Jun 292011
 

Like many of the best songs about drunks, the Kinks’ “Alcohol” pulls in two different directions. If you want a booze-infused party, dance to the music and the pub-singalong chorus. If it’s a cautionary tale you’re after, well, just focus on the lyrics. The theatrical barroom-ballad carries a certain Kurt Weill cabaret vibe, an off-kilter pop song for the depressed and deranged. Continue reading »

Jun 292011
 

Sometimes it’s cool to take a classic song and use entirely new instruments to play it. Maybe they’re instruments that don’t necessarily fit together or fit with the original. It works…sometimes.

Using that approach, Au Revoir Simone’s cover of Don Henley‘s “The Boys of Summer” presents an interesting dichotomy. They kick it off with some very cool synth-organs, overlay those with a sweet ’80s electronic drum beat, and throw in a tambourine about halfway through. Disparate as the sounds are from one another, they fit together magically, like some crazy summertime electro Midnight Mass. Continue reading »

Jun 292011
 

We’ve been keeping track of Paul McCartney‘s “Maybe I’m Amazed” cover competition ever since it was first announced. Earlier this month, we showcased our top picks once the submission period had ended.

Yesterday, the winner was announced on McCartney’s website and the votes resoundingly went to one of our very favorites, the astonishing classical guitarist Tony Clef. So here it is – the stunning instrumental “Maybe I’m Amazed.” Enjoy. Continue reading »

Jun 292011
 

When people hear about the band Polarisif anyone ever hears about the band Polaris – they probably assume they’ve never heard them. Likewise, there’s little name recognition to their song “Hey Sandy.” If, however, you grew up in the ’90s, one listen of the song will hit you with waves of recognition. Just like people will only ever think of the Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There for You” as the Friends theme, “Hey Sandy” is forever and indelibly the theme to the Nickelodeon classic The Adventures of Pete and Pete. Continue reading »

Jun 292011
 

The track listing of Relient K’s Is for Karaoke covers EP makes one thing immediately apparent: this band has good taste in music. Excepting the oddball Justin Bieber cover (presumably included as a joke), these songs’ original artists stand among the coolest of the cool rock bands: Weezer, Gnarls Barkley, even They Might Be Giants. It’s a diverse tracklist sure to draw even casual fans to investigate this effort. But will they like what they find when they get there?

Unfortunately, Karaoke finds Relient K striking the wrong tone on at least half of its songs. The band embraces the worst trait of its pop-punk genre here – over-earnestness – and it knocks this album down a few pegs. Not that covers shouldn’t be heartfelt, but listen to singer Matt Thiessen’s delivery on opener “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” originally by Cyndi Lauper. It seems like his soul truly aches for those poor un-fun-having girls; “that’s all they really want” sounds less like a celebration of simplicity and more like a plaintive cry for somebody, anybody to let these ladies lighten up. That might work on a more artsy record, I suppose, but the tracklist and title of Karaoke imply a lighthearted nature, something “Girls” totally misses. Continue reading »