’t the last..

Whilst my good friends at Trackfeeder may not have been voted the best blog in Britain (boo!), that hasn’t stopped their good work. And that includes publishing my post on the classic Oasis B-Side D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman. Quite apt really, considering its themes of dreams that are smashed by reality….

Whilst you consider those rather depressing thoughts, check out this rather bizarre manga video for D’Yer Wanna Be A Spaceman by Oasis…

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Mat Weddle of Obadiah Parker – Hey Ya (Outkast Cover)

I found this cover of the Outkast hip-hop anthem Hey Ya by Matt Weddle of Obadiah Parker on mog.com

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That’s all I know about it really, apart from the fact that I find it strangely moving. Must be something about turning 31 today that makes a video of a fat bearded man singing a cover of Hey Ya by Outkast make me feel a little bit sad!

UPDATE: Ok, so you can download Mat Weddle singing his version of Hey Ya! by Outkast here, whilst Obadiah Parker can be found on MySpace. And whilst I was trying to find it I realised that there are quite a few covers of Hey Ya! including one by Will Young (recorded for Jo Whiley’s Live Lounge) which I’m ashamed to admit I quite like. And a jazz version by someone called Maria Kannegaard which has me well & truly intrigued!

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Will Young covers Outkast’s Hey Ya

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Paul Weller – Wild Wood (The Sheared Wood Remix by Portishead)

Paul Weller NME EP from 1994, including Sheared Wood remix of Wild Wood by Portishead
Trip-hop band Portishead add some serious percussion to Paul Weller’s acoustic classic Wild Wood…

I could write an entire series of blogs about how great Paul Weller is, and how under-rated he is in the UK (despite the fact that he recently won the Lifetime Achievement award at the Brit Awards). But you’d probably get bored. So I won’t. Suffice to say that he has done more in his 30-year odd career than pretty much any other British artist, and enjoyed more sustained success than anyone other than a few select groups or singers to boot. The quality of his work has been more sustained than David Bowie, he’s never given into corporate sponsorship like the Rolling Stones and he still looks pretty f***ing cool as he pushes 50.

Part of my love for Paul Weller’s work has been his willingness to experiment with other genres. After splitting up The Jam, the most successful of the bands that followed punk, at the height of their popularity he moved into jazz-lite territory with The Style Council. They were eventually dropped by their record label for recording a house album – in 1989. And since then he has experimented with soul, rock, acoustic and cover albums and lots of stuff in between.

This particular collaboration came to me by chance in-so-much as I hadn’t planned on buying anything by Paul Weller that week back in 1994 but it just so happened that the NME were kind enough to put a 7″ single on their cover which had two remixed Paul Weller songs on it (and one live one), one of which was this amazing remix of Wild Wood by Portishead, the band who would win the Mercury Music Prize the next year for their debut album Dummy (thanks to All Mod Cons for finding this ‘video’ of it).

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The original track was from Weller’s most recent album, also called Wild Wood, which detailed his recent return to his Surrey roots and his renewed love for the area. With little more than his fantastic voice and some strumming of his acoustic guitar, the song builds slowly to a climax that never truly comes and is all the more satisfying for it.

By comparison, this remix of Wild Wood includes some typical Portishead style clashing drums and some other lovely effects. It has to have been the best 70p I ever spent (the price of the NME back in those days) and I played it almost to destruction. Well, in fact I did play it to destruction. Somehow, after moving between houses whilst at University I took it out of its sleeve to find a large hunk missing out of the vinyl. Gutted? You bet.

Several years passed and for some reason I never threw it away. For some bizarre, almost masochistic, reason, I used to take it out of its sleeve every so often as if hoping that it would have magically mended. It hadn’t. But don’t worry – there is a happy ending.

One day God invented the internet, and not long after he invented eBay. Having dabbled with the auction site for things that I didn’t really need, it occurred to me to look for this masterful mix of Portishead’s trip-hop and Paul Weller’s acoustic majesty. And guess what? Well – you can see the picture at the top can’t you!

Anyway – I have yet to find it as a download, although it seems to have appeared on a few compliation CDs, but last time I looked eBay still had copies of the Portishead remix of Wild Wood by Paul Weller for a ridiculously small amount of money. Barely more than that copy of NME cost me more than 10 years ago in fact.

Check out an amazing liver version of Paul Weller’s Wild Wood below (as the grumpy bugger’s had the original video removed from YouTube):

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You can now listen to this amazing remix of Wild Wood here (cheers Napster!)

Paul Weller Wild Wood [Sheared Wood Remix by Portishead]

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