“17 years after America lost WW2, the country is divided and controlled by Japan and Germany. From out of the lawless neutral zone comes The Man in the High Castle’s Resistance Radio, a secret network of pirate DJs broadcasting sounds of hope.”
That’s a cooler introduction than most musical compilations get. This incredible soundtrack for Amazon’s popular TV series The Man in the High Castle was produced by Danger Mouse and Sam Cohen, who adds his own musical talents to covers of “The House of the Rising Sun” and “Get Happy.” Cohen joins a high caliber line up of musicians including Beck, Karen O, The Shins, and Norah Jones as they imagine a world where the Axis has won and musicians have gone rogue.
The current trend seems to be a marked return to the golden age of music and this influx of nostalgic talent works perfectly for the producers of the soundtrack. On advanced tracks, Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, and Benjamin Booker perform covers that are nearly identical to their predecessors.
Olsen directly channels Connie Francis in her cover of “Who’s Sorry Now.” Her voice oozes over the notes in one big emotional melt down. Instrumentation and even the engineering of the song will transport you to a 1950s soda shop.
Van Etten’s cover of “The End of the World” is another example of a modern singer perfectly capturing the stylistic traits of a bygone era. The strings and piano are ever present as with the original by Skeeter Davis, though at a slightly slower tempo which allows Van Etten a bit more time on the notes.
Booker’s raspy rendition of “Spoonful” would make Howlin’ Wolf proud. Growling guitars and a honkey tonk piano-even the rapid fade out at the end of the song-perfectly echo the original blues classic.
Cohen’s “House of the Rising Sun” is haunting, with a clearer vocal quality than Eric Burdon of The Animals. He drops the drums and adds some subtle strings which results in a very classy take on the song.
Full track list:
01. Sharon Van Etten – “The End of the World”
02. Andrew VanWyngarden – “Nature Boy”
03. Beck – “Can’t Help Falling in Love (First ‘Stand-Up’ Show)”
04. Benjamin Booker – “Spoonful”
05. Sam Cohen – “The House of the Rising Sun”
06. The Shins – “A Taste of Honey”
07. Angel Olsen – “Who’s Sorry Now”
08. Waterstrider – “Speaking of Happiness”
09. Michael Kiwanuka – “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”
10. Grandaddy – “Love Hurts”
11. Big Search – “Lonely Mound of Clay”
12. Kevin Morby – “I Only Have Eyes for You”
13. Kelis – “Who’s Lovin’ You”
14. Norah Jones – “Unchained Melody”
15. Curtis Harding – “Lead Me On”
16. Maybird – “All Alone Am I”
17. Karen O – “Living in a Trance”
18. Sam Cohen – “Get Happy”
The album will be available for purchase on April 7th. Follow the Resistance here